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I don’t know about you, but I shouted “woohoo” when I heard that Australia is resuming international travel to some overseas countries in November. It was like a sign of hope for the future and definitely a step in the right direction for the Australian economy.
Our international border was slammed shut in March 2020. So it has been a long time between drinks for most of us. I know many people had international holidays planned for either last year or this year, only to have these plans kiboshed. Our planned trip to Spain and Portugal in August 2020 was quickly cancelled. Although we got refunds on most components, we’re still out of pocket for some of the trip expenses.
Even though Australia is lifting its international border, it will come with a new list of travel restrictions. We had previously created a travel bubble with our neighbour, New Zealand, that didn’t last long. Initially we will only be able to travel to USA and UK from 14 November 2021.
Singapore flights will resume on 23 November, four weeks earlier than originally scheduled. Flights to Fiji are available from 7 December. A new route to India will commence on 6 December.
Flights to Honolulu, Canada and Japan are scheduled to commence from mid-December 2021, with other destinations to restart in the new year.
Then it is expected airlines will also add Thailand, Vietnam, South Africa and Indonesia to its routes from early 2022. This will hopefully be followed up by the resumption of travel to New Zealand by April 2022.
Fully vaccinated Australians will be able to travel overseas with a week of home quarantine on return. There is talk of quarantine-free travel between some countries, like we had in place with New Zealand.
Depending on which Australian state or territory you are in, the date for the resumption of international travel will differ. Once states reach their 80 per cent vaccinated threshold, then they will be free to travel.
At this stage New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory will be the first cabs off the rank on 18 October 2021. Followed by Victoria on 23 November; Tasmania at around 15 December; South Australia on 1 January 2022; Queensland in early January 2022; West Australia on 5 February 2022; and Northern Territory 24 December.
Qantas Airlines have announced they will bring forward the resumption of international flights by a month, to 14 November 2021. They will begin with three return flights a week from Sydney to London and Sydney to Los Angeles.
COVID-19 testing is expected to continue to be a part of pre-travel, but the government is looking at using rapid antigen testing as part of the process.
On an ongoing basis the government will continue with the Smartraveller advice system to warn against travel for countries facing significant COVID outbreaks.
Cruising was one of Australia’s most popular ways to travel up until its ban in 2020, with up to 1.3 million passengers a year. The industry postponement is estimated to have cost the Australian economy $6 billion.
USA, UK, Singapore, Japan, and parts of Europe have already restarted their cruise industry successfully. In the meantime, Australia will only be allowing cruises around its own coastline in early 2022.
At this stage cruise lines have set their own dates on when they believe they’ll be able to take Australians once again. There are sailings available for we Australians from May 2022 at present. We have actually paid a deposit on a cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line from Hawaii to Alaska on 12 June 2022.
At present cruise ships are banned from entering Australian ports up until 17 February 2022. So my estimation is that once the international travel ban is lifted we may be able to cruise again in the latter quarter of 2022.
Although I’m not quite ready to take the plunge to overseas destinations like the UK, USA and Europe. I feel secure in booking overseas travel destinations like Singapore, Japan, Fiji and New Zealand.
Qantas Airlines have announced that they will open travel by 23 November 2021 to Singapore.
Singapore has now vaccinated 80% of its population against COVID-19. Hence Australia is a prime candidate once we match their efforts, which was anticipated by December 2021.
The Singapore government currently classifies Australia as a ‘category two’ country. This means that you can enter if you commit to a seven-day stay-at-home notice at your preferred accommodation.
However once the Australia-Singapore travel bubble is implemented it will provide quarantine-free travel between the two countries. Naturally this will be only be permitted if travellers meet the vaccine requirements.
Vaccinations are ramping up in Japan: 70% of the population has received at least one dose and 60% is fully vaccinated. So once the numbers are up there will be a travel bubble created between our two countries.
Travel between Australia and Japan will be permitted from 19 December 2021. Some restrictions will apply if you’re travelling to Japan, including:
Fiji has announced plans to reopen its borders to tourists by 7 December 2021, when the Pacific Island country is 80% fully vaccinated. The government is considering a “corridor” within which fully vaccinated tourists and Fijians can operate.
Qantas has already started advertising December flights to Fiji for fully vaccinated Australians. For a country that relies heavily on tourist income this will be welcome news for Fijians.
There is already an Australia and New Zealand travel bubble for quarantine-free travel between the two countries. It has been suspended a couple of time during the past few months due to the rise of Covid-19 cases, but will resume once cases decline.
New Zealand’s ban on quarantine-free travel from Australia will remain until November at least, with future trans-Tasman travel hinging on vaccination rates.
But once the bubble is re-instated we will be able to travel freely between out two countries. However you have to produce a COVID-19 negative test 72 hours prior to your flight, not tested positive to COVID, nor been in a COVID hotspot.
From 20 December 2021, we’re able to travel to Honolulu in the Hawaiian Islands, USA. Hawaii has a good COVID-19 vaccination rate, with 78% of the population having received at least one dose.
Visitors to Hawaii will need to show proof of an approved vaccination, a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of travelling, and sign two attestations confirming your negative test result and full vaccination status.
We will be heading off to Bangkok in Thailand in the new year from 14 January 2022. Thailand has given the green light to vaccinated travellers from Australia in a move that coincides with the opening of some of our state international borders.
Thailand’s new requirements for travellers include: travellers must be fully vaccinated, spend their first night in a pre-approved hotel and receive a negative COVID-19 test before they are able to travel freely to the rest of Thailand.
My international travel plans include a cruise from Hawaii to Alaska in June 2022, that at this stage is looking good. Our 20 day itinerary consists of two nights in Honolulu; 16 day cruise to Kauai, Hilo and Maui Islands; sailing for Alaska to Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Glacier Bay, Skagway and Ketchikan; and terminating in Vancouver for a further two nights.
Travel to the North Island of New Zealand to embark on a motorhome road trip around the island is also on the cards. Highlights of this trip would include Auckland, Pahai, Bay of Islands, Raglan, Tongariro, Lake Taupo, Rotorua, Matamata and Coromandel Peninsula.
I’ve always wanted to travel to Japan in Spring to see the cherry blossoms in flower, so that is another possibility for 2022/2023. I would love to see more of Tokyo and visit Kyoto, Osaka, Kanazawa, and Mt Fuji.
What are your future plans for international travel?
Disclaimer: All information and travel dates contained in this article were correct at the time of publishing.
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.