Coronavirus (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions

We proudly meet the global protocols for safety set by the World Travel & Tourism Council, which take into account recommendations by the CDC, the WHO, and the ECDC. Learn more about our commitment to #SafeTravels.

NOTICE: The situation with coronavirus (COVID-19) is continuously evolving. We will continue to update this page regularly.

Our staff in the U.S. and in Europe are working around the clock to gather and communicate the latest information about how these recent events might impact your travel plans. We ask that you bear with us as we work to quickly find solutions for each unique individual situation. Please know that we are doing all we can to answer calls and respond to messages as fast as possible. Your patience and understanding is greatly appreciated!

RECENT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Under the Recent Announcements section, please add:

April 2, 2021: The CDC announced updated guidelines for domestic and international travelers who have been fully vaccinated with an FDA-approved vaccine.

  • Fully vaccinated travelers are considered safe to travel within the United States and its territories.
  • Although international travel poses some additional risk for getting and possibly spreading new COVID-19 variants, fully vaccinated travelers are still less likely to contract and spread COVID-19. International travelers are advised to monitor the COVID-19 and variant spread at their destination.
  • Fully vaccinated travelers should still follow CDC’s recommendations for traveling safely including:

o   Wear a mask over your nose and mouth

o   Stay 6 feet from others and avoid crowds

o   Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer

For more information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

January 18, 2021: Our office has reopened to the public. We will once again welcome visitors Monday – Thursday from 10 AM to 4 PM. Appointments are highly encouraged, but are not required. Visitors will be asked to wear a mask, follow social distancing guidelines, and comply with a few additional safety measures to protect the health of our team and clients.

January 12, 2021: The Centers for Disease Control issued a statement announcing a new regulation that requires all air passengers entering the United States to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 viral test result issued within 3 days before their flight to the U.S. departs. >> Learn more

CANCELLATION Policies FOR WITTE TOURS

Cancellation Policies for Witte Tours

Our Peace of Mind policy lets you book your next Witte tour with confidence, knowing that cancellation penalties will not increase until 90 days prior to departure.* Plus, enjoy even more booking flexibility with our new Refundable Deposit policy, now available on select tours. For most tours with the Refundable Deposit designation, tour deposits are 100% refundable until 90 days prior to departure.*

*Some exceptions may apply. Please refer to the terms & conditions listed in the tour brochure for complete details.

CANCELLATION PENALTIES FOR WITTE TRAVEL

If you’ve booked travel arrangements through a Witte Travel Vacation Consultant, any cancellations or changes may be subject to penalties issued by the travel suppliers holding your reservations. Airlines, cruise lines, and leisure tour operators are frequently adjusting their change and cancellation policies, so please contact your Travel Consultant for the latest information regarding any cancellation fees that may apply to your unique trip.

WHAT MEASURES IS WITTE TRAVEL & TOURS TAKING TO MONITOR THE SPREAD OF CORONAVIRUS AND ENSURE THE SAFETY OF ALL PASSENGERS?

  • We proudly meet the global protocols for safety set by the World Travel & Tourism Council, which take into account recommendations by the CDC, the WHO, and the ECDC. Learn more about our commitment to #SafeTravels.
  • To further protect our staff and clients, employees who are able to work from home are encouraged to do so. Staff members who are working in the office are required to pass a brief health screening and to wear a mask while not at their desks. All visitors to the office are also required to pass a brief health screening and wear a mask.
  • Our team is closely monitoring the situation by reviewing all travel warnings, recommendations, and advisories from the U.S. State Department, the World Health Organization, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • We hold regular staff meetings to ensure that all our staff members are properly briefed on the most current information.
  • We are in constant communication with airlines, vendors, and our network of in-country partners for the latest news and updates.
  • If we have any reason to be concerned that your travel plans could put you at risk, we will contact you to discuss your options.

DOES AIRLINE TRAVEL INCREASE MY RISK OF CONTRACTING THE CORONAVIRUS?

Because the cabin air on an airplane is circulated and filtered every 2-3 minutes using HEPA filters, most viruses and germs cannot spread easily, so your risk of infection is not higher on an airplane. However, it is still a good practice to use antiseptic wipes on tray tables and armrests and to use your hand sanitizer before meals.

IF I CHOOSE TO CANCEL MY TRAVEL PLANS, WILL I GET A REFUND?

Refundability depends on different factors specific to your trip or tour. It is best to contact your Travel Consultant for your specific trip’s information. Generally speaking, it is unlikely that you will receive a full refund if you cancel your trip due to the fear of contracting COVID-19, even if you have purchased travel insurance. Cancellation due to government travel advisories or travel bans, or due to concerns relating to a viral outbreak, are not eligible reasons for coverage under most standard travel insurance plans. If you purchased a “Cancel for Any Reason” plan, refer to the terms of your insurance plan or contact the insurance provider to determine whether cancellation benefits apply. 

My travel plans were cancelled– when can I expect a refund?

We are doing the best we can to issue refunds in a timely manner under these unique circumstances. However, due to the high volume of requests that we and our supplier partners are experiencing, it may take at least 8-12 weeks for your refund to be processed.

WILL MY TOUR BE CANCELLED? IF SO, WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT?

We are monitoring the situation very closely, and are making operational decisions about tours on a case-by-case basis. In cases where we feel that it is in the best interest of our passengers to cancel or postpone a tour, we will notify all registered passengers of those changes in detail. Unless we’ve told you otherwise, you can assume that your tour will continue to operate as scheduled.

Do I need to make my next scheduled payment?

Witte-Operated Tours: If your tour is scheduled to operate as planned, continue to make payments as outlined in your tour brochure. All cancellation penalties for tours departing in 2020 have been frozen, so you can be confident in receiving the rest of your money back if your tour does not travel. Learn more about our Peace of Mind booking policies.

All Other Travel: Some travel providers have modified their payment plans to extend final payment deadlines. If your final payment is due within the next four weeks, contact your travel advisor to see if there have been any revisions to your payment schedule; otherwise, continue to make payments as planned. If your final payment is not made by the due date, you could risk your booking being canceled for non-payment.

CAN I RESCHEDULE MY TRIP / TOUR?

This will vary for each individual trip/tour scenario. It’s best to contact your Travel Consultant directly for more information about the options available in your specific situation.

WHAT CAN I DO TO AVOID GETTING SICK?

Coronavirus disease is primarily spread person-to-person between people who are in close contact (within 6 feet) or through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It may be possible to contract the virus from a surface or object that has the virus on it, and then touching the face—but that is not believed to be the primary method of contraction. (Read more about how the virus spreads here.)

The CDC recommends that the best way to prevent illness is to minimize your exposure to COVID-19 with a few simple but effective measures, such as:

  • Maintain at least six feet of distance between yourself and other people whenever possible
  • Wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household. The mask should cover your nose and mouth, and it is meant to protect other people in case you may be infected.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available.

(Read more about prevention and treatment here.)

WHAT HAPPENS IF I DO GET SICK?

If you develop a fever or symptoms of a respiratory illness (such as a cough or difficulty breathing), call ahead to a healthcare professional immediately and inform them of your symptoms. They will determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19 and will provide further instructions for preventing the spread of the virus to others.

If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 or experience symptoms that you suspect may be related, it is important that you take every measure to prevent the disease from spreading to other people around you. Read more about what to do if you are sick here.

MY HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN OFFERS MEDICAL BENEFITS WHILE TRAVELING. DO I STILL NEED TO PURCHASE TRAVEL INSURANCE?

If you are planning an international trip, we strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance to protect your investment and to provide you with coverage overseas in the event of an accident or illness abroad. Even if you have health insurance back home that offers some benefits while traveling internationally, the coverage may not be enough. There are three types of travel insurance that you should consider if you are planning an international trip:

Trip Cancellation – Trip Cancellation insurance protects your financial investment in your trip, such as the cost of your flights, cruises, or other travel arrangements. Depending on the specifics of the policy, it may provide cancellation benefits if you must cancel due to a covered reason as defined by the policy.  Some policies also provide a “Cancel for Any Reason” upgrade option, which provides more flexibility. Contact your Travel Consultant for policy details and for information about “Cancel for Any Reason” upgrade requirements. 

Travel Health Insurance – When you are planning an international trip, it’s wise to be prepared in case of a medical emergency. Should you need medical care overseas, you may be required to pay out-of-pocket for services, which can be very expensive. If you have health insurance in the United States, find out if your plan will cover medical emergencies or expenses incurred while traveling abroad. Ask if your policy has any exclusions for preexisting conditions, and whether your policy will make payments to hospitals directly. If your health insurance coverage is not adequate, consider buying a supplemental travel insurance policy with medical benefits.

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/before-you-go/your-health-abroad/insurance-providers-overseas.html

Medical Evacuation – Medical Evacuation insurance is especially important if you are traveling to a remote area or to a place where healthcare may not be up to U.S. standards. If you get sick or injured while traveling, medical evacuation coverage will pay for emergency transportation to a high-quality hospital.

Learn more about the CDC’s recommendations and the US State Department’s recommendations related to travel insurance.

WHAT IS THE COVID-19 TESTING REQUIREMENT FOR AIR PASSENGERS ENTERING THE UNITED STATES?

According to a statement issued by the CDC on January 12th, “air passengers are required to get a viral test (a test for current infection) within 3 days before their flight to the U.S. departs.” 

Beginning on January 26th, all travelers 2 years and older flying into or connecting through the United States must provide either:

Documentation of a negative COVID-19 viral test result issued no more than 72 hours prior to entering to the U.S.

OR

Documentation of a positive COVID-19 viral test result issued no more than 90 days before departure, along with a letter from a healthcare provider or public health official stating that they have been cleared for travel. 

Documentation must be presented to the airline during check-in, and it may also be requested upon landing in the United States. Those without documentation or unwilling to be tested will be denied boarding by the airline.

This requirement does not apply to domestic travelers flying within the U.S., nor to travelers coming from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands.

WHAT KIND OF DOCUMENTATION WILL I NEED?

Documentation of a negative viral test result can be either paper or electronic, and must include the type of test, the test date, and the name of the passenger as well as contact information for the test provider.

Acceptable COVID-19 viral tests include molecular (PCR or NAAT) tests and antigen (Rapid) tests, which indicate whether a person is currently infected. Antibody test results and proof of vaccination are not valid types of documentation, and a negative viral test result will still be required.

HOW WILL THIS TEST REQUIREMENT AFFECT MY TRAVEL PLANS?

Before you go:

  • Review your travel insurance policy, and consult your travel advisor if you have any questions
  • Ask your travel advisor about in-destination testing resources available
  • Consider getting tested before leaving for your trip

Before you return:

  • Get tested within three days of your returning departure date
  • Keep printed test results with your passport and other travel documents
  • Arrive at your returning international airport at least 3 hours early

WHAT HAPPENS IF I TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19 DURING MY TRIP?

Those who test positive for COVID-19 in their destination must self-isolate and delay their return travel until they have recovered and tested negative. 

For Witte Tour Travelers: Your tour manager will guide you through the testing process. If your test results are positive, let your tour manager know right away.

For Vacation Travelers: Many resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean are offering free onsite testing with quick results, and free or discounted accommodation for guests who test positive. (There may be a minimum stay requirement to qualify. Check with your travel advisor for details about specific resort offers, policies, and expiration dates.)

Most major airlines will allow you to postpone your return flight without a change fee.


SOURCES

CDC – Advice for Travelers: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/traveler-information-center

CDC – (COVID-19) Travel FAQs: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/faqs.html

WHO – (COVID-19) Advice for the Public: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

WHO – (COVID-19) Travel Advice: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/travel-advice

WHO – Updated recommendations for international traffic in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak: https://www.who.int/ith/2019-nCoV_advice_for_international_traffic-rev/en/

Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE: https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

State Department – Before you Travel: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/before-you-go/your-health-abroad.html