Tag Archives: health

Protect Your Trip—and Your Health—in 2023

Baffled by travel insurance and evacuation assistance? You’re not alone. So for our WOW Week 2023 Travel Talk on January 25th, we brought in experts to demystify these seemingly complicated topics, and to help you understand how you can (and can’t) protect your health and your financial investment. Joining us were Sheri Howell, from air-medical-transport and crisis-response provider Medjet, and Stan Sandberg, co-founder of travel-insurance comparison site TravelInsurance.com.

3 top takeaways

  • Buy insurance as soon as you’ve committed to a trip. To get the full benefits of a comprehensive insurance policy—including, in many cases, coverage for any pre-existing medical conditions—you must buy it soon after you’ve made your first trip payment. Don’t wait until your trip is just around the corner to start shopping for insurance.
  • Insurance just gets you to the nearest adequate medical facility. The medevac coverage in your insurance policy is crucial for getting you to a hospital in an emergency. But only a membership-based medical-transport program will then bring you to your hospital of choice back home.
  • Covid is now treated like any other illness. Unlike at the start of the pandemic, Covid is now covered by most insurance policies: You will be reimbursed if you have to cancel your trip because you test positive before you leave, and your medical bills will be paid if you need treatment abroad.

Links to Useful Resources

How to Buy Travel Insurance: What It Covers, When You Need It

What Medical Evacuation Coverage Do You Need?

“Cancel For Any Reason” CFAR Travel Insurance: What It Is and How It Works


Be a smarter traveler: Sign up for Wendy’s weekly newsletter to stay in the know. Read real travelers’ reviews, then use the black CONTACT buttons on Wendy’s WOW List to reach out to the right local fixer for your trip.

How to Protect Yourself and Have Peace of Mind When You Travel

It may feel like the pandemic is over, but if you are planning a trip, there are specific things you need to do in order to protect yourself. In this talk, experts from the fields of health, travel insurance, and emergency assistance tell you how to prepare.

The WendyPerrin.com team was joined by experts on Covid medicine, travel insurance, and travel emergency assistance:

  • Dr. Timothy Triche, Professor of Pathology at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine
  • Stan Sandberg, Co-Founder of travel-insurance comparison site TravelInsurance.com
  • Sheri Howell, Vice President of air-medical-transport and crisis-response provider Medjet


(6:40) What travel insurance covers and does not cover during this stage of the pandemic

Stan Sandberg of Travelinsurance.com explains what travel insurance covers these days (Covid and otherwise), plus the ins and outs of successfully protecting your investment.

(23:14) The health tools we have for managing Covid concerns when we travel

Dr. Timothy Triche, Professor of Pathology at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, lays out the tools we have to combat Covid when we travel, including why you still want to wear a mask on planes—and which type of mask.

(39:29) Getting yourself home if you run into trouble during a trip

Sheri Howell of Medjet—the membership program that provides global air medical transport, travel security, and crisis response—talks about how and when travelers who are stuck abroad can get home, how Medjet handles members who contract Covid, and how Medjet responds to a security threat or other crisis.

(52:20) Wendy and the experts take questions from the audience

The panelists field questions including how to get medical treatment overseas, whether it’s possible to obtain antivirals ahead of travel, the ideal timing for buying insurance before a trip, and whether Medjet has any age or geographic exclusions.

Read more


5 Testing Tips for an Easy Return Flight to the U.S.

Getting a Covid Test Abroad is Easy

How to Get a Quick Covid Test for Travel

How to Buy Travel Insurance: What It Covers, When You Need It

What Medical Evacuation Coverage Do You Need?

“Cancel For Any Reason” CFAR Travel Insurance: What It Is and How It Works

Traveler Reviews of Pandemic Trips Arranged by WOW List trip-planning experts

Wendy’s Travel Advice for 2022

New Nonstop Flights To Make Your Travels Easier in 2022

CDC Covid Tracker

Worldometer Coronavirus cases/deaths/recoveries counter

Covariants.org: An overview of Covid variants


United States of America map. USA map with states and state names isolated

Every State’s Coronavirus and Travel Information

Even when you arm yourself with the info below—each state’s most useful resources about quarantine rules, caseloads, reopening (or re-closing) plans, and guidance for travelers—it is tough to anticipate all the potential snags of a Covid-era trip.

A smart, safe, luxury vacation within the U.S.—say, in a remote wilderness lodge in Alaska, or on a private sailboat off New England—is possible, but so much depends on your specific individual situation that we recommend you write to us directly for personalized advice. We are longtime travel journalists with a network of smart travel sources, so we’re accustomed to cutting through the noise and news to get reliable answers about travel during Covid-19 (which we’ve been collecting in our Covid-19 Travel section, which includes intel on testing, insurance, and first-hand accounts from travelers). If you are thinking about a future international trip, we can advise you on that too. Don’t miss our article tracking which countries are open to U.S. travelers and what you can do there; if you are fully vaccinated, you can check out the subset of countries where you can travel if you’re vaccinated without pre-trip testing.

Note that the CDC now requires all air passengers coming into the U.S. to have proof of a negative test or documentation of recovery from Covid-19 before they board the plane. This requirement goes for U.S. citizens too. (Masks are required on all forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.)

Once you land, the CDC recommends getting tested 3–5 days later, along with a post-trip self-quarantine of 7 days. Even if you test negative, they advise you to stay home for all 7 days. If you don’t get tested, the quarantine is 10 days. To help with that, we have info on how to get a quick-turnaround Covid test.




No travel restrictions for visitors

COVID-19 Information Hub

Alabama’s COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard

Traveler Information (Alabama Tourism)



All nonresidents over the age of 10, including those who have been vaccinated, are asked to upload health declarations and information to Alaska’s Safe Travels online portal.

Travelers must provide proof of negative molecular-based SARS-CoV-2 test taken within 72 hours of arrival or take a free COVID-19 test at the airport. If your results are pending or if you take the test at the airport, you must strictly social distance (both at your own expense) until results come back.  A second test taken 5 to 14 days after arrival is requested.

Fully vaccinated travelers do not have to test or quarantine.

Travelers who have documentation that they tested positive within the past 90 days do not have to submit to pre-trip testing or testing on arrival, but are strongly encouraged to get tested after 5 to 14 days in the state.

Beginning June 1, 2021, at participating airports, all travelers to Alaska will be eligible to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information

Safe Travels information

Reopening Plan

Traveler information, restrictions, and advisories (Travel Alaska)



No travel restrictions for visitors

State Coronavirus Updates

Department of Health Services and Reopening Guidance

Traveler information, restrictions, and advisories (Visit Arizona)



No travel restrictions for visitors

Arkansas COVID-19 Information Hub

Arkansas COVID-19 Data Dashboard

Traveler information (Arkansas Tourism)



The state strongly discourags travel, asking people to delay until they’re fully vaccinated. For those who must travel, the advice is to follow CDC guidelines, i.e. get tested 1-3 days before travel, and 3-5 days after travel, and when you get home, self-quarantine for 7 days, no matter what your test results were. If you didn’t get tested, self-quarantine for 10 days.

All restrictions except those for conventions of more than 5,000 attendees are scheduled to lift statewide on June 15.

California COVID-19 Information Hub

Business and activity restrictions by county

COVID-19 Data Dashboard

Traveler Information for the State (Visit California)

Traveler information by region (Visit California)



No travel restrictions for visitors, but they are advised to follow CDC guidelines.

Colorado COVID-19 Information Hub

Colorado COVID-19 Data Dashboard

Information on what’s open (state parks, campsites, retail, etc.)

Traveler guidance (Colorado Tourism)



No travel restrictions for visitors, but the state recommends following CDC guidelines for safe travel. Masks are required in public (indoors and outdoors) when six feet of social distancing is not possible

Connecticut COVID-19 Information Hub

Latest guidance on masks, social distancing, and what businesses are open

Traveler Advice and Regulations (Visit CT)



No travel restrictions for visitors

Delaware’s COVID-19 Information Hub

Traveler Advisory (Visit Delaware)



No travel restrictions for visitors

Florida’s COVID-19 Information Hub

Florida’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard

Florida’s Reopening Plan

Traveler Advisory Updates (Florida Health Department)

Traveler Advice (Visit Florida)

Walt Disney World parks information (including mask requirement)



No travel restrictions for visitors

Georgia’s COVID-19 Hub

Department of Health Daily Status Report

Traveler Advice and what’s open (Explore Georgia)



Hawaii has strict requirements for travelers:

•All travelers to Hawaii (including to Kau’ai) must have a negative Covid test prior to boarding the last leg of their flight to Hawaii and must upload the results to the state’s Safe Travels website before arrival. Anyone without a test or proof of the results must quarantine for 10 days. Travelers without a test or who cannot show sufficient proof of a negative test, must quarantine for 10 days or until they can show proof of negative results (testing and quarantine are at travelers’ own expense). All travelers, regardless of testing, will undergo temperature checks on arrival and must fill out a travel and health form. Some airlines are offer pre-flight virus testing to Hawaii-bound passengers.

Effective July 8: Travelers who have been fully vaccinated in the U.S. can bypass Hawaii’s pre-trip Covid test and quarantine requirement. Travelers must upload their CDC card to the state’s Safe Travels Program and bring the card with them to Hawaii.

•Only certain tests are accepted by the state of Hawaii: FDA-approved NAAT nasal swab test from a CLIA-certified approved partner laboratory.

•Covid tests and quarantine are no longer required for travel between islands.

Hawaii COVID-19 Information Hub

Hawaii Travel info: Safe Travels Hub and test results upload information

Travel FAQs

COVID-19 Data Dashboard



No travel restrictions for visitors, but they are advised to follow CDC guidelines.

Idaho’s COVID-19 Information Hub

Idaho’s Reopening Plan

Traveler Advice (Visit Idaho)



The state has no restrictions for travelers, but Chicago does. The city’s testing and quarantine requirements are based on outbreak data for each state or territory. Travelers coming from a state or territory designated as Orange must quarantine for 10 days (or the length of their stay, if it’s less than 10 days), have proof of a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of arrival to Chicago, or be fully vaccinated no less than two weeks prior to arrival. Travelers from yellow states do not have to test or quarantine. Everyone has to wear masks and abide by social distancing.

Illinois COVID-19 Information Hub

Chicago COVID-19 Information Hub

Restore Illinois reopening plan

Chicago reopening information

Chicago Emergency Travel Order and yellow/orange state designations



No travel restrictions for visitors

Indiana’s COVID-19 Information Hub and Data Dashboard

Traveler Resources (Visit Indiana)

Traveler Resources for Indianapolis (Visit Indy/Indianapolis Tourism)



No travel restrictions for visitors, but they are advised to follow CDC guidelines.

Iowa’s COVID-19 Information Hub

Current Case Status Dashboard

Traveler Advice (Travel Iowa)



Quarantine is required for visitors who have been on a cruise, been to a mass event outside the state, and from certain states and countries. The length of the quarantine varies with each situation, and the list of states and countries is reviewed every two weeks. The length of quarantine may be shortened depending on whether you’ve been tested.

Kansas’s COVID-19 Resource Center

COVID-19 Cases Dashboard

Traveler Guidance (Travel KS)



No travel restrictions for visitors, but they are advised to follow CDC guidelines.

Kentucky’s COVID-19 Information Hub

Latest updates and openings

Travel Advisory (Kentucky state government)



No travel restrictions for visitors

Louisiana’s COVID-19 Information Hub

Traveler Information (Louisiana Travel)

Traveler info for New Orleans (New Orleans Tourism)


As of May 1, visitors from all states are exempt from Maine’s previous quarantine and testing requirements. However, if a state has a spike, the Maine CDC will re-apply requirements for visitors to and from that state.

Maine’s Coronavirus Hub

Division of Disease Surveillance and current data

Travel Protocols, FAQs, and Openings (Visit Maine Tourism)


No travel restrictions for visitors

COVID-19 Information Hub

Covid Data Dashboard

Reopening Plan

Traveler Guidance (Visit Maryland) 


Visitors and returning residents are advised to follow a 10-day quarantine.  If a traveler can show a negative test result administered up to 72 hours before arrival, or if they are two weeks out from their final dose of a vaccine, they may bypass quarantine (but quarantine must be observed until the test results are received). Visitors staying in Massachusetts for less than 24 hours can also bypass quarantine

COVID-19 Information Hub

Reopening Plan

Covid-19 Travel Advisory (state government)

Tourism information and Traveler FAQ (Visit MA) 


No travel restrictions for visitors

COVID-19 Information Hub

Reopening Plan

Guidelines for Traveles (Michigan tourism)



No travel restrictions for visitors, but they are advised to follow CDC guidelines.

COVID-19 Information Hub

Reopening plan and phases

Travel information (Minnesota Department of Health)

Travelers Guidance (Explore Minnesota)



No travel restrictions for visitors

COVID-19 Information Hub

Mississippi Case and Data Dashboard

Traveler Guidance (Visit Mississippi)



No travel restrictions for visitors

COVID-19 Information Hub

Missouri Recovery Plan

Traveler Guidance (Visit Missouri)



No travel restrictions for visitors

COVID-19 Information Hub

Traveler Guidance and Resources (Visit MT)

Contact Info for Montana’s Tribal Nations and Reservations



Visitors to Nebraska from domestic locations have no travel restrictions, but anyone arriving from an international destination must follow CDC guidelines.

COVID-19 Information Hub

Nebraska Case and Data Dashboard

Traveler Recommendations (Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services)

Traveler Guidance (Visit Nebraska)



No travel restrictions for visitors

COVID-19 Information Hub

Reopening and phases plan

State-wide Traveler Information (Visit Nevada)

Traveler Information for Las Vegas (Visit Las Vegas)


New Hampshire

Travelers from domestic locations have no travel restrictions, but are advised to follow CDC guidelines, including getting a PCR test 3-5 days after travel.

Travelers returning from cruises or international travel must quarantine for 10 days. They may test out of quarantine if they take a PCR test on day 6 or 7 (antigen/rapid tests are unacceptable), results come back negative, and they are asymptomatic. But the state advises these travelers to self-monitor for symptoms for all 10 days and strictly adhere to mitigation measures.

Travelers do not need to quarantine for 10 days or get tested for COVID-19 if either of the following apply: They have had both doses of a Covid-19 vaccination and more then 14 days have passed since receiving the second dose, OR they tested positive for active COVID-19 infection (by PCR or antigen testing) in the last 90 days (if the infection was more than 90 days ago, then the traveler must follow the quarantine rules).

COVID-19 Information Hub

Cases and Data Dashboard

Reopening Plan

Traveler information and quarantine rules (state)

Tourism resources (Visit NH)


New Jersey

Non-essential travel is strongly discouraged, but if you do travel it is recommended that you follow CDC guidelines and get tested 1–3 days before the trip and 3–5 days after. Even if you test negative, you should still quarantine for 7 days. If testing is not available or results are delayed, you should quarantine for 10 days.

Fully vaccinated travelers and those who have recovered from Covid-19 in the past three months are exempt.

All travelers from from New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Delaware (even if unvaccinated) are also exempt.

NJ’s COVID-19 Information Hub

Live Data Dashboard

Traveler Quarantine Information and Health Form (Visit NJ)

Reopening Plan


New Mexico

Travelers arriving from high-risk states (with a 5% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day average) are advised to self-quarantine for at least 10 days and to seek out a Covid test. Testing locations and availabilities are available at togethernm.org.

COVID-19 Information Hub

Cases and Data Dashboard

COVID-19 Related Travel Restrictions & Recommendations (New Mexico Department of Health)

Traveler information (New Mexico Tourism)


New York

There are no quarantine or testing requirements for asymptomatic domestic or asymptomatic international travelers arriving in New York, but the state still recommends testing and quarantine for the following groups:

•Fully vaccinated individuals who have not recovered from COVID-19 in the past 3
months are recommended to get tested 3-5 days after arrival in New York from
international travel.
•All unvaccinated domestic and international travelers who have not recovered from COVID-19 in the past 3 months are recommended to get tested 3-5 days after arrival in New York, consider non-mandated self-quarantine (7 days if tested on day 3-5, otherwise
10 days), and avoid contact with people at higher risk for severe disease for 14 days,
regardless of test result.

All travelers must still complete the Traveler Health Form unless the traveler had left New York for less than 24 hours or is coming to New York from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont.

New York State’s COVID-19 Information Hub

Phased Regional Reopening Information

Cases and Data Dashboard

NY State Covid-19 Travel Advisory (state government)

NY State Traveler Information (NY State tourism)

New York City Traveler Information (NYCGo)


North Carolina

No travel restrictions for visitors

COVID-19 Information Hub

Data Dashboard

Reopening Plan with information on local restrictions and what’s open

Traveler Guidance (Visit NC)


North Dakota

No travel restrictions for visitors, but they are advised to follow CDC guidelines.

COVID-19 Information Hub

Reopening Updates

Traveler Guidance (State Health Department)

Traveler Guidance (ND Tourism)



No travel restrictions for visitors, but they are advised to follow CDC guidelines.

COVID-19 Information Hub

Data Dashboard

Ohio Reopening Plan

 State Travel Advisory (Ohio Department of Health)



Travelers are requested to wear face masks and limit participation in indoor gatherings for 10 to 14 days, in accordance with CDC guidelines.

COVID-19 Information Hub

Traveler Guidance (Oklahoma Department of Health)

Traveler Guidance (Oklahoma City)



Travelers are requested to self-quarantine for 14 days. Travelers are exempt if they are 14 days past their final vaccine dose and have no COVID-19 symptoms.

COVID-19 Information Hub

Reopening Plan and County Status

Travel Alerts (Travel Oregon)



No travel restrictions for visitors

COVID-19 Information Hub

Cases and Hospital Data

Traveler information (Pennsylvania Department of Health)


Rhode Island

Domestic travelers from hot spots (the list is updated regularly) must provide proof of a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of arrival  or quarantine for 10 days.

International travelers must quarantine for 10 days, but If you have a negative result from a test taken at least 5 days after you arrived, you may shorten quarantine to 7 days.

Fully vaccinated travelers do not have to quarantine but are still encouraged to get a COVID-19 test between 5 and 10 days after out-of-state travel.

COVID-19 Information Hub

Reopening Plan

Tourism information (Visit Rhode Island)

Traveler Guidance and FAQs, including testing sites for visitors (RI Department of Health)


South Carolina

No travel restrictions for visitors, but anyone who has traveled is advised to stay home as much as possible and to wear a mask in public.

COVID-19 Information Hub

State Parks Information

Traveler Guidance (State government)


South Dakota

No state travel restrictions for visitors, but some tribal lands are closed to anyone without a permit for providing essential or emergency services. See more information about tribal checkpoints here.

COVID-19 Information Hub

Reopening Plan

Cases and Data Dashboard

Tourism information (Travel South Dakota)



No travel restrictions for visitors

COVID-19 Information Hub

Cases and Data Dashboard

Traveler Guidance (Tennessee Vacation)



No travel restrictions for visitors

Texas’s COVID-19 Information Hub

Cases and Data Dashboard

Reopening Plan

Travel updates (state government)

Traveler Guidance (Travel Texas)



No travel restrictions for visitors

Utah’s COVID-19 Information Hub

Cases and Data Dashboard

Utah State Parks Information

Utah National Parks Information

Traveler Guidance (Visit Utah)



Domestic travelers do not have to quarantine, but unvaccinated visitors (including children and Vermont residents) must have a COVID-19 test within 3 days prior to arriving in Vermont (see rules here).

International travelers must follow CDC after-travel guidelines for testing and quarantine.

Visitors to Vermont must follow the same gathering rules as locals. See full details here.

COVID-19 Information Hub

Cases and Data Dashboard

Traveler requirements and FAQ (Vermont state government)

Traveler Guidance (Vermont Tourism)



No travel restrictions for visitors, but they are advised to follow CDC guidelines.

COVID-19 Information Hub

Cases and Data

FAQs about openings, restaurants, and more 

Traveler Information (Virginia Department of Health)

Traveler Guidance (Virginia Tourism)


Washington, D.C.

A negative test (taken within 72 hours of arrival) is required for travelers from jurisdictions with more than 10 cases per 100,000 people.  Any traveler staying in Washington, D.C. for more than 3 days must take another test within 3 to 5 days of arrival.

-Those who are fully vaccinated (and do not have Covid symptoms)
-Those who have tested positive in the last 90 days and do not have symptoms.
-Visitors from Maryland, Virginia, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Guam, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon and the Virgin Islands
-Visitors coming into D.C. for less than 24 hours

COVID-19 Information Hub

Traveler Guidance (Washington D.C. Tourism)

Open/Close Information on Museums, Restaurant, Festivals, and Attractions


Washington State

No travel restrictions for visitors, but they are advised to follow CDC guidelines.

COVID-19 Information Hub

Cases and Data Dashboard

Reopening Plan

Traveler information (Washington state government)


West Virginia

No travel restrictions for visitors

COVID-19 Information Hub

Traveler Guidances (West Virginia Tourism)



No travel restrictions for visitors, but the Wisconsin Department of Health Services recommends residents cancel or postpone travel, even within the state, unless they are fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 Information Hub

Cases and Data

Traveler Guidance (Wisconsin Department of Health Services)



No travel restrictions for visitors

COVID-19 Information Hub

Travel updates (Wyoming Department of Health)

Traveler Guidance (Wyoming Tourism)


Additional Resources

CDC Guidelines for Domestic Travel (CDC)

CDC Guidelines for After International Travel (CDC)

COVID-19 cases by state (CDC)

Covid-19 Travel Recommendations by Country (CDC)

COVID-19 Risk Map for Every U.S. County (Harvard Global Health Institute)

Health departments by state (CDC)

Mask mandates and business restrictions by state (The New York Times)

Mask mandates by state (Pew Trusts)

National Park restrictions by state (National Park Service)

Restaurant restrictions by state (Open Table)

How to Get a Quick Covid Test for Travel (WendyPerrin.com)

The Countries That Have Reopened to U.S. Travelers With No 14-Day Quarantine and What You’ll Find There (WendyPerrin.com)

How to Stay Safe on a Road Trip During Covid (WendyPerrin.com)

Pandemic-Era Travel: The Trip Reviews That Matter Most Right Now (WendyPerrin.com)

We’re here to help

Right now is a remarkable opportunity for global travelers who are vaccinated. When your friends say that travel is problematic as a result of the pandemic—rental cars aren’t available, service even at 5-star hotels is shoddy—the problem is they’re not planning their trips right! Travel can be spectacular now if you choose the right destination, know the savviest local fixers, and approach them the optimal way. Check out these recent trip reviews to see the difference that Wendy’s WOW approach to trip planning makes. And if you’re looking for a similarly carefree travel experience, contact us at Ask Wendy.

Be a safer, smarter traveler: Sign up for Wendy’s weekly newsletter to stay in the know. And read real travelers’ reviews of Wendy’s WOW List and use it to plan your next trip.

Concept of airplane travel to exotic destination with shadow of commercial airplane flying above beautiful tropical beach.

Need to Fly Long-Haul? How to Choose a Safe, Smart Flight During Covid

Travel isn’t just my job; it’s my favorite hobby too. After Covid forced me to cancel three trips this spring and summer, I wondered when I’d get to leave the U.S. again. One of those cancelled trips was a tenth-anniversary getaway to the Maldives, the collection of white-sand atolls dotting crystal-clear turquoise waters in the Arabian Sea. The Maldives reopened to travelers in July.  I knew it’d be easy to socially distance at our private bungalow on the water’s edge. What worried me more were the long flights to get there: about 17 hours from New York, with a layover required somewhere. I recently rescheduled my trip to visit next week; here are the strategies I used that made me comfortable doing so:

Choose a flight where everybody boarding has just had a negative Covid test.

Many destinations that have reopened require travelers to be tested prior to arrival; some won’t even allow passengers to board an incoming flight until they have uploaded their test results or presented them at the airport. When the Maldives first reopened on July 15, they didn’t require pre-trip testing. It was only last month, after the government changed its policy and started requiring visitors to show recent test results on arrival, that I decided I was comfortable enough to go. I chose to fly via Dubai because the United Arab Emirates also requires a pre-travel test—as do most of the other destinations that are currently served by Emirates, are open to U.S. travelers, and don’t have more direct flights from New York. This same strategy is what made reader Jeff Goble comfortable traveling to French Polynesia (which also requires a pre-trip test, as well as a second test four days after arrival).

Choose an aircraft where you can avoid sitting next to a stranger.

My husband and I wanted as much personal space as we could get, but we couldn’t afford to fly business class. Most long-haul jets seat three or more passengers together in economy; while some U.S. airlines are blocking middle seats, foreign carriers haven’t followed suit. Happily, the 777s that Emirates flies on the routes we’ll be taking have a tapered design, so the last few rows have two seats side-by-side. Emirates charges for seat assignments, so I spent $550 to ensure that we wouldn’t be seated beside a stranger—even though I think it’s likely that the flights will be pretty empty. (On the other hand, I might be saving a bit of money by flying Emirates: Through October, they’re giving all passengers free coverage for Covid-related medical bills and quarantine stays.) Read Wendy’s additional tips about where to sit on a plane.

If you can’t fly nonstop, make your layover long enough to have some mask-free time.

I’d have flown nonstop to the Maldives if I could. But since I had to change planes somewhere, I wanted the opportunity to take my mask off after wearing it throughout a 13-hour flight. So that I can do just that, I’ve booked a three-hour stay at a hotel inside the Dubai terminal on the way to the Maldives, and two nights at a desert lodge near Dubai on the way back.

Keep in mind that combining countries on the same trip can make testing requirements even more rigid: In order to comply with the rules of both the Maldives and the United Arab Emirates, I had to find an in-person test with results returned in less than 72 hours. Were I headed just to Dubai, I’d only need an in-person test in a 96-hour window (which is much easier to arrange); if my only destination were the Maldives, I could have used a mail-in Covid test kit that returned results in 72 hours. After several hours of research, and hoping to get tested near where I’d be staying before the trip in upstate New York, I instead found a doctor’s office in Manhattan that returns results in 24 to 48 hours. So I’ll drive an hour into New York City to be tested on a Wednesday morning, receive results by Friday morning, and head to the airport that afternoon for my 11 p.m. flight. (Postscript: Just over a week before my flight, Emirates changed its policy and stopped requiring tests from some passengers transiting through Dubai; unfortunately, it’s too late for us to order a mail-in kit and receive results in time for our flight—and given the changing regulations, I’m still happy to be following the stricter protocols.)

We’re here to help

Right now is a remarkable opportunity for global travelers who are vaccinated. When your friends say that travel is problematic as a result of the pandemic—rental cars aren’t available, service even at 5-star hotels is shoddy—the problem is they’re not planning their trips right! Travel can be spectacular now if you choose the right destination, know the savviest local fixers, and approach them the optimal way. Check out these recent trip reviews to see the difference that Wendy’s WOW approach to trip planning makes. And if you’re looking for a similarly carefree travel experience, contact us at Ask Wendy.

Be a safer, smarter traveler: Sign up for Wendy’s weekly newsletter to stay in the know. And read real travelers’ reviews of Wendy’s WOW List and use it to plan your next trip.

Flower Market at the end of the Mumbai by Dawn tour

How to Stay Healthy While Traveling in India

When you tell someone you’re going to India, it’s a good bet their first response will be something like “Don’t drink the water!” or “Get ready for Delhi belly.” And that’s unfortunate, because travelers should focus their energies on the more enjoyable problems that a trip to India poses—such as which parts of the huge country to visit, how to bypass lines at its many famous temples and palaces, where to sample its myriad different cuisines and dishes, and how to cram as many activities and experiences into one vacation. Still, concern about health and food safety continues to loom large for tourists heading to India.

“It’s one of the questions people are worried about: getting sick and how to avoid it,” says Victoria Dyer, an India travel specialist on Wendy’s WOW List. “Some people, and typically those who already have a food intolerance or are sensitive to a change of diet, will ask for advice about ‘Delhi belly’ and how to eat their way healthily round India.” Victoria and her husband, Bertie, lived in Jaipur for eight years and have been in love with the country for many more.  Luckily, things have changed in recent years, she says. “Ten years ago it was almost a given that travelers would get sick. But now hygiene has really improved, and it’s pretty unusual that we have an issue with anyone becoming ill.”

She attributes the improvement to India’s tourism boom. “There are luxury five-star hotels that realize that food safety has to be a priority,” Victoria says. “In the past few years there’s been a real drive to maintain standards to a much higher level.” She adds that these days, “Indian food is something that people are really excited about; we have some phenomenal restaurants here that are gaining an international reputation.” To help guide travelers to restaurants of the highest culinary and sanitary standards, she provides recommendations to her and her husband’s favorite eateries around the country. “We recommend places we know personally, that we’ve been to, that we’ve eaten at ourselves, and places that provide different levels of experience,” she says. “People might want to go where there’s a celebrated chef and others might want to have a much more local experience.”

Sanjay Saxena, another of Wendy’s WOW List travel specialists for India, agrees that things are changing in India. “Food quality in the last decade has improved tremendously,” he says. “Loads of restaurants now provide purified water through a central system to their kitchens.” Oberoi and Taj properties have this kind of system, he says. Smaller private hotels often do not, though, so he warns travelers to avoid cold salads, especially the cucumbers, tomatoes and raita that are frequently provided on buffets. These are most likely rinsed in tap water (or, in the case of raita, contain raw vegetables that were rinsed in tap water) and could leave you in distress. However, he added, “Indian food is generally ‘well done’ boiled/simmered for minutes if not hours, killing all bacteria, and so always safe to eat. But if food is kept sitting then it can be an issue.”

Of course, it never hurts to err on the side of caution. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of tips and strategies to lower your chance of getting sick. And since feeling good is not only about your belly but about your entire body (the sights, sounds, smells, climate, and pace of India can be overwhelming), we’ve included some mental-health suggestions as well. Knowing these things will help keep you at 100 percent.

For physical health

fruit market in Udaipur India

Only eat fresh fruit you wash, cut and peel yourself. And wash it with bottled water. Photo: Billie Cohen

•Bring more hand sanitizer than you think you’ll need—and use it.
Have a small bottle on you at all times, so you can easily clean your hands before you eat or drink, and after the bathroom. Wipes are also useful for cleaning the dust off any bottles of water or packages of snacks you might buy from street vendors.

•Buy bottled water and listen for the “crack.”
Indians are master recyclers and reuse everything. As you travel around, you’ll see locals pouring water into their mouths without letting the bottles touch their lips; this is because they reuse and share bottles. Visitors, of course, should buy sealed bottled water only; drinking anything from the tap could result in sickness. If you don’t hear the plastic safety ring crack open when you twist the bottle—or if you don’t hear the soda fizz when you open it—get a new one. In the pre-trip notes he writes to his travelers, Sanjay goes even further, “Drink only bottled water, sodas, beer, coffee, or tea,” he writes. And “In hotel rooms you may be provided with a pitcher or thermos of water, never drink this before sterilizing the water!”

•Use this fail-safe tooth-brushing strategy.
Tooth brushing is such an ingrained habit that it’s easy to make a mistake and revert to muscle memory—you could find yourself scooping water to your mouth or running your brush under the tap before you even realize you’re doing it. The fail-safe solution I use is to always hold my toothbrush in one hand, and my bottle of water in the other—I don’t put either down until I’m through the entire process. I do this because if both hands are full, I can’t unthinkingly turn on the tap. (And if it wasn’t clear: Don’t brush your teeth, or even open your mouth, in the shower.)

•Avoid cut or peeled fresh fruit.
If it’s been cut open and rinsed in local water, that’s the same as drinking local water. Closed fruit, such as oranges and bananas, are usually okay (but use your own judgment). Wipe them down and wash them with bottle water, and sanitize your hands before peeling them. (Usually the cut and peeled fresh fruit served in five-star hotels is A-OK.)

•Say no to ice.
Many high-end hotels and restaurants are now using filtered water for ice (and some other places say they are but aren’t), but if you’re not sure, go without. In a lot of cases, your drinks will still be cold. In fact, when you order a soda or a beer in India, the waitstaff will usually bring the closed bottle to your table so that you can approve of its temperature before they crack it open in front of you.

•Carry plastic straws.
Pack some plastic straws (even better if they’re individually wrapped), and carry a few with you every day. This may not be the most eco-friendly tip, but straws are very useful to have if you’re drinking from a can or a bottle that might have been sitting in unfiltered ice—this way, you don’t have to touch your lips to them.

•Bring tissue packs and anti-bacterial wipes.
Buy a bunch of small tissue packs and wet wipes and always have some in your day bag (bandanas are invaluable too). They come in handy as toilet paper, brow moppers, dust masks, and napkins. You’ll also want to wipe down bottles and snacks that you buy from street vendors. There’s no point in sanitizing your hands if the bag of chips you’re about to rip open is covered in grime.

•Wipe down your gadgets at the end of each day.
Even if you’re sanitizing your hands before every meal and after every bathroom run, they’re still going to be filthy by the end of the day. Once you remember that you’ve been grabbing your camera and phone in and out of your bag all day long with those hands, you’ll know why it’s a good idea to run a sanitizer wipe over them (be careful of screens).

biryani and curry and naan in India

The food in India is delicious—and exciting because the cuisine varies from region to region. Start out slow (and possibly vegetarian) to acclimate to the hotter spices and new flavors. Photo: Colleen Brennan

•Don’t be embarrassed to ask for mildly spiced food.
Indian food prepared in India is spicier than you’re used to—even if you like spicy cuisine. When you order, ask for no (or little) spice. You can increase the heat as you acclimate.

•Be careful what you order where.
Don’t order seafood if you’re miles away from the sea, since refrigeration might not be great. And keep in mind that, even if everything is clean and cooked properly, your stomach needs to adjust to the new foods and flavors. For example, paneer (an Indian cheese) can be harder on your digestive system than cheeses at home, and it might not be fresh or high quality in every restaurant. Meats might not agree with you even though you eat meat back in the States, so consider a vegetarian diet (very easy to do here) as you ease into the new spices and flavors. Above all, trust your instincts, and listen to your body. “If you feel a bit nauseous, starve yourself for 24 hours,” says Victoria. “Just rice or yogurt and drink loads of water and allow yourself to get better. A lot of people are excited about the food so they can’t resist it,” she adds with a laugh.

pancake street vendor in Pushkar India

Street food can be tempting in India, but it can also be hard on your stomach. Play it safe and avoid it. Photo: Billie Cohen

•Steer clear of street food.
You’ve heard this one before, but it bears repeating. You will see a lot of street food, fresh fruit, and snacks as you travel in India. Some of it may be offered to you by friendly vendors or even by local friends, and you might feel awkward declining. But it’s better to feel awkward than to feel sick. As Sanjay tells his travelers before their trips, “No matter how appealing the smell and look, DO NOT eat food from street vendors, especially food that has been sitting.”

•When in doubt, drink a Coke.
They say Coca-Cola can strip rust off of metal. If that’s true, then it can definitely kill any bugs you might accidentally ingest. Yes, this one is more of an old wives’ tale, but I swear by it. I’ve chased many a questionable meal (and an unfortunate tooth-brushing mistake) with a can of Coke, and didn’t get sick. Who knows if it was the Coke that saved me, but I was pleasantly surprised (and validated) when my guide in Pushkar said that he recommends the same cure-all to his guests.

•You can become dehydrated before you even realize it, so drink regularly.
The rule is: If you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Carry water on you all the time, and avoid too much caffeine. You can easily purchase electrolyte powder at drug stores here, which tastes like a salty-sweet fruit drink. Pour one packet in a liter of water to help prevent or cure dehydration.

•Respect the sun.
The sun is incredibly hot and intense here, even in winter. Bring a wide-brimmed hat and sunblock, and wear both every day. I attach my hat to my bag with an alligator clip (or sometimes wear a hat with a string) so I can take it on and off easily when I walk in the shade. I may not look stylish, but I’m also not sunburned, so I consider that a win.

•Bring closed-toe shoes.
Streets are dirty in India. Sometimes it’s the gritty dust or desert sand of normal life in a dry climate, but sometimes it’s grime, garbage, and mysterious puddles. So make sure you have at least one pair of closed shoes with you.

Jama Masjid in Delhi

Many temples and holy monuments, such as the Jama Masjid in Delhi, require you to take off your shoes. Carry socks to protect your feet from hot stones and dirty floors. Photo: Billie Cohen

•Carry a pair of socks in your day bag if you’re not already wearing them.
You’ll be removing your shoes quite a bit as you visit temples and holy ghats (riverside staircases used for bathing), but some sites allow you to keep your socks on. Ask even if it’s not indicated on the signage. You’ll want your feet covered in some places because of dirt and/or hot stones. If you do take off your shoes and socks, this is another instance when sanitary wipes are useful. You can wipe off your feet before putting your socks and shoes back on.

•Take your malaria pills with a big meal somewhat early in the day
Consult your travel doctor about what medications to take in India, but you will likely need to be on malaria pills—and you’ll want to take them every day with food. Breakfast was the easiest time for me, since that was usually a big meal. When Wendy was in Africa, her family didn’t eat much breakfast and chose to take their malaria pills at lunch instead of at dinner. That’s because if they forgot at lunchtime, they could take them at dinnertime with little negative repercussion, whereas if they forgot at dinnertime, that would result in skipping a day, which could have great negative repercussion.

•Take advantage of expert knowledge.
Planning a rewarding and comfortable trip through India requires a deep understanding of the country, its culture, its complexity, and its changing tourism infrastructure. You definitely want to have someone you trust working on organizing the right accommodations and experiences for you. For example, the annual Pushkar Camel Fair is a fascinating whirlwind of sights, sounds, crowds, and sand—but it is also challenging and overwhelming to navigate. When I traveled there, Sanjay knew exactly which hotel would not only be the most sanitary and the safest, but would also provide a much-needed respite from the sensory overload of the fairground.

•If you decide you want Western food, go to a place that serves a lot of Western expats.
Even if you love Indian food, at some point you will probably want a break from curry, rice, and decadent buttered naan. When that time comes, choose a restaurant with a good track record of preparing food to Western standards (look for the expats). The food will be safer and more delicious.

For mental health

Cafe Palladio Udaipur India

Travel specialists can guide you to delicious, safe, and beautiful restaurants all over India, like Victoria’s recommendation of Bar Palladio in Jaipur. Photo: Billie Cohen

•Flip your thinking about the noise: Recognize that horns are there to make you safe.
You will hear a lot of honking in India, and it will be loud. Tuk tuks, rickshaws, cars, beautifully decorated trucks, scooters, pedestrians, cows—they all jockey for space on the same narrow roads, and the only rule about driving seems to be that there are no rules. At first you may find that the constant honking puts you on edge, but for me that stress dissipated when I realized that in India, the horn is not an instrument of road rage—it’s actually a way to be considerate of others. It’s the way drivers tell each other, “Hey, I’m coming up behind you, and I want to make sure you see me.” Tweaking your perspective on that is likely to help you tolerate it better.

•Don’t give money to beggars, no matter their age and adorableness.
Beggars of all ages will approach you in various places in India. In Jaipur they knocked on our car windows; in Pushkar, smiling playful kids trailed us around the fairground chanting, “Money, money!” The poverty is upsetting, but as India experts will tell you, handing over your money is not the answer. As hard as it may be on your heart, the best thing to do is to ignore them or firmly say “nay” and keep walking. They won’t try to open the door, they won’t become aggressive, and they will eventually walk away. This is one of many reasons why you want to hire the best local guides possible. I was very aware of how much mine were looking out for me in these times, and I always felt that I was safe. They will usually clear the way with a friendly word before it even becomes a problem.

•Ignore touts completely.
Touts will follow you in their attempt to convince you to buy things at monuments and in the streets. You do not need to say no, or no thank you, or anything at all—in fact, I learned from a guide that if you say “no” they are likely to interpret that as an invitation to haggle. So just keep walking, and they will fall away. Again, guides will have your back and will shoo them away if necessary. To be honest, though, I never felt threatened at any time. People here are persistent but not aggressive, and they smile a lot. So when I did have interactions, they often ended with mutual grins and laughter.

men buying a camel at the Pushkar Camel Fair India

Our guide for the Pushkar Camel Fair knew to bring us back to the fairground late in the day so that we could avoid the hottest sun and also catch camel trades in action. Photo: Billie Cohen

•Leave room in your itinerary to take time off between noon and 3 p.m..
Give yourself a break to recharge during the hottest part of the day, when you’d be uncomfortable outside anyway (especially at monuments where there’s little shade) and inside stuffy museums (which usually have no air-conditioning). Instead, give yourself permission to take a break: Try a long leisurely lunch or relax at your hotel. Then head back out close to sunset, when the weather will be cooler, the light will be more beautiful for photos, and you will be refreshed and ready to enjoy the evening. Smart guides know this and will make sure your activities take place at the optimal times. For example, Kapil, the guide Sanjay assigned me for the desert-based Pushkar Camel Fair, knew to take us out to the fairgrounds in the early mornings and early evenings, with a long cooling midday break—not only because we’d be more comfortable, but because that’s when we’d have the best chance of seeing camel and horse trades take place, an integral and very interesting part of the fair. In the bustling city of Jaipur, timing was just as important. Virendra, our guide for Victoria’s VIP shopping tour through Jaipur, timed our afternoon perfectly so that we ended right at sunset in a quaint, boutique-filled palace, where we could browse a bit more and then unwind with cocktails and dinner al fresco.

•Look for the women.
Personal safety is another question that travelers often ask Sanjay and Victoria about before they get to India. Can we walk around at night? Should we avoid certain places if we’re alone? You’re not any more or less safe in India than in Western cities; crime happens everywhere, and if you follow the usual common-sense rules (lock your purse, make sure someone always knows where you are, don’t accept open drinks from strangers, etc.) you’ll be fine. But there is one especially helpful tip I learned from a guide: Look for the women, he said. If you’re out at night and there are still Indian women buzzing about, that’s a clue that you’re in a good neighborhood at a good time of night.

•Pack a loofah, body puff, or fast-drying washcloth.
This may not seem like it would have such a big impact on how you feel but, trust me, it will. India is dusty and hot. And did I mention it’s dusty and hot? On top of the grime and sweat you’ll build up just from touring around, you’re going to be coated in sunblock and bug spray by the end of each day. A scrub, especially for your tired and dirty feet, will feel like a luxury, and it takes up virtually no space in your luggage.

Women in Jodhpur market India

If it’s night time and women are still out shopping and strolling, it’s usually still appropriate to be out shopping and strolling yourself. Photo: Billie Cohen

If you do get sick

If you do get sick, there is plenty of help available. “Healthcare too has greatly improved (not just quality, but more importantly access) in the [past] two decades,” says Sanjay, “and now travelers can find a qualified doctor quite easily across India.” Victoria likes to remind travelers that “calling a doctor in India is not the same as in America. It’s not as expensive and your hotel will be able to get you help easily. A stomach bug is usually cleared up very quickly.” So don’t try to be a hero and suffer through it, she says. Call your travel specialist or your local point person and they will quickly deliver a solution. Be sure to have proper travel insurance too; here’s what you need to know about buying it.


Be a smarter traveler: Read real travelers’s reviews of Wendy’s WOW List and use it to plan your next trip. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter @wendyperrin, and Instagram @wendyperrin, and sign up for her weekly newsletter to stay in the know.

Watch: How to Protect Yourself From Zika Virus and Mosquito Bites


Recently, health officials confirmed that the Zika virus is being actively transmitted by mosquitoes in Miami Beach, Florida. That’s the latest destination in a list of popular U.S. vacation spots—greater South Florida, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands—that have recently reported transmissions of the virus.

Experts are learning new information about the Zika virus every day, and the CDC is sharing that information online at cdc.gov/zika. There you can find up-to-date details on transmission, risk factors, mosquito control, as well as geographic listings and a map of where cases have been reported.

As we’ve stated here before at WendyPerrin.com, travelers who are thinking about pregnancy (along with those who are already pregnant) should not visit destinations where the virus is spreading. The illness has been reported in both men and women, and is known to be transmitted by mosquito bites, sex, blood transfusions, and from a pregnant woman to her fetus.

But as I’ve also stated, the rest of us should not let panic determine our travel decisions. The truth is that mosquitoes have been carrying nasty diseases for centuries: dengue fever, malaria, yellow fever. And nearly every country has mosquitoes. If we were to stop traveling to places with disease-carrying mosquitoes, we’d have to stop seeing most of the world and build a bubble around our own backyards. What’s more, as I explained to journalist Scott Mayerowitz in his recent article for AP News, “the rest of us should be careful not to focus so much on avoiding Zika that we choose a destination that puts our health at greater risk, whether from mosquitoes carrying other diseases or from another cause such as tainted water.”

It’s always important—not just in Zika-affected countries, but everywhere there are mosquitoes—to protect yourself. Here’s how my family and I did it in the rainforest along the Panama Canal. (While Panama is a Zika-affected country, we did not see or feel any mosquitoes during our time there.)

Wendy and her family, in mosquito-resistant clothing, in the rainforest of Panama last month.

Wendy and her family, in mosquito-resistant clothing, in the rainforest of Panama in April 2016.

Transparency disclosure:
 Our sponsor, MedjetAssist, provided the financial support that made it possible to bring you these travel tips.

Be a smarter traveler: Use Wendy’s WOW List to plan your next trip. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter @wendyperrin, and sign up for her weekly newsletter to stay in the know.


How to Avoid Food Poisoning When You Travel

Part of the fun of travel is trying a ton of new foods. But if you eat the wrong thing…well, then the trip becomes no fun at all.

Luckily, it’s reasonably easy to avoid food poisoning in developing countries, as Wendy outlined in her recent TripAdvisor blog post.

Here are a few of the basics:

1. Keep your hands clean
Wash with soap and water right before eating, and carry antiseptic wipes.

2. Stick to bottled or sterilized water
Drink bottled water—and make sure the bottle is properly sealed. Avoid ice unless you can confirm it came from a bottle or was purified. And don’t brush your teeth with tap water (or shower water). Bring your own water purification tablets too.

3. Eat smart
Avoid seafood, buffets of food that has been out for a long time, and fruits or vegetables that might have been washed in contaminated water or touched by unwashed hands. (Instead, stick to bananas and other fruits you peel yourself). Don’t be afraid to try street food, as long as you look for dishes that are boiled or steamed in front of you and served piping hot.


What are your best tips for staying healthy while traveling?


Be a smarter traveler: Use Wendy’s WOW List to plan your next trip. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter @wendyperrin, and sign up for her weekly newsletter to stay in the know.

exercise bands on carry-on bag

An Easy Way to Exercise on Vacation — No Gym Required

Making time to exercise on vacation can often seem like a chore. There are so many fascinating things to be doing, and after all, you’re probably already walking a ton each day. But it’s even more important than usual to take care of yourself when you’re traveling: You’re out of your normal routine, eating differently, sleeping differently, and are probably more tired than you realize.

One way I make it easy to stay on top of my health is to keep a couple of tiny exercise helpers in my carry-on: A resistance band and a loop band. They weigh next to nothing and fit right in the pocket of my carry-on—as opposed to bulky running sneakers, which eat up a ton of precious space (and so often go unused; am I right?).

Instead, the bands quickly turn any hotel room into a gym. I use the first band to do arm- and leg-strengthening exercises (here’s a wide array to choose from). And I place the loop band around both legs for bridges, clamshells, and lateral band walks.

I especially appreciate these items after a long flight, and when I don’t want to deal with making an appearance at the hotel fitness center.

Do you have an exercise routine when you travel?