Travel warning? Risk area? Holidaymakers must be aware of this

  • More and more countries want to boost tourism again and open their borders to visitors
  • Also the travel warning of the Foreign Office is no longer valid for many countries
  • Many would now like to book a vacation – but there are many questions in the room
  • Can you enter countries for which the travel warning remains in effect? Simply cancel the booked vacation? Who pays for medical or repatriation costs if you fall ill with the coronavirus while on vacation??

The Summer is there and many people are drawn to vacation in the distance. After due to the Corona crisis many vacations canceled this year, some countries are now reopening to tourists. Some of the travel warnings ied by the German Foreign Office (AA) because of the Corona pandemic Travel warnings have been lifted again, others could follow at the end of August.

Nevertheless, uncertainty remains among many travel enthusiasts: For when should one now Vacation book? And with which vacation destination? Important questions and answers at a glance.

Booking a vacation: Can I enter countries with travel warnings?

On 15. June, the AA has lifted the travel warnings for most European countries. For more than 160 countries worldwide, however, the warnings were ied until 31. August 2020 extended. For these countries: A travel warning is a recommendation of the Foreign Office – but it is "not a travel ban", as Julia Rehberg from the consumer advice center Hamburg clarifies. "If I still want to travel to the country, I can do this."

Possible for individual travelers who book all the components of such a trip themselves, such as flights and accommodations. package vacations offer tour operators for countries with Travel warning on the other hand mostly not at. Who wants to know what is currently valid for his vacation country, can read it on the page of the Foreign Office. There are also entry requirements of the respective planned travel country listed, including information on pending tests or even quarantine regulations.

Travel warning? Risk area? Holidaymakers must be aware of this

Vacation booked in countries with travel warning: Who takes over the cancellation costs?

There are Effects on a travel cancellation or health insurance abroad. The latter can then refuse to pay for medical expenses in the destination country. And refunds for voluntary cancellations are limited.

As a general rule, "If I book when there is a travel warning, I have accepted it," explains the travel law expert Sabine Fischer-Volk From the law firm Karimi in Berlin. If one does not want to travel then nevertheless any longer, one cannot cancel with reference to the travel warning with the organizer free of charge.

Currently, the German Foreign Office wants to continue its travel warnings for many countries until 31 December. August hold. What applies thereafter can be determined in view of the worldwide dynamic situation It is not possible to predict the consequences of having already booked a trip to Thailand or South Africa in October, for example.

"However, according to case law, it is sufficient to have a 25 percent probability that the vacation destination will be closed due to Corona can not be traveled even after August 2020 to cancel the trip without cancellation fees," says Fischer-Volk.

Despite travel warning: can I dare to make a booking?

Holidaymakers can now book for October, for example, in the hope that then no Travel warning more for their chosen vacation country exists. If the travel warning continues to apply shortly before departure or if the planned trip would be significantly affected by various restrictions, the chances are good, according to the experts, to be able to cancel without cancellation costs.

Who wants to be safe, Fischer-Volk advises, however, to book in this special vacation year 2020 best only travel offers, with which up to the start of the journey or shortly before it expressly a cost-free right of withdrawal exists. Many companies also give a Return guarantee. "Some tour operators handle it this way: if you book now, you can cancel free of charge up to two weeks beforehand," confirms consumer advocate Rehberg.

What happens when a travel warning is ied again?

For German tour operators a travel warning is binding. They cancel package tours as soon as the Foreign Office ies a travel warning for a country. Vacationers can then, however, for their part free of charge the Travel contract announce. "If package tour guests are already on vacation in such an area, they will then also be brought back at the expense of the organizer," explains Torsten Schafer of the German Travel Association (DRV).

"Individual travelers, on the other hand, must make their own arrangements for a return trip if the worst comes to the worst and also pay for it themselves". Such travelers also protects a possibly concluded Travel cancellation insurance The Bund der Versicherten (BdV) says that travel warnings are generally not covered by insurance.

Vacationing in countries without travel warnings: Can I book?

If there is no travel warning for the planned vacation country, tour operators usually offer a return trip guarantee Package tours there. Those who book them or booked them a long time ago, but later no longer want to take the trip due to growing concerns, may have to pay cancellation fees. There is only a right to withdraw from a trip free of charge to the organizer if the trip is significantly impaired due to extraordinary circumstances.

This can include serious itinerary changes or if booked attractions are flown out of the program. Here it depends on the individual case. Even travelers with cancellation insurance have bad cards with voluntary Cancellations.

Because the insurance pays cancellation costs only if insured persons themselves unexpectedly become ill or are prevented by events such as the death of relatives, unemployment or short-time work, explains the consumer center Hamburg. None of those offered on the market Travel resignation tariffs According to information from the Federation of the Insured, the insurance company bears the cancellation costs if vacationers cancel a travel contract again purely out of fear.

Vacation country classified as risk area: What does it mean for me?

In addition to the list of travel warnings ied by the German Foreign Office, there is also a second list of so-called risk areas. It lists regions in the world where there is either an increased risk of contracting the Corona virus to be infected, or where case numbers are low but there is too little testing capacity or, say, inadequate pandemic containment measures. The list, which is reviewed weekly by the relevant ministries, also includes some popular vacation destinations.

For the U.S., a breakdown into states was made. The classification as a risk area and a travel warning are not automatically linked to each other. "Changes in the classification as a risk area do not immediately mean that a travel warning is ied or lifted for certain countries," explains a Foreign Office spokesman. Thus, for your own safety before the trip is also worth a look at the List of risk areas.

Anyone returning to Germany from one of the countries or areas mentioned there must expect to be sent into quarantine. On the website of the Federal Ministry of the Interior The German Federal Ministry of Health states that a 14-day quarantine obligation applies to "persons who enter the Federal Republic of Germany from a risk area"." Ultimately, however, this is again a decision of the respective federal state.

Sick with corona virus abroad: Who bears the costs??

Actually there are insurances for this, which take over medical costs or pay for a return transport. But: if there is a travel warning for the country in question at the start of the trip, the rates of these private Health insurance abroad usually excludes coverage of treatment costs, as the Bund der Versicherten explains.

If there is no travel warning, it is worthwhile to take a look at the respective contract. If pandemics are excluded, then there is no insurance coverage in the event of a Covid 19 disease. At least a "medically necessary return transport" to the home country is often insured, according to the BdV. If you have taken out a better tariff, you may also be covered for a return transport that is not necessary, but at least "medically advisable".

It may be worthwhile for people with statutory health insurance to be insured with the Health Insurance To inquire. This can also cover treatment costs abroad: The Bund der Versicherten (Association of the Insured) says that partial benefits could be paid if necessary – at least in other EU countries.

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