How to Prepare to Quarantine Overseas if You Test Positive for COVID on Vacation


This summer I’ll be taking a group to Italy for a Productivity Recharge. We were originally supposed to enjoy the villages of Tuscany back in 2021, but for obvious reasons, it got postponed. We are ecstatic that we’re finally able to travel overseas relatively unhindered, but what we weren’t expecting was to be anxious about coming back home.

Why are we anxious? Because we have to take a COVID test no more than one day prior to departure for the United States. Whoever tests positive must quarantine for a minimum of seven days before being allowed to re-test.

Yes, it’s a first-world problem to have to mask up and be afraid of being around people for our last three to four days in the Italian Riviera. But it’s also annoying that fully vaccinated American citizens have to pass a test to fly in, but anyone driving in or otherwise getting into the country in a mode of transportation other than flying does not have to test. So it’s OK to enter the country when you have COVID if you’re on the ground, but not in the air? Ahem, I digress. Let’s get back to business.

We’ve already had one friend – fully vaccinated – get stuck in Mexico, forced to quarantine until he tested negative. We definitely do not want to end up in that situation, but the possibility of needing to quarantine overseas while on vacation is very real.

If you are heading out of the country on vacation this summer, you might want to use the following recommendations to be prepared in the event you need to quarantine.

According to my friends stuck in Mexico, the worry was less about arrangements for the extra days they needed to stay in Mexico to quarantine.

Their worry came from what they’d be responsible for AT HOME for the upcoming week: house, children, work.

Here’s what they wound up having to make arrangements for, in no particular order of importance:

Will you separate? To prevent an argument while you’re upset after finding out your test result, decide now if the positive tester will stay behind on their own. Keep in mind that if the negative tester stays behind too, you will need to test again 24 hours prior to the new departure date and if you’re positive, that’s when your official quarantine will start.

Prescriptions – Have enough for at least 7 days of quarantine + 1 day of travel home.

Clothes – End your trip with two days of clean clothes. You’ll want something clean to wear while you wait for laundry service.

Bills/Payments – If you’re scheduled to make any of these in the first week back, can you do it from where you’re quarantined?

Babysitter – Can they watch the kids for these extra days if this emergency happens? Did you leave enough medicine/supplements for a longer stay?

Pet sitter – Can they watch the pets for these extra days if this emergency happens? Did you leave enough food and medicine/supplements for a longer stay?

House sitter – check the mail? pick up delivery boxes and/or newspapers? water the plants?

Appointments – Do you have contact info to be able to reschedule?

Work – Can you work remotely? Who will you need to contact to let them know about your quarantine situation?

Travel Insurance – Contact them as soon as you find out you need to quarantine so they can give you any specific instructions in order to have your expenses covered. (You might download their app so you can contact them more quickly.)

Hotel Reservation – One of our group members had a great idea about making an additional hotel reservation for a stay starting on the night of our scheduled departure at a place where you can cancel for free until 24 hours prior.

Think about your responsibilities for the first week you arrive back home, and be prepared to meet or change those while you’re in quarantine.


This article is a little scary, but you’ll want to read it if you test positive so you’ll know how to handle your quarantine/testing situation: Getting Ready for a Quarantine in Italy

We plan to fully enjoy our time while we’re there, but after reading that article, we’ll definitely be masking up in crowded situations in the days leading up to our test.


Do make sure you have fun, fun, fun on your vacation, but also be sure to plan ahead. Just in case.



If you need a step-by-step guide to leave work behind for a couple of hours, a couple of days, or a couple of weeks, take a peek at these Escape from Work options in online or book format.


About Helene Segura, M.A. Ed., CPO®

As The Inefficiency Assassin™, Time Management Fixer Helene Segura empowers professionals on the go with the tools to slay lost time. Personal inefficiency at work leads to increased stress levels, lower morale, higher absenteeism, more turnover – and rising spending on employee health care and hiring. Why not improve productivity, decrease stress levels, and increase profits instead?The author of four books – two of which were Amazon best-sellers – Helene Segura has been the featured organization expert in more than 200 media interviews. She has coached hundreds of clients to productivity success and performance improvement by applying neuroscience and behavioral modification techniques to wipe out destructive, time-wasting habits.Helene turns time management on its head by sharing both client case studies and pop culture examples to teach her mind-bending framework for decreasing interruptions, distractions and procrastination so that companies can spend more time generating revenue.

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