Ready for a holiday? So are we. Travelling in 2021 has become awfully more difficult considering the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic. And the slow rate of vaccinations here in Australia. Here’s how to find value for money. Also, capitalise on points and ensure your plans are safe as we start to travel again:
The Travel Landscape
As it stands right now, the travel landscape is a whole different world compare to what it used to. For this broadcast, host Andrew Baxter has called upon expert travel agent, Kylie Luttrel, for her insight into the world of travel in today’s world. As founder and creator of the Travel Notebook, Kylie mentions that people across different states have varying interests when it comes to travelling in Australia.
Those in QLD or NSW are much more likely to want to go on a holiday. Which given they have less restrictions. Whereas, those stuck in VIC (who are probably home-schooling their kids) much prefer to not hear about anything travel related. With this, Kylie mentions that a lot of people are nervous around travelling given the uncertain nature. And restrictions popping up last minute. Flying to Perth for a holiday and being stuck in 14 days quarantine as a result is a real challenge that we travellers face today. It’s not just about money. And it’s about the lifestyle challenges that may arise as a result – the question arises, how do you manage both?
How to Make the Most of ‘Points’
Travelling in today’s environment, given the challenges. It is all about ensuring you’re getting the biggest bang for your buck and are protected accordingly. One revelation has been the change in value of credit card points. Previously, around 20,000 points on an AMEX would fly you to LA in Business Class no problems. Now however, the same flight would equate to around 1,000,000 points.
That’s not to say these points are now worthless because now. Especially, you can use points to purchase a whole raft of products rather than just flights. Those (transport, hotels, upgrades, vouchers etc.) which can essentially provide the opportunity for ‘free a holiday’. And if you have ratcheted up enough to use.
Book your Holidays in Advance
One tip that most people didn’t realise you could do in today’s COVID world is book your holidays well in advance. As expert travel agent Kylie Luttrel mentions. And you can book a ticket 340 days in advance if you wish. Also, cancel just 24 hours prior to the date. What does this mean? It means you can lock in your fantasy Euro holiday next year for a fraction of the price. In addition, have all the security of being able to cancel if you can’t go – all for a cost of a mere 5,000 frequent flyer points.
For mere mortals (ie. those without frequent flyer points), this becomes a little more challenging in terms of actually ‘flying, however, keep in mind hotels are taking bookings without deposits. This means you will only pay if you can get there, resulting in your downside risk being relatively managed if you plan in advance.
How to Book your Holidays
Booking holidays as a lone wolf can be tough. With flights, airport transfer, hotels, restrictions and regulation all thrown into the mix. And this can be an awfully challenging exercise to pull off yourself.
Just like you would pay an accountant to complete your tax return or a lawyer to handle your affairs. And investing in the expertise of a travel agent in today’s world is your best bet. When host Andrew Baxter couldn’t get airport transfer as organised when he was travelling Capris somewhat 18 months ago, having the ability to call his travel agent and get this sorted was a lifesaver.
Our recommendation – if you’re serious about travelling next year, get yourself an agent who knows what they are doing. The amount you save with their recommendations will outweigh the cost of their expertise ten fold.
How to Ensure you Don’t Lose your Money
With border closures, quarantine and restrictions – losing money on holiday plans is a real possibility and one that many now fear. If something comes up unexpectedly. And you are force to cancel, how much money are you going to lose?
The trick is to weigh up your options before making a booking – knowing which hotels and airline providers are flexible and which aren’t is the key. Once again, this is something only a good travel agent would be able to advise on given their experience in booking with the best providers. Our recommendation – do your homework if you are going to book yourself, or better yet, invest in a travel agent.
To Holiday or Not to Holiday?
Let’s face it – going on a holiday this year isn’t going to be easy if you are planning on it. There comes a point where you have to weigh up the risks versus the rewards when deciding to book a trip (kind of like making an investment into the stock market).
As we anticipate various bubbles to open up with international partners like NZ, Japan and even the Maldives into next year, the prospect of international travel is beginning to look likely given everything vaccine related goes to plan.
For now, Kylie from the Travel Notebook recommends travelling domestically and seeing Australia cheaply whilst you can. As most tend to want to travel our beautiful country in their old age, she says travelling within Australia now is a good way to holiday at a lower risk. As far as international travel goes – this is most likely unfortunately 18 or so months away from being a real possibility.