With COVID-19 cases receding across much of the US, some domestic and international travel restrictions have started to adjust in response. While this is a positive trend for business travel, this doesn’t make navigating the variances in rules and advisories any less daunting, particularly in the case of mandatory traveler quarantines.
Traveler quarantines have been enacted by most countries, and even some US states, as a temporary solution to help prevent further spread of the pandemic. For business travelers, this can pose a challenge when returning to key markets that require as many as 14 days of self-quarantine. Most major hotels have adjusted their policies and procedures to accommodate travelers quarantining, but the experience can be improved by planning ahead. Here’s what you need to know to prepare accordingly.
Evaluating Logistics & Travel ROI
Before a business decides whether to allow its employees to travel to an area that requires self-quarantine, the full costs of travel and quarantine need to be weighed against the ROI of the proposed trip. This is a process where automated trip approval can save time and money. If the proposed travel provides justifiable ROI and the employee is comfortable quarantining for the mandated period of time, the next step is to determine the logistics required to fulfill the self-quarantine requirements.
At this stage, it is important for both travel managers and travelers to understand that no two quarantine experiences will be exactly alike. Some hotels may offer different services for guests in isolation and quarantines restrictions will vary depending on traveler place of residence, traveler point of origin, and traveler destination. For example, the tristate area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut maintains an active list of hotspot states, and only travelers from red-listed states are required to self-quarantine upon arrival.
What to Expect Upon Arrival
When traveling to an area with restrictions in place, travelers are required to fill out a health form either on the airplane or online. Depending on the destination, you may be subject to a health screening and temperature check. States like New York have also established checkpoints to ensure travelers are adhering to self-quarantine requirements. Internationally, some countries are requiring a COVID-19 test upon landing, often at the traveler’s expense. Other measures abroad may include escorted transport to a government-designated quarantine facility to monitor the health and activity of inbound travelers.
Once travelers have completed any health screenings and required forms, the next step is secure transport to the hotel. Public transportation and ride sharing should be avoided to minimize contact and ensure a consistently sanitized environment. Travel managers should check with preferred ground transportation suppliers to determine which services may be available to travelers undergoing self-quarantine.
Self-Quarantining at the Hotel
Hotels provide a natural environment for quarantining due to their enhanced cleaning protocol and array of touchless services. When in self-isolation, most housekeeping services will be suspended, requiring guests call the front desk for extra linens, towels, and toiletries as needed. Travelers should consider bringing a blanket or similar comfort item from home and also pack enough comfortable clothing to last for the duration of self-quarantine.
For hotels offering food service, meals will typically be left at the guest’s door in single-service packages. Restaurant and grocery delivery service apps provide another option for meals and snacks, many of which include a section for delivery instructions to facilitate contactless drop off. Travelers should also consider bringing their own cutlery and a reusable cup to make the experience more enjoyable and minimize unnecessary waste.
In addition to the items needed to work remotely, don’t forget sources of entertainment such as books, a yoga mat, personal exercise devices, games, or an HDMI cable for connecting devices directly with the in-room TV. Consider booking a hotel with a balcony or patio for easy access to outdoor space and fresh air.
Remember that COVID-19 trends and quarantine restrictions change frequently, which can make it challenging to stay abreast of the latest updates and requirements. Direct Travel has compiled two distinct resource hubs to help both travelers and travel managers get the latest information they need to safely resume travel. You can access and bookmark our travel manager and traveler resource hubs below.