Travel Briefings

Freely Travel Briefing: Issue No.23

Sydney Airport is about to become our portal to the world, with vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents able to head overseas and return without quarantining from next month. International vaccine passports are also ready, more lockdowns are lifting and there have been welcome changes to family travel exemptions. It’s dizzying really, and also quite sudden, so in addition to breaking down all the wild news this week, we’ll be grounding ourselves with a large glass of creamy goodness from a Rwandan milk bar. The world is so close now we can almost taste it! 😋

The Return of International Travel

Photo by: Ibrahim Rifath
Sydney will be accepting quarantine-free international arrivals from next month.

Already, many of our favourite holiday destinations require visitors to have been fully vaccinated, from Malta to Thailand. Others insist you prove your vax status before you step foot in an art gallery or sit down to munch on your morning croissant. Until all countries agree on a universal vaccine passport, there’ll be a plethora of different systems we travellers will have to navigate, but one thing is for sure: we’re going to need proof of vaccination if we want to have proper fun overseas again.From the beginning of November, Australian citizens and permanent residents will be able to leave the country for any reason provided they’ve been fully vaccinated. Not only that, but Sydney will be accepting quarantine-free international arrivals, and the cap on numbers will be lifted – allowing everyone who’s been stuck overseas to finally come home. There are some catches though: the new laws won’t apply to certain categories of visa, and of course there’s the whole state border closure thing. In this explainer from the ABC, we learn how it’s all going to work.

Full piece: read on the ABC

International Vaccine Passports Have Landed

Photo by: Soheb Zaidi

The certificates became available on Tuesday morning.

Those of us prepping to go overseas are now able to access an International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate! They became available on Tuesday morning and are accessible through the Medicare website or the Express Plus Medicare App. From there, they can either be downloaded to a smartphone or printed off as a PDF. The certificates contain a secure QR code and, according to Foreign Minister Marise Payne, are equipped with world-leading anti-forgery visible digital seal technology. 🧐

Full piece: Smart Traveller

Changes to Family Travel Exemptions Delight Australians with Parents Overseas

Photo by: Raj Rana  

Parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents will now be considered immediate family.

For the first 18 months of their granddaughter’s life, Emma and Julio Vega were only able to interact with her through a screen. Stuck in Peru, they didn’t satisfy the exemption requirements under the COVID travel ban that would have allowed them to enter Australia to visit their daughter Valeria and her first child. Last Friday, however, PM Scott Morrison announced that parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents will now be considered immediate family – meaning they’ll be able to travel to parts of Australia that have reached 80% of their double dosage vaccination targets.

Full piece: Catalina Florez and Amy Hall for SBS

Taking a Seat at a Rwandan Milk Bar

Photo by: L.Steward Masweneng

If you want to wish a person well in Rwanda, you say “gira inka” (“may you have a cow”).

If you want to wish a person well in Rwanda, you say “gira inka”. It means “may you have a cow”, and though it may seem like an odd greeting, it demonstrates perfectly how vital cows and milk are to Rwandan people – 70% of whom are engaged in the agricultural sector. It makes sense, then, that there are bars serving not wine or beer, but frothy glasses of cold fermented milk topped with honey, or steaming mugs of boiled raw milk. In this beautiful piece, we learn all about Rwanda’s unique neighbourhood milk bars, which often act as a glue that sticks local communities together.

Full piece: Glory Iribagiza for the BBC


For months now, the trans-Tasman travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand has been suspended due to COVID outbreaks in both countries. But as of Wednesday, travel to Australia from New Zealand’s South Island is once again quarantine-free! Travellers heading in the other direction will still need to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, but hopefully not for much longer thanks to vaccination rates continuing to rise in NZ.
From November 8, fully vaccinated foreign visitors will be able to start entering the US! They’ll also be accepting mixed doses of vaccines in light of the fact that it is becoming increasingly common in other countries.
If you’re a young person who’s lucky enough to be in possession of a European passport, you could be eligible for a free travel rail pass! People between the ages of 18 - 20 (so basically those who’ve been cooped up since they finished school) will be able to apply for a 30-day pass until October 26. Wherever will you choo- choo- choose to go?! 🚂

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