Work trips can be hard on Travelers, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Given how coronavirus has changed the travel landscape, add quality travel health insurance to your wellness plan before hitting the road for work.
The coronavirus has changed the list of things that Travelers need before they head out on a business trip. Travelers now need masks and hand sanitizer. And there’s an emerging must-have item that business Travelers are exploring before they leave home — travel health insurance.
Business travel was already notoriously unhealthy even before COVID-19. Travelers keep strange hours, getting up early to catch flights and then spending days at a time in a new time zone. The food is often unhealthy. And the routines and equipment that help reinforce a healthy lifestyle at home are absent on the road. The virus has only heightened how unhealthy business travel can be. With a travel health insurance policy in hand, Travelers can leverage that policy to stay as safe as possible from COVID-19, while also making healthy choices that promote general wellness.
Here’s an explanation of travel health insurance and how it helps during the pandemic, plus what to look for in a travel healthy insurance policy. Below that, you’ll find an outline of healthy choices that Travelers can make while on trips, plus hotel and other travel vendor offerings that help reinforce a healthy travel lifestyle.
What About Travel Health Insurance?
Travel management companies (TMCs) cover most of the basics when it comes to trip disruptions, including cancellations and refunds. But new travel health insurance plans provide additional protection for your trip, and COVID-19-related provisions also cover medical needs.
There are 3 main components to any travel health insurance policy:
- Cancellation coverage: How much of the cost of your trip will be covered if cancelled for any reason?
- COVID-19 cancellation coverage: How much of the cost of your trip will be covered if cancelled for a COVID-19-related reason?
- COVID-19 medical coverage: How much coverage do you have if you contract COVID-19 while traveling?
Forbes recently provided recommendations on the best travel health insurance policies, including options from well-known providers like AXA. Travel health insurance may be a good option if you feel like additional coverage is needed or when booking outside your company’s travel policy, which may mean that a TMC’s provisions are not valid.
Some insurance providers are creating multiple products for different Traveler profiles. For example, Blue Cross Blue Shield offers 3 different plans: single-trip plans, multi-trip plans and long-term plans for expatriates. You can also find specialty plans for missionaries, students and groups in Blue Cross Blue Shield’s offerings.
As a business Traveler, make sure you understand what types of medical coverage are available through your travel program. You may find that your existing health insurance provides excellent protection, no matter where you travel for work. You may also find that your company provides additional coverage that you can take advantage of while away from the office for work. As the pandemic lingers, many Travel Managers are fielding questions about travel health insurance, and there are likely options available and solutions in place to ensure your health and safety while traveling.
What About Fitness? Embrace In-Room Options
Beyond travel health insurance, Travelers must find ways to promote fitness while away from the office. In 2017, we shared a list of ways to make healthy travel decisions in a post, including:
- Taking a power nap
- Chair yoga
- In-airport workouts
- Spending time outdoors
Many business Travelers have relied on the hotel gym to stay fit on business trips. But gyms across the world have closed during the COVID-19 outbreak. After all, who wants to work out in an environment where equipment is shared and sweat is prevalent? Fortunately for business Travelers, hotels are coming through during the pandemic by offering a range of in-room fitness options that have helped replace the traditional hotel gym.
The Langham New York has launched a program that allows guests to make reservations in a second, adjoining room at half of the regular price. Guests can then choose to configure the second, half-price room as an office for work, a schoolroom for kids, or as a private gym complete with free weights, resistance bands, an exercise mat and ball, plus more.
Other hotel providers are creating partnerships to offer virtual fitness classes or the complimentary streaming of fitness content. SBE, a lifestyle hospitality group, has partnered with a personal training brand to provide virtual services. Similarly, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has partnered with a wellness video subscription platform to offer in-room Pilates, yoga and other activities.
In Mexico’s Playa del Carmen, the Hotel Esencia is now offering what it calls “Rooftop Wellness Suites.” Each suite includes a Mirror fitness system and weight kit, and guests can add other equipment like treadmills and Peloton bikes. Each Suite spans two floors and offers access to an outdoor pool, outdoor showers and more.
Travel Safely in 2021 and Beyond
Never before has business travel been so complicated and so taxing for Travelers like you. Not only do you have to worry about the traditional challenges of work travel (like staying fit), but you also have to worry about staying safe from COVID-19.
JTB Business Travel is a TMC that helps companies save on their travel spend while supporting their team members and ensuring that Travelers enjoy trips that allow for productivity as well as mental and physical health. We use a common-sense approach to delivering services and recommendations that make a difference for our clients.