International Travel: Everything you need to know

So you’re all packed and ready for your first international trip in, well, forever, but you want to know what you need before head out on your next big adventure?

You’re not the only one!

Excitement for travel returns

A new survey by Skyscanner revealed that for 39 per cent of Australians, going on holiday was the most important leisure activity to them in 2021, ahead of dating (21%), eating out (28%) and watching live sport (12%), highlighting that Australians are prioritising holiday experiences ahead of all else.

Christmas Day flight searches for example saw a massive +140% increase on the website compared with Christmas Day 2020 – indicating that wanderlust is returning.

International travel planning
International travel is back on the cards. Photos: Getty

And according to Skyscanner’s travel expert if you're prepared, heading overseas doesn’t have to be a stressful experience for travellers.

“There are lots of new considerations for travellers with words and phrases that simply weren’t in our lexicon pre-pandemic and new considerations like PCR tests and digital health passes," a spokesperson tells Yahoo Lifestyle.


"While the travel checklist for getting away looks quite different to pre-Covid times, our travellers have shown they are willing to adapt to changing requirements in order to be able get away safely, with thousands of people successfully enjoying those all-important breaks away again as restrictions are lifted.”

woman in airport with face mask
Travel experts say the key to travelling overseas right now is to be prepared. Photo: Getty

Check booking policies and insurance

Travel providers are reacting quickly to the rapidly changing climate with flexible booking policies, increased insurance and competitively low prices set to continue into 2022.

“For travellers looking to book future travel, we always recommend selecting a flexible ticket where possible to give you extra peace of mind in case of any changes," our expert says.

"It’s key to purchase a travel insurance policy that suits your needs; there are policies which have been designed for post-coronavirus travel and can cater for last-minute changes – but it’s really important to read the small print in advance."

And while travel restrictions are still in flux, it’s more important than ever to check the latest travel advice for testing and self-isolation requirements before travelling out and returning back home.

travel from an airport woman waiting
Make sure you've also checked any requirements to return home. Photo: Getty

There are dedicated Covid travel advice pages and tools to help travellers make sense of the new world of travel. You can check out Skyscanner’s travel advice here on their website, or, we've rounded up these tips from Smart Traveller:

Travel tips from Smart Traveller

  1. Decide if it’s safe to go. While we have always had to exercise some caution when heading overseas, Covid has brought with it a whole new set of rules. Ensure that it’s currently safe to travel to your destination, and weigh up how easy or hard it will be to get back home should, God forbid, another variant emerge and you find yourself dealing with travel restrictions, cancelled flights or even a Covid diagnosis.

  2. Plan ahead: Be sure to follow Smart Traveller on social media for updates. Also, get a check-up and all your vaccinations, including your international Covid-19 vaccination certificate, before you go. Your travel provider can also help you understand the current rules for international travel.

  3. Check your passport and Visas: Make sure your passport is in date and valid for at least 6 months from when you plan your trip to end. Some destinations won't let you enter if your passport is expiring soon. You should also arrange your visas. Contact the embassy or consulate of your destination if you have questions about their visas or application process. If you're travelling to Europe, make sure you understand how Schengen area visa requirements apply to you.

  4. Get your travel insurance and documents ready: Book your travel insurance, let your bank know where you're going and organise your foreign currency. Check how much cash you can carry into your destination. Organise any other documentation your destination needs, such as COVID-19 entry declarations or international driving permits. If your destination or airline needs evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result, book a COVID-19 PCR test. Make sure to check the timeframes they need the test done within, and plan ahead.

  5. Leaving through Australian Border Control Don’t forget your mask! Masks are mandatory in Australian airports. Many airlines and destinations still have mask mandates in place. When you check in, have the following ready: If you're fully vaccinated, your International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate (Find out how to get one here) or foreign vaccination certificate, and your negative COVID-19 results. 19 test results, if needed by your airline or destination. If you're not fully vaccinated but have an exemption, your proof of exemption and your negative COVID-19 test results, if needed by your airline or destination.

  6. While you’re away Stay up-to-date with any changes to local restrictions and follow the rules for the destination you're in, as many places have strict penalties for breaching public health orders. Know what to do and who to contact if something happens while you're away. Look in the Local contacts section of your destination's travel advice for contact details of local authorities and the Australian embassy or consulate.

  7. Return to Oz Check the entry and exit requirements for your transit locations and the state/territory you'll be arriving in-they may have changed while you were away. Before you travel, book in to do a COVID-19 PCR test within 3 days of your return flight. A negative test result is mandatory for boarding a flight to Australia. Find out where to get tested from the local health authority, and make sure to only use a verified testing centre. Complete your Australia Travel Declaration - you should do this within 72 hours of your flight. Complete any entry declarations needed by the state or territory you're arriving in. If you have to quarantine on arrival, read about how to prepare.

QR code for verification of immunization after COVID-19 vaccination, passport, facial protective mask and airplane toy over blue background
The checklist is a little longer now before you travel. Photo: Getty

If you or someone in your travelling party test positive for COVID-19 before your flight, you won’t be able to board your plane.

If you're not fully vaccinated, you may face more difficulty finding a flight returning to Australia. Check with your airline for their vaccination policy. You may have to quarantine on arrival, at your own expense.

If you are well informed and prepared you can still have an epic trip. Safe traveling!

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