Should I book travel for 2021 now?

Kristine Tarbert
Senior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer

While we all know we won’t be heading overseas for quite some time - likely 2021 - you’ve no doubt been wondering whether you should even bother booking anything now.

The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically changed the face of travel, including our ability to plan future international trips.

With constantly changing government restrictions and limited airline operations, many travellers are faced with confusion on whether they can consider future trips.

Many have likely had to put travel plans on hold. Photo: Getty

Skyscanner’s Jon Thorne, who leads the company’s customer service team, has been at the forefront of handling questions from travellers across the globe.

Here, he shares answers to some of the most common questions from travellers thinking about planning future trips.

Would you recommend booking future travel right now?

There are a number of reasons why people are considering booking a trip at the moment; it is a great thing to look forward to and focus on planning, they are missing a loved one and want to schedule seeing them, or they believe it will be a cheaper deal than booking later in the year.

Ultimately, it is a personal choice of whether now feels like the right time to start thinking about a trip. If you do, be sure to check the policies covering your booking.

Of course, feeling ready to start thinking about future travel will be different for every individual. For many, having something to look forward to in the future will be a positive to focus on.

For others, uncertainty of other aspects of life will be the priority right now. We are mindful of this and are also sharing and creating ways to bring travel to people’s homes, through playlists, recipes, quizzes and more.

A trip might be something positive to look forward to. Photo: Getty

What are flexible policies and why should I care?

This is an important consideration right now as timelines on imposed travel restrictions remain uncertain.

Recently, the advice to avoid all but essential international travel was extended until at least the end of the year. This means that guidance could change very quickly and so having flexible cover for your future plans is advised right now.

Many airlines are adopting flexible booking policies to enable customers to plan a trip but have the peace of mind that if restrictions are still in place, they will not lose out.

For example, Qantas is allowing travellers who were due to depart before 31 July to cancel their flights and retain the value as a credit that can be used before the end of the year, while all airfare credits issued this year will also have their validity extended until the end of the year.

That said, the landscape is changing day-by-day as airlines respond to the changing circumstances, so it is advisable to check policies at the time of booking.

Always consider taking out travel insurance prior to booking, and check the level of cover, too. 

If you do book make sure to know all the policies. Photo: Getty

What do you think all of this means for travel in the future?

It is an incredibly disconcerting time right now, there is no doubt. The inability to plan and the concern for loved ones means that everyone on the planet is questioning what their future will look like.

 We know that there are tough times ahead, but the positivity and community shown by the world during this crisis has been astounding.

The level of support demonstrated across the globe gives hope that we will pull through this collectively. Travel will be the focal point for this as we bring the world back together.

Families will be reunited; cities will buzz again; mountains will be climbed. The value that we place on these interactions will be greater than ever before, so we must focus on making them possible again. 

If you’ve already made plans for within the next six months and aren’t sure what to do about them we’ve got some more tips for you here.

And if wanderlust has got you good, there are plenty of ways we can travel virtually without leaving the house to get you through the next few months.

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