Queenstown takeover
Queenstown takeover

10 travel-related questions we really want to know the answers to

COVID-19 has really shaken things up, to say the least. It has left us pondering many aspects of our personal and work life, and there are some questions we are desperate to know the answers to.

COVID-19 has really shaken things up, to say the least. It has left us pondering many aspects of our personal and work life, and there are some questions we are desperate to know the answers to.

We recently ran a question on our Karryon Facebook page that said: “What travel-related questions do you most want to find out the answers to right now?”

Unfortunately, we don’t have solid answers to all of them just yet (our crystal ball has broken again), but we’ve answered them the best we can.

So here we go, in no particular order, these are the questions you really want answered.

1. “When will international borders reopen?”

Trans-Tasman
Image: Sydney Airport

Unsurprisingly, this is the number 1 question we all want the answer to.

What does the roadmap to recovery look like? How many people need to be vaccinated to reopen our border “safely”?

This month, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said roughly five million people in the state (or 80%) would need to be fully vaccinated before international borders can reopen safely.

Currently, the government is aiming for international borders to reopen mid-2022, but Qantas CEO Alan Joyce believes if the vaccine rollout happens quickly, it could be sooner.

2. “How long after having the vaccine is it safe to fly due to blood clots DVT?”

airline

This is a great question that we will have to look to the medical experts for the answers to.

If you are concerned about the vaccine or DVT (Deep vein thrombosis), please consult your medical practitioner for more information.

3. “When will domestic cruising be allowed?”

P&O Cruise

Again, we do not have an answer for this one at this stage, but what we do know is that in line with the periodic review of its temporary pause in operations, P&O Cruises Australia earlier this month announced an extension to its domestic cruise pause, taking the date to 17 September 2021.

Cruise Lines International Association, CLIA is calling for the resumption of domestic cruising to happen sooner, with The Ready, Set, Sail initiative, which will target travel agents, industry stakeholders and other members of Australia’s extensive cruise community, urging them to raise their voice and place new pressure on state and federal parliamentarians.

Click here for more information. 

4. “When will the swings and roundabouts of random lockdowns in a state, or for state borders, stop so that public confidence can return for interstate travel?”

Melbourne-Face-Mask

Although Victoria is currently in a circuit breaker lockdown, the slamming shut of domestic borders does seem less intense than it was only a few months ago.

However, there will continue to be outbreaks and ‘hotspot’ areas. With the vast majority of the Australian population still not vaccinated, this could continue to happen as cities or states move into snap lockdowns.

The comforting news at least is that most tour operators and airlines now offer flexibility and peace of mind protection to help with the uncertainty around border closures and ensure travellers can still book a trip to look forward to.

5. “Do I have to pay full price to renew my passport or will the goverment be offering extensions on the expiration date?”

A great question! As much as we’d love to have a discount on our next passport renewal, there is no mention of any discounts or expiry date extensions on the Australian passport office website.

Currently, the fee for a 10 year adult passport renewal remains at $301.

6. “What financial support is the government giving long-term to struggling businesses?”

Aside from the agent support packages and domestic airline grants, there does not seem to be any further support at this stage post-JobKeeper.

According to AAP, Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas has unleashed on the federal government for not providing any financial help to the people of his state during another COVID-19 lockdown.

But Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt wasn’t accepting the argument, pointing out there are a number of schemes already in place for people in need, such as the $1500 pandemic leave disaster payment.

“I am angry and I am disappointed. All of the language about partnerships doesn’t mean much if you don’t back it up when the call comes down,” Mr Pallas told reporters in Melbourne on Sunday.

“This idea that we are working hand in glove when they have never put their hand in their pocket is nothing short of a disgrace,” He said.

7. “How much will flights to the USA and Europe be when Australia reopens?”

Guests flying with Etihad Airways

Stuart on Facebook says, “You’d hope the airlines and the local governments would be that over the top concerned with getting as many tourists in that they’d subsidise the airlines if they had to”. In contrast, Claire thinks prices will be towards the higher end of the stick – as there’s been such reduced revenue for these airlines for so long now, so they will need to recoup some of it.

At first, prices could reflect 2005 fares to regain travellers confidence, with an increase later on. It all depends on whether arrivals will still be capped, plus demand.

Only time will tell.

8. “Will vaccine passports be compulsory?”

Vaccination-Passport

The reality of a vaccine passport for travel both within Australia and overseas looks like it could be happening, with reports that the Federal Government in active discussions with the airline industry.

Speaking to reporters in mid-May, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said vaccine passports would be the “next step” in Australia’s slow reopening to the world.

Meanwhile, over in Europe, the “digital green certificate” scheme has been given the green light and could be the key to unlocking the door to international travel within the EU and further afield.

The certificate will take the form of a QR code on a smartphone or paper, letting authorities determine the status of a visitor based on records in their home EU country.

The certificate will show if a person has been vaccinated, had a recent negative test, or already has immunity based on recovery, and could provide the basis for waiving the quarantine requirements currently in place for many trips within the bloc.

9. “Will PCR tests in and out of each country be required?”

Rapid Testing
Image: Heathrow Airport

At this stage, we don’t know if this will be a travel requirement for Australians or not.

Still, over in the UK and Europe, even if a person is vaccinated, most countries ask visitors to complete a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test 72-hours before arrival and 72-hours before returning.

Read more here.

10. “Why is the Australian government preventing its citizens from essential international travel, whilst temporary visa holders are able to move freely?”

To manage the number of international travellers in hotel quarantine and limit the risk of contracting COVID-19, the Australian Government is only allowing its citizens to travel overseas for a handful of reasons.

These are:

  • your travel is as part of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including the provision of aid;
  • your travel is for your business or employer;
  • you are travelling to receive urgent medical treatment that is not available in Australia;
  • you are travelling on compassionate or compelling grounds;
  • you are travelling for urgent or unavoidable personal business;
  • your travel is in the national interest.

We can only assume these rules will only change once a national vaccine rollout is complete and international borders are open once more.

Click here for more information.