It’s the question I am getting asked more than any other right now: when will it be safe to start booking international travel again?
There are only a handful of international flights running to and from Australia at the moment, and anyone taking one of those into Australia faces two weeks in hotel quarantine.
But it seems we’re still looking ahead to when international travel will resume and we can start planning actual holidays again.
In this case, “safe” encompasses two aspects: what are the health risks, and what are the odds that the flight is actually going to go ahead?
I’m no medical expert, so I’ll concentrate on point two. I’ll also leave aside questions of a New Zealand/Australia travel bubble, which will likely occur sooner than anything else.
So what is it that do we know about when flights might start up again to other international destinations?
The Federal Government has suggested that October is the earliest point at which we might see widespread resumptions.
In response, Qantas has officially paused international routes until October. That October date is very much an “earliest possible”, not a commitment that anything will happen then. It’s also hugely dependent on when borders come down in other nations.
See also: Qantas axes international flights
See also: No overseas travel until ‘at least 2021’
See also: These countries are reopening to travellers
For myself, I’ve made the decision to not assume I’ll be doing any flying outside of Australia until 2021, and probably not until March at the earliest.
I’m thinking actively about my 2021 plans, but I haven’t made any bookings yet.
When I do, I’ll be making sure I have flexibility to vary those flights if needed.
Airlines are offering more flexibility than usual on forward bookings at the moment, and I’ll be noting down those conditions very carefully (and taking screen grabs for my records) when I do book.
The same goes for hotels and other accommodation: I’m entirely flexible about bookings that don’t have to be paid immediately and which can be cancelled without penalty.
For now, I’m not even thinking about shows, activities, or other forms of entertainment. Those can wait until closer to the time.
The other tricky element to predict is travel insurance. In the wake of the pandemic, many insurers have suspended sales of new policies entirely. Those still selling often specifically exclude any coronavirus-related cover.
I don’t mind booking a flight and a hotel I know I can change or cancel. But I won’t be stepping on that plane without my insurance needs totally sorted out.
That doesn’t mean I’m not actively planning. I’m revisiting the trips I didn’t take this year, and thinking about whether I’ll rebook them or switch to a different vision.
Suffice to say I’m less keen on Las Vegas than I was, but an isolated French mountain village is looking promising.
Angus Kidman is the editor-in-chief and travel guru for Finder.
Originally published asWhen can I fly internationally again?
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