10 Risks with international leisure travel as of now

Many of us are exploring a possibility of planning an international trip in near future, given that we are fully vaccinated, covid cases seem to be under control and countries slowly opening up for tourists. Srilanka is welcoming Indians, USA, Canada is resuming direct flights soon, Thailand, Nepal and several other countries have also started wooing tourists. However, compared to pre-Covid era, there are still 10 different risk elements we as tourists have to factor before planning an international air travel.

1. RTPCR test-  Even vaccinated passengers may need RTPCR test- there are rules w.r.t timing (max 72 hours before scheduled departure etc), from there the test should be done etc. Cost of these tests for every flight adds to overall expense. RTPCR test costs about 800-1000-1200 INR in India and 10x more in UK, USA etc.

2. Extra expense if tested positive: While we plan a trip, book tickets, hotels assuming we test negative, what happens if the test comes positive, or false positive? Airlines and hotels are not required to give any refund or free rescheduling, you have to quarantine as per local rules at your own expense.

3. Someone testing positive in flight. You may be all fine but if someone else tests positive on your flight, say one sitting 2-3 rows ahead, as a precautionary measure authorities may ask you to quarantine for 14 days- cost of quarantine stay, impact on return light and other bookings will be on you.

4. Ever changing rules: As a tourist we plan few months in advance so that we get lower airfares, can plan a leave at work and other things. But covid related rules get reviewed every now and then. Your country may move from green to red zone, new restrictions may kick in, destination may close, another wave may come in- all these impacts your budget and schedule.

5. Higher prices: Airfares are still 1.5-2x what they were pre-covid. If you have to travel now, be ready to spend more. It was possible to find a return ticket to Europe for about 40-44k, now it costs 60k+ Air Asia Malaysia is not operating flights to India so a cheaper flight option to South East Asia is gone.

6. Extra rules for tourists: Earlier it was possible for tourists to stay in a hostel, take public transport etc- now many countries expect tourists to take commercial tour packages- this way it is easy to keep track of tourists and also make them spend more.

7. Not all vaccines are accepted in every place: You may be vaccinated with Covishield, Covaxin or Sputnik etc- not all countries are accepting all vaccines- so your destination country doesn't recognize your vaccine, you are as good as not vaccinated and have to follow rules defined for non vaccinated people.

8. No easy refunds: Now there is much higher risk of things going out of control- new rules may kick in, another wave may start, but all this risk is on you. Hotels and airlines will stick to their refund policy without much options for you. Because it is not their fault, they would expect you to bear the cost of cancellation/rescheduling. So you have to be prepared for both loss and extra cost.

9. Residents disliking tourists: While those associated with the travel industry are happy to have tourists back, in many places residents/locals are not liking them. These people had a crowd free surrounding without tourists during lockdown and now unwanted people are seen as a corona risk.

10. Not all places are open- restricted entries, limited timings, extra tests:
While a country might have opened for tourists, not all tourist attractions might be fully open- some might have gone bankrupt and closed permanently, others might have limited opening hours or new rules, resulting in some kind of compromise during your trip.

Let me know your thoughts..

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