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What To Do If You Get COVID On Vacation


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Alma Torre



Planning a vacation can be an exciting time filled with anticipation and dreams of relaxation and adventure. However, the current global pandemic has introduced a new level of caution and concern when it comes to traveling. While taking necessary precautions can significantly reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19, there is always a chance that things may not go as planned. So, what should you do if you find yourself testing positive for COVID-19 while on vacation?


Whether you are traveling domestically or internationally, it is crucial to be prepared and know how to handle the situation if you or a travel companion become infected with the virus. While the thought of contracting COVID-19 during your vacation may be overwhelming, staying calm and taking the appropriate steps can help ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.


In this article, we will guide you through the necessary steps to take if you find yourself testing positive for COVID-19 while on vacation. From assessing your symptoms to notifying the relevant authorities and arranging for medical care, we will provide you with a comprehensive plan of action to help you navigate this challenging situation.


Please note that the guidelines and regulations may vary depending on your location and the destination you are visiting. It is essential to stay informed and up-to-date with the latest information from health authorities and government agencies.


Remember, the safety and well-being of yourself and those around you should always be your top priority. By being prepared and informed, you can minimize the impact of COVID-19 on your vacation and ensure a swift and safe recovery.


Step 1: Assess your symptoms

The first and most crucial step if you suspect you have contracted COVID-19 while on vacation is to assess your symptoms. COVID-19 symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, body aches, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, and gastrointestinal issues.


Take a moment to evaluate your overall health and any symptoms you may be experiencing. It is important to be honest with yourself and not downplay any potential signs of COVID-19. If you are unsure, consult a healthcare professional or use a reliable symptom checker to assess your situation accurately.


In some cases, COVID-19 symptoms may be mild or even asymptomatic. However, it is crucial to remember that even if you feel fine, you may still be contagious and pose a risk to others. Therefore, it is essential to take the necessary precautions and follow the appropriate protocols.


If you are experiencing severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, persistent chest pain, confusion, or bluish lips or face, seek emergency medical attention immediately. Do not delay in these situations, as prompt medical care can be life-saving.


On the other hand, if your symptoms are mild or moderate, you should still take them seriously and consider yourself potentially infected with COVID-19. Remember, it is better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your health and the health of those around you.


By accurately assessing your symptoms, you can effectively move forward with the necessary steps to ensure your safety and prevent the spread of the virus to others.


Step 2: Isolate yourself

Once you have assessed your symptoms and suspect that you may have COVID-19, it is crucial to isolate yourself immediately. Isolation is necessary to prevent the spread of the virus to others, especially if you are traveling with companions or staying in shared accommodations.


Find a separate, well-ventilated room where you can stay alone. Ideally, this room should have its own bathroom to minimize contact with others. If possible, designate a specific bathroom for your use to further reduce the risk of transmission.


Wear a mask at all times, especially if you need to leave your room to seek medical help or use shared facilities. Properly disposing of used masks is essential to prevent contamination, so make sure to follow the appropriate guidelines for mask disposal.


Avoid direct contact with others and maintain a distance of at least six feet (two meters). This includes refraining from physical contact, such as shaking hands or hugging. Limit interactions with others, even if they are also traveling with you.


While in isolation, try to minimize the sharing of personal items, such as towels, utensils, and bedding. If possible, use disposable items or separate them for your personal use only. Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, light switches, and electronics.


If you are sharing accommodations with others, notify them of your situation and request that they take the necessary precautions as well. Encourage them to maintain good hand hygiene, wear masks, and follow local guidelines to prevent transmission.


Remember, isolation is an important step to protect yourself and others from the potential spread of COVID-19. By adhering to isolation protocols, you can help contain the virus and minimize its impact.


Step 3: Seek medical help

If you have assessed your symptoms and suspect that you have COVID-19, it is crucial to seek medical help as soon as possible. Contact the local health authorities or healthcare providers in the area where you are staying to notify them of your situation and inquire about the next steps.


Many destinations have specific protocols in place for tourists who test positive for COVID-19. The local health authorities will be able to guide you on where to go for testing, treatment, and further assistance.


When contacting healthcare providers, explain your symptoms, travel history, and any relevant information. They will provide guidance and advise you on the appropriate course of action. It is important to follow their instructions and recommendations diligently.


In some cases, especially if your symptoms are severe, you may need to be transported to a healthcare facility for further evaluation and treatment. If this is the case, follow the instructions provided by the healthcare professionals and cooperate fully with their efforts to ensure your well-being.


During your interactions with healthcare providers, always wear a mask and practice proper hand hygiene. Follow the hygiene and safety protocols implemented by the healthcare facility to prevent the spread of the virus to healthcare professionals and fellow patients.


Keep in mind that healthcare systems and services may vary from country to country. It is crucial to remain patient and understanding, as the medical personnel may be operating under increased pressure due to the pandemic.


By seeking medical help promptly, you can ensure that you receive the necessary care and support for your COVID-19 symptoms. Prompt medical attention can also significantly contribute to a smoother and faster recovery process.


Step 4: Inform your travel companions

Once you have confirmed your COVID-19 diagnosis and sought medical help, it is crucial to inform your travel companions about your situation. Transparency and timely communication are essential to ensure everyone’s safety and well-being.


Contact your travel companions and let them know about your positive test result. Provide them with information on the steps you have taken and the advice given to you by healthcare professionals. Emphasize the importance of following proper protocols and guidelines to prevent the further spread of the virus.


Encourage your travel companions to assess their own symptoms and to seek medical help if necessary. Remind them of the importance of self-isolation and following local health authorities’ guidelines, even if they are not experiencing any symptoms.


Discuss the best course of action moving forward. Depending on the circumstances and local regulations, your travel companions may need to undergo testing or follow specific quarantine measures. Ensure that everyone is on the same page and understands their responsibilities in mitigating the spread of COVID-19.


During this time, it is important to remain supportive and understanding. Your travel companions may have concerns and worries about their own health and safety. Address their questions and provide reassurance by sharing accurate and up-to-date information.


Lastly, remind your travel companions to maintain good hand hygiene, wear masks in public settings, and follow local guidelines for social distancing. Encourage them to monitor their symptoms closely and seek medical help if they experience any signs of COVID-19.


By informing your travel companions about your COVID-19 diagnosis, you are actively contributing to the collective effort in preventing the spread of the virus. Open communication and cooperation are essential in navigating this challenging situation together.


Step 5: Follow local guidelines and regulations

When dealing with a COVID-19 diagnosis on vacation, it is crucial to stay informed about the local guidelines and regulations in the destination you are in. Each country, region, and even individual establishments may have specific protocols in place to manage COVID-19 cases.


Research and familiarize yourself with the local health authority’s guidelines and recommendations. These may include requirements for self-isolation, quarantine periods, testing procedures, and contact tracing measures. Adhering to these guidelines is essential not only for your own safety but also for the wider community.


Stay updated on any travel advisories or restrictions that may be in place. Some countries may have travel bans or entry requirements for individuals with a COVID-19 diagnosis. Understanding these regulations can help you make informed decisions regarding your travel plans and arrangements.


Comply with any requirements for reporting your COVID-19 status to local authorities. They may request your contact information, travel history, and details of your accommodations to facilitate contact tracing efforts. Cooperation with these efforts is essential for managing and containing the virus.


Follow any directives regarding movement restrictions or limitations on activities. Some destinations may impose strict lockdown measures or limitations on public gatherings to control the spread of the virus. It is essential to respect and abide by these measures for the well-being of yourself and the local community.


Keep abreast of any changes or updates to the guidelines during your stay. The situation surrounding COVID-19 is dynamic, and regulations can change rapidly. Stay connected with local news sources and official government channels for the most accurate and up-to-date information.


Remember that following these local guidelines and regulations is not only a legal requirement but also a moral responsibility. By adhering to these measures, you are actively playing your part in safeguarding your own health, protecting others, and supporting the efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 in that location.


Step 6: Contact your embassy or consulate

When facing a COVID-19 diagnosis on vacation, it is important to reach out to your embassy or consulate as soon as possible. The embassy or consulate is there to assist and provide support to their citizens who are abroad.


Contact your embassy or consulate and inform them about your situation. They can provide you with important information and guidance specific to your nationality. They can also offer assistance in case of any legal or logistical issues you may encounter.


The embassy or consulate can provide you with information on any repatriation or evacuation options that may be available. They can help you understand the necessary procedures and requirements for returning to your home country, should you need to do so.


Ask for any additional resources or support that the embassy or consulate can offer. They may be able to provide you with contacts for local healthcare providers, translators, or any other necessary services.


Follow any instructions given to you by your embassy or consulate. They are experienced in handling such situations and will provide you with the best advice based on the current circumstances.


Keep in mind that the assistance provided by embassies and consulates may vary depending on the resources available and the policies of your home country. It is important to remain patient and understand that they are doing their best to support their citizens during this challenging time.


By contacting your embassy or consulate, you can access valuable support and information specific to your nationality. They will assist you in navigating the necessary steps and provide guidance on how to proceed while facing a COVID-19 diagnosis on vacation.


Step 7: Arrange for medical care and transportation

When you receive a COVID-19 diagnosis on vacation, arranging for appropriate medical care and transportation is crucial for your well-being and the safety of those around you. Here are some steps to consider:


1. Consult with healthcare professionals: Work closely with local healthcare providers to determine the best course of action for your medical care. They will guide you on whether you can isolate and recover at your current location or if you need to be transported to a healthcare facility.


2. Discuss treatment options: Depending on the severity of your symptoms, healthcare professionals will recommend appropriate treatment plans. This may include self-isolation, medications, breathing exercises, or hospitalization if necessary. Follow their advice diligently to ensure proper care is administered.


3. Arrange transportation: If you need to be transported to a healthcare facility or to your home country for medical care, contact your embassy, consulate, or travel insurance provider for assistance in arranging safe and suitable transportation. They can provide guidance on available options and the necessary protocols to follow.


4. Coordinate with local authorities: Before making any travel arrangements, ensure compliance with local guidelines and regulations. Obtain any necessary permits or documents required for transportation, and follow any specific instructions provided by health authorities or transportation providers.


5. Consider travel insurance coverage: Review your travel insurance policy to understand the coverage and benefits related to COVID-19 medical expenses and transportation. Contact your insurance provider to clarify any doubts or inquiries and seek assistance in navigating the claims process if needed.


Remember, it is crucial to prioritize your health and safety during this challenging time. Seek prompt and appropriate medical care, and work closely with healthcare professionals and relevant authorities to arrange transportation and follow the necessary protocols.


By effectively managing your medical care and transportation, you can ensure proper treatment, minimize the risk of transmission, and facilitate your recovery process while dealing with a COVID-19 diagnosis on vacation.


Step 8: Notify your accommodation provider

When you test positive for COVID-19 while on vacation, it is important to notify your accommodation provider as soon as possible. This step helps ensure the safety and well-being of both yourself and other guests. Here’s what you should do:


1. Contact the accommodation provider: Reach out to your accommodation provider, whether it is a hotel, vacation rental, or other lodging establishment. Inform them about your COVID-19 diagnosis and provide any necessary details they may require.


2. Follow their instructions: The accommodation provider will have specific protocols to handle such situations. They may have designated isolation rooms or procedures in place for guests who have contracted COVID-19. Follow their instructions closely to ensure the safety of everyone involved.


3. Inquire about safety measures: Ask the accommodation provider about their cleaning and sanitization protocols. Confirm that they are following strict hygiene standards and taking extra precautions to minimize the risk of transmission. This is important for the well-being of both guests and staff members.


4. Cooperate with their policies: Accommodation providers may have policies in place regarding refunds, reservation changes, or extensions for guests who test positive for COVID-19. Work with them to make necessary adjustments to your stay and understand any financial implications.


5. Disclose relevant information: If you have been in common areas or have had close contact with other guests or staff members, it is crucial to provide this information to the accommodation provider. This allows them to take appropriate measures for contact tracing and ensure the safety of others.


Remember, accommodation providers are prepared to handle such situations and prioritize the safety and well-being of their guests. By notifying them about your COVID-19 diagnosis, you contribute to their efforts in maintaining a safe and healthy environment for all guests.


Stay cooperative, understanding, and respectful while working with your accommodation provider. Together, you can navigate this challenging situation and ensure a smooth and responsible approach to managing your COVID-19 diagnosis during your vacation.


Step 9: Keep track of your symptoms and recovery

When you test positive for COVID-19 while on vacation, it is important to closely monitor your symptoms and track your recovery progress. Here are some guidelines to help you during this phase:


1. Keep a symptom journal: Record your symptoms and their severity in a journal or a note-taking app. Note down the date, time, and duration of each symptom, as well as any changes or new symptoms that may arise. This log will help you track the progression of the illness and provide useful information for healthcare professionals if further consultation is needed.


2. Take regular temperature readings: Measure your temperature at least twice a day and keep a record of your readings. Fever is a common symptom of COVID-19, and monitoring your temperature can help you identify any potential trends or changes over time.


3. Track other vital signs: Monitor your oxygen saturation levels, heart rate, and respiratory rate if possible. These metrics can provide valuable insights into your overall well-being and the progress of your recovery.


4. Note any improvements or setbacks: Pay attention to any positive changes, such as a decreased fever or improved breathing, as well as any setbacks in your symptoms. This information will be useful when discussing your progress with healthcare professionals and determining the appropriate next steps.


5. Follow self-care protocols: Adhere to self-care guidelines recommended by healthcare professionals, such as adequate rest, hydration, and a nutritious diet. Take prescribed medications as instructed and follow any respiratory exercises or other treatments that may have been advised.


6. Seek medical guidance if symptoms worsen: If your symptoms worsen or you develop any emergency warning signs, such as difficulty breathing, persistent chest pain, confusion, or bluish lips or face, seek medical attention immediately. Do not hesitate to contact healthcare professionals for advice or additional treatment options.


Keeping track of your symptoms and recovery will help you understand the progression of the illness and ensure that you receive appropriate medical care and support. It will also assist you in communicating effectively with healthcare professionals and providing them with accurate information for assessment and guidance.


Step 10: Follow up with healthcare professionals

After testing positive for COVID-19 while on vacation, it is important to follow up with healthcare professionals to ensure proper monitoring and guidance throughout your recovery process. Here’s what you should do:


1. Communicate with your healthcare provider: Stay in touch with the healthcare professionals who have been assisting you. Update them on any changes in your symptoms or overall condition. This open line of communication allows them to provide ongoing guidance and support.


2. Attend scheduled check-ups or telemedicine appointments: If you have scheduled follow-up appointments or telemedicine consultations, make sure to attend them. These appointments provide an opportunity for healthcare professionals to assess your progress and address any concerns or questions you may have.


3. Seek guidance on returning to normal activities: Ask your healthcare provider about when it is safe to resume regular activities, including work, exercise, and social interactions. They can provide you with specific guidelines based on your recovery progress and the recommended local protocols.


4. Discuss testing and clearance requirements: Inquire about any testing requirements or clearance certificates needed before departing your destination or resuming travel. Some countries may require negative COVID-19 test results or medical documentation to ensure the safety of others during your return journey.


5. Seek mental health support if needed: Dealing with a COVID-19 diagnosis while on vacation can be emotionally and mentally challenging. If you are experiencing anxiety, stress, or any other mental health concerns, reach out to healthcare professionals for additional support or referrals to mental health services.


Remember, healthcare professionals are there to guide you through the recovery process and offer the necessary support and advice. By actively engaging in follow-up appointments and discussions, you can ensure a smooth transition to normal activities and address any ongoing health concerns.


Stay vigilant and responsive to any instructions provided by your healthcare provider, as their expertise will contribute to your overall well-being and successful recovery from COVID-19.



Dealing with a COVID-19 diagnosis while on vacation can be a challenging and unexpected situation. However, by following the appropriate steps and taking prompt action, you can ensure your safety, the well-being of those around you, and a smoother recovery process.


Assessing your symptoms accurately and seeking medical help are crucial initial steps. Isolating yourself and informing your travel companions, as well as following local guidelines and regulations, are essential for preventing the spread of the virus.


Contacting your embassy or consulate ensures that you receive the necessary support and assistance during your COVID-19 journey. Arranging for medical care and transportation, as well as notifying your accommodation provider, helps manage your health needs and minimize the impact on others.


Keeping track of your symptoms and following up with healthcare professionals enables you to monitor your recovery progress and receive timely guidance. By adhering to self-care protocols and seeking further medical attention if needed, you promote your well-being and a safe return to normal activities.


In conclusion, when faced with a COVID-19 diagnosis on vacation, remember to stay calm, seek help, and prioritize the health and safety of yourself and those around you. By acting responsibly and following the appropriate steps, you can navigate this challenging situation and focus on your recovery while minimizing the impact of COVID-19 on your vacation experience.