If you’re lucky enough to have traveled by air to, say, Kauai or the British Virgin Islands, your quarantine may include the option of roaming relatively freely on a resort’s expansive grounds while waiting for a negative coronavirus test.
But travel by air to Australia, New Zealand, mainland China or Tunisia, and you will generally find yourself confined to your room, 24 hours a day, for up to two weeks (assuming you test negative, that is). And with some exceptions, you are footing the bill — quarantine in New South Wales, Australia, for example, costs 3,000 Australian dollars, or about $2,300, for a two-week quarantine for one adult, and up to 5,000 dollars for a family of four.
Quarantine might seem manageable for those who have been living under shelter-in-place orders and working from home. Pete Lee, a filmmaker based in San Francisco, was not concerned about the quarantine when he flew to Taiwan for work and to visit family.
“I was a little bit cocky when I first heard about the requirement,” Mr. Lee said, during his eighth day at the Roaders Hotel in Taipei, Taiwan. “I was inside my San Francisco apartment for 22 out of 24 hours a day! But it’s a surprisingly intense experience. Those two hours make a big difference.”
Joy Jones, a coach and educator who is based in San Francisco, traveled to New Zealand with her husband, a New Zealand citizen, and two young daughters in January. She learned before their departure that they would have no say where they would be quarantined.
“That was probably the hardest part,” she said. “I could put together a bag of activities for my older daughter, and plan on doing laundry in the sink. But not having an answer to where we’d be — after more than 21 hours of flying, with masks — would we have to get another flight? A three-hour bus ride?” They didn’t. Ms. Jones and her family were taken to Stamford Plaza in Auckland, just 25 minutes from the airport.
The challenge is managing the tedium.
“We decorated a paper horse that we hung in our window — every day, a different part of it — that was a favorite activity. We’d have dance parties. And we’d watch a movie every night. We did what we could to bring some fun into it,” Ms. Jones said.
She documented her family’s quarantine experience on her private Instagram account, showing forts made of blankets, paper airplane competitions and “bowling” with water bottles and a crumpled ball made of paper. She was touched that friends and family sent her family meals, treats and toys in response to her posts.
“It was a really cool way to feel love, and connection, from such an isolated space,” she said.