What is a Travel Bubble and How It Will Affect You

What a travel bubble really is, how the will affect your travel and a definitive list of all travel bubbles that are open
Photo by Eva Darron on Unsplash

When the coronavirus pandemic hit countries across the globe, the bustling aviation industry was brought to a standstill. The conveniences of a globalized world became a living nightmare overnight. The virus spread at an alarming rate, and we were forced to remain quarantined. Travel plans were canceled, and we all had to make peace with the fact that the world was not going back to normal as we know it, for months to come.

Well over a year into the pandemic, we are now finally seeing signs of improvement. With vaccinations going on at a reasonable pace across the globe, the talk about travel bubbles and the resumption of the aviation industry have been more frequent. Travel bubbles emerged as a tiny glimpse of hope for those who have been yearning to travel, but what really is a travel bubble? And what does it mean for the average traveler like you and me?

Travel bubbles are often also referred to as an air corridor or air bridge, and in some cases as green zones and green lanes. Truth of the matter is, over the next few weeks or months we are bound to be hearing about these a lot more on the news.

Essentially, travel bubbles are agreements between two countries that have contained the spread of the coronavirus. These agreements allow for travel between the countries, for essential and non-essential travel without the need for long or any quarantines at all. Travel bubbles allows travelers to travel across otherwise closed borders, without major restrictions. It has become a key factor, in reopening the globe and reviving local economies as countries slowly begin getting ahead of the virus.

Potential To Reopen Global Economy

During a time like the global pandemic that we are facing today, travel bubbles are generally meant to find a balance between two extremes. In our case, it is letting people come and go freely while risking further spread of the virus. Travel bubbles however can be a great solution for countries to slowly reopen their borders and reviving their economies.

This is especially important for countries that rely on tourism. Countries like Maldives, Thailand and Greece stands to benefit greatly from free movement that is allowed through travel bubbles. For them, it’s hope of reviving their hard-hit economies amid the tourism shut down.

But of course, it is a high risk and high reward opportunity. Countries need to find a sweet spot in trusting each other and ensuring that both parties have cases under control when following through with travel bubble implementations.

How Will It Affect You

With the dawn of summer, and global cases on a decline the emergence of travel bubbles has come at the perfect time. Many countries have already launched travel bubbles allowing non-essential travelers or are either preparing to launch one or in negotiations of forming one.

For the wanderlust traveler, this means the opportunity to travel once again. Though it may be limited to certain countries, it is still considerably better than the situation from 2020 during the peak of the virus. Get your bags ready, here’s some of the travel bubbles that are already active, and ones expected to launch soon!

Europe

European Union

Europe has a list of third countries the residents of which should be permitted to the European Union and Schengen Area by the Member States.

  • Australia
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Rwanda
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • China, including Hong Kong and Macao (subject to confirmation of reciprocity)
Germany

Germany has published a list of countries for which Germany allows unrestricted entry for residents of the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
Spain

Spain currently has reciprocal travel agreements with the following countries allowing them to travel to Spain.

  • Australia
  • China
  • South Korea
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom
  • Israel
  • Rwanda
  • Singapore
  • Thailand

Vaccinated travelers from other countries are also now able to travel to the country for tourism.

Asia – Pacific

Australia – New Zealand

The Australia – New Zealand or the Trans-Tasman Bubble has once again been opened. This allows travelers from both countries to travel quarantine free. The governments are also in talks of further expanding the Trans-Tasman Bubble in the future.

Indonesia
Bali

Bali is set to reopen Ubud, Sanur and Nusa Dua for tourists from selected countries. It is set to establish travel corridors with the following countries effective July 2021.

  • Netherlands
  • China
  • Singapore
  • UAE

Indonesia also has a list of other travel bubbles that have been announced. These include:

  • United Arab Emirates
  • Singapore (Suspended)
New Zealand

A quarantine-free travel bubble for two-way travel is now open between the Cook Islands and Auckland, New Zealand while a one-way travel bubble is also open from Niue to Auckland, which is also quarantine-free.

Singapore

While Singapore has been on the fore front of establishing travel bubbles in the South Asian region, many of the bubbles have been suspended due to various reasons. The list of travel bubbles and the active ones are below.

  • Australia (suspended)
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • China
  • Germany (suspended)
  • Hong Kong (deferred)
  • Indonesia (suspended)
  • Japan (suspended)
  • Malaysia (suspended)
  • New Zealand
  • Taiwan (suspended)
  • South Korea (suspended)
  • Vietnam (suspended)

The Middle East & North Africa

United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates has set up ‘vaccine bubbles’ allowing travelers who are fully vaccinated to travel to the UAE from the following countries.

  • Bahrain
  • Greece
  • Seychelles
  • Serbia

The Carribeans

Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia is allowing travel between 11 other Carribean islands under their travel bubble. They are:

  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Anguilla
  • Barbados
  • The British Virgin Islands
  • Cayman Islands
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Montserrat
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • The Turks and Caicos Islands