Tips for Travelling Overseas Right Now
As I prepare for a year of travel (currently doing a happy dance) in 2022, I have had to get my head around what I need to do before I even step onto an aircraft and beyond. Yes it is more complex, but it certainly WILL NOT stop me hopping that Qantas flight to London in August, as it just means I need to be more prepared.
Yes, things have changed in terms of preparation for travelling overseas, and it definitely takes a little more planning than before. The most important thing to remember? Do your research. Understand what is required from start to finish, and plan for all situations. Check out our helpful tips and enjoy your journey – the world is a wonderful place and it has missed you!
Having the right PCR test, and being prepared for the cost.
If your destination or airline of choice requires proof of a negative PCR COVID-19 test, you cannot use the free government testing clinic to obtain it. You will need to have a PCR test through a private pathology clinic as only they can provide the necessary paperwork to be accepted by authorities. Your test result must include the four mandatory fields of traveller name and date of birth, the test result, the test method used, for example, COVID-19 (or SARS-CoV-2) PCR test and the date of collection for the COVID-19 PCR test. If these are not correct then you run the risk of not being able to board your aircraft or not being able to enter your chosen destination.
You must ensure that you take the test within the relevant time frames detailed in the travel conditions of your destination and airline (if required), plus be aware that these tests can cost anything up to $150.00 per person. Not sure how to find a clinic? Then check out IATA’s Travel Lab Locator.
Do the research and make sure you read all of the fine print.
Here’s where it really pays to put in the research.
One of the most important resources you should check before you even consider a trip is smartraveller.gov.au for the latest entry requirements of your chosen holiday spots. After that you should check the destination’s official website for detailed information. There are things that you need to be aware of from vaccinations requirements, entry forms and any apps you may need to download. It’s all in the detail…and check with your trusted travel agent as they can help you navigate the new travel world.
Check out International COVID-19 Vaccination Passport requirements – and is yours accepted where you’re going?
Many travellers have found out the hard way that their International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate is not universally accepted. For example, the Australian Government’s International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC) is not accepted in some hotels, restaurants, bars, museums and galleries overseas. Although the QR code is a format adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the code can’t be read in some establishments in Italy, for example. Whilst Italy recognises our Vaccination Passport as equivalent to the EU ‘Super’ Green Pass it is causing difficulties for travellers from many countries, so always carry a hard copy of your international vaccine certificate with you.
Check with your travel agent and SmartTraveller.gov.au regarding any extra steps you may need to take to avoid frustration, and always have printed versions of everything on hand just in case.
Understand what ‘fully-vaccinated’ means for your chosen destination.
Fully-vaccinated means different things in different countries. From February 14, 2022, arrivals in Singapore will only be considered fully vaccinated if they received their second dose within 270 days of arrival. Beyond that timeframe, boosters are required. Qantas advises that you’ll need to check the latest airline and government travel requirements for each country you’re travelling to or transiting through, and ensure your status and documentation meet all requirements in relation to your journey. If unsure how to navigate, then check with your travel agent.
Invest in travel insurance – just make sure you read exactly what you’re covered for.
If you’re unsure what insurance you should buy (this is a necessity – don’t cut corners here) check out Independent consumer advocate Choice’s travel insurance guide: COVID-19 edition, to help you decide the best policy for your needs. Some destinations, such as Fiji and Singapore for example, require proof that you’re insured for COVID-19 related medical expenses. www.choice.com.au
Things to do to come home (to Australia – other destinations may differ)
Make sure that you understand the re-entry procedure required to come back to Oz.
Currently need to have a pre-departure, negative COVID-19 test taken well before your flight. The Australian government now accepts a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) taken under medical supervision or any type of Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAA), which includes PCR test as well as Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) and Transcription mediated amplification (TMA) to satisfy COVID-19 pre-departure testing requirements for international air travel to Australia. If you go the RAT route, it’s not as easy as just showing a negative test upon check-in. The RAT test (also known as a lateral flow antigen detection test) must be undertaken by or under the supervision of a medical practitioner (e.g., pharmacist, general practitioner, nurse, pathologist, pathology collector, or trained personnel at airport-based testing stations). The Department of Health has the latest information.
You are also required to fill in the Australia Travel Declaration (ATD) at least 72 hours prior to departure. When filling this out you will need to provide your contact details, make a declaration in relation to your vaccination status, your last 14 days travel history, and that you are aware of the quarantine and testing requirements that apply in the state or territory you are landing. You must also acknowledge that when you check-in for your flight, you must present evidence of a negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) or NAAT test taken within 3 days of your flight’s scheduled departure to Australia, or a medical certificate as evidence of a negative Rapid Antigen Test taken under medical supervision within 24 hours before your flight’s scheduled departure.
Ready, Set, Go!
So as you can see – research and reading all of the detail is key. The government websites applicable to your home country combined with your destination are key to a relaxed escape, as they are constantly updated with the latest information. Researching these and working with a trustworthy travel advisor shares the load and will ensure you keep up-to-date.
The most important thing? Enjoy the absolute pleasure of dreaming, planning and heading away to the places you love.
Bon Voyage and chat soon.