It’s been another long and challenging year and regardless of how great your state, territory or country is, many of us can’t wait to get out and explore again, catch up with family and friends, or just take a relaxing break somewhere other than Puerto Backyarda.
Most states and territories are planning to open up both domestically and internationally to fully vaccinated travellers by the end of this year or early 2022, however restrictions will still be in place, which vary between states and territories. What this means for travellers is that you need to be clear on requirements for travel for both your destination and your home state or territory.
Before you travel
Travel has become a lot more complicated and requirements can change by the hour so if you are planning a summer getaway, check restrictions regularly in the lead up to your departure, especially if you’re flying internationally. Here are some tips on things you’ll need, or might consider, before you travel:
Vaccine passport – if you are travelling outside your state or territory it’s likely you’ll need proof that you are fully vaccinated, either a COVID-19 digital certificate or International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate.
Negative test – some states, and most countries, will require proof on arrival that you’ve received a negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test taken within the 72 hours of departure. Some countries require an additional test on arrival, at your expense.
Border passes and declarations – some jurisdictions will require you to complete a border declaration or pass, which may have to be submitted before you travel, particularly if you are flying internationally. If you are visiting multiple destinations you may require a declaration or pass for each leg of your trip.
Exemptions – if you are not fully vaccinated and relying on an exemption, make sure you have an exemption granted before you travel, or fall into an automatic exemption category. This is not an argument you’ll be able to have at a border.
Travel insurance – if you’re planning on taking out travel insurance, make sure it covers COVID-19, and read the fine print carefully as most policies only offer limited cover. Some airlines or travel companies are offering complimentary ‘COVID insurance’ when you book with them, but that may be all it covers.
Face masks – depending on where you are going and the mode of transport you use, you may be asked to wear a face mask, so be prepared for this possibility. In some cases it may be mandatory, in some places it might just be smart.
Cancellation policy – when booking flights, accommodation, car hire, activities and other related expenses, read the cancellation policy carefully, noting whether refunds or credit vouchers will be offered, and under what circumstances.
No deposit – look for accommodation that doesn’t require a deposit upfront or allows free cancellation until close to your travel date.
Additional costs – when crossing borders you’ll not only need to allow extra time but you’ll probably also need to allow for additional costs, especially if you are travelling overseas. PCR tests, border declarations and other documentation may incur costs that may have to be paid again before you leave, in order to satisfy the requirements of returning home.
If you are planning on travelling overseas, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is trialling a travel pass which will provide travellers with information on what tests, vaccines and other measures are required before they travel, details on where to get tested, and the ability to share test and vaccination results at border crossings. This could be very helpful if you are in another country trying to work out where you can get a COVID-19 PCR test in order to board a flight home.
So for all the intrepid travellers with itchy feet, global roaming is coming but you’ll need a little more planning, a little more patience, and possibly a good sense of humour.
Check out our other articles on a range of helpful topics