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Should you be booking International Travel Now?

 

15 November 2021

If you are asking yourself the question “Should I be planning and booking international travel now?”, you are not alone! As many parts of the world open, the pent-up demand for travel coupled with discounts being offered by hotels, airlines and cruise companies pushes us into a dilemma. Do we secure our international holidays in the next 12- 18 months with such offers, or do we wait until some of the uncertainties are gone?

Appetite To Travel

Recent research published on the subject and some insights coming from travel booking websites show that appetite for international travel is returning.  

A recent report by tripadvisor.com suggests, of those Australians planning to travel, 70% will take a domestic trip and 11% will travel internationally this summer. Aussies are looking to spend more time outdoors. Popular international holidays being sought in the immediate future seem to be on Island trips to places such as Hawaii or Fiji Islands and destinations such as Singapore, New York City, London and Dubai.   

Looking at a longer horizon beyond this summer, a report commissioned by Celebrity Cruises suggests 72% of Australians plan to travel overseas once borders open and it is safe to do so. According to this report, 45% say travel for leisure is their top priority compared to changing jobs, renovating or moving house. The top motivators are to see the world beyond Australia, reunite with family and friends, share quality time and new experiences with loved ones and immerse in different cultures and places.   

However, a recent online survey by University of Queensland suggests Australians are ‘lukewarm’ on international travel post COVID-19 with just 51% of Australians planning to travel overseas after the international borders open. New Zealand and Europe are the most popular destinations.  

Reality

So then, what is the reality when it comes to possible international destinations? Based on current rules, while Aussies will be able to travel in and out of Australia with some freedom, the rules might be changing in destination countries. 

In the immediate future the primary risk is the uncertainty around border closures and additional testing / quarantine requirements if there is a sizeable outbreak in a destination country. A traveller needs to be prepared for such change in circumstances. 

At this point in time, there are no destinations listed for Level 1 (Exercise normal safety precautions) by smarttraveller.gov.au, Australian Government’s Travel advisory website.  

While destinations such as Singapore, Canada, New Zealand, the United States and some parts of Europe seem to be hot prospects based on vaccination rates and restrictions being released, there is no guarantee of risk-free travel yet. 

Practical Tips

However, planning beyond a 6-month horizon may yield some advantages for international travel especially to get some good deals and obtain bookings where numbers are restricted. 

There are two areas travellers should be paying close attention to:   

  1. Flexibility of bookings – The time spent reading the fine prints, asking questions and understanding available options for changes and refunds will be well worth it. 
  2. Travel Insurance – Many insurers are including Covid-19 related cover. Again, spend some time understanding the conditions under which the benefits are offered. 

In addition, the following resources might be helpful. 

  1. https://www.smartraveller.gov.au
  2. An interactive map by Decisions Inc. provides information on vaccination rates, quarantine measures and approved vaccines with additional charts and graphs detailing out active case numbers and whether they are trending up or down. 

The deals are tempting, appetite is returning, but being informed and planning for change in circumstances early, is more important than ever.   

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