Travel Inspiration

Our travel experts predict where might open next

Photo by Erik Odiin
In April, Prime Minister Scott Morrison flagged the possibility of Australians being able to travel overseas and back again without having to fork out for hotel quarantine – provided they are vaccinated. More recently, our government revealed its intention to extend our travel bubble to include parts of the Pacific. Naturally, here at Freely, this has sent us into a fit of daydreaming about which locations we might be able to jet off to once we’ve travelled the length of New Zealand.

Will we be plunging into aquamarine waters in the shadow of a volcano on a Pacific island? Or eating congee at a roadside stall as we watch scores of grandmothers calmly do tai chi in the morning light somewhere in Southeast Asia?

With the trans-Tasman bubble now in full swing, we turned to the travel experts in our inner circle to ask where might open its borders to Australians next. Though it may not be for another few months, it’s got us feeling very excited about the prospect of getting back to our very neglected bucket lists.


Henry Brydon – Founder of We Are Explorers

Photo by Henry Brydon

I’m harbouring my bets on Vanuatu – our tropical neighbour in the South Pacific. The island of Tanna is absolutely insane, and ever since I visited a few years ago I’ve been itching to return. Scott Morrison himself has said that he’d “love to see a Pacific bubble”, and has acknowledged that the low rates of community transmission in Australia significantly lessen the risk of us infecting people in Pacific nations. He’s also vowed to support island nations like Vanuatu with their testing.

Earlier in the year, Greg Hunt touched on the devastation being experienced by the rest of the world. “Whilst we continue to achieve deeply important human protections in Australia, abroad, internationally we are seeing the disease leave the most tragic of human outcomes,” he said. “But the South Pacific is right at the front of the next phase of international travel bubbles.”

Photo by Ain Raadik


Gemma Clarke – Founder of Global Hobo

Photo by Charles Postiaux

I’m hankering for a flavoursome bowl of laksa and a plate of chilli crab, so I’m hoping we’ll soon be able to travel quarantine-free to Singapore. Though Singapore has experienced COVID-19 differently to Australia, and has had to deal with a recent tragic outbreak, more than a third of its population has now received at least one vaccination and even adolescents are now eligible for the jab. 

In an interview with ABC News Breakfast in April, Australia’s Federal Tourism Minister Dan Tehan stated that Singapore “would be a very good next step to build on what we have already achieved with New Zealand”. He’s said we'll take our time though, and will need to ensure we’ve got expert medical advice backing such an assessment before we can proceed. 

Ong Ye Kung, Singapore’s Transport Minister, has confirmed that his country is exploring the possibility of opening its doors to several countries and regions, Australia among them, on the basis of mutually recognisable vaccination certificates. 

“Singapore will continue ... to holistically evaluate the COVID-19 situation in various countries and regions and explore the possibility of restoring air travel when it is safe to do so and we have been proactively doing so given the importance of our global connections,” he said. At this point, I’d even be satisfied with a trip to the country’s airport!


Georgia Rickard – Travel Media Entrepreneur

Photo by Fredrik Ohlander

I think a 'hub' destination like Singapore or Dubai might be next to open – both destinations have managed the situation relatively well to date (Singapore’s speedy vaccination rollout will hopefully quell its most recent COVID-19 flare up), are already accustomed to managing a huge traveller influx and have infrastructure in place to help support responsible social distancing. Personally, I'm longing to escape to Dubai – the combination of those striking sandscapes, a late-night lifestyle and all those fabulous hotels are calling to me. Plus, I think we've all earned all little retail therapy, no?

Cook Islands

Doug Skoog – Head of Marketing, Freely

As a keen surfer, I’m excited to explore the archipelago’s reef breaks, as well as check out the pristine beaches, lagoons, aquatic reserves and waterfalls when I’m on land.

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