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COVID safe travel in Australia and overseas

With borders reopening and restrictions reducing, people are hopping straight back into travel to make up for the last two years.

Last updated: March 10th 2022
If you are having COVID-like symptoms, try to get tested as soon as possible. [Source: Shutterstock]

If you are having COVID-like symptoms, try to get tested as soon as possible. [Source: Shutterstock]

Key points:

  • Each State and Territory in Australia and every country overseas has its own rules and regulations to manage COVID-19
  • If you have flu-like symptoms while travelling, get tested for COVID-19
  • Read the fine print on every booking you make, some providers may not provide refunds if COVID-19 affects your travel

However, the virus is still present and causing problems around the country and worldwide.

Whilst travelling, whether that’s on the road or through the air, it is important you continue to implement COVID-safe measures to keep yourself and the community safe.

Here are the best tips to keep you COVID safe and aware while travelling around Australia or overseas:

1. Be across travel regulations

Before travelling across State or Territory borders or going overseas, be aware that every jurisdiction is different and may have different rules in place to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

This could be regulations on where to wear masks, if you need to have exemptions to enter a State, Territory or country, QR code entry to businesses, or restrictions on certain activities, like density in movie theatres or restaurants.

Make sure you’re across the current regulations at your destination and any areas you might travel through to get there. You don’t want to be travelling interstate or overseas and get a fine for not following COVID-19 requirements.

All air travel requires you to wear a mask on the plane and through the airport terminal as well.

2. Check country rules for COVID-19 travel

Countries are allowing travel again following two years of reduced tourism, however, there still are a lot of COVID-19 restrictions in place depending on the country you go to.

Some countries may require you to be fully vaccinated to enter. Even Australia requires Australians to be vaccinated to travel overseas. You should have your COVID-19 vaccination status easily accessible to show officials when travelling.

You may be required to provide testing prior to entering the country, just as it is moving between some States and Territories in Australia.

Quarantining will be a new part of travelling for many countries for the near future and will need to be considered within your whole holiday. You don’t want your three-week trip to be taken up by quarantining!

For instance, going to Bali requires you to provide proof that you have booked and paid for your mandatory quarantine accommodation – which can be for five to seven days depending on your situation.

Most countries also require you to have medical travel insurance, which is expensive thanks to COVID-19. Countries don’t want to pay for medical bills for tourists who get COVID-19, which is why medical travel insurance is mandatory for entering most, if not all, countries. Make sure to check that your medical travel insurance covers COVID-19 care.

3. Follow COVID-19 safety measures

Just as they were necessary during the beginning of the pandemic, COVID-19 safety measures are still extremely important so make sure you implement them where possible.

Wear a mask where required, keep socially distanced from others in public, wash your hands regularly and use hand sanitiser when accessible to you.

These small measures can make all the difference in reducing your risk of catching COVID-19.

4. If you are feeling sick, get tested

When travelling, you could be exposed to lots of new places and people and it can be easy to pick up something along the way. However, COVID-19 is not something you want to contract while travelling nor spread!

If you are having COVID-like symptoms, try to get tested as soon as possible. If you can find it before your trip, grab a couple of Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) so you can use them straight away if you get concerned about having COVID.

Follow the State, Territory or country guidelines around isolation and quarantine and know where you can find the most up to date information to stay on top of the latest requirements.

5. Have an emergency plan if you get COVID

If you are unfortunate enough to get COVID-19 whilst travelling, having a plan in place can make the situation less stressful.

COVID-19 is not a fun virus to catch and can have huge effects on your physical and mental health, additionally, it may make it difficult to get essentials like food or medicine.

It can be a good idea to know who to call in an emergency if you need to isolate yourself with COVID, and plan how you will access food and other necessities.

Keep in mind, some States/Territories may not allow you back in if you have COVID or if you can’t produce a negative COVID-19 result within 72 hours of entering the border. Some States/Territories will allow active cases to re-enter as long as they travel directly to their home or other suitable location.

Below are each State and Territory website with their border restrictions and COVID-19 safe travel requirements:

Australian Capital TerritoryBorder entry requirements and COVID-19 restrictions

New South WalesBorder entry requirements and COVID-19 restrictions

Northern Territory Border entry requirements and COVID-19 restrictions

QueenslandBorder entry requirements and COVID-19 restrictions

South AustraliaBorder entry requirements and COVID-19 restrictions

TasmaniaBorder entry requirements and COVID-19 restrictions

Victoria Border entry requirements and COVID-19 restrictions

Western AustraliaBorder entry requirements and COVID-19 restrictions

If there is an emergency or catch COVID-19 while overseas, contact the Australian Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or the nearest Australian embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting.

6. Be aware of rescheduling or refund policies

You may have heard horror stories where people got stuck in another country or State/Territory or were unable to get refunds for accommodation, flights or trips they had booked.

Two years on, some providers still have strict regulations when it comes to changing or cancelling travel arrangements due to COVID-19 whereas some tourism providers are a lot more flexible with their services.

For example, Jetstar doesn’t charge fees for changing flight dates if COVID-19 impacts border/country closures, however, you will need to pay the difference between flight fares. If your flight is cancelled, you can change the date, get a credit voucher for the value of your flight, or a refund – although, this is very dependent on the circumstances.

If you book accommodation through a service like Airbnb, they no longer classify pandemic cancellations as an unforeseen event and you may have to follow the cancellation policy of the host you have booked through.

It is important to read all the fine print when booking anything for your trip and be prepared for any cases where you may not get your deposit or the full amount back.

Are you planning to travel more now that state and country borders are opening up? Tell us in the comments below.

Related content:

Packing checklist for older people
Budgeting tips for travelling interstate or overseas
Travelling overseas later in life


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