Tom Manwaring, Chair of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents Chair answers your burning travel questions.

Q: I want to take the family to the Pacific – our favourite is Fiji. When should I book and what should I do to make sure we’re safe? – Reader in Canberra

This is a bit of an open ended question which we can’t answer definitively just yet. While it looks likely that Fiji will be a Green Zone of open travel to and from

 Australia, the inbound processes haven’t been finalised. I’d advise to hold off booking until that is announced and finalised so you don’t find yourself having to quarantine on return. We are hopeful it will only be a couple of weeks for that to be sorted.

You could get your agent to look at your preferred hotel and Fijian destination and make sure that if you feel you absolutely need to book now, that the deposits are fully refundable. A great tip here too – use your credit card where you can to pay because that way if there are any complications with overseas refunds, you’re protected and can enforce a chargeback. 

Q: People are saying London is likely to be open to us. What’s your advice about the long flight there and back. And can you still stop over?

Flights are already operating from London to here and back so yes, it’s definitely possible. London is quite open at the moment and Australia is part of their green list if you’ve been double vaxed. I’ve got some friends over their this week actually who are out seeing Hamilton and going to hotels and restaurants as life is relatively pre-COVID normal. In fact just about all international flights will require you to be double vaxed.

I’d avoid stopovers at the moment. If you want to get to London, choose a transit flight that takes you straight through to London. Coming back into Australia, we want certainty of you being able to continue to live a normal life on arrival once you test negative for COVID without having to quarantine. 

It is going to be tight as we move into the Christmas peak and especially given there is less seat availability. Again, work with your agent so that you’re booking at the right time and your deposit is fully refundable.

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