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On 19 March 2020, Australia’s international borders were closed. Our island home was suddenly Fortress Australia.
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After nearly two years, the restrictions have lifted and we are emerging, blinking and hopeful. While some of us may have lingering concerns, many others just want to get back out there.
The world is beckoning! Are you ready?
If that question alone has you flapping your passport about like one of those inflatable arm-waving advertising men, here are our tips for a well-planned, long-awaited holiday.
Let’s address that elephant over there in the corner. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) vaccinations are going to become part of our norm, and vaccination evidence will be required for the foreseeable future.
Vaccinated travellers can download an International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC) directly from Medicare. Australia’s ICVC is widely accepted at overseas touristy places, restaurants and bars.
You can store your ICVC in an app on your phone, but remember to carry a printed copy in case of dodgy internet service.
Unvaccinated travellers must provide evidence of exemption before boarding an aircraft. Do some research too, to understand any restrictions at domestic or overseas places you’re visiting.
The requirement for COVID vaccination is here. Think of it as you would any travel vaccinations we’ve had in the past, like rabies or typhoid.
When booking anything; flights, accommodation, events, thoroughly read the cancellation Ts & Cs – that’s thoroughly with a capital THOROUGH.
If you need to cancel, most organisations offer credits for future use. Be fair, they’re desperately trying to get back on their feet; refunds are not always viable. If you need assurance you can get your money back, you may have to cancel within a certain time-frame.
Again, read the Ts & Cs carefully and, if you do book, make diary notes for cancellation and refund deadlines.
Some travel insurers offer limited COVID cover, generally covering medical quarantine and cancellation costs if you’re already overseas. If you’re unable to travel due to lockdowns at home or your destination, you’re probably not covered.
This is why we stress: read the Ts & Cs for all bookings made. Are we harping on about that a bit too much?
Apologies, because you always read the fine print on travel insurance policies, right?
Your airline’s website will provide their boarding requirements. In the weeks/days before departure, check often to see if anything has changed.
For information about your destination, or returning home, visit the government’s website www.smartraveller.gov.au and ensure you:
- review the latest travel requirements for all destinations,
- understand your obligations for returning home,
- are up-to-date with COVID restrictions/lockdowns in your destination country.
With all the hoo-har around COVID, easy to forget that there are other risks associated with overseas travel. Stay informed about government warnings around terrorism, war, scams, etc.
Australians are intrepid travellers. We’re known internationally for being fun and easy going. Yet we’ve taken a battering over the last couple of years, and, maybe we’re a wee bit out of practice.
If you’re eager to resume travel, you’re now free to do so, just be smart, be safe and be vigilant.
Oh, and have fun too!