Yesterday, antsy, travel-thirsting South Africans clung to the edges of their seats to hear the new travel requisites, conditions, and the restricted destinations list.
No fewer than 57 countries were deemed high risk and thus, South Africans are currently unable to visit these for leisure.
Thankfully, all of Africa, a few European countries, most Asian destinations, and Oceania countries (like New Zealand and Australia) were notably absent from the list.
Unfortunately, there are still several considerations to factor in when choosing our next trip, and it may not be as simple as merely opting for a country that wasn’t specified as high-risk.
To help avoid bookings of rather complicated (or unnecessarily expensive) trips, below is a helpful summary of border restrictions and requisites for popular destinations.
Prerequisites for popular destinations
SOUTH AFRICA MAY ALLOW YOU TO GO, BUT DOES YOUR DESTINATION ALLOW YOU TO COME?
In order to manage their COVID-19 statistics and ensure health of both their citizens and visitors, many countries still have tightly sealed or controlled borders.
Despite South Africa giving the green light, several countries not in the lengthy list are unready to welcome us back.
New Zealand, for example, is currently only allowing their own citizens or permanent residents back — and even these arrivals have to first observe a mandatory quarantine or isolation.
Singapore, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia, also deemed safe for South Africans to venture to, aren’t allowing short-term visitors yet (amongst a list of others).
THAILAND AND MAURITIUS: MANDATORY QUARANTINE ON ARRIVAL
If you’re hoping to pop right over for a week or two to somewhere sunny and sandy for a bit of a long overdue beach break, you may want to rule out Mauritius and Thailand for the moment.
Both destinations require a fourteen-day quarantine on arrival, and thus, are only truly worth considering if you’re planning a long-term travel trip.
A bit of good news, though: Thailand has recently introduced a new nine-month long visitor visa — so if you’re looking to take advantage of the now-possible several months-long stay, two weeks are but a drop in the very blue, white-beached ocean.
CAMBODIA: PAID DEPOSIT ON ARRIVAL
Cambodia, for its incredible temples — the most famed of which is Angkor Wat — and rich cultural immersions, a truly favourable exchange rate and cheap accommodation, is slowly creeping onto everyone’s itineraries.
While Cambodia is completely open to tourists and South Africans aren’t restricted from visiting, a whopping $3,000 (approximately just over R50,000, but charged in US dollars) is required as a deposit on arrival.
Deposits are mandatorily charged to credit cards, from which COVID test costs are to be deducted. Should the tests provide a positive result, travellers will be required to quarantine… costs for which will also be taken out of the deposit.
Although it may not be without extensive research and much time, there actually are plenty of international destinations to be found that are excitedly anticipating your arrival.
Live life large in Dubai or the Maldives, or unleash your inner outdoorsy-self in African countries, most of which only have screenings in place.
If possible and if you’re willing to compromise, explore the option of domestic travel instead of crossing borders.
Remember, the situation is extremely fluid according to fluctuating infection rates, so what may be disallowed today may be hassle-free tomorrow — and vice versa.
Keep checking in on advisories and government regulations, as most destinations are busy phasing back in international travel and relaxing their current restrictions.
Wherever you may choose, don’t forget your masks, sanitiser and, just in case, some trusted travel insurance.