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

March 25, 2022
6 min read
Gondolier Heads into the Sunset Along Venice's Grand Canal (Sunset)
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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.

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

Australia

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.

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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.

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 on Westminster Bridge in London on March 18, 2022. (Photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures/Getty Images)

Italy

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 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 caroline.tanner@thepointsguy.com or tips@thepointsguy.com.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023