The residents of Singapore have been granted a bumper Christmas gift this October. This afternoon, the government has announced the expansion to their vaccinated travel lanes, adding USA, UK, France, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, and Denmark to the existing list that consists of South Korea, Germany, and Brunei.
This would mean that fully vaccinated Singapore residents, from November, can enjoy a two-way quarantine free travel between Singapore and these countries.
With this expansion in the two-way quarantine free travel to Singapore’s major travel markets, i.e. North America and a good proportion of Europe, the residents of Singapore can look forward to planning holidays to their favourite long haul destinations in time for Christmas and New Year holidays and perhaps even for Chinese New Year during the first week of February next year. Moreover, the residents of Singapore will now have the opportunity to enjoy cool temperatures and hopefully snow this winter after having their borders closed since March 2020.
Singapore rules for Vaccinated Travel Lanes
The rules for this vaccinated travel lane are reasonably straightforward. A verifiable and authenticated digital proof of vaccinations is a precondition for entry. In addition, two PCR tests will be required, the first negative PCR test result taken 48 hours prior to departure and the second test on arrival. Currently, only designated flights from the country of departure are authorized for travellers in this lane.
It is interesting to note that the requirement to be physically present in a Vaccinated Travel Lane country 14 days prior to the departure for Singapore has had some flexibility added to it. A Singapore resident returning to Singapore through this lane can now need not be restricted to just travelling to one country. For instance, the person can fly from Singapore to Paris, take a road trip down to Spain, head across to the France Riviera for oysters and champagne outing, and engage in a shopping spree in Milan before returning to Singapore.
So long as all the countries travelled in the 14 days prior to return to Singapore are part of the vaccinated travel lane, quarantine free travel is applicable. This will ensure the travellers get greater flexibility when planning their itineraries and adding multiple countries and cities compared to just being restricted to one country in the European Union.
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Help with travel bookings
The reopening of borders globally is in its nascent stages as we move forward. Rules and regulations are bound to change at short notice, and it is difficult and sometimes impractical for a traveller to keep themselves up to date with the latest developments and travel rules. Keeping this in mind, it is preferred that one goes ahead with the travel itinerary bookings – be it flights, hotels, tour guides, car rentals, and ticket purchases for experiences, with the help of local, physical, good ol’ fashioned travel agent as compared to online digital booking platforms that tend to be faceless and more often than not rely on generic faqs on websites in times of need.
It is also important to purchase flight tickets for these designated flights that are to operate in the vaccinated travel lanes directly from the airlines as compared to online flight booking search engines. Those who have experienced difficulties getting refunds from online booking websites over the last two years would understand the frustration and delays when dealing with such online-only booking companies that tend not to have physical customer service offices in your country.
Finally, when it comes to insurance, it is essential that your travel insurance policy covers not just accidents, hospitalization, medical and pandemic related expenses but any unforeseen cancellations that cover hotel, flight and all other significant travel-related expenses. ◼
© This article was first published online in Oct 2021 – World Travel Magazine.