Note to self: don’t ever attempt an international move mid pandemic again.

Twice was more than enough.

Yup, we moved internationally twice in the last year during covid.

Correct, we are crazy.

The first move was back to Australia in the hope things would be easier there. When covid hit the UK in March we didn’t qualify to travel back together, as my then fiancé isn’t an Australian citizen. But as I had lost my job and lockdown measures were in place here, so we applied for an exemption as soon as we were eligible.

Unfortunately, even though Australia hadn’t been hit as hard as the rest of the world by the virus, lots of people had been laid off making competition for jobs very high.

In January, we decided the right move was to try again in the UK. My husband (we married in August) had a job he could work straight into, and there are definitely more work opportunities for me here.

The move back to Australia was rather simple when the exemption was granted. We were some of the lucky ones. We arrived before the caps were increased and while hotel quarantine was free. We were escorted from the airport to the hotel by the police and military. Our room was filthy and the food was terrible but all we had to do was wait out the 14 days, without killing each other.

I can’t imagine being one of the people attempting to travel back now. I’ve heard so many horror stories of cancelled flights and the quarantine cost is extortionate. If we had paid that much for inedible food I would have made a formal complaint. If you’re looking at traveling back to Australia and can wait, I would recommend it. If you’re currently stuck in quarantine, remember it will be over soon – best of luck!

Returning to the UK was another story entirely. The rules to return here, for us, were very straight forward. Get a covid test and declare where you’ve been. Easy. Except Australian citizens can’t leave Australia without an exemption. Something I didn’t know until within the 2 week period you need when applying. There are automatic exemptions which I qualified for, but didn’t know if I would be granted until we were at the airport on the day of the flight.

I developed some serious hives from the stress of this trip. Our first flight was cancelled, and they make you wait 12 weeks for a refund (still waiting!). Then flight prices went up at the same time, meaning we almost had to come back separately. We were lucky to get two cheap seats, unlucky to not realise they were so cheap because they had a reduced baggage allowance (goodbye possessions into the airport bins).

I honestly didn’t relax until we made it through Heathrow customs, as with the way things were going, a part of me was certain they wouldn’t let me into the UK.

10/10 do NOT recommend moving internationally during the pandemic. My first move to the UK was so simple in comparison. If you can wait, do.

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