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  • Writer's pictureBelinda Cassettari

Getting Covid in a Foreign Country While on Vacation

I have first hand experience getting Covid while on vacation in a Foreign Country. It was traumatic, scary, and an ordeal.

There are some things to know before you go, and put in place in the unlikely event that you get Covid while on Foreign soil that will make the illness easier.


I traveled to Bordeaux, France. It was supposed to be the break into travel after the pandemic and an exciting River Cruise. It was anything but.

I started to experience being tired about 5 days into my trip. I thought, well jet lag is real. Having not traveled for such a long time I attributed all symptoms "jet lag".

After another day I got a massive migraine headache. It was so bad I stayed in bed. No tour for me. I suffer migraines so this was not alarming.

The next day I started feeling my joints hurting, I thought it was because the beds were so hard. Everyone was complaining about the beds.

On day 5 it was time to get the covid test that would put me back on my plane and homeward bound on Friday. Tuesday would change everything. I took the oh so invasive test.

Got the verbal results- it was negative, and went to dinner and the show. That evening I got the printed results under my door. I read them and oh to my horror I was positive! It was like a ton of bricks hit me all at once. I all of a sudden felt sick.

I notified the Cruise Director. They ordered another test for me, my husband and our Pod of friends that we hung out with on the ship. Two tested positive, 2 tested negative. We isolated in our cabin. Were generally taken care of for any food, drinks that we needed.

Then we got calls from the French Medical arm of the government. They checked in to make sure we were going to quarantine. Told us that hotels could not, at this point , turn us away. That would change on August 15, 2021. It was August 3.

The cruise ship is still new at dealing with positive passengers- they don't have a protocol in place yet. We are the first to venture out on this ship. It was not the best experience after a positive test.

They could not help us navigate through all of the things we had to put in place immediately.

The first things to do if you are testing positive:

1. Get 1 more test to make sure it is not a false positive. Keep all these documents in a safe place. You will need them to get out of the country.

2. Make sure before you leave home you have your travel Insurance documents with you. Highlight the phone numbers you will need should anything happen. I did not have this information with me. I thought I would easily find it if I needed it. Covid affects everything if you get it bad. Thinking is not high on the list of things you can do!

3. Locate a hotel that is an easy distance to a pharmacy, an outdoor space, has room service, and there is food in the area easily obtainable. If you get sick and not just asymptomatic it is so important to be able to get to all the areas listed above. It is important that you have a clear way to get to the hotel. We took the train. stayed away from people, wore a mask. used hand sanitizer. Uber will not take you, taxi will not take you. They are aware that passengers have tested positive and are afraid. Walking distance is obviously the best option- not always available. The only other option was an ambulance. That seemed like the least best option for us.

4. Contact a doctor to help you with your symptoms . I contacted They helped me with medications for my lungs, and my dr's note to ultimately leave the country. The fees were very fare and low in my opinion. 34.00- 43.00 Euro per 5-10 minute Facetime appointment.

5. If you have not contacted your Insurance Company to help you make sure you keep good records. You will be reimbursed for some or all of the expenses.

6. Make sure you sit up as often as you can, this will help guard against pneumonia. A very real possibility if you get the bad variant.

7. Make sure you call the airline and change the reservations to the date you are allowed to travel. They helped with this , it was fast and painless. Your travel agent can help with this, but you know when the dates are and to ensure that the correct information is translated you can do this pretty easily. If you called your insurance company- they will take care of all of these details.

8. Do NOT take any more tests! they are not re

quired and a waste of money! Most will test positive for 3-6 months. You just need to quarantine until you have no temperature and within the guidelines provided. 11 days in France.

9. Call a doctor there is a mobile dr. listed above. So you can have a report with someone. It will help you get the Dr. Note you need to leave the country. (at time of printing) It is the only thing you will need along with your positive test and proof of quarantine.

10. Make sure you do not allow the room steward into your hotel room to clean it. They will hand you towels, etc at the door. They will give you new coffee, water etc.

  1. Go to the emergency hospital , or call an ambulance if you are having trouble breathing.

  2. Drink as much liquid as possible.

  3. Manage your pain with tylenol

  4. Eat, even though you don't feel like it

  5. Sit up as often as possible- this helps guard against pneumonia

  6. Sleep

  7. Shower, this is also hard but helps get the virus off your skin

  1. Change your clothes, helps you feel human

  2. Still wash your hands frequently

  3. Write it all down when you have the brain power.

  4. Take short walks out in the sunshine. This is hard to do by necessary

I hope that you do not ever have to experience Covid on foreign soil and if you do it is mild and manageable. If you do experience it I hope that the above helps in some small way. I would love to hear any of your experiences. Please share them so others may learn how to manage this virus.

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