Practical Travel Advice | Helpful Steps For Reorganising Your Travel Bookings Affected By Coronavirus.
What a difference a few short weeks makes! When I emailed my subscribers last, I wasn’t overly concerned about the Coronavirus outbreak. As always, if going overseas, I advised purchasing travel insurance and to read the fine print.
The Coronavirus Pandemic is the Greatest Global Crisis of this Century
Who would have thought that the whole world would come to a grinding halt? When I look back on that email, I was mainly worried about my husband Paul, who was travelling in India at the time. International travellers were beginning to be quarantined, and I wondered what the chances were of him contracting COVID-19 from transiting through Singapore. Fortunately, he experienced no health issues or difficulties entering Australia. On his return, he practised self-isolating and social distancing for two weeks which he mostly abided by!
Travel Plans on Hold
My 2020 travel plans included visits to Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro with stopovers in Istanbul and Dubai. Obviously, the Coronavirus has put my travel plans on hold just like yours.
As of 22 April, according to the WHO (Situation Report No.: 92); 162,956 people have died and over 2.4M affected by COVID-19 globally. The pandemic will change the world forever, but the BIG question is “How will the world look after the Coronavirus Pandemic?”
World Shattering Event
There is no doubt the Coronavirus pandemic is a world-shattering event with far-reaching consequences that we can only begin to imagine today. We are constantly reassured that the pandemic will strengthen Australia and other countries around the world. The take-home message is clear that we live in an interconnected world, and the pandemic itself is proof of our interdependence.
Some of us have concerns that once the crisis is over, governments managing the emergency measures will be unwilling to relinquish these new powers. Perhaps we should be thinking whether COVID-19 will create a world that is less open, less prosperous, and less FREE? Only time will tell!
Here are some helpful steps to reorganise your affected Coronavirus travel bookings.
These are my own personal tips and advice from other online Government organisations and tourism sites. In the unfortunate event that your travel plans have been affected by the Coronavirus, there are steps that you can take to reorganise or recoup your pre-paid travel expenses. Find the latest information on your consumer rights to travel and event cancellations concerning COVID-19 here. This information is frequently updated as new advice becomes available. Tourism businesses in Australia are encouraged by the ACCC to treat consumers fairly in these extraordinary circumstances.
Accommodation Bookings, Cancellations and Rebookings
Get in touch with your accommodation provider regarding the best option in
Book a Future Stay
postponing or cancelling your accommodation bookings. In most circumstances, hotels are offering credits valid for 12 months and waiving amendment and cancellation fees. For non-refundable bookings, reach out to hotels directly as many of these are also offering vouchers and credit notes for future use plus discounted rates on your next stay. This is a bid to build trust within the tourism industry.
Flight Cancellations, Refunds and Rebookings
You should contact the airline directly as your consumer rights may apply to your purchase of international and domestic flights departing from Australia and New Zealand. Under the terms and conditions and fare rules of your ticket, you may also be entitled to a refund. However, cancellations due to government restrictions do not automatically guarantee you a refund or credit note.
Qantas | Virgin Australia | Tigerair
Passengers holding a Qantas ticket for travel before 31 July 2020 can get a flight credit and retain the full value of their booking or Jetstar travel voucher. You need to do this by 30 April 2020. The flight credit is valid for booking and travel by 31 December 2021. This gives you more than 18 months to plan, rebook and travel. Check that your online contact details are up to date as some airlines are contacting passengers to rearrange flight bookings.
Virgin Australia customers who booked tickets direct with the airline between 15 March and 30 June 2020 can request a Virgin Australia Holidays Credit Voucher with no cancellation fee*. Numerous airlines around the world including Tigerair are issuing refunds, partial refunds and waiving cancellation fees and surcharges due to Coronavirus.
Delay Cancelling Your Flights
But keep in mind, if you plan to cancel flights, airlines are processing cancellations nearest to their customers’ departure dates. It may pay to hold off cancelling your flights closer to your departure date. You have a better chance of a full refund if your carrier cancels the flight you booked. That’s provided your airline carrier is financially secure to survive this unprecedented crisis. Either way be patient, businesses are experiencing high call volumes and responding to emails as quickly as possible.
Cruise Cancellations, Refunds and Rebooking
In the wake of COVID-19, cruise lines are modifying their cancellation and payment policies in an attempt to provide passengers with better flexibility and reassurance. Many of these policies are temporary and intended to help manage the crisis at hand.
You should contact your cruise company directly to request a refund, credit or another remedy. Passengers who no longer wish to travel due to health concerns regarding COVID-19 may be treated as a “change of mind.”
Attractions, Activities & Tour Cancellations, Refunds and Rebookings
Food and music festivals, sports, arts, entertainment and tour experiences are cancelled or postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Due to the sheer numbers of tickets, ticket-holders are advised to read the terms and conditions of their purchases before emailing event organisers for a refund.
Understandably, Coronavirus cancellations have overwhelmed third-party travel booking sites. Today, consumers have two booking options, either directly with a business or via third-party booking sites like Booking.com, Skyscanner, The Tour Guy and many more. Third-party bookings can sometimes be more challenging to cancel, partly because of the terms and conditions applied with purchase. Customers must liaise through the booking site rather than directly with an airline or hotel. It is wise to review your booking before making contact with the third party.
If you can find a lower price online, most travel sites these days offer a price match or price guarantee. Customer must provide a link to the other offer at least 24 hours before the check-in date. The offer must be available online with the same terms and conditions as the original booking. Many travellers purchased non-cancellation bookings, never thinking in their wildest dreams that anything like this would ever happen. For those types of bookings, it is best to email the third party and request compensation under the unforeseen circumstances. If you have no luck, make contact with the airline, hotel or travel service provider as they may be able to step in and help.
Terms & Conditions
When you purchase travel-related products, you are entering into a contract with the supplier, whose terms and conditions (T & C) apply to your booking. It is important that you fully understand what you are entering into and know what you are covered for before finalising your purchase.
Travel insurance policies and insurance built-in to your annual credit card fees, don’t usually cover pandemic virus-related incidents. Contact your insurer or financial institution to find out how to lodge a claim or log in online for instructions.
Read through the paperwork and make contact with each supplier to see whether you are entitled to any compensation.
Exceptional Travel Deals & Incentives
As the global Coronavirus pandemic worsens, the tourism and travel industry is urging travellers to postpone their next trip rather than cancel completely. Understandably, cautious travellers are delaying their travel bookings in these uncertain times. However, some tourism operators are offering unprecedented travel deals and incentives together with waiving cancellation fees should customers holiday plans change due to Coronavirus.
Staying Home Today; We Can Travel Tomorrow!
All the very best reorganising your trip and I hope this pandemic does not put you off travelling in the future. I can’t predict when this terrible medical emergency will end or when the travel restrictions will be lifted.
One thing I do know for sure is that I will be travelling again as soon as I can. I will certainly never take for granted our freedom to see the world, admire its beauty and share the joy of travel with others.
Coronavirus Related Blogs
- 3 Simple Treatments to Cure Your Travel Itch at Home!
- Simple & Easy Step-by-Step Tips to Disinfecting Your Airplane Space & Hotel Room
- Queensland Liquor Legends Working Towards A Greater Cause With Hand Sanitiser!
- Coronavirus Message of Hope & Reassurance | Help Stop The Spread Of The Virus
- The View From My Windows | Coronavirus Self-Isolating
Travel Planning Resources
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Protect You and Your Belongings
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