About one-fourth of Americans are comfortable traveling internationally, according to August data from Morning Consult. Some of the destinations travelers are opting to visit, though, are riskier when it comes to Covid-19.
More than 40% of trips being booked are to countries listed at a Level 4 or "very high" Covid-19 risk by the CDC, according to travel insurance search engine Squaremouth. At that level, the CDC recommends travelers "avoid travel to this destination." Traveling to those countries might not be wise, Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, a pulmonary and critical care medicine specialist at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.
"Traveling to a region with a high level of Covid-19 is of concern" even if you're vaccinated, he says. "It means you are entering a region that has a higher probability that you may come across someone with the virus."
You're more likely to come into contact with people who are not practicing the safety measures recommended by the CDC, he says: "Having such a designation means that the person you are coming across is likely not vaccinated, making spread more effective, or compliant with face masks, or both."
Of the 25 top destinations booked, 11 are high risk, according to Squaremouth.
2. Costa Rica
9. United Kingdom
10. Virgin Islands, British
11. Virgin Islands, U.S.
Whether you're traveling to a high-risk country or not, check the refund and cancellation policies for all components of your trip before you book. Travel insurance can also help protect your purchase.
The number of travelers buying insurance for international trips in the last four months has increased 96% over the four months prior, according to Squaremouth.
If you're traveling anywhere this year, experts agree that it's smart to buy travel insurance. But it's important to get the right kind, says Megan Moncrief, chief marketing officer at Squaremouth. If you would like the most encompassing coverage, go with "cancel for any reason," she says.
"The majority of scenarios that have caused trips to be canceled are not covered under the standard Trip Cancellation benefit," she says. "This includes border closures, travel bans, flight route cancellations, and quarantine or vaccine requirements. For now, travelers who want the most lenient cancellation terms should invest in a cancel for any reason policy."
CFAR does come at an extra cost, she says: "Prior to the pandemic, we were slow to recommend CFAR policies because of their increased cost, as the most common concerns of travelers could be covered under a standard cancellation policy."
Now that this isn't the case, you might find it's worth it to shell out the extra money. "Based on Squaremouth sales this year, the average premium for a Trip Cancellation policy is $298. In comparison, the average premium for a policy with Cancel For Any Reason is $495," Moncrief says.
Still, paying more for travel insurance might be worth it due to the everchanging circumstances regarding Covid-19 around the world.
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