It’s fair to say that so far, 2020 has been a tough, and for many, a tragic year. Since the first case of the coronavirus disease COVID-19 was reported. Everywhere you turn someone’s either talking about it, reading about it, or stockpiling sanitiser for it.
We know that these uncertain times can cause a lot of stress and anxiety, especially when it comes to travel. Ensuring that our travellers stay safe, healthy and informed is at the top of our agenda. So, with that in mind, we’ve pulled together all the important information you need to know about travelling before, during and after the coronavirus (COVID-19).
What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Let’s get real. It’s not pretty, but it’s important to know exactly what we’re dealing with. COVID-19 is a new type of infectious coronavirus spread through small droplets from the nose or mouth when someone who has the virus coughs or sneezes.
It causes respiratory problems, meaning the common symptoms are often the same as the common cold or flu – fever, tiredness and dry cough.
That said, we’re travellers, not virologists, so please seek professional medical help if you are worried or are showing any symptoms.
Should I still travel during the coronavirus outbreak?
As much as it pains us to say, now is not the best time to be boarding that plane, boat or train. More and more countries are going into lockdown and closing their borders, which is making it virtually impossible to travel anyway.
While it’s important that we pull together, stay connected with the world and support all the local communities out there who rely on tourism, the best way to do that for now is by postponing your trip or booking a refundable trip for later in the year.
We need to do our part now by distancing ourselves from others as much as possible so that we can travel again in the future. Stay strong, we promise that day will come!
But if you do decide to travel, be sure to check the World Health Organization (WHO) coronavirus situation reports and your government’s own site for daily updates before you go, and plan your travel accordingly.
If I decide to travel, what should I be booking?
As with any travel, there are always associated risks. That two-week trip to Thailand, or month-long road trip around New Zealand could just as easily be affected by natural disaster, political unrest, or some other not-so-nice incident.
Travel for us has always been about freedom and discovery, which is why a lot of what we sell already has flexibility built into it. For example, all our student and under 31 BlueTickets (plus a lot of our adult tickets too) are date changeable and refundable for a local admin fee, plus, we are offering one free date change on all new BlueTicket bookings. You can also book now pay later on many of our flight tickets, meaning that you can bag a bargain now but pay the balance before you fly. Or cancel, if that’s what you decide to do.
Likewise, our preferred touring partners such as Contiki and G Adventures all offer lifetime deposits if you need to cancel or rebook your trip, although they have decided to cease operating until at least 30 April. Be clear with our Travel Experts what your priorities are, and they’ll sort the rest.
Contacting us regarding coronavirus and your booking – Updated 18th March 2020
We know that many of our customers are urgently trying to contact us regarding their booking and our response times are slower than anticipated. We hope you understand that we are currently experiencing an unprecedented amount of calls, and are making every effort we can to support our customers.
Our primary focus is on supporting customers that are overseas and those due to travel in the next 72 hours. Please click here to find out how best to contact us during this time.
How can I stay safe and healthy whilst travelling?
Hands up if you’ve ever got sick from travelling? Everyone then.
As travellers, we’re already experts in the field of wet wipes, hand sanitisers and rehydration salts. Now more than ever, it’s important to deploy all your hygiene measures and common sense to stay safe at home and on the road.
Following these basic public health guidelines is the best way to reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (that’s the same amount of time it takes to sing the chorus of Britany Spears’ ‘Oops!… I Did It Again’, just FYI). Or use alcohol-based hand sanitisers when hands aren’t visibly dirty.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a flexed elbow or a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Seriously, no one wants to be covered in your bodily fluids.
- Try not to touch your mouth and nose.
- Follow proper food hygiene practices, especially in hostel kitchens.
Bonus: don’t go around licking people. It’s never a good idea!
If you have any other questions or concerns about your upcoming or future trips, please reach out to us. We’re still that best mate who’s here to help whenever you need it. Unless it’s at 3am after a Full Moon party on Koh Phangan. Then we need sleep.
Find your nearest STA Travel store to speak to one of our Travel Experts. Happy (and healthy) travels!