Travel Bubbles

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Travel Bubble Travel Advice

Last updated: 21 October 2020

Whilst countries try re-open its boarder to encourage international travel, travel bubble become a new norm to keep travellers and the local communities COVID-19 free. To understand more about travel bubbles and where these travel bubbles are, read our guide below:

What are travel bubbles?

Travel bubbles are temporary bilateral travel agreement between two countries or territories, aiming to facilitate people movement under the COVID-19 pandemic. There are three types of bubbles that governments are trying to impose, a basic travel bubble, a limited travel bubble and an extended travel bubble.

Basic travel bubble refers to standard public health risk mitigation measures apply between destinations. Limited travel bubbles require a COVID-19 test within 24-48 hours before departure whereas extended travel bubble would require another test within 24-48 hours after arrival as well as testings before departure.

Preparation before travelling in a Travel bubble

Although movements between the two countries/ territories are allowed, there are some restrictions that might have been agreed between the two governments. These measures are adopted to maintain low infection risk between the two states and they are subject to regular reviews depending on infection rates. Here are some examples of the possible restrictions being imposed by the two countries.

- Negative COVID-19 test certificate required before departure

- COVID-19 test upon arrival

- Access to specific territories only

- Travellers cannot travel to high-risk areas 14 days before travel

Where are these travel bubbles?

- Australia and New Zealand

- Hong Kong and Singapore

- Hong Kong and Japan and Thailand

- India and 13 countries (Australia, Bahrain, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, Nigeria, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand)

- Indonesia and United Arab Emirates

- United States and United Kingdom


What is an air bubble?

Air bubbles are bilateral agreements between two sovereign states aiming to restart commercial passenger services after international flights being suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It essentially is an agreement that allows airlines in the two countries operate commercial flight again.

Who can travel under a travel bubble?

Depending on the criteria and requirements agreed in the travel bubble, the passenger may need to meet certain standards before travelling. For example, passengers may need to show a negative COVID-19 test certificate before travelling or haven't been to any high-risk areas before travelling.

Is it risky to travel under a travel bubble?

A travel bubble is usually formed on the basis that the country achieved a low infection rate and travellers are usually being tested upon arrival or pre-travel, therefore, the risk of being infected is relatively low. However, to minimise the chance of infection, passengers are still recommended to wear face masks and social distance at the airport. Read our blog on 'How to avoid getting sick on a plane' to find out more.