COVID-safe travel in WA

Following COVID-safe principles can help keep ourselves and others safe.

Here are some simple steps you can follow to be prepared for COVID-19 if you are travelling in WA.

Before you travel

Before you go away on holiday, make sure you pack:

  • Rapid antigen tests (RATs)
  • Face masks, hand sanitiser, tissues
  • Thermometer
  • Pain relief medication and any regular medications / prescriptions
  • Electrolytes
  • Proof of vaccination, including address
  • Enough food, water, medicine, masks, hand sanitiser and fuel with you to complete the trip home without making unnecessary stops.

Save important phone numbers to your mobile phone before you leave, including:

  • 13 COVID (13 26843)
  • Your GP or medical clinic
  • Healthdirect (1800 022 222) if you do not have a GP in WA
  • Phone numbers of family, neighbours or other important support networks.

If you need to return home to isolate, you may need to ask these people to check that you have arrived home safely or drop off groceries or medical supplies while you isolate at home.

Don’t forget to install the ServiceWA/SafeWA app on your phone and continue to check in at venues where proof of vaccination is required.

For advice on what other items to pack when travelling in WA, including insect repellent and sunscreen, visit the travel health page.

Considerations when travelling

Think about what you will do if you become a close contact or test positive for COVID-19 while you are away.

If you are unable to return home safely to isolate, you may need to stay where you are (in your holiday accommodation) or find alternative accommodation to complete your isolation.

You may need to cancel or reschedule flights or other travel bookings.

Tips to stay safe on the road

Remember to stay safe on WA roads (external site) – stay where you are if you are not well enough to travel.

If you have any symptoms of COVID-19:

  • get tested immediately by PCR or RAT (RATs are a quick and convenient option if you are travelling in regional or remote WA)
  • stay at home until you get your test results, unless otherwise directed.

If required, wear a mask and if it is safe to do so, open car windows to help clear the air.

To help with contact tracing, keep a record for you and the people you are travelling with, of the people you have had close contact with over your holiday.

If you become unwell while travelling

If you experience any COVID-19 symptoms, get tested immediately and follow the quarantine and isolation advice on HealthyWA. Do not wait until you get home to get tested and isolate.

If you or a family member are holidaying in regional or remote WA and experience symptoms consistent with COVID-19, RATs offer a quick and easy way to test for COVID-19.

If you’re unable to access RATs, the COVID-19 testing clinics page on the HealthyWA website lists testing options in metropolitan Perth and regional WA.

You will need to isolate while you wait for your test result, and then follow the relevant testing or isolation protocol.

You must register positive RAT results online at healthywa.wa.gov.au/ratregister or by calling 13 COVID (13 26843).

If you become a close contact while travelling

If you want to travel home by car to isolate because you are a close contact, you’ll need enough supplies to make the return trip without stopping, except where necessary for fuel or rest. This may include one or more overnight stays, provided you do not have symptoms.

If you need to visit a shop to buy supplies for your travel home, you can only leave your place of isolation if you have no symptoms and have taken a RAT on that day with a negative result. You must wear a mask at all times that you are away from your isolation premises.

If you test positive for COVID-19 while travelling

If you want to travel home by car to isolate because you are a case, you’ll need enough supplies to make the return trip without stopping, except as required by law or where necessary for fuel. No overnight stops are permitted. You must also:

  • be well enough to travel
  • have access to private transport
  • take the most direct route without stopping and the travel time must be less than 12 hours
  • carry proof of ID, including address
  • have enough food, water, medicine, masks, hand sanitiser and fuel with you to complete the trip home without stopping
  • if you need to make an urgent purchase (including fuel), it must be contactless
Frequently asked questions

I am on holiday and have tested positive to COVID-19. My family are close contacts. We need to return home to complete our isolation – how do I protect my family and others while travelling?

You should only travel if you are well enough and it is safe to do so. You must travel by private vehicle and by the most direct route without stopping overnight or at all (except as required by law or for urgent fuel purchases). Your travel time to the alternative isolation premises must not exceed 12 hours. You and your family should wear masks from the time you leave your holiday accommodation until you arrive back home. Keep 1.5m distance from others wherever possible. Cover coughs, wash hands often and if you can, open car windows and set air conditioning to fresh air.

I am holidaying in a regional/remote part of WA and need to take a COVID-19 test. Should I take a RAT or attend a clinic for a PCR test?

RATs are an acceptable testing method, as they are convenient, provide results quickly and can be used alongside other important public health measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 where there is widespread community transmission.

If you receive a positive RAT, a follow up PCR test is not required unless you are instructed to do so by Public Health.

If you’re unable to access RATs, the COVID-19 testing clinics page lists testing options in metropolitan Perth and regional WA

I’m COVID-19 positive and holidaying in a tent at a caravan park. Can I isolate here?

If you are COVID-19 positive and can safely travel home by private vehicle (without stopping except for urgent fuel purchases) and your travel time is less than 12 hours, you should return home to complete your isolation. If this is not possible, you will need to complete your isolation where you are, or at an alternative premise. If you need to use shared kitchen and bathroom facilities, you must wear a mask at all times and stay at least 1.5m from others. Try and avoid using the shared facilities at busy times and wipe down surfaces you have touched with disinfectant, when you have finished.

If I am identified as a close contact, do I need to get a PCR test or take a RAT?

Yes, you should get tested immediately either by presenting for a PCR test or taking a RAT:

Do I need to wait for PCR results before I can go home?

No. You can return home to isolate while waiting for the results of a PCR test but must return directly home if it is safe to do so.

You must comply with mask wearing requirements, all other public health and social measures and the requirements for travellers returning home to isolate.

Will I be provided with a RAT when I arrive at an airport in Western Australia?

RATs will still be provided to travellers arriving at Perth airport. They are not provided for travellers arriving at regional airports in Western Australia.

Can I remain in my holiday accommodation to isolate until the end of my booking?

If your accommodation is suitable for isolation, you can remain there.

Consider factors such as availability of support networks and practical issues such as arranging contactless delivery of food and other supplies when making your decision.

I have tested positive for COVID-19 while travelling and am now returning home. Does my isolation period start when I return home?

No. Your isolation period starts from the date you took your test (not the date you received the result or arrived home).

I have COVID-19 and am returning home to isolate. Can I stop along the way (e.g. to get petrol or buy food)?

Before you leave, you should have enough food, water, medicine, masks, hand sanitiser and fuel with you to complete the trip home without stopping, if possible.

You should take the most direct route home.

I left my holiday accommodation early to isolate at home. Am I entitled to a partial refund or compensation?

You will need to check the cancellation policy with the organisation you booked the accommodation with or contact them for further advice.

I am a close contact and want to return home to isolate but can’t return by car. Can I make the return trip by plane?

If you are a close contact and do not have symptoms, you may travel to an alternative premises by commercial aircraft if you have had a RAT which returned a negative test result within 4 hours of the scheduled departure time of your flight.

If you are a close contact but you do have symptoms, you cannot travel to an alternative premise by commercial aircraft.

Last reviewed: 29-04-2022