It’s been a interesting start to 2020 in Australia with bushfires and now COVID-19 worldwide. Governments are closing borders, airlines are reducing flights, even theme parks like Universal and Disney World has closed their gates. Australians have been asked to cancel non essential travel and anyone flying into the country will need to self isolate for 14 days. So what should you do with your travel plans if you were scheduled to head to the US this year?
Obviously, there’s the painful process of cancelling flights, accommodation and other reservations.
If you aren’t travelling for a couple of weeks, it may be beneficial to wait, not just to allow those with urgent travel needs to act first but you may also be eligible for a refund if your provider cancels first.
My parents had a trip to the US planned including a cruise to Alaska in May. Thankfully they decided to cancel their trip a few weeks ago due to the growing threat of COVID-19. They only lost the deposit but it was still a costly decision for them. Others may be up for tens of thousands of dollars. What about if you have a trip scheduled for later in the year?
Update: current travel advice within Australia is to defer all non essential travel. Victoria and NSW are deferring non-essential services. Please refer to advice from authorities before booking any travel.
What If I’m Due To Travel Later This Year?
Even if you aren’t due to travel until later in the year, I would suggest putting off all international travel for 2020 and making this year a time to visit local bushfire communities. Tourism Australia has already put together a great campaign called holiday here this year encouraging people to stay in Australia instead of travelling overseas.
Australia has plenty of great places to see and things to do. Here are just a couple of suggestions…
We all saw the horrific images of the fires in Mallacoota over Summer but the town is back open for business and needs your support. The Mallacoota Foreshore Holiday Park is now taking reservations which makes this a great place for a camping holiday. The beaches are beautiful, the locals are friendly and its a long way from crowded cities so consider making this a stop in 2020.
NSW South coast
Drive North across the border from Mallacoota and you’ll find the towns of Eden, Merimbula and Bega. Again the beaches in this area are beautiful and there are loads of other activities in the area. There are plenty of dolphin and whale watching tours available and even a Killer Whale Museum in Eden. Merimbula also has an aquarium. If it’s the food side of things that catches your fancy then check out the Bega Cheese Heritage Centre. These are just a few of the many attractions on offer at the NSW South Coast.
Victoria’s High Country
Although towns like Bright, Mount Beauty and Myrtleford all received evacuation notices during the fires, the area remains largely untouched (although local businesses are doing it tough because of the lack of visitors in January). Towns in the Ovens and Kiewa Valleys are open and ready for your business. There is so much to do to enjoy the great outdoors including hiking, riding or just relaxing and reading a good book by the river.
The Autumn leaves make these towns a great place to visit over Easter or the school holidays and there are plenty of accommodation options from hotels, camp sites and AirBnBs.
Between Myrtleford and Bright you’ll find the Red Stag Deer Farm which has a restaurant with a beautiful view open for lunch.
This is a great outing for the kids as they can see some of the animals from the farm including baby goats, emus, ostriches and of course, deer. This is definitely a favourite for our family.
If you prefer a winter holiday, Falls Creek and other Ski restores will open for the ski season in June (at this stage). Even before the ski season begins the ski resorts are a great place to relax and enjoy the mountain air.
Falls Creek has plenty of hiking and biking trails nearby as well as cafes like Milch where you can relax and enjoy a coffee. On the way to Falls Creek, make sure you stop in and enjoy the short walk to Fainter Falls, a beautiful water fall surrounded by tree ferns.
Of course, there are plenty of other great locations to enjoy in Australia. We made special mention of the ones above because they have done it extra tough with the bushfires and there are less crowds so reduced risk of Covid-19 spread. We’ll be featuring other local holiday ideas soon so watch this space.
America will still be there in 2021 and the year’s to come. Even though we can’t travel to the US at the moment, we go there vicariously through the Ticket To Ride board-game we play at night. It’ll give you a great sense of the US and the different towns while you await your eventual trip.
Note: please listen to authorities – at this stage it is still ok to travel locally. The safest method of travel is to drive your own vehicle, but you should always check with up to date messages from authorities in case local travel becomes inappropriate.