Travel SOS: All you need to know about flexible travel

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Susan is starting to feel comfortable about booking travel, but wants the new rules explained.

Q. Susan
I thought it would be a year before I would be ready to start travelling again, but the talk about a COVID-19 vaccine being ready by March has certainly made my husband and I think about starting to book travel for sometime in 2021. Does all travel offer flexibility with their bookings in case we book something we can’t use or is this something we have to seek out? Do we have to pay more for the privilege or is it being absorbed by the industry to encourage people to start making bookings?

A. We certainly hope that your enthusiasm for the news regarding the vaccine is well placed. While reports suggest the vaccine may be ready to start rolling out in March next year, it will still take some time before Australia’s international borders are fully open, so that may be something to factor into your planning.

When it comes to flexible travel, different operators have different policies.

We’ll start with the first port of call when planning travel and that is flights.

Most Australian airlines, including Qantas and Virgin Australia, are offering partial of fully flexible flight tickets.

These flexible flight tickets mean that the airline will waive the change fee one time if you decide to change the date of your travel. You may, however, still need to pay for any fare differences between your new flight and the flight you first booked.

Given that New Zealand may be the first international destination for many Australians, Air New Zealand is also allowing passengers to make changes to their booking for free for all travel up until 31 March 2021.

Accommodation is more about searching to see what you can find when it comes to flexibility. You will obviously want to have the option available, so it is something that you will have to search for, when you are doing your research on where to stay.

Many of the hotel comparison websites offer an ability to search for a free cancellation policy, when you are looking, which you should find and select to avoid disappointment.

It is also a good idea to use the filters available on comparison websites to narrow down your search to find operators that offer a free cancellation policy.

Are you ready to start booking your travel for 2021 yet? Does the availability of flexible booking options make it more attractive for you?

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Written by Ben

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