When was the last time you visited a new destination? What was on your list pre Covid? Did it involve Tokyo and a trip to Disneyland? Paris, and the Eiffel Tower, perhaps?
A year and a half into this pandemic, things seem to be finally looking up as vaccinations continue to roll out.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that Australians are allowed to travel outside the country once 80% of adults are fully vaccinated.
It’s a highly anticipated event that may be putting you on the edge of your seat. You can finally make travel plans again!
But before you start perusing Tripadvisor and putting together your itinerary, we’ve prepared a primer for you so that you’ll know what to expect on your future trips abroad.
What travel means for Australians flying out of Australia
Regular air travel may not be landing any time soon, but you can hope to see the beginnings of it by December, with Airlines such as Qantas opening up some overseas flights to America, Canada, England, and Asia.
Once you start travelling, you’ll have to note requirements imposed by the Australian government and those mandated by the health departments of your destination.
Also, the requirements of these locations may vary since the pandemic recovery in each nation is at a different level.
As far as reports go, you’ll need to have a vaccine passport. Domestic travel will require this passport, and so will international travel.
You’ll present yours at customs in order to leave Australia.
The passport assures that you have been given a COVID-19 vaccine; you’re safe and not a risk to others either.
Aside from being a safety measure, the passport is meant to attract more people towards vaccination too.
As of now, you can download a certificate of your vaccination status from myGov, but soon there will be QR codes for your smartphone and chips implanted into your regular passport.
Healthcare and other officials aim to grant more freedoms to vaccinated people, this is due to the Delta variant spreading in cities such as Sydney and Melbourne.
Instead of relying on extensive lockdowns, vaccinations may be able to remove the need for quarantine requirements altogether.
Quarantine-free travel is significant if Australia and your place of destination are both COVID-free hubs. You won’t have to wear face masks, and you’ll be able to move around more.
However, that’s if your destination has a vaccine certification system that Australia can trust as well. ✈️
Only a few nations are working on an international system of vaccine certification. Most likely, these will be the only countries you can visit once borders reopen.
At the same time, will your vaccine be accepted by your place of travel? Australia has only approved Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Janssen Cilag vaccines — no Russian or Chinese ones.
So your chance of getting through customs will depend on what vaccine your destination recognises.
What you’ll deal with in post-COVID (ish) travel
Government requirements will be the least of your concerns. You have other factors to consider, for example, which flights are available.
The travel industry and its airlines currently offer limited seating due to an all-time low demand and caps on the number of people allowed on board.
Airlines also have limited COVID-19 travel to a few routes only. You can expect these restricted flights to continue as nations continue to deal with the pandemic differently.
If you plan to travel within a specific country or region, you may also have to get a separate vaccine passport.
For example, in the European Union, authorities require a digital COVID Certificate to allow quarantine-free travel throughout most of Europe.
You might have to download one of those before you pack your bags for a European holiday.
In the United States, passengers need to provide a CDC card as proof of vaccination, although you may not need a certificate by this point as long as you have an Australian vaccine passport.
Another factor to consider is the tourism sector is no longer the same. You’ll find that businesses and attractions have closed. The pandemic has hit many establishments, and you will not find some of the popular must-see attractions anymore.
Safety measures: COVID-19 tests and social distancing rules
You also can’t be too careful. It may be a good idea to pack sanitiser, wipes and tissues. At the same time, you might be asked to show a negative COVID-19 test at your destination.
Social distancing remains a good practice, too, although crowds should be scarce due to limited travel. You might not have to worry about having too much close contact anyway.
Coming back to Australia is another matter. You may have to get another negative COVID-19 test result to reenter the country.
And while you might not fall sick to the virus anymore, you could still be carrying it. So, it’s still important to make sure that you’re not a risk to others.
Coronavirus hotspots and high-risk locations to steer clear from
The latest updates tell us that flights to New Zealand are suspended in the short term due to an outbreak there.
Other travel no-nos include low-income countries, which might be lagging in terms of vaccinations.
Safe travel may come sooner than you think, and it will be worth the wait
The last year has proven a massive problem for mental health with the pandemic and perpetual lockdowns.
You may be itching to explore the outside world unhindered. Have some patience, and you’ll be there before you know it.
As vaccinations are rolling out, international travel will open up again as long as everyone stays safe and follows safety measures.
Despite the changing tourism landscape, visiting destinations for leisure with some travel adjustments is still better than being locked up at home.
Just picture that day: your luggage in the overhead department as the plane prepares for take-off. Adventure awaits!