As COVID-19 coronavirus continues to affect all over the world, with the virus now regarded as a pandemic and Italy now included on the Australia’s travel ban (i.e., as of 11 March, foreign nationals who have been in China, South Korea, and Iran will not be permitted to return to Australia for 14 days from their departure). You will find the latest information as an international student and a detailed list of support resources on the Australian Government’s Study website.
Bearing this in mind, will you actually be booking flights? If you wanted to return home during your break in the middle of the year, could you? Let’s go over all the factors that currently surround the question of whether to travel.
Cheap international flights
In response to coronavirus, international air ticket prices are dropping rapidly, and airports are eerily quiet, with more people hesitating to fly. It’s likely that rates will remain down unless people resume flying again.
It might sound incredibly tempting to buy flights when it’s so cheap, but you also need to be cautious about travel restrictions and how they could affect you on both entering and leaving a country to return to Australia again.
Since airlines have seen such a decline in demand, many now waive change fees for booked flights between now and month-end. That means you will be able to change your travel dates free of charge if you need to book your flights now. Click here for a thorough rundown of what different airlines have to sell.
How coronavirus affects travel insurance
If you are planning a trip and have bought travel insurance, it is of utmost importance that you contact your insurer directly to ensure what is included in their policy about coronavirus. If you bought travel insurance before coronavirus (23 January) became a recognized case, you will be able to collect it. If you buy after the cut-off, many insurers would remove’ pandemic’ (which is coronavirus now) from their plans, so it’s best to double-check. Note that most policies for destinations labeled ‘do not fly’ do not protect you.
Is a trip worth canceling or postponing?
Really, there is no right or wrong response here; your choice is entirely yours. It may, however, be worth taking seriously travel advice and reconsidering your journey.
Smart Traveller is a fantastic Government tool for alerts and travel advice. The website is designed to notify you of any warnings or bans about travel. Smart Traveller currently offers recommendations for the following countries:
Iran and China– ‘don’t fly’
Italy and South Korea – ‘reconsider the need to fly’
Japan and Mongolia–’ exercise a high degree of caution ‘
Why you would want to explore Australia instead
Australian tourism took a huge hit, from the catastrophic bushfires earlier this year to coronavirus now. It is partially due to the fact that the new immigration ban is affecting China, which is Australia’s largest source of tourists.
In addition to the travel offers in place to facilitate travel to bushfire affected areas, however, domestic flights within Australia are also being discounted at the moment. The money will go to Australia’s rehabilitation by flying domestically. For instance, the ferry to South Australia’s beautiful Kangaroo Island is now 25 percent off, along with many other offers, making this normally very costly vacation much more accessible to students. The best way to help communities affected by the fire, who now feel the added burden of coronavirus, is to purchase, consume and support local businesses. So if you are considering moving cities within the country, now may just be a good time.
Plane hygiene tips to avoid contracting coronavirus
If you’re traveling on an airplane, you should take precautions to avoid contracting coronavirus:
- Use soap and water to wash your hands thoroughly, especially after using the toilet, before and after meals, after sneezing, blowing your nose, or coughing.
- If soap and water are inaccessible, a good hand sanitizer will do the trick.
- Stop touching your face, particularly your eyes, nose, and mouth area
- Use disinfectant wipes to wipe the space around you on the plane (such as the tray table and armrests)
- Pick a window seat when booking – you’re more vulnerable when seated in the aisle
- When you’re ready to board in the waiting area, sit in the least crowded area
Learn more about coronavirus and tips on hygiene here.
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