PCR Test Requirements, Insurance and Everything Else to Know About Overseas Travel

International travel

Traveling overseas is now a lot more complicated than it used to be, aye. At one point in time, all you had to worry about was making sure that your passport was up-to-date and that your luggage weighed less than 500 bricks of gold. Nowadays, you might be worried that your allergies are actually COVID. Or, you could be unsure of what you should do if you catch the spicy cough in another country. 

It’s a complete stressor. And while it certainly isn’t the case for everyone, it is for many. And so, for that reason, others who have yet to travel overseas but have plans to (me!), are keen to know if that’s what they should expect and, more importantly, what they can do to help make their trip more seamless.

Ahead, some of the most-asked overseas travel questions are answered.

Which Travel Insurance Should I Get?

If you’re travelling for an event and don’t have much flexibility with the dates of your trip, it’s recommended you buy a flexible ticket where possible, says Laura Lindsay, Destination and Trends Travel Expert at Skyscanner. “It’ll give you extra peace of mind in case of any changes,” she says.

In saying that, however, COVID has been around for the past two years, so most airlines offer at least travel credit if you have to change your flight because of it. Be sure to read the fine print on the ticket or, if the airline has it, the COVID information hub on its site, before you buy your ticket.

As for travel insurance cover, most policies have now been designed specifically for post-pandemic travel and can cater to last-minute changes. Again, be sure to read the fine print.

For the nitty-gritty, Skyscanner put together a handy travel insurance glossary that answers questions like ‘Will I be covered if my destination is put on a high-risk list?’, ‘What if I test positive before I depart and can’t leave Australia?’ and ‘What if I test positive and have to isolate?’.

As a general rule, though, as of February 2022, insurers will cover you if you get COVID-19, but not because of lockdowns or large-scale problems.

Do I Need to Submit a Negative Test Before I Leave Australia?

No, those departing Australia no longer need to submit a negative test before their flight. Moreover, all inbound passengers don’t need to provide proof of having a COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test before entering this country.

Which Countries Currently Need PCR Tests?

As for what’s required in the international countries you visit, note that some countries and airlines do still require a pre-departure negative test result at check-in before you’re allowed to board your flight. Be sure to check the country’s entry requirements, as well as the airline’s, before you fly.

Australia’s SmartTraveller website is a great resource for up-to-date requirements.

What Happens If I Get COVID While Travelling?

While detailed information can be found on the SmartTraveller site, essentially, if you test positive for COVID-19, whether or not you’ll have to quarantine or self-isolate, and how long for, will depend on whichever country you’re visiting.

“Be prepared for the possibility you may be in your destination longer than planned,” the site advises.

As for if you’ll be allowed back into Australia, the answer is no, until you have recovered. If you have isolated and recovered but your test results continue to be positive, you may be eligible for an exemption if you have a certificate from a medical practitioner.

How Can I Find the Best Deal on Flights?

And, finally, in case you’ve forgotten how to find the best deals on flights, Lindsay shares her top three tips below.

Be Flexible

“Searching by multiple dates and airports will give you the best chance of a bargain. Flight prices are all based on supply and demand. Because some dates are more popular than others, prices will vary.

“The ‘whole month’ search tool on Skyscanner allows you to see cheap flights at a glance and pick the right deal for you. Consider travelling a day before or a day after your original departure dates, flying on less popular days of the week is always cheaper.”

Mix and Match Flights

“As more airlines restart international overseas travel schedules, varying the airlines you choose to fly with can seriously cut costs. Fares don’t have to be booked as returns, look at flying out with one airline and back with another to save money.”

Set Up Price Alerts

“Setting up price alerts will ensure you’re the first to know as prices drop with any additional discounts or added supply. You can mark a flight you’re interested in and Skyscanner will let you know whenever the price goes up or down.”

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