Finally! The day has come to turn the house upside down in search of that mythical artefact ancient New Zealanders called ‘the Passport’.
Once found, blow off the dust and start dreaming… of exotic lands, exotic people and exotic experiences – because international travel is back, baby!
We do understand though, that one could feel a slight trepidation in dipping their toes back into the travelling waters. Excuse the pun, but it all does seem a little foreign travelling overseas again – almost like we have forgotten how to do it and know that it won’t be the same as before?
So, to help out and give you a little nudge towards that check-in counter – here’s some tips on how to get you travelling international, COVID-style.
Deciding to go
Tony Wheeler, founder of travel guidebook publisher Lonely Planet once declared ‘All you've got to do is decide to go and the hardest part is over’. We couldn’t agree with you more Tony! Once you’ve made that decision the rest is (well hopefully) smooth sailing!
Deciding where to go
The world is slowly opening up and with it, an array of possibilities. However, your first port of call should be the Safe Travel website. Safe Travel houses all warnings inclusive of non-Covid-19 advisories which are issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).
This is the best resource to check the status of the country you’re thinking of going to. They have four different travel advisory levels ranging from Level one (exercise normal safety and security precautions) through to level four (do not travel). You can also register with them to receive important information following an emergency.
Did you know? AA Travel Insurance’s selected cover^ for epidemic and pandemic disease (including Covid-19) covers all countries that do not appear on the Level 4 warning “Do not travel” advisory listed on Safe Travel.
Deciding when to go
It always pays to do your own research so you can pick the perfect time to visit your chosen destination. You could consider the impacts of whether it will be peak, shoulder or low season. Plus school holidays, major events and your destinations official calendar of holidays and events.
Tip: You can visit Lonely Planet, search your location and get detailed ‘when to go’ information under their free Planning Toolkit.
Getting your passport fit to fly
Once found, check your expiration date! Some countries require that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended departure from the country you are visiting. You can check with the Embassies of the countries you are planning to visit to understand these requirements. We recommend checking your expiration date before you book your flight, just in case.
If you do need a new passport, you can visit the Department of Internal Affairs who issue passports. However, please note that at the time of writing they are currently experiencing delays processing passports due to reduced staff on site and the approximate time frame to process a standard passport application is currently 20 working days.
Getting your International Vaccination Passport
You can request your International Travel Vaccination Certificate from the My Covid Record website. Other options to get your certificate include calling 0800 222 478 or visiting any participating pharmacy to request one.
Did you know? There is no requirement to be vaccinated/boosted under AA Travel Insurance policies. But if the destination country requires inbound travellers to be vaccinated, or vaccination is a condition of your travel provider (for example, your airline), then you’ll need to meet that requirement. You wouldn’t be eligible to claim if you were denied boarding or entry to a country because you were unable to meet the carrier or country vaccination requirements.
Getting a visa/entry requirements sorted (if required)
To find out whether you need to apply for a visa for your trip, you can ask your travel agent or check with the Embassy or High Commissions of the countries you plan to visit or transit through.
We recommend giving yourself plenty of time to complete this step before your planned departure date so that you know you have the correct visa/s in place. If you don’t have the visa/s you need, you may be refused entry to a country, which is the last thing you want mid-trip! It’s also important to note that having a visa doesn’t necessarily guarantee entry into another country; this decision ultimately rests with immigration officials.
Booking your flights
Exciting – it’s time to book! While choosing which airline to go with is often driven by price, it might pay to do your homework on different airlines policies and how they allocate seating in light of COVID-19.
Tip: Visit SeatGuru to look up your aircraft and view a seat map – from here you can see ratings of all the seats onboard, so you can be in the know on which seat to book!
Booking your insurance
Even when you’re in the early planning stages of your trip, it’s important to consider taking out travel insurance. AA Travel Insurance policies can cover for cancellation and loss of deposits before you even go. So if something happens in the lead-up to your trip, we can be there to help you. With AA’s International Travel Insurance, you’ll be supported 24/7 no matter where you are in the world, with help just a phone call away.
Plus, all plans include some cover^ for epidemic and pandemic diseases, like COVID-19, in some situations:
If you're diagnosed with the disease after you purchase your policy and can't go on your trip or have to go home early
If you’re quarantined or put into self-isolation by the NZ Government because you’re suspected of having been exposed to the disease and can’t go or continue on your trip
If you’re denied boarding on any scheduled public transport service based on the suspicion that you have the disease.
Whether you are a seasoned traveller or first timer, we hope exploring new lands brings excitement, happiness and a new-found curiosity for the world – it’s been a long time coming!
^The policy still has a general exclusion for epidemics and pandemics and does not cover disinclination to travel due to fear or change of mind. Cover is only provided if you have not commenced your journey against the New Zealand Government’s advice not to travel. There is no cover for lockdowns, changes in government alert levels, quarantine or mandatory isolation applying to a population or part of a population.
Terms, conditions, limits, sub-limits and exclusions apply and these are set out in the Policy Wording. Please refer to the Policy Wording for full details.
Our insurance partner
AA Travel Insurance policies are brought to you by the New Zealand Automobile Association Incorporated (AA), are issued and managed by AWP Services New Zealand Limited trading as Allianz Partners (FSP758611) and underwritten by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd ABN 78 090 584 473 (Incorporated in Australia). Read AWP Services New Zealand Limited Disclosure statement here. Terms, conditions, limits, sub-limits and exclusions apply. These are set out in the Policy Wording , which you should read before making any decisions about an AA Travel Insurance Policy.
Financial Strength Rating
The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd ABN 78 090 584 473 (Incorporated in Australia), (“Hollard”), Level 26, 188 Quay Street, Auckland 1010 has been given a financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) issued by A.M. Best Company Inc. To see full details on the Financial Strength Rating please click here.
An overseas policyholder preference applies. Under Australian law, if The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd is wound up, its assets in Australia must be applied to its Australian liabilities before they can be applied to overseas liabilities. To this extent, New Zealand policyholders may not be able to rely on The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd’s Australian assets to satisfy New Zealand liabilities.
The New Zealand Automobile Association provides general information about AA Travel Insurance products and services so that you can make a choice that best meets your needs. Information provided does not take into account your personal circumstances, needs or goals and is not intended to be financial advice. If you'd like to receive financial advice, you can get professional advice from a registered financial adviser.