The past two years have taught us not to take anything — especially travel — for granted.
Travel always involves risk. And in 2022, Covid adds another layer to that calculus. Here are some of the steps we are taking to ensure we can minimize Covid risk and maximize our safety on our trips to Vietnam.
First and foremost, all participants must provide proof of full vaccination before being accepted into one of our workshops. Also, you will agree to be boosted to the best extent possible before the trip. This is not just for your safety as an individual, but also for our shared safety as a group.
Vaccination is common sense, and offers the best bang-for-buck protection for all of us. If you have a medical reason or a personal belief that precludes your being vaccinated against Covid-19, then this trip is not for you. There will be no exceptions to this policy.
As we approach our travel dates our advice will be for group members to take extra precautions to minimize your potential exposure in the weeks before the trip. We don’t want anyone arriving in Vietnam Covid positive.
Vietnam has done a very good job of fighting Covid as a country. They’ve had prior pandemic experience in 2003 (SARS) and and 2009 (H1N1), so were already prepared when Covid arrived in 2020. Masking was embraced early, to good effect. And Vietnam is now 77% fully vaccinated and 44% boosted. (These numbers are both significantly better than those of the US.)
As of this writing, Vietnam is still requiring a negative Covid test either before entering or upon arrival. They also require basic insurance coverage during our stay in the country. We will provide and include upgraded insurance coverage for our group while in Vietnam.
Further, in the event someone does become infected, we have confirmed that they will be able to recuperate in our hotel. We would also provide a dedicated person to monitor you, bring you food, supplies, and liaison with the local medical system if needed.
But as in most things, the best defense is a good offense. So as a group, we will be taking precautions to minimize our chances of exposure. This includes conducting our group meetings outdoors whenever possible. Our hotel has a rooftop bar area which can be made available for our classroom use. We will also will plan our group meals to occur outdoors (or in an open-air areas) whenever possible. We will mask during group transport, as will our driver.
Fortunately, one of the things that makes Hanoi so visually interesting is the extent to which life takes place out in the open on the street. As photographers, this facet of the culture obviously works well for us. And we’ll lean into this lifestyle to enhance our own safety as well. In Hanoi, for instance, you can easily have an amazing set of food experiences without ever going indoors.
At X-Peditions, we are working to ensure our embedded costs and non-refundable payments are backloaded to the extent possible. In the event of a significant Covid-related event during the lead-up to our trip, either for a group member or for Vietnam in general, we will reassess our refund policy with an eye toward the most equitable solution.
We suggest you make your own plans with the same considerations in mind. For instance, you may wish to delay the purchase of your air tickets until a little closer to departure than usual as we continue to keep an eye on evolving events.
We recognize we are still in a potentially fluid situation. At X-Peditions, the health and safety of everyone involved is very important, and our decisions are made with that in mind.