Which COVID-19 rules apply when you travel between EU countries?

Which COVID rules apply to me in Spain, France and the Netherlands? When I travel between those countries, do I need to follow the rules for travellers from Australia, or the rules for EU travellers? J. Shrubb, Turramurra NSW

Make sure you comply with the more stringent rules that apply to travellers coming from Australia. The distinction is made to separate travellers who live within the EU from those who do not. Those from the EU will usually have the EU digital certificate, and easier access, but that certificate is not available to anyone vaccinated in Australia.

My husband and I have a week to drive from Rome to Florence, preferably through less touristy regions and sampling the local food, wines and culture. K. Lee, Brighton VIC

You might start with the fortified medieval hilltown of Spello, which rises from olive groves in the province of Umbria. Compact and pedestrian friendly, Spello is large enough to have a good choice of cafes and a couple of great enotecas where you can taste local specialties including the excellent olive oil and wines. There are some fine walks from here, including along the pilgrim trails that join Assisi with Rome, now being revitalised by modern-day pilgrims. You might even spend a day out truffle hunting with locals from the village of Pettino [wildfoodsitaly.com]. You’re within a one-hour drive of other classic towns and cities including Assisi, Perugia, Gubbio and Orvieto. On the far side of the Clitunno Valley, Montefalco is the home of the full-bodied Sagrantino grape.

Next stop, Arezzo, a great Tuscan city that gets far fewer visitors than it deserves. Highlights include the Cappella Baci inside the Basilica of San Francesco, site of Piero Della Francesca’s fresco cycle of the Legend of the True Cross, the Archaeological Museum, the wonderful Piazza Grande and a medieval abbey, Badia delle Sante Flora e Lucilla. Arezzo is also a fine place to sample genuine Tuscan cooking rather than the tourist version. Try the family-run Antica Osteria Agania.

I’m hiring a car in the USA and I need full collision damage waiver and theft protection but my travel insurance policy provides only limited cover for both. Adding the cost of full insurance cover from the car hire operator is going to cost a bomb. G. Costa, Roseville NSW

Rental Car Protection [rentalcarprotection.com.au] provides the service you’re looking for. Full insurance cover for a two-week car hire in the USA or Canada in April will cost just over $200. You can reduce the premium further by adding a voluntary excess contribution of a few hundred dollars. Given that full insurance purchased at the car-hire desk will add between US$20-30 per day to the cost, you’ve got money in your pocket. In Europe, where the damage liability fee payable by the hirer in the event of loss or damage is lower, the same cover from Rental Car Protection for the same period will cost only about half as much.

We’re planning to fly into Paris, stay two nights and head to London for a three-week UK self-drive tour. Any suggestions for our stay in Paris and our trip to Great Britain where we might visit Scotland and Ireland? B. Peppard, Coffs Harbour NSW

Two nights in Paris – quelle horreur – that’s just one full day in one of our most beautiful, fascinating and culturally rich cities. Sacrifice a few more days from your UK/Ireland itinerary, you won’t regret it.

Start with a Batobus [batobus.com] cruise along the Seine, with nine stops where you can hop off and explore before re-boarding. I like to do walking tours with locals and there are several websites to help you such as With Locals [withlocals.com] and Tours by Locals [toursbylocals.com]. Allow time for wandering, the Ile Saint-Louis, the Marais, Rue Mouffetard on the Left Bank, Luxembourg Gardens and the Canal St Martin are perfect.

After Paris you’ve enough time for Britain and either Scotland or Ireland but not both. One route would be west from London to Oxford, west again to Bath followed by a slow journey through the Cotswolds and into the Lake District.

In Scotland, start from Edinburgh and take the Fife Coastal Route to Dundee [visitscotland.com], continue to Aberdeen and take the Highland Tourist Route north to Inverness, turn south-west along the shores of Loch Ness to Fort William and pick up the Argyll Coastal Route which ends on the shores of Loch Lomond, just a short drive from Glasgow.

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Michael’s tip

Google Translate is the must-have app for those places where you just can’t get your tongue around the local lingo, and it’s improved out of sight over the years. Go to “settings” and you can download a language for those times when there’s no data connection.