How Australians can navigate international travel during the pandemic

Have a contingency plan

It is important to have a plan B for your travels, as restrictions can change at short notice and impact your plans.

Be aware of alternate options including nearby destinations, accommodation, and transport options including flights. This information can make urgent changes to plans less stressful and much quicker to implement.

It might also be worthwhile allowing for a bit of buffer in your travel itinerary. For instance, don’t book your return flight on the day before you have to return to work, as you may need to allow extra days for potential delays.

Be COVID-19 safe while travelling

Ensure you have face masks, hand sanitiser, antibacterial wipes, basic medications such as paracetamol and throat lozenges, and any other items to keep you safe and healthy.

Pack a few Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) to use if feeling unwell and also to quickly demonstrate your COVID status at any time.

Some destinations require evidence of a negative test to allow entry, either via RAT or PCR test.

Ensure you follow all guidelines provided by airlines and other businesses, including wearing a face mask during flights and in airports, or maintaining social distance at restaurants and shops.

Avid traveller Emma Lovell, of Lovelly Travels, is enthusiastic to recommence travel abroad and has already undertaken a few domestic trips in preparation.

“I travel with multiple masks, hand sanitiser, and I am fully vaccinated. At my destination, I avoid large crowds and minimise my travel on busy public transport. I visit lots of natural outdoor attractions and enjoy cafes and restaurants with outdoor dining options,” she said.

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Book ahead

For peace of mind and to ensure that you don’t miss out on desired sightseeing and experiences, it is advised to book ahead.

Currently, some businesses are finding it difficult to meet visitor demand due to staff shortages and capacity limits so booking ahead provides security to both parties.

Fiona Sweetman, owner of Hidden Secrets tours in Melbourne, said that in the first week of borders reopening she had 80 people book within 12 days.

Opting to take a guided tour may be advantageous as they can help you to avoid crowds or guarantee entry into certain venues.

Be prepared and stay informed

Government travel requirements may change quickly so it is best to be prepared for these circumstances.

Monitor the news channels and government platforms, keep phones charged, maintain basic food supplies, keep the car fuelled, passports and ID with you at all times, and ensure you have a mix of payment options including some cash.

Preparation will reduce stress and anxiety if restrictions change rapidly and will help you and your travel companions to stay comfortable and safe.

Being diligent is the key to navigating international travel during these unprecedented times, but with some careful planning and organisation, it is possible to enjoy international travel again.