travel

Thinking of booking an overseas trip? Here's everything you need to know before you do.

If you haven't booked an overseas trip for 2022 just yet, you've definitely thought about it.

With borders open and overseas flights back on, every woman and her dog has considered a much-needed holiday to somewhere other than our state. Thailand, anyone? Hawaii? SIGN US UP.

Watch: Horoscopes at the airport. Post continues after video.


Video via Mamamia.

But with limited information on international travel in a pandemic, and the current invasion taking place in Ukraine, the thought of booking a trip can feel overwhelming and uncertain.

What documents do you need? Where should you be going, and is it safe right now?

We spoke to two travel experts about everything you need to know about overseas travel in 2022, and spoke to a travel writer who's actually done it. Here's what they shared.

Where should we travel to in 2022?

The first question everyone's curious to have answered is where should you travel to? Where are other Australians going?

"We’ve seen already this year, Aussies searching for favourites like Bali and European capitals again, as well as Fiji, Hawaii and neighbouring destinations in Asia," a Skyscanner spokesperson told Mamamia.

"With flights and popular routes being re-established, we expect this number to continue to grow, as our trends show a strong desire for once-in-a-lifetime, big-ticket holidays in 2022, with over half of Aussies (51 per cent) planning to take longer trips this year."

Travel writer Evie and her daughter Emmie were on the first international flight to Fiji in December 2021. For her, being in Fiji was like being on a pre-COVID holiday.

"We didn't wear masks, we felt free, I drank cocktails and swam in the ocean," Evie told us. 

"The feeling of freedom and that the world was finally coming back was surreal. For those six days, we could forget all about the pandemic."

Read more: 'We just flew to Fiji. Here's everything you need to know about taking an overseas holiday right now.'

Is it safe to travel to Europe right now?

A few weeks ago, it felt like a European summer holiday was actually on the cards for 2022. But now with the conflict taking place in Ukraine, it's left many of us concerned about whether we should still book or potentially cancel those plans.

Kelly Spencer, the General Manager of Flight Centre Australia, says it's definitely possible to go, at least for the moment. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"Our view on this is that most of our most popular European destinations like the UK, France, Portugal, Italy and Greece, there’s still some distance from the Ukraine and they're not affected by this crisis," she told Mamamia's daily news podcast, The Quicky.

"We have seen some carriers re-direct their routes, but we have also experienced this at times with conflicts in the Middle East as well.

"So our view is obviously everyone needs to be comfortable travelling and where they’re travelling, but we’re definitely not seeing any decrease in customers wanting to go to those more further a field countries away from the Ukraine."

Right now, the Australian government has updated the travel advice to Russia and Ukraine as 'do not travel', and the countries that border the region to 'exercise a high degree of caution'.

Kelly suggests avoiding Russia and Ukraine as the government strongly recommends it, and to keep up to date with travel advice if you plan on going to any neighbouring countries.

"[We] always really advise to check Smartraveller in relation to any destination that travellers are looking to go to," she said. 

"At the moment, the Australian government hasn’t issued warnings against some of these European countries but that is a dynamically changing situation. So [you] need to keep up to speed with that advice."

"[Also] you do need to keep in mind that some of the border countries to Ukraine are also dealing with a major influx of refugees right now, and some of those borders may close at short notice," she added.

Listen to the full interview with Kelly on Mamamia's news podcast, The Quicky, here. Post continues after audio.


What do you need to know before leaving the country?

With travel rules constantly changing and varying from country to country, you need to be across certain information and documentation before travelling from Australia in 2022. 

Here are four things to consider before you leave the country, according to our Skyscanner travel expert: 

1. Vaccination certificates.

Vaccinated? Get it in writing.

"Ensure you have your vaccination status ready either via an airline app or printed when arriving at any international airport," the spokesperson said. 

2. COVID testing before, during and after your trip.

"Expect to need COVID-19 tests while travelling and ensure you’ve organised the right tests before you go (whether that's a PCR or rapid antigen test)," they said.

And make sure you check when you need to do them. Some countries require tests taken 72 hours before flying, while others only need 24 hours.

3. Face masks.

"Passengers on all flights are now usually required to wear face coverings apart from when they are eating or drinking, so ensure you have enough on hand," they said.

Not only will you need one on the plane, but make sure you check whether you need them on the ground when you arrive to your chosen destination. While many countries have scrapped them, they are still required in some.

ADVERTISEMENT

Get a flexible ticket.

And lastly, the biggest stress when considering an overseas trip during a pandemic is it being cancelled. That's why our expert suggests flexible flights. 

"We always recommend selecting a flexible ticket where possible to give you extra peace of mind in case of any changes," they said.

"Many providers have policies which entitle you to changes, even if you have to rearrange for another date if circumstances change."

Do you need travel insurance?

Short answer: yes, definitely.

"It’s key to purchase travel insurance," the spokesperson said. "There are policies which have been designed for post-coronavirus travel and can cater for last-minute changes."

Have a shop around and see which insurance suits you and your travel needs.

And make sure that if you're going to places in Europe, that your travel insurance provider covers your chosen destination.

"Generally, travel insurance won’t cover travel to countries where the Australian government has actually issued that 'do not travel' advice," Kelly said, speaking about both Ukraine and Russia.

"In relation to the countries where the government has advised to 'exercise a high degree of caution', travel insurance would generally cover people going to these areas but again, [it’s] really important to keep up to speed with the travel advice."

What's the airport process and flying like right now?

Curious about what it's actually like getting through the airport and finally getting on the plane? Yeah, us too.

For Evie, it was similar to overseas trips before the pandemic, just with a little more paperwork.

"I researched and printed out everything I needed and kept them in a folder - International Vaccination Certificate, copies of my travel insurance policy and other requirements for Fiji," Evie said.

"I had to show them at check in and on arrival. It's really about being organised and making sure you have everything you need - just like any international trip, really." 

Her flight was just as straight-forward.

"We flew with Virgin Australia, and the check-in process was a little more detailed as we had to provide extra documents, but it was still quick," she said.

"The flight was amazing."

Do people who have travelled overseas in 2022 recommend it?

Evie's answer: yes!

"If you need a holiday or are travelling to see friends and family, it's completely doable," she said.

"It might be a little different but it [feels] so good to be travelling again. I'm going to do as many trips as I can."

Feature Image: Canva/Mamamia.

Need help with tasks and jobs around the house? Complete this survey to go in the running to win a $50 gift voucher