It might be safe to travel this summer, and of course, travel fees are poised to make a big comeback. Some are obvious; last month, for example, most major airlines began reinstating penalty charges for some ticket changes. But other fees may come as a surprise.
If you’re visiting the Caribbean island of St. Maarten, for example, you’ll have to pay a $30 fee for its Visitors Protection Plan. It covers medical expenses and medical evacuation—whether you need them or not. The revived charges fall into two broad categories: the new ones imposed by countries on international visitors and the fees (new or reinstated) charged by companies such as airlines, hotels, and travel agencies. The Bahamas have a $50 to $70 fee it’s charging for visitors now that it’s calling a health visa, which covers basic medical expenses on the islands.
So what happens when the pandemic is over? Travel insurance experts predict countries will institute a strict medical insurance requirement to offset the cost of providing medical care to tourists, or will keep a medical visa requirement, if they have one. But when it comes to travel companies, the fee frenzy is likely just starting. So this year, if you are making travel plans, don’t forget to ask about extra fees.