PATRICK CLARKE | TravelPulse.Com
Troy Warren for Hometown Hall #travel-all
PHOTO: Sandals Montego Bay beach. (Photo via Sandals)
International travel comes with new obstacles in the time of COVID-19 and in the wake of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) latest requirement that all U.S.-bound air travelers test negative for coronavirus within 72 hours of departure.
However, many popular destinations and leading all-inclusive hotel and resort brands have been quick to meet these new challenges with on-site COVID-19 testing programs—many of which are free—and extended stay protection plans that make navigating the CDC’s new requirement fast and easy while also providing additional peace of mind.
Travel advisor Tiffany Vail was among the first to experience the new process during a recent trip to Sandals Montego Bay in Jamaica. Sandals and Beaches Resorts are among the many operators currently offering complimentary COVID-19 testing for guests this winter.
From scheduling a test to securing their results, travelers can anticipate a quick and easy process.
“COVID-19 testing at Sandals was very easy and free. You were sent to the nurses’ station and there you filled out a questionnaire. Then you took the questionnaire to the COVID-19 testing station which was set up in a different location across the way. I took a rapid COVID-19 test and the results were instant,” said Vail, who had visited the property before. “She filled out a negative test result paper for me which I provided to American Airlines before I was able to get my boarding passes. They also handed me an assertation paper, which basically was a paper having me initial that I took a COVID-19 test and that my result was negative.”
“Overall, I was pleased with the process. It took about five minutes of my vacation to get this done,” she added, pointing out that occupancy at the resort was very low. “I liked the fact the results were instant and I wasn’t waiting on an e-mail to arrive. My only advice that I can give is to do your research before you go. Some resorts offer on-site testing and some do not. Some also offer a complimentary 14-day stay if you test positive.”
PHOTO: A man undergoing a COVID-19 test. (photo via zoranm/E+)
In addition to complimentary or discounted on-site COVID-19 testing at all of its hotels in Mexico and the Caribbean, Playa Hotels & Resorts is offering guests who test positive for COVID-19 an Extended Stay Protection Plan for only $29 per person per stay. The plan provides complimentary quarantine accommodations for up to 14 days. Meanwhile, children age 12 and under who test positive or children of parents who test positive can stay for free.
“We understand travel can feel complicated these days and our goal is to simplify the process by removing any uncertainty,” said Kevin Froemming, Playa Hotels & Resorts’ Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. “And now for just $29 per person, our guests have the added certainty of comfortable and secure quarantine accommodations at our resorts in the instance of a positive COVID-19 test result.”
As Vail recommends, travelers should be sure to do their research in advance to find out what sort of testing and extended stay programs their all-inclusive hotel or resort is offering. Working with a travel advisor is an even better idea amid today’s COVID-19 restrictions and requirements as they can provide helpful answers and address any concerns regarding testing and quarantine.