Travel is back – here’s what you need to know!

    Well, it’s certainly been an unusual couple of years, but we’re delighted to report that Travel is back! Our phone line and emails have been running hot since the removal of NZ’s border restrictions, and it’s been lovely to hear from so many of our loyal customers.

    Overseas travel at this time is more complicated than usual, with proof of vaccination required for travel to most countries. In addition, pre-departure Covid testing is still required for some countries (including the USA & NZ) and pre-departure online forms required to be completed for many destinations (including Australia and NZ). Every country (and in the case of Australia, every State) has slightly different rules, so we’re here to guide you through that process. Here’s a good resource to check your destination’s entry requirements.

    Many of our clients have been booking flights to Europe (especially the UK) and Australia to reconnect with family and friends after such a long time.

    For Europe, and especially London, Singapore Airlines from Christchurch have been extremely popular as they are currently the only longhaul direct flight and there’s no pre-flight testing required for transiting Changi airport. They fly out of Christchurch 4 times per week (Tues/Wed/Thurs/Sat) and there’s also daily flights from Auckland. Singapore has also now opened to fully vaccinated tourists with no pre-flight test required.

    There are also regular flights to Europe with Emirates (daily via KL to Dubai) and with Qatar Airways (3 per week via Adelaide to Doha) from Auckland. Cathay Pacific are resuming daily flights to Hong Kong from 2 July. Those flights are heavily booked, especially from May-July so we’d recommend getting in touch with us asap if you have plans to travel to Europe this winter.

    LATAM are now flying again direct from Auckland to Santiago, with the frequency of flights increasing throughout 2022, so South America is now very much back on the travel radar for many of our clients.

    Air New Zealand announced a sale to Australia, the Pacific Islands, USA & Canada recently, so that’s a good opportunity to redeem credits you might have in place with our national airline. They are already flying direct to Singapore, Taipei, Seoul, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, Vancouver, LA and San Francisco, Houston resumes on 7 July and Chicago on 30 Sep. Their direct Auckland to New York City service from 17 Sep is attracting special excitement!

    We’re hearing from clients keen to escape some of the upcoming winter by seeking some sunshine in the Pacific Islands, Australia, Bali & Europe. A reminder that as we’re part of the House of Travel group, we have access to all the same holiday deals they offer.

    Australia has now dropped its pre-flight testing requirements, but you do still need to complete a Digital Passenger Declaration even for transits, which includes uploading your proof of vaccination. There’s a DPD app which makes the process easier.

    Qantas resumed flights from Christchurch to Sydney and are now daily. Their Melbourne and Brisbane flights resume from 23 May. Trans-Taman flights are currently heavily booked so fares are higher than usual, this should improve as the frequency of services increases.

    Quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and the Cook Islands has been underway since January 2022. Visitors must be fully vaccinated, however tourists and permit holders aged 16 years and under will no longer require evidence of vaccination. Travellers aged over 16 will still be required to show proof of being fully vaccinated. Pre-departure testing requirements for international arrivals into the Cook Islands has been removed, as have pre-departure testing for domestic travel to Aitutaki. From June 2, Jetstar will recommence flights to the Cook Islands from Auckland. Every traveller must complete the Cook Islands Ministry of Health travel declaration within 96 hours before they depart for Rarotonga. Check out the latest rules here

    Fiji reopened its borders to fully vaccinated international tourists in December 2021, so both Air New Zealand and Fiji Airways have already been flying regularly to Nadi. No pre-departure test required, but travellers aged 12 and over will need a  Rapid Antigen Test within 48 to 72 hours of arriving in Fiji – this must be booked in advance. You will also need an International Travel Vaccine Certificate to prove your vaccination status, and to return a negative Covid-19 test before you board your flight. Visitors will also need to take out recognised travel insurance with Covid-19 cover.

    Air Tahiti Nui will begin welcoming travellers from New Zealand next week, with the first post-pandemic passenger service to depart Auckland on May 5 for Papeete, Tahiti. Initially, Air Tahiti Nui will offer a weekly flight, which will increase to three times a week during the high season between July 3 and August 9. Air New Zealand will resume flights to Papeete from July. Travellers aged 12 and over must prove they are fully vaccinated. Travellers no longer need to take a Covid-19 test on arrival, but they need to show a negative COVID-19 PCR or RT-PCR test taken at most 72 hours before departure from the first embarkation point or a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test taken at most 48 hours before departure from the first embarkation point. This does not apply to passengers younger than 12 years.  All the latest info is here

    Air Vanuatu will be resuming twice-weekly non-stop flights to Port Vila from Auckland from July, which is when the nation reopens to international travellers. All travellers to Vanuatu must be fully vaccinated.

    New Caledonia’s national carrier Aircalin makes its return to New Zealand on May 8. Aircalin will also fly from Christchurch but with a transit in Sydney. Air New Zealand resumes passenger services from Auckland to Noumea in July. Fully vaccinated Kiwis aged 12 and over can visit New Caledonia. Children under 12 do not have to be vaccinated to enter or take a Covid test after they arrive. All travellers aged 12 years and over need to submit a PCR test within 72 hours of travel or supervised negative RAT within 48 hours of their flight to New Caledonia, with verification required at check in. Passengers also need to complete a “declaration on honour” to present at boarding, and take a RAT test 48 hours after their arrival. RAT tests can be done in pharmacies and are free of charge, upon presentation of their airline ticket.

    Both Air New Zealand and Hawaiian Airlines are resuming direct services to Honolulu, Hawaii in July. Travellers must be fully vaccinated and all travellers aged 2 years and older must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test (nucleic acid amplification test [NAAT] or antigen) taken no more than one day prior to their flight to Hawaii. Passengers will also be required to sign two CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) attestations – one which confirms the negative test result, and the other regarding proof of being fully vaccinated against Covid-19.Passengers must complete an attestation form before departure. The form can be found here This does not apply to passengers younger than 2 years.  Masks are no longer mandatory at US airports, however Hawaii has kept the indoor mask mandate for now and may still require them. More details can be found here

    Niue will reopen on 28 June 2022. You need to provide evidence of full vaccination against Covid-19 (must be in line with vaccines approved my Medsafe in New Zealand or an International Vaccination Certificate), provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 PCR test result, taken within 48 hours of departure. The test must be completed in New Zealand, provide a Certificate of Recovery if the traveller has had Covid-19 in the last three months prior to travel and provide evidence of travel insurance that includes costs for a medical evacuation (for non-residents of Niue).

    Travel requirements and restrictions can change rapidly without notice, so please check each airline and nation’s website for the most up-to-date traveller information.

    IMPORTANT New Zealand has introduced a mandatory Traveller Declaration for all passengers entering NZ from 31 March 2022. This requirement is catching out a few travellers as you will need to upload proof of vaccination and also that of your pre-departure Covid test – this must be within 48hrs of the scheduled departure of your first international flight to NZ if a PCR test, or within 24hrs if a supervised RAT test.  A travel pass is generated which you will need to show at check in for your first international flight home, and also on arrival at Customs in NZ. Ensure that you keep your devices charged during the journey home! The Customs FAQ is here NZTD-fact-sheet.

    We’re also now busy with the complex task of redeeming travel credits for customers so they can finally enjoy the holiday later this year or in 2023 that they were originally due to enjoy in 2020, so if you are ready to do the same, please get in touch.

    Please be aware that Europe is already pretty busy this Northern summer with so many people having deferred travel for 2 years and we anticipate it will be next year also, so we’d strongly recommend getting organised well in advance for travel to Europe & Africa in particular in 2023.

    Our 2023 Escorted Tours

    We now have confirmed 2023 dates for two of our deferred Escorted tours. They are:

    In Search of the Polar Bear – Summer Solstice will be 12-22 June 2023 ex Oslo. Ian is hosting this extraordinary voyage where we should experience the midnight sun amongst the pack ice.

    Namibia, Botswana and Victoria Falls will be 9 June – 1 July 2023 ex Christchurch. This is a small group (max 12 people) so please get in quick if you are keen on what’s a real ‘bucket list’ trip.

    If you would like further information on either, please get in touch!

    In addition, we’re still very hopeful that Peter’s Timeless Turkey tour from 7-25 Sep 2022 will be able to proceed, we’re just keeping a watchful eye on events in Europe before making a final decision.

    And finally, a reminder to check your passport validity. If it has expired, be aware that due to high demand, the approximate timeframe to process a standard passport application is currently 22 working days, up from the usual 10 working days.

    We look forward to hearing from you.

    Happy Travels!

    Peter & Ian