If you have been following our socials, you would have seen various of our posts on our recent trip to Melbourne, Australia. This is our first trip out of Singapore since Covid, with our last overseas travel being in late Feb’20 to Bangkok, Thailand. With Singapore announcing various Vaccinated Travel Lanes (“VTL”) to various countries/cities in the past months, more local residents have taken to the sky again and we are glad to have joined them!
Surprised that I was actually slightly emotional while boarding the flight to Melbourne, a usually dreaded experience which I have come to take for granted for years. Though with the various VTLs being announced now, with the latest being to Indonesia’s Bali, Malaysia’s Penang, Vietnam and Greece, am already planning my next trips this year!
Having said, with lasting impact of Covid may mean that we will need more than just a passport and air ticket to visit another country now. Many readers have messaged us on our socials asking what are the items to take note for our trip to Melbourne, so we are sharing here a checklist to aid in your next trip out in this post-pandemic world!
We realised most of us are caught up with the new Covid-related requirements, and noticed some of our fellow travellers missing out on checking on visa requirements while at the airport. Unfortunately, VTL or not, the age-old visa requirements are still valid. For example, Australia requires Singaporeans to obtain an Electronic Travel Authority (“ETA”) for entry into the country. So do make sure you have this applied before heading out to the airport. More on ETA here (Electronic Travel Authority (homeaffairs.gov.au).
This is not all, some countries have state / provincial requirements as well. For the case of Australia, the state of Victoria requires all incoming travellers to obtain a Border Travel Permit (“BTP”). Head over to the Victoria State Government’s website for the latest. More on BTP here (COVID-19 border entry | COVID-19 | Service Victoria).
Covid-19 Pre-Departure Test (Pre-Trip)
This differs significantly between countries, with some having scrapped pre-flight testing, and others requiring a mix of ART or PCR tests. For Melbourne, you are required to have on hand a negative test results before you will be permitted to board the plane. You can do a PCR test up to 72 hours prior to your flight, or ART test up to 24 hours prior to your flight. Do note, ART test is known as Rapid Antigen Test (“RAT”) in Australia. More on Covid test requirements here (Information for overseas travellers | Coronavirus Victoria).
For other countries, it is best to read the latest travel advisories of your destination prior to your flights. Do refresh it frequently as with the dynamic Covid situation we live in.
For more on where to book your PCR or ART test in Singapore, please find more here (Pre-departure test locations | Singapore Airlines).
Covid-19 On-Arrival Test (At Overseas)
Again, this is a requirement in some countries. Do follow the requirements closely, although am sure you will be well guided upon arrival at the airport in any case. For Melbourne, you are required to perform a self-administered ART/RAT within 24 hours of arrival. You are only permitted to head out once you have a negative result on hand. Yes, it is very much a self-invigilated process, no reporting to the local authorities required. More on Covid test requirements here (Information for overseas travellers | Coronavirus Victoria).
To note, there is no requirement to perform any test during the duration of your trip for Australia even though some countries may still require this. Do check the latest travel advisories of your destination for this.
Covid-19 Pre-Departure Test (Flight back to Singapore)
For your flight back to Singapore, ICA has done a great site for you to know the required procedures. In gist, if you are on a VTL flight, a pre-departure PCR test has to be taken within 48 hours before your flight, or a professionally administered ART has to be taken within 24 hours before departure for Singapore. Please find more here (Travelling to Singapore (ica.gov.sg)).
From Melbourne, you can take the ART test at the Melbourne Airport itself with Histopath, which is what I booked and it is very convenient and fuss-free. Book an appointment prior to your flight, and you are advised to head over at least 4 hours prior to your flight to cater for the time take for the test as well as the wait for the results which takes between 45-60 minutes. Once you have your test results, which you will receive via email and SMS, you can proceed to the airline check-in counter per usual. Please find more here (Melbourne Airport – Melbourne Airport Store Locator | Melbourne Airport).
Covid-19 On-Arrival Test (Back in Singapore)
Upon arrival into Singapore, complete a declaration form at the airport, to which you will be notified to book and complete a supervised self-administered ART at any of the Quick Test Centre (“CTC”) or Combined Test Centre (“CTC”) within 24 hours of arrival in Singapore. Please find more here (Vaccinated Travel Lane (Air) Overview (ica.gov.sg)).
This is a must have while travelling abroad. Strongly advised you to have this in both hard and soft copies. Head over to the link below to pull your Vaccination Certificates out – here (Notαrise – Digital authentication and endorsement for travellers (notarise.gov.sg)).
Similar to Singapore, other countries have introduced similar Trace Together mobile phone applications since the onset of Covid. For Melbourne, you will need to download the Service Victoria app for checking into restaurants, etc. Do note that as we are not locals, the vaccination status are not shown on the mobile app, therefore you will be required to show your Vaccination Certificates by restaurants. Keep the soft copy on your phone for ease of reference. Please find more here (COVID-19 Check-in help | Service Victoria).
Not all travel insurance caters for Covid-19 related coverage. A positive Covid test results, or even a Health Risk Notice will alter your travel plans immediately, so do make sure you purchase a travel insurance for your upcoming trips. Please find more on Milelion and Moneysmart.
The overall vibe in Melbourne is relatively relaxed and I observed that while most people adhere to the mask wearing requirements indoors, it is a split mix when it comes to outdoors as mask wearing is not compulsory outdoors. Exercise common sense during your trip, such as keeping a social distance from people where possible. If you are more paranoid about Covid, then it is a good practice to don your mask whenever you are not eating, even when you are seated at the restaurant. Needless to say, hand sanitisers and good general hygiene are not to be neglected too.
Feel free to let us know if there should be any other queries in the comments tab below. Safe Travels!
Ranted By The Rantee