Planning to travel during COVID-19: step by step
Travel is more complicated now. There are more things you need to think about when you're planning your trip.
Read through our step-by-step guide to see what you might expect, from the time you start planning your trip to the moment you arrive back in Australia.
1. Decide whether it’s safe to go
- Read our global COVID-19 health advisory.
- Read the travel advice for your destination and all your potential transit locations. Make sure you understand the risks for every place you're planning to visit. Check the entry and exit requirements.
- Find out whether your destination and all your planned activities are covered by travel insurance. The advice level of your destination can affect whether you can get insurance, and what's covered.
- Find out what to do if you test positive to COVID-19 when travelling overseas. It’s important you understand the risks of contracting COVID-19 in your destination, including any financial implications this may have for you and those travelling with you.
- Find out what state and territory requirements you need to meet when you return. If you need to quarantine on arrival, take the cost of that into account before you commit to travelling.
- Check with your transport operator for their vaccination and testing policy before you book your flights or cruise.
The Australian Government recommends passengers departing Australia be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and travel with proof of vaccination status documentation. Unvaccinated Australians are strongly discouraged from international travel due to the health risks posed by COVID-19.
If you're not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, understand that the risks might be different for you. You may face more difficulty finding flights. International passenger caps still apply to unvaccinated travellers arriving in Australia. Airlines and cruise lines may have a vaccination policy that prevents you from flying with them.
- International travel (Australian Government)
2. Plan your trip
- Read our general travel advice before you go to help plan to stay safe and healthy. Find out what you need to do if you're travelling with children.
- Get a health check and organise your travel vaccinations. Some vaccinations need to be done well in advance of your trip, particularly those that need several doses.
- Plan contingencies for what you would do if you end up overseas longer than expected due to travel restrictions, flight cancellations or testing positive to COVID-19.
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- Check with your travel provider. They can help you understand rules and requirements specific to your planned trip.
- Travel health advice (HealthDirect)
3. Get your passport and visas ready
- Check 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.
- Arrange your visas. Contact the embassy or consulate of your destination if you have questions about their visas or application process. Or any questions about entry and exit requirements.
- If you're travelling to Europe, make sure you understand how Schengen area visa requirements apply to you. And double check the proof of vaccination requirements.
4. Get travel insurance and other documents ready
- Book your travel insurance. Read the conditions carefully before you buy so you know what's covered.
- Let your bank know where you're going and organise your foreign currency. Check how much cash you can carry into your destination.
- If you're vaccinated, download your International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate.
- 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 test. Make sure to check the test types accepted and timeframes they need the test done within, and plan ahead.
5. Leaving through Australian border control
Don’t forget your mask! Many airlines and destinations still have mask mandates in place.
When exiting Australia, you must provide proof of your vaccination status if requested by an Australian official. Carry your proof of vaccination status documentation with you. If you can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons you’ll need to provide proof of medical contraindication, if requested.
Remember, your destination, transit locations and transport operators may have their own testing and vaccination requirements.
If your destination or travel provider requires it, have the following ready when you check in to your flight
- your proof of vaccination
- your negative COVID-19 test results.
Your transport operator can refuse to allow you on board if
- you’re showing symptoms of COVID-19
- you don’t meet their vaccination requirements
- you don’t meet the requirements of your destination.
6. While you're away
- Stay up-to-date with any changes to local restrictions.
- Follow the rules for the destination you're in, 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. Returning to Australia
From 18 April 2022, you no longer need to get tested for COVID-19 when travelling to Australia.
Before you travel
- Organise a COVID-19 test if it’s required by your transit location, transport provider or the state/territory you’re arriving in. Find out where to get tested from the local health authority. Make sure to only use a verified testing centre.
- If travelling by air, complete your Digital Passenger Declaration before your flight.
- If travelling on a cruise, complete your Maritime Travel Declaration between 3 and 10 days before boarding your vessel.
- Complete any entry declarations needed by the state or territory you're arriving in.
Have the following ready when you check in:
- If you're vaccinated, your International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate or your foreign vaccination certificate.
- Your negative COVID-19 test results, if required
- Your Digital Passenger Declaration or Maritime Travel Declaration.
You must wear a mask for the duration of your flight to Australia. If you don’t agree to wear a mask, you won’t be allowed to check in or board the aircraft.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, your transport provider can refuse to allow you on board.
If you're not fully vaccinated, you may face more difficulty finding transport options returning to Australia. Check with your airline or cruise line for their vaccination policy. You may have to quarantine on arrival, at your own expense.