Are you excited to plan your first post-pandemic vacation? As travel restrictions ease, many of us are finally ready to dust off our suitcases and travel the world again! But travelling is not the same as pre-pandemic, as there are more unknowns regarding safety and cancellations. To help you travel with some peace of mind, here are some tips for planning your next holiday.
Which countries can you travel to?
Vaccinated travellers can already enter more than 20 countries, including Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Denmark, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, Maldives, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam.
Under the Vaccinated Travel Framework, vaccinated travellers are allowed to return to Singapore from any country so as long it is not on the Ministry of Health’s Restricted Category. That means you’re free to travel to any country in the world that has already reopened its borders.
What are the Covid-19 regulations in the country you’re visiting?
Your first step is understanding the COVID regulations in your destination country. Check for any travel restrictions and testing requirements for your local area and destinations via websites such as Ministries of Health, Ministries of Foreign Affairs or your local health authorities. Read up on your destination’s local news and regulations. Get information from experienced travellers, travel agents, tourist information offices and airlines.
Research and know the common safety risks of your destination. If you’re visiting places known for pickpockets, consider using anti-theft travel bags, a zippered wallet, and a crossbody bag to avoid petty theft.
Find out what to do if you test positive for COVID-19 when travelling overseas. You must understand the risks of contracting COVID-19 in your destination, including any financial implications this may have for you and those travelling with you.
Get your passport and visas ready
Check your passport is in date and valid for at least 6 months from when you plan your trip to end. Some destinations won’t let you enter if your passport is expiring soon.
Check the visa requirements of countries you intend to enter or transit in. As visa requirements can change at short notice, please check with your travel agencies or the relevant foreign embassies to ensure that you have the most updated visa information. Do note that visa requirements may also differ for Singapore Temporary Travel Document holders.
Get travel insurance and other documents ready
- Book your travel insurance. Read the conditions carefully before buying, so you know what’s covered. Make or save copies of your important documents (e.g. travel documents, identity card, passport) if you lose any of them. Leave copies with your family and friends as a contingency.
- Organise any documentation your destination needs, such as COVID-19 entry declarations or international driving permits.
- If your destination or airline needs evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result, book a COVID-19 test. Ensure to check the test types accepted and timeframes they need the test done within and plan ahead.
- eRegister with Ministries of Foreign Affairs so that they can assist you (Singapore citizens who travel or reside overseas) during an emergency or crisis.
- Find out where the nearest Singapore Overseas Mission is to you.
Do you have the right insurance?
Possessing the right travel insurance can save you a great deal of trouble should adverse situations occur. We therefore strongly advise you to purchase a suitable insurance policy and know the terms and conditions of your policy before travelling abroad. You should consider four key types of insurance: Trip Cancellation Insurance, Trip Interruption Insurance, Emergency Medical Insurance, and Baggage Insurance.
Trip cancellation insurance
Trip cancellation insurance is what you want to buy if you’re booking a trip with many pre-payments or deposits. This is especially useful if you are booking the trip well in advance, a lot can change within a matter of a few months! This insurance covers you if you have booked non-refundable travel and cannot take your trip.
Trip interruption insurance
Similar to trip cancellation insurance, trip interruption insurance covers you if you’ve made non-refundable deposits or pre-payments and you find yourself needing to cut your trip short. The two forms of insurance are very similar, with one generally applying before you leave on your trip and then the other applying once you have already left home.
Emergency medical insurance
Emergency medical insurance is precisely what it sounds like – this insurance is meant to replace your provincial health insurance if you travel outside of the province or country. The type of medical insurance you can get varies depending on your insurance company, insurance policy, vacation destination and age. It’s best to discuss the options available with your broker, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.
Baggage insurance covers reasonable expenses incurred if your luggage is merely delayed. If your luggage is lost, damaged or stolen, baggage insurance will usually cover the cost of replacing your suitcase and its contents.
The best is to get all-inclusive insurance to be protected from all the above. The best way to think of all-inclusive insurance is to imagine a combination of all the above forms of travel insurance.
Most travel insurance will cover a trip interruption caused by a COVID-19 infection. But the question is, how much will it cover? Check the fine print in your policy to see what the limits are. Be sure to find travel insurance that covers overseas medical expenses, trip delay, postponement or cancellation, travel agency insolvency and even the worst-case scenario of unexpected demise.
While you’re away
- Stay up-to-date with any changes to local restrictions.
- Follow the rules for the destination you’re in; many places have strict penalties for breaching public health orders.
- Never carry too much cash and valuables.
- Check the customs regulations concerning the import and export of items for the countries you are visiting. Some countries require travellers to declare items that are under their quarantine restrictions at the entry checkpoint.
- Keep your family and friends informed of your whereabouts and activities.
- Take a few minutes to eRegister with MFA if you have not done so.
- Find out where the nearest Singapore Overseas Mission is to you.
Returning to Singapore
From 26 April 2022, all fully vaccinated travellers and non-fully vaccinated children aged 12 and below arriving via air or sea checkpoints will no longer need any COVID-19 test before flying back to Singapore and upon arrival. This means that fully vaccinated travellers and those who are well will not require any tests to enter Singapore.
Travel Insurance Claim
So, something bad happened on your trip. Maybe it was a lost bag, a cancelled flight, a long delay or a medical emergency. To get reimbursed quickly, you need to file a claim, and documentation is essential to ensure that your travel insurance claim is paid promptly.
Contact the Insurer
Should you require emergency assistance, contact the insurer’s hotline immediately. Even if it is a non-urgent claim, you should still contact the insurer as soon as possible. Every insurance policy has a cut-off time for claims, be it 7 days or a month from the incident, so it is best to do it as soon as possible.
Prepare your supporting documents
To avoid giving the insurer a reason to reject your claim, find out what supporting documents you need for your claim from the insurer.
- All original medical invoices and receipts
- Admission / Discharge Report (for hospitalisation claim)
- Medical Reports, Regular doctor reports
- Death Certificate, if applicable
- Accident Report, investigation report and police report, if applicable
- Post Mortem report if applicable.
- Written confirmation from Carrier on the duration and reason(s) for delay/diversion. (Please do obtain this on the spot over the counter.)
- copy of flight itinerary indicating the original flight details
- File a police report at the place of loss within 24 hours. (Loss Item claim.) Please ensure it is done before leaving the country.
- Property Irregularity Report for losses/damage in carriers’ custody.
- Photo to show the extent of damage and repair invoice. (Damage claim)
- Purchase receipt and/or warranty cards (Lost item claim)
- Receipt for additional costs incurred in the replacement of documents (Lost Travel Document)
- Written confirmation of the airline confirming the incident and duration
- Written report or article news on the riot.
Home Care Benefits
- Receipt of all items claimed. If not available, provide a description of items and the date, place, and purchase price.
- SCDF report if applicable.
File your claim
Once you’ve got everything you need, you can officially file the claim according to the insurer’s procedure. Typically, claims take a week to a month to be processed. The first thing to do is to make sure they’ve received your supporting documents. If you haven’t heard anything from them in 2 weeks, you should definitely be proactive and contact your insurer.
If you are planning a trip to the following countries. Now it’s the best time to exchange your money and get more bang for your buck!
- SGD 1 = MYR 3.15
- SGD 1 = THB 24.66
- SGD 1 = JPY 92.5
- SGD 1 = KRW 902.53
*Rates as of 18 May 2022
Best money changers in Singapore for good exchange rates
- Arcade Money Changers #01-18
- Arcade Plaza Traders #02-02/03
- Hassan & Sons Exchange #02-05
- People’s Corner Money Changer #02-07
- Sheen International #02-04
Address: 11 Collyer Quay, Singapore 049317
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