Travelling in the age of COVID — do’s, don’ts and other useful information

Singapore — The good news is that after nearly two years, we can begin travelling to many of our favourite places again. Three more countries will shortly become accessible, as vaccinated travel lanes (VTL), this time to Malaysia, Sweden, and Finland were announced on Monday (Nov 8).

The not-so-great news is that gone are the days of simply buying a ticket, packing a bag, and leaving since the Covid-19 pandemic has made travelling significantly more complicated.

But, as the saying goes, forewarned is forearmed. So our best travel tip in the age of Covid is this — prepare well by reading up on the requirements of:

  1. Your destination 
  2. Your carrier/s
  3. Singapore for when you come home

This may involve a significant amount of paperwork. Take your time, it will pay off in the end.

And, as pandemic rules can change pretty quickly based on on-ground situations, it’s not enough to read about these requirements once. You’ll need to stay updated on the latest information from your destination and carrier in order to make sure your requirements are correct and complete.

The sources of information for these requirements will vary, of course, but for your homecoming, the ICA’s safe travel page will be your best bet.

Pro-tip 1: Do as much preparatory work online as you can—fill up forms, upload required QR codes or other documents, download the Covid app of your destination, and finally, check-in—anything that will help you avoid long queues and crowds will be a bonus.

However, having said that, be mentally prepared to endure long queues anyway, especially in newly-opened destinations where the process of welcoming visitors after twenty months may still need some polishing in order to run smoothly. You’ll need to be patient, so bring a book or load up on your favourite podcasts in preparation. With some luck, you won’t need these.

While we’re on the subject, you also need to give yourself enough time to check in. For economy class passengers, the recommended time for checking in is four hours before your flight. 

And if you’re a Crazy Rich Asian and only fly business or first class, you still want to get to your check-in counter at least three hours before takeoff to give yourself enough time. 

Pro-tip 2: Travel insurance, vaccination certificates, and Covid tests. Find out what you need.

Travel insurance used to be optional, at least for some destinations. Nowadays, it may no longer be the case. This is one of the things you’ll want to make sure of before you leave—and your destination may require you to get the type of insurance that covers you in the event that you get Covid.

Some airlines and destinations require proof that you took a Covid test 48 to 72 hours before you board, such as Qatar Airways. Some require an RPT PCR test, others accept antigen tests. Some don’t, including Turkish Airlines, as long as you are fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine.

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And while most destinations require Covid tests when you arrive, some do not, provided you show proof of vaccination or recovery. Note that not all proofs of vaccination are created equal, so again, find out what your carrier and destination require.

As for Singapore,  a Covid test is required upon arrival, which passengers may pre-book and pay for ($160).

Pro-tip 3: Your passport number and flight details will be asked for several times. You may as well commit them to memory or have them written down in an accessible place so that you don’t have to struggle with it.

Last bits of useful information…

The Singapore Airlines website has a very informative landing page for all things Covid, if you’re travelling via SIA.

It especially includes the requirements for all the countries under the VTL scheme, so if you’re planning to travel to any of those destinations, check it out. /TISG

Read also: Get ready! Singaporeans’ favourite SEA travel destination, Thailand, opens Nov 1

Get ready! Singaporeans’ favourite SEA travel destination, Thailand, opens Nov 1

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Thailand Bans Entry of People Travelling From Eight African Countries | World News

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand on Saturday said it would ban entry of people travelling from eight African countries it designated as high-risk for the new B 1.1.529 COVID-19 variant, a senior health official said.

Starting in December, travel from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, will be prohibited, the official told a news conference.

(Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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UAE recalls diplomats from Lebanon, bans citizens from travelling

Abu Dhabi: The UAE on Saturday announced recalling its diplomats in Beirut and banning its citizens from traveling to Lebanon in solidarity with Saudi Arabia in the backdrop of the unacceptable approach by some Lebanese officials against the Kingdom.

The move was announced by Khalifa Al Marar, Minister of State, who said: “The work will continue at the consulate and visa section within its diplomatic mission in Beirut during the current time.”

The action comes one day after Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador in Beirut and asked the Lebanese ambassador to leave Riyadh within 48 hours over the offensive remarks made by the Lebanese Minister of Information against the Arab coalition supporting legitimacy in Yemen.

The Kingdom also ceased all imports from Lebanon. Kuwait and Bahrain also recalled their ambassadors in Beirut.

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Tips on Budget Travelling for Students

Depending on who you ask, college can be a period in your life where you live out your youth or spend countless hours in the school library.

Regardless of which student persona you embody, it is best to use a bit of your time to explore and discover the world.

Travel is considered one of the most fulfilling activities to partake in. It’s stimulating in that it gets you out of your comfort zone by putting you into a different environment. You get to experience different cultures with diverse views and practices. In some cases, your beliefs and notions about life get positively challenged, which can be enlightening.

As exciting as it all sounds, you’re probably wondering how you can handle travel and school work without losing out on either experience. That’s where writing essays service comes in. You can receive 24hr assistance on your essays and assignments, meaning your schoolwork won’t suffer when you’re on the road.

The next thing you might be wondering is how do you travel for cheap? As a student, you’re not exactly the richest person on the planet, and you know about having to stretch a dollar. The good news is, being a student has its advantages, and there are plenty of ways you can travel without breaking the bank.

Read on to find out how to travel on a budget.

Plan Ahead

First things first, planning. It’s crucial to have a travel plan before you can start the booking process and work on the fine details of the trip. It’s more like having a blueprint. Without it, you can’t make the best out of your trip. At this stage, you determine your budget and set a savings plan to achieve your target.

The planning should occur at least six months to a year before the trip. This gives you enough time to accumulate funds, research destinations, and make bookings before prices skyrocket. Planning ahead also gives you enough time to seek out an alternative in case of an issue.

Sign Up for Volunteer Programs Abroad

A good way to travel for cheap is to sign up for volunteer programs abroad. They’re a good way to see the world and lend a helping hand in the process. The good thing is, these programs are designed and targeted towards students. Your accommodation and meals are often catered for, which means you’ll only handle flight tickets and miscellaneous expenses.

Some volunteer programs might be in a remote area with no wireless broadband or limited connectivity. You might think that it’ll prove to be challenging for your schoolwork, but it might not. You can get help from a research paper service in USA no matter where you’re located. This is beneficial as you can fully focus on helping a local community abroad without worrying about your studies.

Use Public Transport

Besides plane tickets to your destination, local transportation can be extremely expensive. That is if you opt for using a taxi to get from point A to B. Ride-sharing apps like Uber might not be expensive initially, but the costs can add up. In addition, they might rob you of the chance to have a unique experience of living like a local.

You should consider using public transport to get around. They’re often much cheaper than taxis and give you a unique perspective of the city or country you’re in. Some examples of public transport include tuk-tuks, buses, trains, and even motorbikes. You’ll find that you’ll spend a fraction of the price and get to see what it’s like to live like a local.

Get Tours from Locals

paris tourist

Local tour guides and travel agencies have packaged tours which can cost a pretty penny for non-residents. This can prove to be challenging for a student who’s on a tight budget. Luckily there are alternatives you can seek out.

If your accommodation is a homestay, you can ask your host to give you a tour around the area. They’ll likely be happy to do so, and in most cases, they might have already planned for it. You can also ask through a local Facebook group for a tour/cultural exchange. You’re bound to have a tour that’s more true to the area and much more immersive.

You’ll visit less touristy locations and go places not listed on travel itineraries. You can even gain inspiration for your future essays and projects! Keep in mind that you can lose track of time while exploring, so it’s good to find a paper writing service in USA to get help with your schoolwork so as not to fall behind. That leaves you free to move around and explore with ease.

Select Your Destination Wisely

travel map study

It’s important to be very objective when choosing a destination. Your instinct would be to seek out popular tourist destinations like Paris or Rome, but these can be expensive cities. On top of that, popular destinations often have a huge influx of tourists leading to overcrowding.

When selecting a destination, consider things like the cost of travel, accommodation, food, and activities. It’s also important to look at safety. If there’s instability in the area, it’s best to pass on it. Besides general safety and wellbeing, you should work on selecting a destination that gives you the best bang for your buck. You shouldn’t have to compromise on anything for a lesser experience.

Stick to the Budget

As with anything else related to spending, it’s best to stick to your budget. Overspending can lead to complications that can leave you stranded in the worst-case scenario. Always opt for what is within your realm of affordability. There’s no need to upgrade your flight ticket or room for a few extra dollars if what you have will serve the same purpose.

More often than not, once you go over your budget in one area, it snowballs into others. For instance, you’ll find that once you spend more on a flight ticket, you’ll feel like it’s okay to spend more on food, activities, transport, and other things. It’s important to realize that you can work within your means without depriving yourself of any comforts.

Travel Over the Low Season

One of the best ways to travel on a budget is to do so over the low season. Most destinations operate on a seasonal basis. More people tend to travel over the holidays, which means prices are hiked and there will be crowds of tourists.

Plan to visit high-traffic areas over the low season. It’ll be less crowded and way cheaper. For instance, you don’t need to go to the Caribbean in December. You can plan to go in March or April instead. Flights and accommodation will be cheap, and you can have a relaxed trip with minimal tourists in the area.

Look for Cheaper Accommodation Alternatives

Number two on the list of the most expensive things on a trip is usually accommodation. As a student, you really don’t need to be staying in hotels and paying exorbitant prices. It’s just not reasonable. If you opt for that route, you’ll find that you won’t have much left in the budget to get out and fully immerse yourself in activities and experiences at your destination.

A good solution is to look for alternative accommodation options that can save you a huge chunk of cash and put you in a position to interact with locals. Another pro is that you may end up meeting fellow student travelers. As such, you can exchange tips and ideas on what to do to make your trip worthwhile.

Here are some accommodation options you can consider:

  • couchsurfing;
  • homestays;
  • shared apartment;
  • hostels;
  • backpacking;

Utilize Student Discounts

One thing about being a student is that it comes with many perks in the name of student discounts. Almost everywhere you go, there’s always a chance you can get a price reduction. From flight tickets to museum entry fees, national parks, and recreational areas. It’s one of the main benefits of being a student.

So, how exactly do you get student discounts while you’re abroad? You can apply for an International Student Identity Card (ISIC), which is recognized in most countries and makes you eligible for student discounts while abroad. You can get things for free like museum entries in some countries and subsidized rates on other activities. It’s not recognized in some countries, though, so it’s good to check in advance.

Avoid Eating Out

Depending on your habits, meals can generally be cheap, but one slight miscalculation can poke a hole in your budget. The thing most people do is decide to eat out constantly since they’re on holiday. This can be detrimental to your travel budget as a student, as you can redirect most of that cash to activities and experiences.

If your accommodation allows it, buy ingredients and cook for yourself. Alternatively, you can choose to eat at local restaurants that are cheap instead of higher-priced restaurants. If you can save a few dollars every day doing this, it’ll be much better in the long run because you’ll have more disposable funds.

Final Thoughts

Every student should consider traveling during their studies at least once. It’s a great way to get out of your comfort zone and gain a new perspective on the world. Ultimately, it can end up being a life-changing experience.

Unfortunately, most students are held back from traveling because they believe it’s an expensive endeavor. The tips outlined above prove otherwise. All it takes is careful planning and being flexible enough not to hold yourself back when analyzing options.

If you take advantage of your student status, you’ll find that you can have access to almost anything you’d like for a lesser amount. When it comes to traveling on a budget, anything is possible with a can-do attitude.

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US Health Agency Urges Americans to Refrain From Travelling to 4 More European Countries

American citizens have been advised to refrain from travelling to four European countries – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Belarus, Moldova – since they have registered an increase in COVID-19 infection cases.

According to the latest update of the Travel Advisory, which is reviewed every week based on other countries’ epidemiologic situations, the US Department of State has changed the travel advice against travel to the countries mentioned above from ‘Level Three: Reconsider Travel’ to ‘Level Four: Do Not Travel’.

This categorisation is the highest advisory level, meaning that persons travelling to one of these areas have a greater likelihood of being infected with the COVID-19 disease, reports.

Consequently, the US health agency advises that everyone who must travel to one of the four countries is fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 disease with one of the vaccines that have been authorised for use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in order to lower the risk of getting infected and developing symptoms.

Until now, FDA has approved only Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty), Moderna (Spikevax), and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccines.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Bosnia and Herzegovina due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country. Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorised vaccine,” the Department of State noted. The exact same advisory was issued for the three other countries too.

Figures provided by World Health Organization (WHO) show that since the beginning of the pandemic, Bosnia and Herzegovina has registered a total of 241,227 infection cases, 275 of them being reported only during the last 24 hours.

Belarus has identified 559,715 in total, of which 1,943 were reported during the last 24 hours, whereas Moldova has registered a total of 307,182 cases.

In contrast, Romania has registered 16,743 new cases during the last 24 hours, which is the highest number among all four countries, bringing the total number to 1,382,531.

Except for the four European countries, the same travel advisory has also been issued for Cambodia and Saint Vincent and The Grenadines.

In addition, last week, the Department of State revealed that Americans are now also urged to refrain from travelling to Austria, Croatia, and Latvia since the countries have a ‘Do Not Travel’ alert.

On the other hand, the Department of State has revealed that the COVID-19 situation has improved in Spain as the country has been moved from Level Four to Level Three. The Czech Republic, the Faroe Islands, Gabon, South Korea, and Uganda have also moved to Level Three from Level Two.

Previously, reported that the US would permit entry for Europeans vaccinated with WHO-approved vaccines. This means that except for the vaccines that the US currently recognises, travellers from the EU vaccinated with AstraZeneca, including Covishield, Sinopharm, and Sinovac, will be permitted to enter the US territory once the entry ban is lifted.

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Residential school survivor criticizes Trudeau for travelling on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

A residential school survivor says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to travel for a family vacation to Tofino, B.C. on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation shows “his words don’t match his actions.”

Evelyn Korkmaz, who survived the St. Anne’s residential school in Fort Albany, Ont., criticized the prime minister for instead taking part in a Parliament Hill ceremony on the eve of the new federal statutory holiday meant to honour the children who died in residential schools and the survivors and communities affected by the system.

“It’s like celebrating Remembrance Day … or reflecting on Remembrance Day on November the 10th rather than November the 11th,” she told CBC News.

Korkmaz, who said she was abused during her time at St. Anne’s, was in Ottawa Thursday to mark the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. 

She is one of the St. Anne’s survivors embroiled in a legal battle with the federal government over their compensation cases.

“And this just shows us survivors that he doesn’t actually want to meet with us. He’s just hoping that we will just disappear into the sunset,” she said.

Trudeau has faced sharp criticism over his decision to travel Thursday. While his official itinerary said he would be in “private meetings” in Ottawa that day, it was later updated to reflect the fact that he was in Tofino.

His office noted that the prime minister spoke at a sombre ceremony on Parliament Hill Wednesday night, where residential school survivors shared stories of intense trauma. Trudeau also tweeted that he spoke by phone with residential school survivors “from across the country.”

A ‘colossal failure of leadership’

The president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs has also criticized Trudeau for not stopping in Kamloops to attend a ceremony to commemorate unmarked graves found near a former residential school. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said the prime minister “turned his back on Indigenous children.”

Phillip told CBC Radio’s “The Early Edition” Friday that it all amounts to a “colossal failure of leadership” on Trudeau’s part.

Phillip said the prime minister had been invited twice by the chief of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Nation to attend a commemoration ceremony Thursday. The First Nation is near the site of the former Kamloops residential school where some 200 unmarked graves were discovered this spring.

WATCH | Anger, disappointment after Trudeau vacations in Tofino, B.C.:

Trudeau travels on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation for Tofino vacation

Anger and disappointment after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is found vacationing in Tofino, B.C., on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. 2:19

At a press conference a day before, Kukpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir said she “did hold out hope that (Trudeau) would be here today.” 

Phillip has been a frequent critic of the Trudeau government, particularly over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. He accused the prime minister of “absolute hypocrisy” for not accepting Casimir’s invitations.

“During the election, he was taking a knee at every opportunity to demonstrate his support for residential school survivors,” he said. “And yet, when the rubber hits the road, he ticked off to Tofino.”

Trudeau planning to visit First Nation in Kamloops: PMO

Later Friday, Trudeau’s spokesperson Alex Wellstead told CBC News in a media statement that the prime minister is planning to visit the community soon.

“Our office has spoken directly with Chief Casimir today. The prime minister will be reaching out to speak directly with Chief Casimir, and we are making arrangements to visit Tk’emlups te Secwepemc in the near future,” he said.

“The prime minister spoke with eight residential school survivors from across the country over several hours yesterday. It was an important opportunity to hear their stories of trauma and healing, and to hear their advice on the path forward.”

At a press conference in Ottawa, Health Minister Patty Hajdu repeatedly ducked questions about her reaction to the prime minister’s decision to fly to Tofino on a day meant to be about solemn reflection.

Minister of Health Patty Hajdu responds to a question during a news conference Monday October 5, 2020 in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Hajdu said that she attended a commemorative event in her Thunder Bay riding, calling it a “profound experience.” The new federal statutory holiday, to be marked annually on Sept. 30, will have a “profound legacy for Canadians and for Canada,” she said.

When a reporter asked why she chose not to take the day off — implying that Trudeau had done so — Hajdu said she could not speak about the “scheduling” of other people.

“I know the prime minister was at an event the evening before with survivors but I honestly don’t have the details of his schedule,” she said. “I can just speak to mine.”

Hajdu said the prime minister does meet with Indigenous people to talk about what needs to be done to advance the cause of reconciliation.

Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault also faced questions about Trudeau’s trip during an appearance on Power & Politics Thursday.

Guilbeault, who sponsored the bill to create the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, said he marked the occasion by taking part in a reconciliation walk in Montreal with other cabinet ministers and politicians.

WATCH: Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault is asked about Trudeau’s trip

Trudeau in Tofino, B.C. with family on 1st National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Prime Minister Trudeau took a family vacation as Canada marked the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. In response to questions about the timing of this holiday, Minister of Heritage Steven Guilbeault says that on the issue of reconciliation, “viewers will see that [the Prime Minister] takes this very seriously.” 7:32

Asked if it was a mistake for the prime minister to take a holiday Thursday, Guilbeault wouldn’t say.

“What I can tell you is that I’ve had numerous conversations with the prime minister over the last two years on this very issue of reconciliation and I think viewers will see that he takes this very seriously,” he said.

The office of Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole released a statement accusing Trudeau of treating a solemn occasion “like a holiday.”

“This is the pattern Canadians have come to know with Justin Trudeau,” O’Toole’s office said. “He says nice things about reconciliation but never follows through.”

O’Toole’s office said the Conservative leader marked the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by “taking the opportunity to remember and honour the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families, and their communities.” 

Incoming NDP MP Blake Desjarlais, who is Métis, told CBC News the prime minister should apologize.

“I think an apology is necessary because Indigenous people have given something … a really difficult part of themselves … to the country,” he said. “And our top official wasn’t there to listen.”

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Living, partying and travelling with COVID. Aussie expats shed light on their summer of freedom

A sweaty, heaving dance floor, crowds of strangers pressing up against each other fighting to get a drink at the bar – without masks.

This is the level of “normal” Sybella Stevens returned to in Berlin after holidaying in Portugal and Italy earlier this month.

The 35-year-old decided to stick out the pandemic in Germany where she has been living since 2014, despite fears of an uncertain separation from her family in Sydney when the pandemic struck.

“It was a really tough decision because everything was so scary and unpredictable. I was on the verge of coming back,” she said.

Now, having been fully vaccinated since July, she is among the Australian expats who are living what’s been dubbed the ‘hot vax summer’. 

She is having the kind of highly anticipated post-lockdown summer of freedom, filled with chance encounters, reconnections, restaurants and parties, that Australians on the east coast are dreaming of.

Sybella Stevens takes a selfie on a bridge overlooking the canal in Venice.
Ms Stevens endured seven months in lockdown but has been able to travel Europe over summer with a COVID pass. (



“Life is a lot more normal. In Lisbon, you just showed your COVID pass and it was all very relaxed. It was the same in Venice and Rome,” Ms Stevens said.

“It was very swift; everywhere you went they would just scan your QR code to validate it and then you would go through.”

European member states are allowing travellers to enter with a digital EU COVID Certificate, which serves as proof that a person has been vaccinated, recently received a negative COVID test, or is protected against the virus after being recently infected.

This was Ms Stevens’ ticket out after enduring a rough Berlin winter in a lockdown which stretched on for seven months with infections in the tens of thousands.

“Not only were you living a restricted life in an ugly city, where you couldn’t do the things you were there for, but you could also get COVID. There was a genuine fear,” Ms Stevens said.

“Going on a holiday was the best thing in the world. It recharged me after lockdown.

A chalkboard sign 'geimpft, genesen, getestet'.
Germany’s “3G rule” — translated as vaccinated, recovered, tested — outlines who can enter public venues.(

Pixabay: Gerd Altmann


An explosion of rapid testing

The 3Gs strategy – Geimpft, Genesen oder Getestet (vaccinated, recovered or tested) — is also the model Germany has relied on for bars and restaurants to reopen, and gigs and festivals to go ahead over summer.

While masks were still mandatory in most situations, testing had become equally prolific, with pop-up sites on street corners, shopfronts and at venue doors, Ms Stevens said.

Rapid antigen testing, which returns a result in under 30 minutes, has been enough for most venues to allow entry. 

The more accurate polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, which take around 24 hours for a result, are required for travel.

Australia continues to rely primarily on the “gold standard” PCR tests, as rapid tests are considered less reliable and still subject to strict conditions hindering widespread use. 

“Rapid testing is one of the additional strategies we have to look at, particularly when we’re not having a COVID-zero viewpoint or even suppression to really low levels,” Peter Collignon, professor of microbiology at the Australian National University, said.

“Having said that, people need to realise that they’re not foolproof.”

A line of people outside a Berlin nightclub against a grafitti-covered wall.
Berlin’s nightclubs have been able to reopen over summer but mask mandates apply for the unvaccinated. (

Supplied: Jascha Mueller-Guthof


He added that rapid testing was useful while you’re waiting for people to get fully vaccinated, especially in enclosed spaces like bars and planes. 

“While they may miss some cases equally they pick up cases … That means at least those people are kept away from others.” 

Last week, Health Minister Greg Hunt said rapid antigen tests would “play a big part in Australia’s pathway out of lockdown”.

He said the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved 28 rapid tests and the next step will be to consider how they can be made easily accessible for workplaces and use at home.

Partying like it’s 1999

In early August, the German government teamed up with scientists from Berlin’s Charite hospital for the “Clubculture Reboot” pilot scheme to see whether PCR tests could also be used to fully revive Berlin’s iconic nightlife and keep clubbers safe.

Around 2,000 clubbers, who were not required to have been vaccinated, were let loose maskless across six venues over a weekend after returning a negative PCR test.

A week later they were tested again and no new infections were recorded as a result of the event.

Pamela Schobess, chairwoman of ClubCommission Berlin who carried out the trial, said in a statement that the method offered a real opportunity to open clubs “even if incidences and hospitalisations rise sharply in autumn”.

A dark crowded dance floor with laser lights streaming through the space.
Nightclubs have reopened in Berlin, despite Germany having a vaccination rate of around 62 per cent. (

Supplied: Jascha Muelller-Guthof


However, the rules around testing continue to shift as Chancellor Angela Merkel pushes to increase vaccination rates to provide “protection for everyone”.

Around 66 per cent of the German population has received one vaccine dose and 62 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Ms Stevens learned first-hand last week that there are new privileges for fully-vaccinated clubbers to get a more authentic experience.

“People who were unvaccinated could be there if they had a negative test, but they had to stay outside in a separate area.

“I was given a wristband to go inside and there was not one person wearing a mask,” she said.

Holidaying ‘like COVID never existed’

Jessica Wong faced a similar lockdown experience in London.

She said being crammed into small sharehouse apartments with “no proper light or gardens” for most of last year was “brutal”.

The 32-year-old had been back in Australia just before the borders closed but returned to London where she had been living for four years due to work.

“Maybe in retrospect, I think I should have stayed in Australia. Especially through last year,” she said.

Jessica Wong and her friends sit on a rooftop in Mykonos with the sun setting over the Mediterranean.
Ms Wong (far right) and her friends were able to travel to Mykonos with vaccine passes and negative PCR tests. (



“There wasn’t one or two COVID cases here – there were thousands.

“So many people had been touched by death from COVID in some way that they were really grateful to have vaccines available.”

At the first chance she could, Ms Wong left London for a holiday in Greece.

While getting in and out of the UK was a “logistical nightmare,” she said once arriving in Mykonos “it was like COVID never existed”.

“I went to Mykonos the first week it dropped its rules and put music back on … When I was watching my friends and everyone at the parties it was like they had never heard music before. It was so nice to see,” she said.

A group of people stand on a dancefloor with their hands in the air
Britain celebrated its “Freedom Day” on July 19. (

AP: Alberto Pezzali


Britain has recorded one of the highest COVID-19 death tolls in the world for its population size, but also has one of the world’s highest vaccination rates.

There have been no rules set for vaccine passports to attend pubs, bars and clubs, and the government has backflipped on plans to introduce them in the future.

Ms Wong says generally people respect mask wearing and testing in workplaces to protect those who can’t be vaccinated, but she is worried about the winter.

“It still feels like everything is temporary,” she said. 

Professor Collignon said Australia would be watching closely to see what happened in the US, Canada and Europe over winter.

He believes Australia is well placed going into summer and is optimistic vaccination rates will keep climbing.

“I think we’ll probably get higher vaccinations in Australia than the UK without the 50,000 deaths they had,” he said.

“I think we’ve been fortunate to not have had much spread of COVID.”

Living with COVID and catching it – twice

For Yasmin Bright, who was initially stuck in Colombia before living out most of the pandemic in a “tiny jungle town” in Mexico, her experience took a different turn.

The 38-year-old caught COVID-19 in Colombia despite being under a strict lockdown where she “didn’t see the night sky for three months”. 

When initial attempts to get a flight back to Australia caused too much stress she decided to stay and move to Sayulita on Mexico’s Pacific coast.

“COVID ripped through there pretty early, but when everyone got it and recovered it was life as normal after that,” she said.

“There wasn’t really restrictions. There were no masks, there was indoor dining and yoga classes. Everything was just like normal.”

Vaccinations were only available for Sayulita residents, so when the tourist town was struck by Delta Ms Bright contracted COVID-19 again. 

This month she has been visiting friends in the US with her COVID-19 recovery status making her eligible to travel for up to 90 days. 

Yasmin Bright sits at a bus stop with the words Las Vegas written above it.
Ms Bright has been taking international flights out of Mexico by showing proof of recovering from COVID. (



“I’m able to board an international flight in Mexico,” she said.

“You can show a proof of recovery from COVID. And that’s like showing your proof of vaccination for travel.”

Despite her experiences, Ms Bright says she’s still uncertain about whether to come back to Australia. 

“I want to see my family and friends in Australia. But at the same time, I don’t want to fly into Australia and be locked down in the same situation that I was in 12 months ago,” she said.

“A lot of the world is open … you can fly to Europe, you fly to the US and South America. Australia just seems like it’s a little stuck in the past.”

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Travel industry experts tip a post COVID-19 boom in young people travelling overseas

Cristina Andreone has a long list of places around the world she is itching to visit.

Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, South Africa and the United States are among her top destinations and she cannot wait to jump on a plane out of the country as soon as Australia’s international border is lifted, whenever that may be. 

The 21-year-old had her first taste of travel, since migrating from South Africa as a child, when she rang in the 2020 new year in Bali with her boyfriend,  Harry Parkes. 

“It’s been something I’ve been thinking about since, like, the age of seven.”

A close-up photograph of a young couple looking at a computer.
Harry Parkes and Cristina Andreone hope to travel through Asia and Europe.(

ABC News: Evelyn Manfield


But her plans for last year — which included a university exchange in the United States, or visiting her grandparents back in South Africa — were upended by COVID-19. 

While Ms Andreone has had to give up on her dream of a university exchange, she has turned her attention to saving up for a trip through Asia or Europe and is hoping now that she has had more time to save, this trip will be even bigger and better. 

Traveller rush expected as restrictions lift 

Ms Andreone is not the only one with a burning desire to leave the country.

It is expected there will be a big rush on travel once the announcement to open Australia’s border is made. 

A Balinese man hugs a couple at a dinner table
The couple got their first taste of travelling in Bali.(



Demographics Group executive director Bernard Salt said he imagined “the websites for the airlines will be swamped immediately”.

Mr Salt said along with retirees wanting to cross countries off their bucket lists, and those wanting to reconnect with family overseas — especially if there is a new baby in the mix — Australians in their twenties would be among the first groups of people wanting to head abroad.

“It’s almost a rite of passage to travel overseas to explore the world before coming back and settling down,” he said. 

Young people hit by travel grief

Curtin University associate professor of psychology Lauren Breen said cancelled plans and lost opportunities — such as missing out on overseas travel — could cause people to experience grief. 

digital nomad
Missing out on a gap year may trigger feelings of grief for young people.(

Averie Woodard, Unsplash


That could include “rites of passage” such as not being able to travel overseas and having school formals cancelled or postponed.

Dr Breen said pandemic-related restrictions were in place for longer than people might have first thought, which affected their ability to plan. 

“They thought maybe 2020 was a write-off, but maybe didn’t realise that 2021 might also be problematic, or even 2022,” she said.

On top of that, with other countries opening up, Dr Breen said lots of young Australians would be experiencing FOMO [fear of missing out], more so than last year.

A rite of passage on hold

Tourism Lead at Deloitte Access Economics, Adele Labine-Romain, said along with families who have been separated by travel restrictions, young people will this year start to feel frustrated as other countries open up.

“It will be frustrating for the young people in Australia that we’re still quite a few months behind that,” she said.

“It really is a window in time for them.”

She said while there was no doubt some people would delay their trips, for others, life will move on.

“For a lot of our young people, the opportunity to travel overseas over these number of years will be lost,” she said.

Contiki Holidays managing director Katrina Barry said travelling as a young adult was “special”.

A Cambodian nun in a face mask holds a golden bowl filled with flowers next to a golden Buddha statue
Cambodia is among the countries Cristina Andreone wants to visit. (

Reuters: Cindy Liu


Ms Barry said travel provided the opportunity to meet new people, learn about yourself, and see the world — often without too much responsibility. 

“You grow in tolerance and in your awareness and your consideration for difference and for diversity,” she said.

Each year, about 50,000 young Australians head on a Contiki trip, and another 30,000 go on a Topdeck tour, where they traverse across countries, often by bus, with a group of people they have never met before. 

A person wearing a backpack and hiking sticks looks up at a mountain capped with snow.
The lack of overseas travel opportunities is likely to affect young people’s lives, experts say.(

ABC News: Angad Dhakal


But she said the window for those opportunities was rather small. 

“The reality is, you know, you’ve got your twenties to see the world, to have fun and explore and then in your thirties, you probably have to settle down and start getting a bit smart and save money, rather than spend it on seeing the world,” she said.

Ms Labine-Romain said the lack of overseas travel opportunities during the pandemic would have an impact on the life experience of young people.

“Travel is a really important part of young Australians’ lives,” she said.

She said Australians in their twenties make around 1.8 million overseas trips per year, which reinforced how important travel was to them.

According to data from Deloitte Access Economics, provided to the ABC, the equivalent of 52 per cent of Australians aged between 20 and 29 went overseas in 2019, based on the assumption each person takes one trip.

Young Australians more likely to travel

Head of travel at Deloitte Access Economics Adele Labine-Romain said the lack of overseas travel opportunities during the pandemic would have an impact on the life experiences of young people. 

She said the loss of opportunities to live and work overseas would be hard to recoup for young Australians, given those experiences were tied to age.

According to data from Deloitte Access Economics provided to the ABC, young Australians have a slightly higher propensity to travel overseas than other cohorts.

Data showed the equivalent of 52 per cent of Australians aged between 20 and 29 went overseas in 2019, based on the assumption each person takes one trip. 

Longer travel plans in the pipeline

Even though there is no date set for when Australia will open up to international travel, Ms Barry said young people believed they would be able to fly abroad by some point next year and many were already booking trips. 

She said Contiki’s demographic was keen to travel for an extended period of time and the most popular trip was one through Europe spanning 45 days.

Topdeck had recorded a similar consumer sentiment. 

Throughout the pandemic, it surveyed around 2,000 of its consumers and found attitudes indicated travellers were keen to travel for longer than before.

Topdeck general manager of sales David Gendle said it was a sign of “pent-up demand for travellers wanting to get out of the country [and] get off the island.”

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Fight attendant becomes NHS vaccinator – ‘my travelling days are over’ | Travel News | Travel

Sophie gets to the Home Park vaccination centre in Plymouth every morning at 8 am ready for her 12 hour shift. Patients start showing up at 8:30 – some excited and others anxious – about getting their Covid-19 jab delivered for the first time.

Vaccinators like her at Home Park Plymouth can vaccinate up to 300 patients a day, but not all of them are medical professionals. Some like Sophie, come from a very different background.

Originally from Cornwall, Sophie has worked as a cabin crew for more than 11 years, flying for airlines like Ryanair or Norwegian.

She lost her wings last year when her company stopped operating due to the pandemic, and she was furloughed for months.

She then changed her cabin crew uniform for a nurse’s scrub. But why did she decide to get into healthcare?

READ MORE: Vaccine passports launched in Scotland – how do they work?

Perhaps Sophie was forced to change careers, but in doing so, she discovered her real passion.

“When the Covid pandemic hit last March I was working as cabin crew for Norwegian Air. When I was first furloughed I set up a First Aid Instructor business to ensure I had something else to do if the worst happened.

“Sadly in January 2021, I was made redundant as the company stopped operating. I was looking to see what jobs were out there and looked at the NHS, as I was already on my way to working in the medical industry with my First Aid training.

“I saw the adverts for the mass vaccination centre and thought it would be a great experience and also a way to ‘do my bit’,” she explained.


But what is a day like in the life of a Covid-19 vaccinator?

“The day begins with a briefing at 08:00 then set up before patients arrive at 08:30. We can do 6 hour shifts or 12 hour shifts starting at 08:00.

“We can vaccinate up to 300 patients a day,” she explained.

Sophie is aware that many people don’t know the NHS has trained non-medical professionals to become vaccinators.

After recently asking for feedback on social media, a number of respondents said that they wouldn’t feel comfortable with a flight attendant administering their vaccine and said they would much prefer a doctor or nurse doing so.

Some also said that they would actually refuse to get their vaccine if they knew that a former flight attendant was administering it.

Sophie responded to that: “As cabin crew you are very advanced first aid trained.

“During my progression in this role I have received full training and support and the whole process is closely monitored by registered staff.”

She said that fortunately, she has never encountered anyone that felt that way, and no patients have ever asked if she’s a fully qualified nurse.

“The patients have been lovely. So much appreciation from the patients right through the ages groups.

“Many people have been anxious in general about getting the vaccination and most people have been reassured and surprised at how their worries were quickly resolved afterwards, and in general at how quick and easy their vaccination had been,” she explained.

The UK is one of the countries where the highest number of vaccines have been administered to date, and Sophie believes that flight attendants have certainly played a key role in the vaccine rollout.

“I believe it’s been a huge team effort across the NHS and the systems involved, including volunteers, and everyone that has played a key part in delivering the mass vaccination programme. I have been amazed at how many people from different backgrounds have pulled together to build this great programme.

“Everyone I have worked with, no matter of their past careers, has made a massive contribution to the mass vaccination service.”

When being asked about her plans for the future, her answer is clear: “I feel my days of travelling are over.”

“I will truly miss it but it’s my time to try another adventure and maybe it’s my time to further a career in the NHS.”

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