Travel advice for tripologists: British Airways crew don’t need to be vaccinated

With British Airways’ policy of not imposing vaccinations on its staff, how will BA handle its resumption of flights to Australia at the end of March? L.Lawrence, Drummoyne, NSW.

British Airways will soon resume Australian service with flights to Sydney, and therefore regulations determined by the State of NSW apply to its incoming flight crew. Under these regulations, unvaccinated flight crew arriving from overseas must self-isolate for 14 days or until they leave Australia by air. Vaccinated crew must self-isolate until they return a negative RAT, to be taken within 24 hours of arrival. Unvaccinated flight crews also face stricter regulations than vaccinated crews when it comes to transportation to their place of isolation.

As you mentioned, British Airways is one of the few international carriers that asks but does not require crew to disclose their vaccination status. Passengers are required to wear face masks on BA flights. A “what to expect on board” video on BA’s website shows cabin crew wearing surgical masks, but not the more effective P2/N95 masks.

I’m traveling around the UK in September and trying to find the best way to get around Cornwall, through Newcastle and Scotland. Are bed and breakfasts fashionable? I will have a rental car. If I get sick with COVID, will I be covered by National Health? P. Lovel, East Burwood, VIC

Bed and breakfasts are a wonderful way to travel in the UK. They’re quirky, they’re an extension of the owner’s personality and tastes, you meet the locals on their own turf, and they’re pretty decent value. They also vary a lot, so you should check independent reviews. I traveled around the UK using Sawdays (sawdays.co.uk) to plan my overnight stops. It is a discerning collection of bed and breakfasts, self-catering accommodations and small hotels. The website has a handy map that shows their location and you can check reviews in the same place.

Another good resource is the Good Hotel Guide (goodhotelguide.com), which has a section devoted to editor-chosen B&Bs.

The UK has a reciprocal healthcare agreement with Australia which means you will be treated under the National Health Service public healthcare system. It’s a great backup, but you really shouldn’t travel abroad without travel insurance.

I’m trying to figure out which COVID-19 rules apply to me on an extended trip to Spain, France and the Netherlands. When entering these countries, do I follow the rules for travelers from Australia or the less stringent rules for travelers from the EU? Also a tip for getting a Swiss COVID pass to use all over Europe, it depends on the canton. A hotel address in Geneva was not accepted, but we got passes using a hotel address in Zurich. J. Shrubb, Turramurra, NSW

Make sure you follow the stricter rules that apply to travelers from Australia. The distinction is usually made to separate travelers who live in the EU from those who do not. Those in the EU will usually have the EU digital certificate and easier access, but this certificate is not available to anyone vaccinated in Australia.

This is good advice regarding the Swiss COVID pass. The Swiss COVID certificate is a way to obtain a pass that will allow you to travel freely throughout Europe if you have been fully vaccinated in Australia. The Swiss COVID certificate is valid for 270 days from the date of administration of the last dose of vaccine. The easiest way to find the details is to google “Switzerland where and how to get a COVID certificate”. Another alternative is the French Pass Vaccinal, which has replaced the Passe Sanitaire, obtained by going to an approved pharmacy (sante.fr/how-to-obtain-a-french-health-pass) with your passport and Australian International COVID -19 Vaccination Certificate and payment of a fee of 36 Euros. The Vaccine Pass is recognized throughout the EU.

I hope to visit Ecuador and the Galapagos, Peru, Bolivia, Chilean Patagonia and Argentina later this year. Any advice on carrying cash and using credit cards in South America? Also, do you have any information about the Wanderbus in Ecuador? N. Dombkins, Salamander Bay NSW

All of these countries are open to travellers, but the testing regime is quite strict in some countries like Chile and you may want to put this country at the top of your itinerary. Timing is going to play a big role in your decision, especially in Patagonia. The best months to visit are estimated to be October to February, but from December to February you can expect strong winds and larger crowds, making March to mid-April a good time to visit. Prime time in Galapagos is from December to May, although the Christmas and Easter periods are among the busiest.

The US dollar is the most widely accepted foreign currency, but I have traveled to Argentina, Chile and Ecuador using my ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures and Citibank debit cards to pay bills and make cash ATM withdrawals local. Mastercard, Visa and American Express are widely accepted.

Wanderbus Ecuador (wanderbusecuador.com) looks good. You can see much of the country and the reviews are excellent, but one downside is that you have to make your own accommodation reservations, although onboard guides can advise.

Since this is a long wish list, you’d better take an all-inclusive tour. Also, the planning is going to be crucial and you are better off leaving that to an expert travel agent who specializes in South America. The South America Travel Center (southamericatravelcentre.com.au), World Expeditions (worldexpeditions.com) and Intrepid Travel (intrepidtravel.com) are just a few of the operators offering extensive South America travel.

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