How to travel to these 5 popular countries right now — including news on Australia and the UK

Mar 25, 2022

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I’m taking a brief departure this week from writing about France to address the emails sitting in my inbox seeking answers to questions about the nuances of travel to other countries as COVID-19 restrictions continue to be lifted.

Looking ahead to spring and summer trips, readers have asked if I can go deeper into entry protocols for specific countries as I have done for France.

If you want to read more, I write a weekly guide detailing recent moves by countries to ease restrictions. Also, be sure to check out TPG’s country-by-country reopening guide.

In This Post

South Africa

Proof of vaccination or predeparture PCR test

For travel to South Africa, whether or not a predeparture test is required depends on your vaccination status. Currently, travelers to South Africa must present proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or results of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of leaving your home country.

If for some reason you choose not to test or show proof of vaccination, you will be required to take a test upon arrival and submit to a mandatory quarantine on your own dime, per the U.S. Embassy in South Africa, which notes that the average cost of a PCR test in South Africa is between $50 and $60.

All travelers, regardless of vaccination status, should expect to be screened upon arrival at the airport, and those with symptoms will need to test and quarantine until receipt of negative test results.

Tourists pose by the ocean at Cape Agulhas, South Africa
Tourists have fun at the beach in Cape Agulhas, South Africa, on Feb. 2, 2022. (Photo by Lyu Tianran/Xinhua/Getty Images)


No predeparture test for vaccinated visitors

It’s further good news for travelers heading to newly reopened Australia, as the government will scrap the current predeparture testing requirement effective April 17 for vaccinated travelers.

Until April 17, all travelers must continue to show a negative PCR or rapid antigen test taken within 72 hours or 24 hours, respectively, of your flight’s scheduled departure.

The TPG reader who asked me about Australia wanted to know whether an at-home proctored test, such as the Abbott BinaxNow COVID-19 Home Test, could be used to meet the testing requirement.

Per Benjamin Smithson, senior writer at TPG UK and a native Aussie, such tests would work for entry “provided they issue a certificate with a negative result.”

The U.S. Embassy in Australia confirms this by saying that evidence of a “medical certificate as proof of a negative Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) taken under medical supervision within 24 hours” is acceptable for entry.

In addition to the predeparture test for unvaccinated visitors, these travelers must apply for a travel exemption and quarantine at a government-approved hotel, subject to the rules and regulations of the specific state or territory you are visiting.

Come April 17 and beyond, all passengers arriving by air to Australia must ​​complete an online Digital Passenger Declaration form.

Conveniently, the Australian Department of Health has compiled a document of frequently asked questions for international travelers.

Tourism staff welcomes visitors in Sydney International Airport
Staff members offer souvenirs to passengers upon arrival at Sydney International Airport on Feb. 21, 2022, as Australia reopened its borders for fully vaccinated visa holders, tourists and business travelers. (Photo by SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

United Kingdom

Zero restrictions

Of all the countries discussed in this story, the United Kingdom is by far the easiest for travelers to get to since the U.K. dropped all of its remaining COVID-19 restrictions on March 18, meaning travelers are not subject to any pandemic-related requirement.

“No more quarantines, no more tests and no more forms,” the country’s Transport Secretary Grant Shapps declared on March 15.

If you are heading to Britain or Wales (two of my personal favorites), enjoy a taste of pre-pandemic travel life, even if just briefly thanks to the rapid spread of a new omicron subvariant across Europe, including the U.K.

Visitors near the Boadicea and Her Daughters statue in London
Visitors on Westminster Bridge in London on March 18, 2022. (Photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures/Getty Images)


Vaccination proof, negative test or recent recovery

Beginning March 31, Americans age 6 and older are allowed to enter Italy by presenting either a COVID-19 vaccination certificate, results of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival or an antigen test taken within 48 hours, or a certificate of recovery from COVID-19 in the preceding six months.

If you can provide none of the above, you must quarantine for five days upon arrival and then test to get out of isolation.

The only other predeparture step for travelers is to complete an EU Passenger Locator Form in digital or paper form. Consult the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for the latest updates.

Tourists at an outdoor café in Italy
Tourists at a cafe in front of Campo Santa Maria Formosa in Venice, Italy, on March 19, 2022. (Photo by Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance/Getty Images)

The Netherlands

Vaccination required for non-EU travelers

The Netherlands has also made it significantly less difficult for travelers coming from within the European Union to visit by dropping its predeparture testing requirements and wholly eliminating COVID-19 restrictions this week. However, travelers from outside the EU, including Americans, must still show proof of vaccination to enter.

How to travel to the Netherlands with vaccination proof is outlined by the Netherlands government.

These travelers must also fill out a health declaration form.

Flowers in full bloom at Keukenhof in Lisse, Netherlands, on March 24, 2022. (Photo by RAMON VAN FLYMEN/ANP/AFP/Getty Images)

Have a question for next week? Email me at or

Featured photo by Ian.CuiYi/Getty Images.

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