Remember the good old days? When anyone with an Aussie passport could fly into Rome, work their way north through Italy, take a ferry from Ancona to Croatia and spend a week soaking up sun and sljivovica then fly to London before heading for the south of France? That was way back in 2019.
Now, that stay in Croatia would condemn you to 14 days self-isolation in the UK, while France seems likely to impose the same on anyone coming from Britain in response to the UK's quarantine requirement for travellers coming from France.
Even if the Australian government would let you leave right now, overseas travel has become a lot more complicated. Many of our favourite countries in South-East Asia are closed to us. The travel bubble with New Zealand and other Pacific nations has failed to happen and after promising to reopen in September Bali has recently slammed the door. Singapore, meanwhile, has opened the door to our Kiwi neighbours, but not to us.
Here's how some of our favourite destinations would look if we were let loose. Expect this picture to change quickly and without much more than a couple of days advance notice, which could make country-hopping around Europe complicated for some time to come. On a positive note, since Australia has navigated the pandemic with relatively few cases, we're more likely to be welcomed ahead of some other countries.
The places happy to welcome Australians
While our own government won't let us leave Australia, some countries would happily welcome us (under certain conditions) right away.
A tourist poses for a photo on the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. Photo: AP
Australians are welcome to enter the continental USA, but Hawaii has imposed a 14-day quarantine period on all incoming travellers, in force until September 30. It's possible the ban could be extended beyond that date.
Tourists enjoy the beach in Nice, southern France, last Friday. Photo: AP
Australia is one of a small number of countries whose citizens are free to enter the EU. As well as all the 27 EU member countries, that also includes non-member states Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. However that doesn't mean you can roam at will, as in the past.
Travelling around within the EU has been complicated by COVID-19. Since early August, for example, travellers arriving in Germany from designated "risk areas" – such as Luxembourg – are required to take a coronavirus test. Belgium has strict quarantine rules that apply to travellers coming from parts of Spain and the UK. Switzerland has quarantine on arrival requirements for travellers coming from Spain and Italy now requires travellers coming from Croatia, Greece, Malta or Spain to show a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, taken in the previous 72 hours, to establish the traveller is free from SARS-CoV-2.
Australia is included on the UK's travel corridor list, which means Australians can enter without the requirement to enter quarantine for 14 days. However, if you travel to the UK and make a transit stop in a country that is not on the UK's travel corridor list, you will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Since Qantas has suspended its non-stop flights from Perth to London, and neither the UAE, Qatar or Singapore are included on the corridor list, the only way for an Australian to enter the UK without the quarantine requirement would be a one-stop flight to the UK via Hong Kong, Seoul or Japan.
Travellers entering the UK from some EU countries are required to self-isolate for 14 days. That applies to UK citizens as well as Australians. For example if you were to enter the UK after a stay in France, Spain, Croatia, Portugal or any one of several other EU countries you would also be required to self-isolate.
Male, the capital of the Maldives. Photo: iStock
The Maldives reopened to international tourists on July 15. There are no quarantine requirements, and no need to prove a negative test for COVID-19. Only travellers showing symptoms can expect to be tested.
Australians can visit Cambodia but requirements include a negative COVID-19 test from no more than 72 hours prior to entry and a US$3000 deposit to cover a COVID-19 test upon entry to Cambodia. If the traveller or any other passenger on their flight tests positive the traveller will be required to quarantine for 14 days and the cost deducted from their deposit.
… and the popular spots that won't let us in
More Australian residents visit New Zealand than any other country, but the door is closed to all except those with New Zealand citizenship, permanent residents or the partner or dependent child of a New Zealand citizen. Much of the trans-Tasman traffic consists of dual Australian-New Zealand citizens making home visits, and that would mean healthy numbers travelling to New Zealand but for the requirement to quarantine for 14 days on return to Australia.
Bali (and the rest of Indonesia)
After a promised re-opening in early September, Bali has shut the gate on all except domestic visitors until 2021. The exact date when Australians may visit will be decided later but given our relative success in combating the virus and the dollar value that Aussies inject into Bali's tourism industry we could expect to be at the front of the queue.
Australian tourists are not permitted to visit China at the moment.
Currently all non-Hong Kong residents coming from overseas countries and regions by plane are denied entry to Hong Kong.
Japan has firmly shut the door. Along with other nationalities, Australians are not allowed to enter but the country is talking about creating a travel bubble with countries with low rates of infection.
The country has just recently squelched any hopes that it might re-open to tourists before 2021.
Singapore is slowly opening its borders to foreign visitors. Commencing September 1, 2020, visitors from New Zealand and Brunei can apply for an Air Travel Pass (ATP) to visit the island-state. If all goes according to plan, it's likely that the ATP will be progressively extended to other nationals with Australia a prime candidate. Transit passengers travelling aboard Singapore Airlines, Silk Air or Scoot Airlines and reconnecting with another flight aboard the same airline are allowed to pass through Singapore's Changi Airport.
Vietnam's borders remain closed to foreign visitors. The government has yet to set a date for when that will change.
Australians are not permitted to enter Fiji, with exceptions possible for arrivals by sea. Those are considered on a case-by-case basis.