The health and safety of our travelers is always our top priority, as we’ve supported our customers through major disruptions, including health concerns, civil unrest and environmental events for nearly 40 years.
In an effort to support our groups who are preparing for travel, we have put together this list of frequently asked questions to address some common concerns.
1. What countries are open to U.S. citizens?
This list is constantly changing; countries are opening quickly now! The Sherpa site has a great map and detailed info about country requirements. But, make sure to check the State Department’s COVID-19 Country Specific Information. If you have any additional questions, just let us know!
2. What restrictions/requirements are in place for my destination?
Some countries are not permitting U.S. travelers to enter. Countries that are open many have requirements for entry, as do the airlines. These requirements could include: proof of negative COVID test results from within 48 hours before departure, masks without valves, quarantine upon arrival, etc. Travelers will need to research airline, airport & country requirements prior to travel.
For specific information on your destination’s requirements, look at the COVID-19 Country Specific Information page on the U.S. State Department’s site. If your country is not listed, check the Sherpa website. IMPORTANT: Make sure to look at exit requirements also. And, always check and follow state and local recommendations or requirements related to travel in addition to federal requirements.
For information on related topics, visit:
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- World Health Organization (WHO) for health advisories & self-quarantine requirements
- U.S. Transportation Security Administration
- Your airline’s website for additional guidance.
3. What is the difference between the antibody & antigen tests?
What type of test do I need to travel?
IMPORTANT: Effective January 26, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will require all air passengers two years of age and over entering the United States (including U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents) to present a negative COVID-19 test, taken within three calendar days of departure, or proof of recovery from the virus within the last 90 days.
There are different types of tests – diagnostic tests and antibody tests. Diagnostic tests can show if you have an active COVID-19 infection and need to take steps to quarantine or isolate yourself from others. Antibody tests look for antibodies in your immune system produced in response to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Antibody tests do NOT meet the requirement for travel. Get tested with a viral test (NAAT or antigen test) 1-3 days before you travel. Keep a copy of your test results with you during travel in case you are asked for them.
More specifically, examples of available NAATs for SARS-CoV-2 include, but are not restricted to, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP), transcription-mediated amplification (TMA), nicking enzyme amplification reaction (NEAR), and helicase-dependent amplification (HDA). The test used must be authorized for use by the relevant national authority for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in the country where the test is administered. A viral test conducted for U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) personnel, including DOD contractors, dependents, and other U.S. government employees, and tested by a DOD laboratory located in a foreign country also meets the requirements of the Order.
4. What if I am vaccinated? How does that affect travel?
If you’ve been fully vaccinated, you can:
– Travel domestically without a pre- or post-travel test
– Travel domestically without quarantining after travel
– Travel internationally without a pre-travel test, depending on destination
– Travel internationally without quarantining after travel, depending on destination
5. How do I get tested in another country?
For information on where to obtain a test overseas, go to the U.S. Embassy page for your destination. Travelers may need to consider a routing change to a different country or city in order to meet the testing requirement.
6. What happens if my flight is delayed & it falls outside the 3-day requirement for return to the U.S.?
If your flight is delayed before departure, you will need to get re-tested if the delay causes your test to fall outside of the 3-day pre-departure testing period requirement. A delay while traveling on a continuous itinerary will not invalidate an otherwise valid test unless it results in you leaving the airport terminal or a layover lasting longer than 24 hours.
7. Should I purchase travel insurance?
Some countries require travel insurance with COVID coverage for entry. If you have questions about the insurance coverage, visit our Insurance page or talk to an experienced Travelex agent at (844) 877-1889 and reference Plan Number 315A-1217.
8. I am concerned about traveling later this year, what should I do?
Our recommendation is to see how the situation develops before making any decisions. To help our travelers, we are in contact with both our airline and our ground partners. We will continue to monitor the situation, advocate on your behalf, and advise you about any new developments that would impact your trip.
9. My organization is concerned about the Coronavirus. Is there any way we can postpone our group’s trip?
Depending on your travel dates and the specific services you have booked, we may be able to rearrange your itinerary without incurring any fees. Please contact your agent for options.
10. If my organization decides to cancel our trip due to the Coronavirus, will we get a refund?
We are in contact with both our airline and our ground partners who are actively developing cancellation and rebooking policies as the situation evolves. We appreciate your patience as we advocate on your behalf to maximize refunds whenever possible.
In all other cases, any refund related to the cancellation of a trip will be managed under the terms and conditions of your sales agreement or fare rules of your individual ticket.
11. What if we are traveling in less than 45 days?
If you are traveling to an area affected by the coronavirus and no travel waiver has been issued for your itinerary, we suggest delaying cancellation until the week of travel just in case a waiver is issued for your flights. This will maximize your refund potential. If you are traveling to an area not yet affected by the coronavirus, standard terms and conditions would apply.
12. What happens if my destination country bans travel?
While the decision to offer refunds/free changes ultimately lies in the hands of the service provider, FTI will work with our partners to minimize the financial impact to your organization.
13. What if something happens on my tour?
Each of our tour organizers is supported by both on-the-ground contacts and our after-hours emergency helpline. As needed, they can facilitate additional support for groups on tour, assist with itinerary adjustments, and liaise with local and international authorities to help solve on-the-ground issues.
We’ve also collected resources here for you to find accurate, reliable and updated information:
World Health Organization: