Top five COVID safe travel tips for people with disability

Last updated


As travel opens up again in Australia and across the world, you might be starting to think about when your next holiday could be.

Key points

  • Travel is again being encouraged across Australia and overseas but there are some things to think about to make sure you are travelling safely
  • Follow medical advice and Government rules, which may be different in each State, Territory and country
  • Plan ahead for emergencies and get travel insurance in case COVID-19 impacts your holiday

COVID safe travel will be an important factor for many people with disability in planning their next holiday, as they may be more susceptible to the virus.

Below are our top five tips for how to plan to travel safely as COVID-19 continues to be present in the community.

1. Understand local regulations and restrictions

Travel will be different now from what it was before the pandemic, so knowing how Government rules will affect you can tell you a bit about what to expect and help you to plan.

Before travelling across State or Territory borders or going overseas, be aware that every jurisdiction is different and may have different rules in place to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

This could be regulations on where to wear masks, using QR codes to check in to businesses, density requirements in indoor areas or rules about testing before travelling and whether you need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to cross the border, as well as what type of vaccine you need to have.

Make sure you’re across the current regulations at your destination, any stopover locations and any rules for coming home again, including the Australian Government’s rules for coming back into the country.

The rules for Australia’s States and Territories can be found via these links:

All air travel requires you to wear a mask on the plane and through the airport terminal as well.

Quarantine upon arrival in many countries is still required, so do your research if you are travelling overseas and factor quarantine time into your holiday length – you don’t want to plan a week-long holiday and have it completely taken up by quarantining!

The cost of any quarantine you’ll have to complete should also be factored into your holiday budget.

2. Talk to your doctor

A GP that you see regularly, who understands any health conditions you have, will be able to give you the most specific health advice around travel for your situation.

If you discuss where you’re thinking of travelling and when with your doctor they will be able to recommend any precautions you should take to stay safe and healthy.

It is a good idea to talk about any medications you take regularly and whether they would have an impact on COVID-19 treatments you might be given if you do get sick while on holiday so that you know what is important to tell your treating health professionals.

If the risk of catching COVID-19 is too high or there is a wave of cases in the location you planned to travel to, your doctor might also recommend you travel somewhere else.

3. Follow COVID-19 safety measures

It’s important you remember to follow advice around how to protect yourself from COVID-19 while you’re on holiday.

This includes wearing a mask indoors where there are other people close by, keeping a distance of 1.5m between you and others, washing your hands often and using hand sanitiser.

The best safety measures can be found on the Department of Health’s COVID-19 information site.

In places where there are no Government rules or restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19 or just fewer rules, you can still choose to follow safety measures.

Think about wearing a mask in any situation where there are other people present if it makes you feel more comfortable, or if it is recommended for you by your doctor.

You can also plan to stay away from higher-risk activities to protect your health.

For example, if you have the option of going on a tour in a group bus or going on a walking tour, you might like to choose the outdoor option as there is a much lower chance of you catching COVID-19 while outside and in an environment where you can social distance.

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms while you are on holiday you should get tested, so look for testing locations that are close to where you are staying before you go and have the testing information stored somewhere that is accessible to you while travelling.

4. Look into travel insurance

With the possibility of your plans being cancelled at the last minute due to COVID-19, coupled with the possibility of you catching COVID-19 while on holiday, it is more important than ever that you get travel insurance.

You need to make sure your insurance will cover as many of the bookings and deposits you make as possible, in case you do have to cancel, and it will also need to cover the cost of treatment for COVID-19.

Medical travel insurance to cover COVID-19 related costs is now mandatory for entering many countries.

This is on top of covering anything you needed before the pandemic, such as cover for medical emergencies linked to other health conditions.

Even if you have travel insurance that you think covers everything, it is important to read all the fine print when booking anything for your trip and be prepared for cases where you may not get your deposit or the full amount back.

5. Have an emergency plan

If you are unfortunate enough to get COVID-19 whilst travelling, having a plan in place can make the situation less stressful.

It can be a good idea to know who to call in an emergency if you need to isolate yourself with COVID-19, and plan how you will access food and other necessities.

You might like to discuss it with the accommodation provider you are booking with to see if they have room service available or if food and other deliveries can be delivered to your door in an emergency.

If you are travelling with someone else, have a separate plan for what you can do if they get sick, as you might need to isolate away from them. If you are travelling with a carer it is also important to plan how you will receive care if your carer has COVID-19.

For overseas travel emergencies, you can contact the Australian Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or the nearest Australian embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting.

It’s been a while since travel has been encouraged, so it’s a good idea to read up on planning tips and tricks for accessible travel as well, to make sure your holiday is accessible as well as safe.

Are you planning a holiday? Tell us what you’re thinking in the comments below.

Related content:
Tips for travelling with disability
Planning checklist for your next holiday
Safe post COVID-19 pandemic activities