International travel is back and we understand there are many eager travellers out there with many questions. We have broken down frequently asked questions and what you should know about the realities of international travel in a post-pandemic world.
When will I be able to travel internationally?
The removal of the international border ban was recently announced in Australia. This is positive news, however it comes with limitations. The main limitation is that each state or territory must reach a minimum vaccination rate of 80-90%. For Australians, we know the past 18+ months has been difficult with differing state and territory based decision making on restrictions, so this doesn’t come as a surprise.
At the time this blog was written, Australia and most states will hit the 80-90% fully vaccinated goal between October 2021 and January 2022. This wont mean you can simply jump on the first plane out of the country. The international and domestic landscape will continue to be confusing and at times slow in re-opening.
International flights are scheduled for November 2021 for some Australian states, with New South Wales and Victoria the first two locations to allow residents to depart the country. For those in other states or territories, there may be the chance to book a domestic flight connection to another state for your international flight, but there are things to be aware of.
In November and December 2021 there will be international departures commencing, however expect a slow ramp up with more capacity and an improved travel experience later on in 2022.
Will I be able to travel anywhere I want?
We are seeing throughout other parts of the world recognised or approved countries having quarantine free travel corridors. This will provide the most frictionless travel experience, however it may not be to locations you want to visit.
We have seen countries try a traffic light system of approved destinations. Green for quarantine free travel, amber for additional restrictions, such as increased testing and red for restricted travel for non-essential travellers. These traffic light programs have mostly been dropped due to their complexity of changing statuses which created ambiguity and a frustrated traveller experience.
It is likely Australians will be asked to follow the advice of Smart Traveller www.smartraveller.gov.au which is a Government run risk platform for travel advice. We recommend keeping an eye on this website for changes to country risk statuses. This will help you to select the right destinations to visit.
What do I need to know before I go?
- International flight departures will be geared to states or territories that have minimal restrictions in place.
- You may be able to fly domestically to another state or territory to connect with an international flight. Make sure you are aware of the following if this applies to you:
- Know the arrival state/territory Covid-19 rules from your originating domestic departure point.
- Book a connecting or ‘interline’ flight. This means you can check your bags all the way through to your end destination. Some airports have seperate domestic and international airport. This may mean you might not be allowed to leave the airport without having to quarantine. The end result would mean missing your international flight.
- Ensure your airport transit time is within the recommended airport allowances.
- Ensure you don’t exceed the airports maximum imposed transfer time-limit. This was brought into place in 2020 for travellers who transit through hotspot areas.
- You will (based on current Government information) need to be fully vaccinated with a recognised vaccine passport to depart.
- You will need to have a pre-departure Covid-19 test which results in ‘negative’ approximately 72 hours before departure.
- Airline flight capacity will be limited with more availability likely to be announced throughout 2022.
- Be prepared for travel delays upon your returning flight to Australia. This will be due to state or territory based imposed caps on returning travellers. This will continue for some time. Even with a confirmed return flight, state or territories may impose reductions to these caps at any stage. This is also based on the number of returning Australians who have been unable to return to Australia throughout the pandemic. These travellers will likely be prioritised before leisure travellers.
- Personal travel insurance will (at the time of writing) not cover you for all Covid-19 scenarios.
Will I need to quarantine throughout my trip?
Your state or territory of residence will have information on quarantine requirements online. It will outline specific application forms you are required to submit before departure and or return to Australia. It is vital you only rely on Government approved sources of information as processes will continue to change rapidly throughout your planning and booking timeline.
We are seeing quarantine free travel corridors open throughout the world already. We expect this to be the same for Australia.
Subject to your overseas destination, that specific country may also impose quarantine restrictions. Be aware of Government requirements before you book. If you are struggling to find the right information online, this is where the benefit of an accredited travel agent will do the heavy lifting for you. We recommend you check out the link below to find an approved travel agent near you.
Do I need to be vaccinated?
Yes. This will be a requirement to travel and do many things in a post-pandemic world for the foreseeable future. This will also be the expectation of many countries across the world.
Prior to your departure, you will also be required to register your trip with an approved digital travel pass and health passport provider such as the IATA Travel Pass https://www.iata.org/en/programs/passenger/travel-pass/ which will be synced with your airline paperwork.
Once you have booked your flights, you will be requested to register your trip with the IATA Travel Pass (or equivalent). This app will then manage your pre-departure requirements, including your pre-departure test and vaccination status. This information is provided to your airline airline and shown to your arriving location customs for verification.
Will I need a negative Covid-19 test before I leave?
Yes. The current standard is approximately 72 hours prior to your flight departure you must take a Covid-19 test and pass with a negative result. The IATA Travel Pass (or equivalent) will register this negative status and pass this detail through to your airline, allowing you to depart.
It is also going to be expected that negative Covid-19 test results are sourced prior to your returning flight and again upon arrival. These test costs will be at your own expense, so budget for these.
Where and how will I book my pre-departure test?
The IATA Travel Pass (or equivalent) will notify you prior to your departure to book in with an approved test provider. Do not seek to book your own test as it may not be recognised as an approved provider.
Will travel insurance cover me for Covid-19?
Right now, travel insurance providers are only covering for some elements of Covid-19 related issues. We personally always get our travel insurance through Cover-More and as we have shown below, they cover some scenarios based on Covid-19. We recommend speaking with an approved insurance provider of your choice and seeking your own information and advice.