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Flying soon? 7 tips from recent travellers for a stress-free trip

Posted: 29 June 2022 1:50 pm

5 Australians give their tips for international travel right now.

International travel is back but it's not how it used to be (sorry to sound like a broken record).

So, what should you expect from your upcoming trip? And how can you best prepare?

Five travellers who have recently added stamps to their passports give their advice.

Meet our travellers

Francesca Guerrera

Name: Francesca Guerrera
Place: London

Glynn Doust

Name: Glynn Doust
Place: Auckland

Kirsty Lucas

Name: Kirsty Lucas
Place: Singapore

James Edwards

Name: James Edwards
Place: Thailand

Taylor Blackburn

Name: Taylor Blackburn
Place: Bali

1. Sort your entry documents ahead of time

On top of renewing your passport at least 8 weeks before your trip, make sure you're across any visas or entry passes required for your destination.

Travellers to the UK, New Zealand and Bali don't require any passes. From 1 July, Thailand won't either.

However, Singapore still requires you to fill out an SG Arrival Card. "I advise completing [this] prior to departure and downloading the Trace Together mobile app," says Kirsty Lucas who visited Singapore in April.

If you're staying in Thailand longer than 30 days, you'll also have to organise a tourist visa, which is best done ahead of time.

It's a good idea to print out all your documents as some airlines and security checks request hard copies.

2. Check if there are any COVID-testing requirements

Certain destinations require a negative test before and after your flight.

Checking Smartraveller or the official government websites before your trip can help keep you up-to-date with this.

Singapore, the UK, Bali and Thailand have scrapped pre-flight testing. However, New Zealand still requires it, as well as tests on arrival.

"I had to do a supervised rapid antigen test (RAT) within 48 hours or a PCR," said Glynn Doust who travelled to Auckland in May. He was also given RATs at the airport to test on days 0/1, 5 and 8 and was required to self-report his results through an online survey.

3. Get your international vaccination certificate early

New Zealand, Thailand, Bali, Singapore and the UK all require proof of vaccination. This must be in the form of an international certificate, which you can get through the Medicare app.

The process is simple but the app can be glitchy, so don't leave doing it to the last minute.

"My wife and I were getting an error message and had to physically go into a Medicare centre to get this sorted out," said Taylor Blackburn who went to Bali in April.

In some countries, this certificate needs to be verified. For example, in Bali, you must download the PeduliLindungi app and upload your certificate into it to show at the airport.

4. Get COVID-19 travel insurance

Thailand and Bali had previously required proof of COVID-19 medical insurance before you could enter. However, Bali removed this requirement on 16 June and Thailand is removing it on 1 July.

Even if travel insurance isn't mandatory (it's not for New Zealand, the UK or Singapore), it's still good to have one.

"I feel more at ease having travel insurance mainly because if I had to isolate due to getting COVID-19, my prepaid accommodation and travel would be reimbursed," said Francesca Guerrera who flew to London for the summer.

5. Pre-book and organise your itinerary

Structuring your trip helps you know if you need to prepare any documents to enter attractions or venues.

It can also save you money due to any rising on-ground costs.

"I booked my hotel through Booking.com, which offered airport transport as well. I looked it up online and the Booking.com price was way cheaper than what I would have paid on the ground," said James who travelled to Thailand in June.

6. Pack some masks

Yes, masks are still mandatory on most airlines and routes.

However, on the ground, it really depends on where you are. In the UK, Francesca and Glynn noticed a distinct lack of mask-wearing.

Singapore and Thailand require masks indoors. Poorly ventilated outdoor settings may require masks too.

Bali requires masks at the airport and at select attractions.

7. Don't forget your Digital Passenger Declaration

In the excitement of leaving the country, it's easy to forget to look into any requirements to return home.

The big one is your Digital Passenger Declaration, which you can start 7 days prior to your flight but has to be submitted before you hop on the plane back to Australia.

It's quite a lengthy form and requires proof of vaccination, including your vaccination dates. While you can fill it out last minute at the airport, it's easier to complete on a larger screen.

This will no longer be required from 6 July.

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