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From Travel Insurance to Covid Tests

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From Travel Insurance to Covid Tests

What’s not to love about exploring unique places and immersing yourself in new cultures? Travelling allows us to step out of our comfort zone and broaden our horizons. Sadly, the Covid-19 pandemic has put a pause on many of our travel plans due to the restrictions imposed by countries globally.

With the gradual easing of travel restrictions globally, travellers can finally fly again.

Presently, Singapore has Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) agreements with 32 countries. It means that fully-vaccinated travellers can enjoy quarantine-free travel to Singapore, and fully-vaccinated Singaporeans can enjoy quarantine-free travel to most of these approved countries as well.

Greece and Vietnam will be added to Singapore’s VTL scheme from 16 March 2022. The addition of these countries to the VTL scheme is part of Singapore’s strategy to safely reopen its border for international travellers and reclaim its position as a global business hub.

If you are thinking of taking a well-deserved vacation out of Singapore soon, here’s all you need to know before booking your next getaway.

Table of Contents

List of VTL Countries for Your Next Getaway

Currently, Singapore has VTL agreements with 32 countries. They are:

  • Australia
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Cambodia
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Fiji
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • The Netherlands
  • The Philippines
  • Qatar
  • The Republic of Korea
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • The United Arab Emirates
  • The United Kingdom
  • The United States
  • Vietnam

man waiting to fly at airport

5 Things to Do Before You Jet off From Singapore

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way people travel. Unlike in the past, travelling is not as simple as before. Post-pandemic travel can be stressful due to extra things for consideration before flying. To help alleviate the stress of post-pandemic travel, we have curated a checklist of five things to do before you leave town.

covid 19 test

1. Get a Pre-Departure Test Done

Before travelling abroad, you need to do a pre-departure test for most countries under the VTL scheme.

There are two different types of pre-departure tests — Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test and Antigen Rapid Test (ART). The type of test required for you to take differs from country to country.

Do note that you have to bear the cost of these tests should you want to travel abroad. In Singapore, you can easily book a pre-departure test at any clinic offering pre-departure ART or PCR tests. A supervised ART will cost anywhere between $25 to $50. A PCR test will cost between $90 to $220.

Your test result certificate in English should state the following:

  • Traveller’s name
  • Traveller’s date of birth or passport number
  • Proof of negative Covid-19 test result
  • Date and time of when the Covid-19 was taken
  • Name of the testing centre that conducted the Covid-19 test
  • Brand of ART kit that was used for the test

Do take note of the requirements by different countries:

Country Entry Requirements (PCR/ART tests)
Australia Supervised pre-departure ART within 24 hours before departure time
Brunei Only for short-term essential travel (official and business purposes)
Cambodia Pre-departure PCR within 72 hours of departure time & On-arrival ART
Canada Pre-departure ART within 24 hours before departure time
Denmark No testing required for fully-vaccinated travellers
Fiji Pre-departure PCR test within 48 hours of departure time or supervised pre-departure ART within 24 hours before departure time
Finland No testing required for fully-vaccinated travellers
France No testing required for fully-vaccinated travellers
Germany No testing required for fully-vaccinated travellers
Greece VTL to begin from 16 March 2022
Hong Kong Singaporeans cannot enter for leisure purposes
India No testing required for fully-vaccinated travellers
Indonesia Pre-departure PCR test or supervised ART within 48 hours of departure time (For Sea Travellers)
Italy No testing required for fully-vaccinated travellers
Israel For essential travel only
Malaysia (Air VTL)Pre-departure PCR within 48 hours of departure time & on-arrival ART test within 24 hours after arrival in Malaysia (From 1 April 2022)
Malaysia (Land VTL)Pre-departure PCR within 48 hours of departure time & on-arrival ART test within 24 hours after arrival in Malaysia (From 1 April 2022)
MaldivesPre-departure PCR within 96 hours of departure time
NetherlandsPre-departure PCR test within 48 hours of departure time or supervised pre-departure ART within 24 hours before departure time
PhilippinesPre-departure PCR test within 48 hours of departure time
QatarPre-departure PCR within 48 hours of departure time
South KoreaPre-departure PCR test within 48 hours of departure time & on-arrival PCR test
Spain No testing required for fully-vaccinated travellers
Sri Lanka Pre-departure PCR test within 72 hours of departure time or supervised pre-departure ART within 48 hours before departure time
Switzerland No testing required for fully-vaccinated travellers
Sweden The Swedish Government has temporarily stopped non-essential travel to Sweden from countries outside the EU, which includes Singapore. (As of 16 March 2022)
Saudi Arabia No testing required for fully-vaccinated travellers
Thailand Pre-departure PCR test within 72 hours of departure time & on-arrival RT-PCR test
Turkey No testing required for fully-vaccinated travellers
United Kingdom No testing required for fully-vaccinated travellers
The United States of America Pre-departure ART test within 24 hours of departure time
The United Arab Emirates No testing required for fully-vaccinated travellers
Vietnam VTL to begin from 16 March 2022

covid 19 vaccine

2. Ensure Your Covid-19 Vaccination Documents Are in Order

You must ensure that you are fully vaccinated at least two weeks before travel. The vaccines granted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) are:

  1. Novavax
  2. COVOVAX (Novavax formulation)
  3. Moderna
  4. Pfizer/BioNTech/Comirnaty
  5. Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
  6. Oxford/AstraZeneca
  7. Covishield (Oxford/ AstraZeneca formulation)
  8. Bharat Biotech: Covaxin
  9. Sinopharm
  10. Sinovac

However, do note that not all countries will accept approved vaccines. Some countries do not recognise Sinopharm and Sinovac as approved vaccines. You should check the latest requirements on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) website for the country you’re travelling to.

You need to set up your digital vaccination certificate in English as well. Additionally, you need to ensure that your vaccination certificate is valid for travel. For outbound travellers, you can get your (PDT) or Vaccination HealthCerts digitally authenticated with Notarise.

One thing to note is that travellers under the age of 12 need not be vaccinated. However, they need to be accompanied by a fully-vaccinated VTL traveller.

passport visa stamps

3. Check Visa Requirements for Entry

Did you know that a country can turn you away if you do not have a proper entry visa? Countries can bar you from entry if an entry visa is required, but you do not have one. Not applying for a visa will ruin your trip as you will need to leave the country immediately. Worst of all, you might incur additional costs that can add up to thousands of dollars. For example, the booking of a last-minute flight is expensive. If you need to leave the country, you will have to spend money on the next available flight out, regardless of cost.

Singapore has one of the most powerful passports in the world, allowing us to travel the world easily. However, some countries still require a visa for leisure travel.

One example is Australia. If you intend totravel to Australia, you will need a valid entry visa to travel. For Singaporeans, you can use the Australian Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) app to apply for an ETA from your mobile device.

4. Activate Credit Cards for Overseas Usage

Want to save money on travel? With credit cards, you can earn rebates on your overseas spend, getting a portion of your money back. Typically, banks give you between 1% to 8% on your foreign transactions.

Apart from cashback, using a credit card also adds convenience to your travels. You do not need to exchange currencies at a money changer and carry cash around. Lastly, you also have protection against fraud.

Before you go on your trip, you must remember to activate your credit card for overseas use. If you do not do so, you cannot use your credit card overseas. You can either activate your credit card online or via SMS. Do not know which credit card to use for your next trip? Here are three cards that offer some of the best perks and rewards on overseas spend.

Best Credit Cards for Overseas Use

Citi PremierMiles Visa: Good Balance of Rewards, Perks and Bonus Miles

Citi PremierMiles Card

Citi PremierMiles Card

  • Earn 2mi/S$1 overseas, 2 free lounge visits/yr
  • Promotions:
  • Existing cardmembers will receive S$30 cash via PayNow with no minimum spend.
  • Successful applicants must ensure that their credit card is valid and in good standing (not cancelled or blocked) at the point of gift fulfilment, and must retain and not cancel it for a period of 12 months from the date of approval.
  • Read Our Full Review
Fees, Rewards & Perks

  • Annual fee: S$192.6, 1-year waiver
  • 10,000 bonus annual renewal miles (worth S$100)
  • 1.2 miles per S$1 local spend, 2 miles overseas
  • Miles earned never expire
  • 2 free lounge visits & free travel insurance

Analyst’s Review

If you’re an average consumer looking for a well-rounded, accessible travel card, Citi PremierMiles Visa Card is one of the best options available. Not only do cardholders earn very respectable rewards rates–1.2 miles per S$1 spend locally, 2 miles overseas–they also receive perks often limited to pricier cards, like 2 free lounge visits per year.

Citi PMV Card does have an annual fee of S$192.6, waived 1 year only. However, this is lower than most alternatives, and is offset by 10,000 annual renewal miles (worth S$100). New cardholders also receive up to 45,000 welcome miles (worth S$450), and no-fee cards rarely come with so many bonuses. Ultimately, Citi PMV Card offers great rewards rates, perks, and bonus miles, without sky-high fees–perfect for the average consumer.

Citi PremierMiles Card

Citi PremierMiles Card

  • Stand-Out: Earn 2mi/S$1 overseas, 2 free lounge visits/yr
  • Promotions:
  • Existing cardmembers will receive S$30 cash via PayNow with no minimum spend.
  • Successful applicants must ensure that their credit card is valid and in good standing (not cancelled or blocked) at the point of gift fulfilment, and must retain and not cancel it for a period of 12 months from the date of approval.
  • Read Our Full Review
Fees, Rewards & Perks

  • Annual fee: S$192.6, 1-year waiver
  • 10,000 bonus annual renewal miles (worth S$100)
  • 1.2 miles per S$1 local spend, 2 miles overseas
  • Miles earned never expire
  • 2 free lounge visits & free travel insurance
Analyst’s Review

If you’re an average consumer looking for a well-rounded, accessible travel card, Citi PremierMiles Visa Card is one of the best options available. Not only do cardholders earn very respectable rewards rates–1.2 miles per S$1 spend locally, 2 miles overseas–they also receive perks often limited to pricier cards, like 2 free lounge visits per year.

Citi PMV Card does have an annual fee of S$192.6, waived 1 year only. However, this is lower than most alternatives, and is offset by 10,000 annual renewal miles (worth S$100). New cardholders also receive up to 45,000 welcome miles (worth S$450), and no-fee cards rarely come with so many bonuses. Ultimately, Citi PMV Card offers great rewards rates, perks, and bonus miles, without sky-high fees–perfect for the average consumer.

American Express Singapore Airlines Krisflyer Ascend Card: Exclusive Travel Memberships

American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card

American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card

  • Access to Hilton Honors Silver & Krisflyer Elite Gold status
  • Promotions:
  • New to bank cardmembers will receive additional 10,000 bonus miles upon first transaction within first month of Card approval
  • Read Our Full Review
Fees, Rewards & Perks

  • Annual fee: S$337.05
  • 1.2 miles per S$1 local & overseas spend, 2 miles overseas in June & December only
  • 2 miles per S$1 spend on SingaporeAir online & app, SilkAir, KrisShop in-flight & online
  • 3.2 miles per S$1 spend on Grab transactions (up to 640 mi/mo)
  • 4 free lounge visits/year, free annual hotel night, travel insurance
  • Access to Hilton Honors Silver & Krisflyer Elite Gold status

Analyst’s Review

American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Card offers far more than excellent welcome bonuses–it also provides competitive rates and top-notch travel perks, for a moderate S$337.05 annual fee. Consumers earn 1.2 miles per S$1 general spend, 2 miles with SIA brands and overseas in June & December, and 3.2 miles on Grab transactions.

These rates make it fairly easy to earn miles in day-to-day life, which is then complemented by great benefits when cardholders decide to travel. Perks include 4 free lounge visits/year, 1 free annual hotel stay, and free travel insurance. As a more unique feature, cardholders have access to exclusive membership upgrades to Hilton Honors Silver, KrisFlyer Elite Gold, and Hertz Gold Plus. The benefits allow consumers to enjoy a fuller luxury experience, moving beyond perks that are typically just limited to airport travel. Ultimately, Amex SIA KF Ascend Card is a great option for people who want competitive rates balanced with top-notch luxury benefits.

American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card

American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card

  • Stand-Out: Access to Hilton Honors Silver & Krisflyer Elite Gold status
  • Promotions:
  • New to bank cardmembers will receive additional 10,000 bonus miles upon first transaction within first month of Card approval
  • Read Our Full Review
Fees, Rewards & Perks

  • Annual fee: S$337.05
  • 1.2 miles per S$1 local & overseas spend, 2 miles overseas in June & December only
  • 2 miles per S$1 spend on SingaporeAir online & app, SilkAir, KrisShop in-flight & online
  • 3.2 miles per S$1 spend on Grab transactions (up to 640 mi/mo)
  • 4 free lounge visits/year, free annual hotel night, travel insurance
  • Access to Hilton Honors Silver & Krisflyer Elite Gold status
Analyst’s Review

American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Card offers far more than excellent welcome bonuses–it also provides competitive rates and top-notch travel perks, for a moderate S$337.05 annual fee. Consumers earn 1.2 miles per S$1 general spend, 2 miles with SIA brands and overseas in June & December, and 3.2 miles on Grab transactions.

These rates make it fairly easy to earn miles in day-to-day life, which is then complemented by great benefits when cardholders decide to travel. Perks include 4 free lounge visits/year, 1 free annual hotel stay, and free travel insurance. As a more unique feature, cardholders have access to exclusive membership upgrades to Hilton Honors Silver, KrisFlyer Elite Gold, and Hertz Gold Plus. The benefits allow consumers to enjoy a fuller luxury experience, moving beyond perks that are typically just limited to airport travel. Ultimately, Amex SIA KF Ascend Card is a great option for people who want competitive rates balanced with top-notch luxury benefits.

Standard Chartered Visa Infinite: Exclusive Privileges for Business Travellers

Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Credit Card

Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Credit Card

Fees, Rewards & Perks

  • Annual fee: S$588.5
  • 1.4 miles per S$1 local spend, 3 miles overseas (S$2,000 min spend)
  • 35,000 welcome miles (worth S$350)
  • Tax payments are eligible for rewards points
  • Free travel insurance, 6x lounge access, 1 free 4hr yacht hire
  • Hertz Asia Privileges, Golfing/Dining/Hotel Privileges

Analyst’s Review

If you’re an affluent business traveller, look no further than Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Card. Cardholders not only enjoy top market rates–1.4 miles per S$1 local spend, 3 miles overseas–they also have access to a wide range of luxury perks. From free yacht hires, airport lounge access (6x/year), and travel insurance to golfing, dining, and Hertz Asia privileges, consumers can travel in comfort while rapidly accruing miles.

SC Visa Infinite is already a fantastic card, but what makes it unique is that it also rewards banking activity. All cardholders can earn rewards by paying their income tax through the card, and SC Banking customers can also earn on their savings accounts, mortgage loans, fixed deposits, investments and more. Few cards offer such a rewards structure, and while the S$588.5 fee is high, it’s easily made up for in total value-to-consumer. Ultimately, if you’re a frequent business traveller, SC Visa Infinite Card may well be your best option.

Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Credit Card

Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Credit Card

Fees, Rewards & Perks

  • Annual fee: S$588.5
  • 1.4 miles per S$1 local spend, 3 miles overseas (S$2,000 min spend)
  • 35,000 welcome miles (worth S$350)
  • Tax payments are eligible for rewards points
  • Free travel insurance, 6x lounge access, 1 free 4hr yacht hire
  • Hertz Asia Privileges, Golfing/Dining/Hotel Privileges
Analyst’s Review

If you’re an affluent business traveller, look no further than Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Card. Cardholders not only enjoy top market rates–1.4 miles per S$1 local spend, 3 miles overseas–they also have access to a wide range of luxury perks. From free yacht hires, airport lounge access (6x/year), and travel insurance to golfing, dining, and Hertz Asia privileges, consumers can travel in comfort while rapidly accruing miles.

SC Visa Infinite is already a fantastic card, but what makes it unique is that it also rewards banking activity. All cardholders can earn rewards by paying their income tax through the card, and SC Banking customers can also earn on their savings accounts, mortgage loans, fixed deposits, investments and more. Few cards offer such a rewards structure, and while the S$588.5 fee is high, it’s easily made up for in total value-to-consumer. Ultimately, if you’re a frequent business traveller, SC Visa Infinite Card may well be your best option.

5. Take Out Comprehensive Travel Insurance in Singapore

Before you fly, some countries like South Korea require you to purchase travel insurance in Singapore for your trip. The travel insurance policies need to cover Covid-19 related medical/treatment expenses. Even if it is not mandatory, you should still purchase travel insurance for yourself. Travel insurance protects you against accidents or unexpected medical expenses you might incur during your trip. It also covers travel delays that might happen. You definitely do not want to be left stranded overseas.

You might think that travel insurance is only necessary for air travel. However, did you know that travel insurance is equally crucial for land and sea travel? If you plan to go on a cruise to nowhere from Singapore, you can purchase cruise insurance. Travel insurance gives travellers added peace of mind for their trip.

Don’t know what travel insurance to get in Singapore? We have compared some of the best travel insurance in Singapore for you.

Comparison of Singapore’s Best Travel Insurance With Covid-19 Coverage

Income Travel Insurance (Standard Plan)

PROMO: Get 40% off single-trip policies

Coverage and Benefits

Premium and value Classic Deluxe Preferred
Personal Accident S$150,000 S$200,000 S$500,000
Medical expenses overseas S$250,000 S$500,000 S$1,000,000
Emergency Medical evacuation S$500,000 Unlmtd Unlmtd
Trip Cancellation S$5,000 S$10,000 S$15,000
Trip Disruption S$3,000 S$5,000 S$8,000
Baggage Loss Damage S$3,000 S$5,000 S$8,000
Baggage Delay S$1,000 S$1,200 S$2,000

Covid-19 Extension

Features (For all premiums) Extension
Cancelling your trip due to COVID-19 S$2,000
Postponing your trip due to COVID-19 S$2,000
Shortening your trip due to COVID-19 S$2,000
Trip disruption due to COVID-19 S$2,000
Medical expenses overseas due to COVID-19 S$150,000
Emergency medical evacuation and sending you home due to COVID-19 S$150,000
Overseas quarantine allowance due to COVID-19 S$1,400

Analyst’s Review

With Covid-19, it is even more crucial to protect yourself in such unprecedented times. Income travel insurance offers protection against unexpected Covid-19 emergencies. Some examples include cancelling your trip, overseas quarantine allowance, and medical expenses due to Covid-19. All per trip and yearly plans will automatically include the following COVID-19 benefits. Travellers can enjoy COVID-19 benefits for the first 90 days of each trip for Standard per-trip policies.

Tiq Travel Insurance

PROMO: Get a 30% discount with the promo code CNY22 and get $100 per referral

Promotions

Use code TEIF for discount

Coverage and Benefits

Premium and value Entry Savvy Luxury
Personal Accident and Death S$200,000 S$250,000 S$300,000
Medical Expenses Incurred Overseas S$200,000 S$500,000 S$1,000,000
Emergency Medical & Repatriation Combined limit up to $1,000,000 Combined limit up to $1,500,000 Combined limit up to $1,800,000
Trip Cancellation and Loss of Deposit S$5,000 S$5,000 S$10,000
Trip Delays S$300 ($50 per 3hrs) S$300 ($50 per 3hrs) S$500 ($50 per 3hrs)
Baggage Delay S$200 ($100 per 6hrs) S$200 ($100 per 6hrs) S$200 ($100 per 6hrs)

Covid-19 Extension

Premium and value Entry Savvy Luxury
Trip Cancellation and Loss of Deposit due to Covid-19 S$3,000 S$4,000 S$5,000
Travel Postponement due to Covid-19 S$500 S$1,000 S$1,500
Trip Curtailment and Disruption due to Covid-19 S$3,000 S$4,000 S$5,000
Medical Expenses Incurred Overseas due to Covid-19 S$100,000 S$200,000 S$300,000
Overseas Covid-19 Diagnosis Quarantine Allowance S$500 S$1,000 S$1,500
Emergency Medical Evacuation and Repatriation of Mortal Remains due to Covid-19 S$200,000 S$300,000 S$500,000
Hospitalisation Benefit in Singapore due to Covid-19 S$100 S$200 S$300

Analyst’s Review

Etiqa Tiq Pre-Ex plans provide comprehensive coverage against medical expenses if you fall sick during your trip due to pre-existing medical conditions. Pre-existing medical conditions include diabetes, eczema, asthma, heart conditions, stroke, asthma, sleep apnea, cancer and epilepsy. However, do note that your illness must be stable and under control. If you are looking for an affordable yet comprehensive plan to protect against medical treatment due to pre-existing conditions, you can consider Etiqa Tiq’s Pre-Ex policies.

HL Assurance

Hong Leong Group

Hong Leong Group

Consider this if
you’re worried about flight delays

more details
less details

  • Personal Accident Coverage

Promotions

HLAS: 50% off + NCD + Free Coverage

Coverage and Benefits

Premium and value Basic Enhanced Superior
Personal Accident and Death S$200,000 S$250,000 S$300,000
Medical S$150,000 S$250,000 S$500,000
Emergency Medical & Repatriation Unlmtd Unlmtd Unlmtd
Trip Cancellation S$5,000 S$7,000 S$12,000
Trip Delays S$1,000 S$1,000 S$1,000
Baggage Loss Damage S$3,000 S$5,000 S$7,000
Baggage Delay S$1,000 S$1,000 S$1,000

Covid-19 Extension

Premium and value Basic Enhanced Superior
Trip Cancellation due to Covid-19 NA S$1,000 S$2,000
Trip Postponement due to Covid-19 NA S$750 S$1,500
Trip Curtailment or Rearrangement due to Covid-19 NA S$1,000 S$2,000
Overseas Hospital Cash Benefit due to Covid-19 NA S$1,000 S$2,000
Overseas Quarantine Allowance due to Covid-19 NA S$500 S$1,000
Emergency medical evacuation and sending you home due to Covid-19 NA Unlmtd Unlmtd
Repatriation of mortal remains due to Covid-19 NA Unlmtd Unlmtd

Analyst’s Review

HL Assurance’s travel insurance plans are great for global travellers worried about flight delays. HL Assurance travel plans offer one of the highest caps for flight delays, including the most basic plan. There is also coverage for lost items, trip curtailment, postponement, cancellation and delays, as well as rental car excess (the excess you owe if you get into a car accident abroad), medical expenses and hospital cash benefit both abroad and back in Singapore. If you are looking for a comprehensive travel plan that provides high coverage for flight delays, HL Assurance’s travel insurance plan might be right for you.

aisle in airplane

Satisfy Your Wanderlust Today

Do remember to get a pre-departure test, ensure that your vaccination documents are in order, check necessary entry visa requirements, activate your credit card for overseas use and purchase the best travel insurance in Singapore before taking off.

Best of all, under the VTL scheme, you no longer need to take a PCR test on arrival in Singapore. Instead, all VTL travellers returning to Singapore have up to 24 hours to take a supervised ART at a testing centre. How convenient is that? Take a well-deserved vacation and plan for your next big adventure today!

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