Travelling overseas has more hurdles than usual — but for Anna and her kids it


For Anna Davey, returning to Ireland after two and a half years has brought a mix of emotions.

«The day that Scott Morrison started saying that we might be going to open up the borders on the first of November and you might be able to travel, I just cried straight away, because it’s a lot of emotion, not being able to go home for so long,» she said.

Australia’s borders had been closed long enough for the Brisbane resident to bring a one-year-old into the world — a little girl who until last week had never met much of her family.

However, for Ms Davey, visiting her overseas home in the middle of a pandemic with two small kids in tow was a daunting task.

Outbound international travel began to pick up in November after COVID-19 stripped overseas trips back to only the most dire of circumstances for most people.

Queensland remains mostly closed to international arrivals — but Anna found some surprising upsides to departing from the «ghost town» that Brisbane International Airport had become.

Anna Davey with her children at an airport.
Anna Davey says the airport was like a ghost town ahead of their departure.(Supplied: Anna Davey)

«In some ways, things were easier because there weren’t many people there. They had time. There weren’t heaps of queues,» she said.

«In a funny way, it’s like a ghost town but, in another way, you get more service because there’s nobody there.»

Some airlines now recommend international travellers arrive at their airport four hours before their flight due to increased boarding requirements.

But Ms Davey nearly didn’t get that far.

«We were on our way to the airport, two kids in the car, everybody big, high hopes, really anxious, about to get on this flight, and my husband said to me, ‘Do you have your PCR test results printed out?’, because he was dropping us to the airport,» she said.

«I said no. I haven’t got them yet, and I was like, ‘Oh, no’. That was an awful feeling.

«I didn’t have the results and my flight was in three hours.»

A young boy at the top of an airport escalator.
Once on the plane, Anna Davey says, there was an air of excitement.(Supplied: Anna Davey)

Australia does not require outbound travellers to produce a negative test, however many countries, including Ireland, do require one to enter.

Ms Davey was able to obtain her result by calling the pathologist that administered the test but warned fellow travellers to ensure that their results arrived on time.

Despite the surreal experience of departing a near-empty airport where you couldn’t even buy a pre-flight snack, she found there was actually an air of excitement once on board.

«I thought, ‘Oh gosh, I’m going to be with two kids, I have a baby who’s going to need to be walked to sleep or rocked to sleep — are they going to let me do that?'» she said.

«Are they going to feed us on the plane? How am I going to wear a mask because she always pulls it off me?

«On the plane, there was a huge…


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