Could we see in the new year in New York, or be lolling by the pool in the tropical paradise of Fiji? There’s a chance if the National Cabinet’s reopening “Phase C” plan kicks in once the vaccination threshold hits 80 per cent.
This phase includes the “gradual reopening of inward and outward international travel with safe countries and proportionate quarantine and reduced requirements for fully vaccinated inbound travellers”.
Airlines are certainly ready for take-off, with Qantas already reporting a good response to their December gradual restart plan of flights for fully vaccinated passengers, likely to include Singapore, the US, the UK and Canada.
When borders reopen, any international travel will require careful planning, with every destination managing its borders differently in an effort to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Tentatively dust off the suitcase. Here’s the latest on what it might look like to travel internationally and where we could possibly go.
See also: 13 best picnic spots in Sydney
See also: 13 thrilling microadventures you can have in Australia
Whether it’s a long-dreamed-of reunion with family and friends, the opportunity to watch the Commonwealth Games in the West Midlands, or perhaps to help celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee marking 70 years of service, Britain will be a popular choice for international travel, with Qatar and Qantas just two of the carriers offering increased flights to London from December. Qantas has also indicated that direct flights from Australia will restart, possibly from Darwin if Perth remains locked-off.
Entry to Britain is via a traffic-light system. Australia is currently a green-light country for travel into the UK, meaning travellers only need to get tested within the three days before you travel and again on day two after touching down. Quarantining requirements may apply if you transit through an amber country.
For those who have been in a red country, only UK residents can enter. All the information around the traffic-light system and how to be a responsible traveller around the UK – including information on regulations for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – can be found on Visit Britain’s Know Before You Go web page, visitbritain.com.
Imagine sipping a Singapore Sling at the newly renovated Raffles, having a wander through the 1.28-hectare botanical wonderland Gardens by the Bay or trying Hainan chicken rice and chilli crab at a hawker food centre. It’s all waiting for us in Singapore.
There has long been talk of a travel bubble between Australia and the city-state. Singapore, which has passed the 80 per cent double-vaccination mark, has established Safe Travel lanes and vaccination-differentiated border measures to manage entry requirements.
Recently the trial of “Vaccinated Travel Lane” (VTL) began, allowing visitors from Germany to arrive without the need to quarantine if arriving on specially designated VTL flights by Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa. These travellers must undergo four PCR tests − one before departure, one upon arrival and then two more in the week afterwards, on day three and day seven. After arriving at Changi Airport, arrivals must remain in isolation until they’ve been notified (within 48 hours) of a negative test result. A valid insurance policy is also mandatory.
If the VTL trial is a success, it is hoped that the same system will eventually be set up with Australia for fully vaccinated passengers. There are varying rules for Singapore’s different Safe Travel lanes, and any visitor to Singapore will need to download the TraceTogether app.
Back in the USA
Picture driving along palm-lined streets in LA, cycling over the Golden Gate Bridge or exploring incredible national parks across the country.
It’s safe to say the US has adventures available from sea to shining sea for any type of traveller. And once the borders open for us to travel internationally, the direct-flight gateway destinations such as Los Angeles and San Francisco are likely to be popular choices.
All airline passengers to the US aged two years and older must provide a negative Covid test taken within three calendar days of travel. Otherwise, travellers may provide documentation from a licensed health-care provider of having recovered from Covid in the 90 days preceding travel (people who have recovered from Covid can continue to test positive for up to three months after their infection).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that travellers get tested three to five days after travel and self-quarantine for seven days after travel. The CDC also recommends following state and local recommendations or requirements related to travel.
Dreams of swinging on a seaside hammock hoisted between two palms, having a bobo massage, and hearing beautiful Pacific Islands songs on the warm breeze may soon come true with airlines including Fiji Airways ready to fly to Nadi International Airport if the government green light is given before Christmas.
Fijians are keen to give Aussies a welcoming “bula” – Australian visitors account for around 48 per cent of all arrivals in Fiji, and with border closures for 18 months, there has been a big impact on Fiji’s economy.
Right now in Fiji, almost 97 per cent of the eligible population (adults over 18) have had their first vaccine shot, and over 58 per cent are fully vaccinated. At least 80 hotels are all fully vaccinated now, including Vomo, Royal Davui and Outrigger, and all customer-facing Fiji Airways staff are fully vaccinated.
In terms of borders opening, a current framework is being finalised in partnership with Fiji’s Ministry of Health and the Covid Response Management Team. According to Tourism Fiji, it will likely include testing before arrival and proof of vaccinations.
Aching for adventure? Maybe a ski trip, a scenic long-distance train journey, or the opportunity to discover vibrant cities such as Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City? Glorious Canada awaits. From December, Qantas will offer flights from Sydney to Vancouver three times a week and Air Canada has announced it will begin flying four times a week between Sydney and Vancouver.
And the good news is you don’t need to quarantine when arriving in Canada, as long as you’re fully vaccinated. To qualify for entry you must have no signs or symptoms of Covid, have received the full series of an accepted Covid vaccine (which includes the vaccines used in Australia), have received your last dose at least 14 full days before you enter, and have uploaded your proof of vaccination in the ArriveCan app.
All travellers five years of age or older must provide proof of a Covid molecular test result to enter Canada; rapid antigen tests will not be accepted. Unvaccinated children under the age of 12 who are accompanied by travellers who qualify for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption must follow all testing requirements for pre-entry, arrival and day-eight tests (unless under the age of five) and are exempt from quarantine as long as they follow the public health requirements.
Cheeky upgrade hack your kids don’t need to know about
5 easy hacks for eco-friendly travel on a budget
5 bad travel habits you need to quit asap
25 greatest animal encounters on the planet