Hello world, it’s nice to see you again! We’ve been patient, and these past 20 months haven’t been easy, but the time has come – the return of international travel is here.
After closing in March 2020, the Australian government is finalising plans to safely reopen Australia’s international border. From as early as 1 November in New South Wales and Victoria, the international border ban will lift, allowing fully vaccinated Australians to leave the country and travel abroad with the peace of mind that they will be able to easily return home whenever they please.
So, get ready for emotional reunions, epic holiday snaps, and travel experiences worthy of telling the grandkids someday. We are ready to Free the Holiday! But first, there are a few things you need to know before you start booking your next trip, like who can travel, where you can go and importantly, when. Luckily, we’ve got the deets ready for you.
Leaving Australia? Here’s what you’ll need.
Passport?* Check. Camera? Check. Suitcase full of killer holiday outfits? Check. It’s a good start, but make sure you also check off the criteria below before you go planning your upcoming escape.
*Make sure your passport still has at least six months left before it expires, and if you need to renew it, make that a priority, stat!
Are you an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident?
At this stage, only Australian citizens and permanent residents who are fully vaccinated with a TGA approved or recognised vaccine will be able to leave (and return to) Australia. The current list of TGA vaccines include Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Coronavac, and Covishield.
Do you have an internationally recognised vaccination certificate?
The ‘Vaccine Passport’ will be used to prove your vaccination status when you travel overseas. Officially known as the International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate, this document can be downloaded from your myGov account.
Have you received a negative COVID-19 test?
Before you fly, you need to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. This involves a swab sample of the nose and/or throat. It’s now super common to be required in many countries upon departure and arrival when travelling internationally.
Where in Australia can you depart from in November?
It won’t be long until selfies in front of Sydney International Airport’s iconic ‘Departures’ sign will be flooding Instagram feeds once again. Come November, Sydney will be Australia’s main hub for international travel, with Melbourne International Airport also set to reopen for overseas travel on 1 November. Other states and territories may have to wait a little longer for international flights to resume, and domestic border restrictions will play a significant role in determining how connecting flights will be planned and managed throughout Australia.
Which countries can you fly to in November?
While the Australian government hasn’t outlined any restrictions on countries you’ll be allowed to travel to once international borders open, there are a few factors that will influence your choice of holiday destination, including: what countries borders are open; their quarantine requirements; and the availability of flights from Australia.
Qantas has announced the revival of international travel with their Sydney-London and Sydney-Los Angeles routes, operating three weekly return flights to each destination. Due to Western Australia’s travel bans and the domestic border currently being closed, Qantas will temporarily reroute its flagship Perth-London direct flights to depart from Darwin Airport with a simple connection from Sydney.
Travel bubbles for quarantine-free travel are on the cards for certain countries like New Zealand, Thailand, Fiji and Singapore in the future. We’ll keep an eye out for these announcements, and in the meantime, we suggest you keep an eye on what amazing experiences are waiting for you in these awesome destinations!
What about arriving back in Australia?
Once the Australian border opens, arriving back home will be a much simpler process for Australian citizens and permanent residents. Here’s what it’s likely to look like.
Will there still be caps on international arrivals?
Great news! Arrival caps will be lifted once these new restrictions begin in November. However, individual states and territories will be responsible for determining if they will accept international arrivals. Airlines will soon begin to increase their scheduled flights on popular routes, and the price of international flights will become much more affordable.
What are the COVID-19 test requirements?
Before you hop on the plane home, you’ll need to return a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours before your scheduled departure. The only current exception to this is if you are arriving on a designated green safe travel zone flight from New Zealand.
What about quarantine requirements?
Fully vaccinated Australians will not be required to quarantine when arriving home into New South Wales and Victoria. For other states and territories, it is likely that a home quarantine system will be implemented after trials in South Australia are completed, and prove this method to be safe and effective.
14 days hotel quarantine will still be required for unvaccinated travellers at their own expense.
When will Australia open its borders for tourists?
In 2019 (aka the good old days), Australia welcomed 9.5 million international visitors to our sunny shores.
It’s expected that tourists will not be able to visit Australia until sometime in 2022, as the federal government have made it clear that the priority for booking seats on these flights will be Australian travellers and returning Australian citizens that have been living overseas throughout the pandemic.
We know that Australia is extremely high on the bucket-list for many travellers, so we hope to see it open up again for international tourists in the near future!
Travelling overseas with Contiki
Your wellbeing is a top priority, and to deliver a seamless travel experience, all travelers booked with Contiki are required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel with us. This policy is effective immediately for travel through December 31, 2022. For more information on Contiki’s Vaccination Policy visit our website.