Experiencing a bout of wanderlust? Thankfully, there’s finally some good news for those planning to embark on leisure travel, after talks of a travel bubble falling through several times. For the uninitiated, Singapore will pilot leisure travel on quarantine-free lanes for vaccinated passengers going to and coming from Brunei and Germany come 8 September 2021.
What does this mean?
Before you proceed to book your next getaway, hold your horses. One thing’s for sure — travel will never be the same as pre-COVID days. In order to qualify for travel on a Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) and avoid a Stay-Home Notice, you will have to meet the following criteria:
a. Must be fully vaccinated
This means that you must be fully vaccinated for at least 14 days after completing the full regimen of Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty, Moderna, or WHO’s Emergency Use Listing (EUL) Vaccines.
b. Stayed in country/region of departure and/or Singapore for the last 21 days
Before you fly, you are required to be in Singapore or Germany for the past 21 consecutive days. You should also monitor your health status before departure and practise social responsibility by avoiding travelling if you have any COVID-19 symptoms.
c. Must travel on non-stop designated VTL flights
When booking your flight, make sure that you book the correct returning flight that is tagged with a VTL sign, which can be identified as such:
Your flight to Germany can be any flight, since the VTL is only applicable for travel in the incoming direction.
As of the time of writing, the available VTL flights are:
- From Munich to Singapore
- Singapore Airlines SQ331, departing 1.15pm and arriving 7.05am (+1) on Monday and Wednesday
- From Frankfurt to Singapore
- Singapore Airlines SQ325, departing 10.00pm and arriving 4.25pm (+1) on Sunday, Tuesday and Friday
- Lufthansa LH778, departing 9.55pm and arriving 4.45pm (+1) on Thursday and Saturday
d. Short-term visitors and long-term pass holders must apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP)
Singapore citizens and permanent residents do not have to apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP), but are required to show their vaccination status on the HealthHub app. Alternatively, they can show proof of their vaccination issued by either the Singapore Government or the German Government.
Short-term visitors and Long-Term Pass holders travelling to Singapore will need to apply for a VTP issued between 7 to 30 days before the intended date of entry into Singapore.
e. Must undergo a series of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests before/ upon return to Singapore
- Pre-departure PCR test in Germany at least 48 hours before departure to Singapore
Singapore residents do not have to undergo a PCR test before leaving Singapore for Germany. However, you will have to undergo a PCR test within 48 hours of your scheduled departure time of your VTL flight to Singapore, at any MOH-Recognised Competent Authorities and Accreditation Bodies.
- On-arrival PCR test at Changi Airport
Upon reaching Changi Airport, you are required to do your on-arrival PCR test along with the immigration and customs procedure. While waiting for your on-arrival PCR test results, you are required to be self-isolated until you get a negative result.
Ready to travel? Here’s what you need to know about the situation in Germany
Similar to the situation here in Singapore, face masks are mandatory indoors, in crowded outdoor spaces, and on public transport. However, Germany imposes even stricter requirements — only medical masks such as N95, KN95, FFP2 or surgical masks are allowed. Failure to comply with mask or social distancing requirements can incur a fine of €50 to €250.
Digitised contact tracing is also available in Germany, through a Robert Koch-Institute-issued app, known as the Corona-Warn-App.
COVID-19 Vaccination Certification for travelling in Germany
For peace of mind when travelling in Germany, don’t be overly reliant on your TraceTogether app. Instead, print a copy or save a PDF format of your vaccination certification from the HealthHub app or the National Immunisation Registry. Your vaccination certification should reflect the following:
- Your particulars
- Date and number of vaccinations
- Name of vaccine used in regimen
- Authentication seal
Alternatively, you can also obtain a European Union (EU) certificate issued free of charge in any pharmacy by providing the following:
- Vaccination document from Singapore
- Your proof of identity
This EU-vaccination certificate can either be in print or digital form, and be used for your entire trip.
Get insured for peace of mind
Travel insurance can often feel like a complete waste of good money, but trust us — it will end up being the wisest choice you’ll make, especially during a pandemic. To avoid disruptions to your travel plans, remember to get insured from providers with COVID-19 coverage, such as:
- NTUC Income Travel Insurance
- AXA SmartTraveller
- Aviva Travel Insurance
- Allianz Travel Insurance
- EQ CovidSafe
What happens if I contract COVID-19 in Germany?
If your PCR reflects a positive result, remain calm. Since you are vaccinated, your symptoms should technically be mild. The clinic will be in touch with the German health authority, who will inform you to self-isolate for 14 days in a hotel. This self-isolation will end upon clearing a PCR or ART test. For more severe COVID-19 symptoms, you will be advised to head to a hospital for treatment.
How much will everything cost?
If the above hassle does not deter you from travelling to satisfy your wanderlust, perhaps the price may cause you to hesitate a little. Nonetheless, here’s a full breakdown of how much a one-week long post-pandemic trip to Germany will cost:
|Food||~$50 a day, $350 a week|
|Accomodation in Germany||~$100 a night, $700 a week|
|Transport||~$50 a day, $350 a week|
|PCR tests||48 hours prior to flight back to Singapore|
1 PCR test: ~$200On-arrival PCR test at Changi Airport
1 PCR test: $160
|Travel insurance||From $89 (depending on your dates and choice of insurance provider)|
|Self-isolation facility in Singapore (for those who are not staying alone, or with vaccinated household members with the same travel history, arrival date and self-isolation requirement)||~$100 a night|
To travel, or not to travel?
Travel deprivation can cause many to yearn for travel, and even giving rise to a phenomenon known as ‘revenge travel’. In the current COVID-19 climate where the situation is constantly changing, travel at your own risk. If the cost and hassle does not deter you from travelling, remember to stay protected and purchase travel insurance so you can travel worry-free. Always check the latest advisories and comply with the local legislations, and stay safe on your travels!