If you get COVID-19 while travelling

You may get COVID-19 while you are away from home. If you test positive while travelling, here is what you need to know.

Who this information is for

This page is for people who live in New Zealand and are travelling domestically.

If you test positive while visiting New Zealand | COVID-19 Health Hub (external link)

Be prepared

You could get COVID-19 while you are away from home on holiday or for work. Have a plan for what you need to do.

  • Take a COVID-19 kit with you that includes rapid antigen tests (RATs), hand sanitiser, face masks, and your usual medications. We recommend wearing P2/N95 particulate respirator and medical masks.
  • Plan how to get home safely to isolate — you can only return home if you or someone you are travelling with can drive there.
  • Talk through the plan with the people you are travelling with.
  • If you cannot drive home, you must isolate where you are or find alternative accommodation.

Self-isolation requirements for travellers | Health Hub (external link)

Domestic travel insurance and COVID-19 cover 

We encourage domestic travellers to get travel insurance. Before you buy travel insurance, we recommend you check what cover it provides for COVID-19-related events, including medical treatment, the cost of changing your travel arrangements or paying for accommodation if you need to isolate.

If you get symptoms, get tested immediately

If you get cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms while away from home, get tested immediately. Do not wait until you get home.

Order a rapid antigen test (RAT) online and pick up from your nearest collection point.

COVID-19 symptoms

If you test positive for COVID-19

If you are unable to get home

If you test positive, you cannot:

  • take a commercial flight home
  • do any long-distance road travel that requires an overnight stay
  • take an interisland ferry or public transport.

If you are away for work, accommodation can be arranged by you or your employer. You do not need to seek permission to do this.

Getting help if you are self-isolating

Check the COVID-19 Health Hub for advice.

COVID-19 Health Hub (external link)


  • who can look after your house if necessary
  • who can care for your pets
  • what things to take with you to help with boredom while isolating
  • to have enough money to cover an extended time away from home, for example accommodation costs
  • a list of medical information — include names, ages, NHI numbers, any medical conditions, and medication or medical supplies each person with you needs.

You will need to follow the self-isolation guidelines.

How to self-isolate

If it is safe for you to return home

If you or the people you are travelling with can drive home in a private or work vehicle, then you can do so.

You will need to make as few stops as possible, so you need to plan:

  • your way home
  • how you would get fuel — you should only stop at a contactless petrol station
  • supplies for the journey home to reduce the number of stops you make.

You must not use public transport or do any long-distance road travel that requires an overnight stay or interisland travel.

We recommend wearing a P2/N95 particulate respirator mask when you travel home to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to others. If you cannot wear this type of mask, make sure you wear a medical mask that fits well. 

Remember to keep up healthy habits

If you are borrowing or renting a car, tell the car owner or rental service so they can clean the vehicle afterwards.

Once you are home, follow the self-isolation guidance.

How to self-isolate

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