Twice a month travel news from Charting Memories Travel
I have been home from my trip to the beautiful Beaches Resort in Turks and Caicos for almost a week now and I’m ready to go exploring again. I am truly blessed to work in an industry that allows me to help other people visit new places and to experience those places myself. The last couple of issues of the ChartRoom have been covering what it is currently like to travel internationally. In the most recent issues, I covered some of the packing prep that I did and more importantly the pre-travel COVID protocol.
When I last posted, I had just completed a COVID test and was waiting on the results. I took the test 5 days before arriving in Turks and Caicos and my results were back in about 2 1/2 days. They arrived in an email and as a text message. Not surprising, my results were negative. The next step was to obtain travel pre-authorization via the TCI Assured Portal. This was a relatively simple process as well. It did require scanning and uploading copies of the negative COVID results and insurance that would cover COVID-related issues while on the trip in Turks and Caicos. I always make sure that I have medical coverage when traveling so this was easy for me.
If you don’t have proper insurance coverage, many governments are making policies available to travelers. These policies tend to be rather expensive, but there are many companies that offer protection at affordable rates. The important thing is that you understand the type of coverage that you need and understand the different policies that you may be looking at. Your travel agent will give suggestions but you will want to talk with the insurance experts as well. Your doctor knows about health insurance but you want to talk to your insurance agent for policy specifics. Your insurance agent knows about the flu but you want to go to the doctor for treatment.
The rest of the Pre-Travel authorization dealt with the specifics of the travel and was very easy.
Because of the travel documentation requirements, you may not be able to check into your flights before leaving home.
I suggest bringing copies of your documents including any required authorization and copies of the COVID test results. If you don’t bring paper copies at least take pictures of the documents in case you don’t have good internet access or your phone battery decides to die on you. Checking in at the airport took an extra couple of minutes but was not bad. If you are flying at a busy time be sure to allow for longer lines than normal since everyone will take a few extra minutes and the total time could add up.
After checking in at the US airport until arrival at your destination, most things will be business as usual except you will wear a mask and sanitize your hands often. On arrival in the Turks and Caicos, the hygiene standards were much more evident. Every passenger was greeted by a person with a bottle of sanitizer. The health officials checked the same documents that were presented at check-in in the US and sanitized your hands again. Then finally as you headed to customers and immigration to have passports stamped you sanitized again.
The shuttles from the airport to the resort were running at limited capacity and believe it or not were offering hand sanitizer to everyone. When arriving at the resort, you guessed it, more hand sanitizer. We were also treated with a cool towel and a wonderful rum punch.
The US now requires all people traveling internationally to have a negative COVID test within 72 hours of arriving in the US. Many of the resorts are offering testing on the property for their guests. Beaches was no exception. When I was checking into my room I was given an appointment time for my required test. Testing at the resort was quick and easy. The nurse took the sample and had me wait about 15 minutes until they had the results. The day before heading home they sent the result to me by email. These results were checked by the officials at the Turks and Caicos airport before boarding.
Once back in the US. No one looked at any documents other than my passport.
I’m not a doctor or an infectious disease expert, but I would not hesitate to travel in the current environment. I personally felt safer during international travel than I do going to the local grocery store. Everyone in the airports has face coverings. Everyone getting on the flight to Turks and Caicos had recently tested negative for COVID. The resort was at under 25% occupancy so there was plenty of social distancing and they were doing a wonderful job of keeping everything clean. I can not say the same about any of the big businesses near my home.
If you feel safe and are ready to get away, let me know and I can help find a wonderful destination and guide you through the process.
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