“Look Before You Book”: A Stern Warning For Travellers

By: Michael Crooks

Much of the country has opened up, and many residents are gearing up to roam this festive season.

But the Government has warned that anyone making holiday plans should do plenty of research about their travel arrangements, accommodation and destination.

Otherwise, they could be left in the red if their plans are disrupted by the pandemic.

The Government has created a “Look before you book” checklist for residents thinking of heading off on an interstate flight, regional road trip or camping adventure.

Do your research

Assuming you have done all your research in getting the best deals possible for travel and accommodation, the Government’s recommendations for travel include:

  • For flight bookings, find out when payment is due and seek travel providers “that offer a payment option closer to departure when there’s more certainty about travel proceeding,” the government advises.
  • Check to see if any part of your payment (if not all) is refundable in case you need to cancel. And also check if there is a cancellation fee.
  • And if you’ve decided to take a road trip with multiple destinations, perhaps reconsider your plans. “Consider limiting the number of destinations, or travel services you use, per holiday,” reads the advice. “It may be easier to make cancellations.”

Get a grip on the COVID-19 rules

Before booking flights to your ideal destination, make sure you research local restrictions.

Also check for any requirements for your destination.

For example, if you’re thinking about flying from Sydney to Perth for a holiday, a bit of research might put you off that idea. On arrival in Perth you must self quarantine for 14 days, and have a negative COVID test in the 72 hours prior to departure.

On its website, Qantas advises that before booking (and before you travel), “ensure you check the latest government travel requirements, which may include mandatory health declarations, vaccinations, use of face masks, entry permits, pre-approval and quarantine (possibly at your own expense), or you could be denied entry.”

Get travel insurance

Travel insurance can cover the loss of deposits, cancellation fees, medical expenses, loss or theft of baggage and more.

Some credit cards come with travel insurance (if you use the card to pay for your flights/accommodation), so find out what your card offers before you buy.

For more information, visit the Fair Trading website.

Read the T&Cs

The pandemic changed everything regarding cancellations, and Australian Consumer Law might not offer the protection you want if your travel plans turn south.

So before you fork out your funds, make sure you know what your rights are in those tiny terms and conditions.

For instance, some business might offer refunds (or partial refunds) or credit for future use, if you need to cancel. If they don’t, go elsewhere.

And if you book through an agent, you need to know their T&Cs, too.

Flexible flights

In a reassuring move, both Qantas and Virgin airlines have introduced further flight flexibility for customers.

Virgin calls it their “Passenger Promise”.

“We know flexibility is more important than ever,” Virgin said in a statement.

“That’s why we’re offering unlimited changes and waiving the change fee, and providing the option to cancel your booking and opt for a credit with no cancellation fee.”

Still, don’t forget to read those T&Cs.

For more information visit the “Look before you book” website.

Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media.

Feature image: Qantas Facebook

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