COVID-19 travel tips

Before you book your overseas holiday, take a look at the latest COVID-19 travel information and advice.

Travelling into and out of Australia

With international borders starting to open, read the latest information on travel restrictions (1 December 2021). 

Until recently, travellers returning to Australia were only able to enter and travel between New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory without quarantining.

However, on Saturday, 25 November 2021, the federal government reintroduced border restrictions on some countries in Southern Africa where the emerging COVID-19 Omicron variant has been detected. The countries are: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Malawi and Mozambique. 

Anyone who has been in these countries and is not an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or their immediate family will not be able to enter Australia.

Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members arriving from these countries would need to go into “immediate supervised quarantine for 14 days subject to jurisdictional arrangements”.

That also applies to anyone who had already arrived in Australia and has been in any of the nine African countries within the previous 14 days.

These measures will be continued until at least 15 December. 

All other international arrivals to Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory must isolate for 72 hours and get tested as a precaution. This can be done at their place of residence or accommodation, rather than hotel quarantine.

South Australia has reimposed some border restrictions. All international travellers and people arriving in South Australia from high-risk Australian locations will again be required to quarantine for 14 days. People arriving from lower-risk locations interstate must also have a COVID-19 test within the 72 hours prior to arrival and must show proof of a negative result.

Queensland, which still requires international arrivals to complete 14 days in hotel quarantine, said they will monitor news about the new variant, but have no plans to change reopening dates at this stage.

Fully vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents are able to leave Australia without needing to apply for an exemption. To travel to or from Australia, you will need to provide evidence that you have been vaccinated with two doses of an approved vaccine at least 7 days prior to departure.

When returning to Australia you must also provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of your flight’s scheduled departure to your airline when checking-in for a flight, unless otherwise specified. You do not need to provide this when leaving Australia.

Some countries may require you to quarantine on arrival, so check your destination’s latest travel advice before booking and departure.

People who can show proof they can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons can travel without applying for exemption.

Non-Australians currently need to apply for an exemption to travel to Australia, even if fully vaccinated. 

For the latest information on state border restrictions, visit the Health Direct website.

Proof of vaccination

  • Vaccinated in Australia: Australians leaving and returning to Australia must provide airline staff at check-in an international COVID-19 vaccination certificate (ICVC) to prove they are fully vaccinated. This can be obtained through the MyGov portal.
  • Vaccinated overseas: You must provide a copy of the vaccination certificate issued by the country you were vaccinated in. This also applies to any Australian citizens and permanent residents and their immediate family members who were vaccinated overseas. It will need to be declared in the Australian Travel Declaration and Digital Passenger Declaration.

Approved vaccines

You will be considered fully vaccinated if you have completed a course (two doses, including mixed doses) of one of the following Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) vaccines administered at least 14 days apart:

  • AstraZeneca Vaxzevria
  • AstraZeneca Covishield
  • Pfizer/Biontech Comirnaty
  • Moderna Spikevax
  • Sinovac Coronavac
  • Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV (for people aged 18-60)
  • Bharat Biotech Covaxin.

You are also considered fully vaccinated if you have had one dose of Johnson & Johnson/ Janssen-Cilag COVID Vaccine.

Seven days must have passed since the final dose of the vaccine to be considered as fully vaccinated.


Due to the high volume of Australians renewing their passports, it’s recommended to apply for a passport or passport renewal well in advance of your planned departure date, as it may take longer to process than normal.

What happens if I get COVID-19 while travelling overseas?

If you contract COVID-19 you will not be allowed to return to Australia until you can supply a negative PCR test. This could mean quarantining at your own expense in a foreign country, and paying out-of-pocket medical expenses and tests. It is strongly advised to have travel insurance that will provide suitable cover should the worst happen while travelling.

COVID-19 travel tips

Do your research and be informed

Staying on top of the latest travel advice and information can help you manage your plans effectively. National Seniors Travel's My Travel Itinerary App provides a complete information hub, acting like your personal Travel Agent on the go.

Review your travel insurance

When taking out travel insurance read the PDS to know what you are getting and what the exclusions are. Policies may now include clauses for COVID-19 related medical expenses, cancellations, and costs.

Be prepared

Pack everything you need for safety including face masks, sanitisers, and antibacterial wipes. Renew your passport well ahead of time to avoid delays, which could be substantial as many rush to renew.

Lock in flexible terms

Ensure you understand the terms and conditions of your booking. Find flexible booking terms that meet your travel needs.

Choose wisely

Look for destinations, hotels, and operators that are following COVID-19 safety guidelines. National Seniors Travel has a suppler excellence program to ensure their ground operators and suppliers have COVID-safe plans in place, and their Signature Collection has been curated with safety in mind.

Try contactless

Everyone is now used to using QR codes. Check-in online, use self-service checkouts and kiosks, and use card payments where you can.

Keep it simple

Don’t make your itinerary too complicated. This will make it easier to reschedule if the worst should happen.

Maintain COVID-safe behaviours

Continue practicing social distancing, wear a protective mask, disinfect often and exercise good hand hygiene.

Check you have 24/7 support

Travelling has a huge amount of uncertainty in a post-COVID world. Make sure you have access to professional 24-hour support from your travel agent or suppliers – this could save you a lot of stress if your plans unexpectedly change.

Print and share your travel documents

Just in case anything gets lost along the way, it’s important to bring printed copies of your important travel documents such as your passport, licences, bank cards and bookings. It’s also a smart idea to print a copy of your vaccine passport – National Seniors Travel can also provide a soft copy on the My Travel Itinerary App. Don’t forget to make backup copies of your itinerary and send it to those you are visiting, and with trusted friends or family back home.

Get to the airport early

With additional check-in requirements taking more time to get through, it’s better to arrive early and be bored, than late and stressed.

Keep everyone in the loop

Along with letting your friends and family know what your plans are, it’s also advisable to lodge your information and itinerary with DFAT Smart Traveller so they can reach you in case of emergency.