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Like most people I’m scratching my head wondering when life as I knew it will ever resume again. The simple things I took for granted in my life will possibly never be the same again. Things like kisses and hugs with family and friends, going to the cinema, attending a concert or sporting event, hopping on a airplane for an overseas holiday, going to work as a volunteer, visiting tourist attractions and celebrating life events such as weddings and birthdays on a grand scale. It got me wondering whether life and travel after Covid-19 will ever be normal again? It is certainly going to look different for most of us.
Since the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, I’m finally able to visit friends and family that are located in my state or region. I’m also able to dine out again, have coffee with a friend, travel within my state, resume playing lawn bowls and able to visit a shopping centre. But the thought is always there. Am I safe to resume some of these activities?
Being a grandparent to a beautiful little girl has been difficult, because I was unable to visit her for a while nor have physical contact. I was also unable to hug my elderly Mum for a while as she has been suffering from ongoing health issues. When she was hospitalised recently I was only able to visit her for one hour a day. I was also unable to visit other family members and friends for a lengthy period of time. It was tough.
Apart from having physical contact with family and friends, what I missed the most was going to a cafe for a coffee and dining out at a restaurant. Being restricted to home was extremely tough as we only moved across the border from Queensland into Northern New South Wales 15 months ago. Most of my friends live back in Queensland and I was unable to visit them for months.
Once I was able to travel in my own state again I felt a big sense of relief. During lockdown I missed our weekend escapes, Sunday drives and even being able to plan for a holiday. As soon as I was able to travel again my husband and I set off in our caravan for a two week holiday. It was incredibly liberating to be on the road again!
So where we stand now with this dreadful disease still prevalent in the state of Victoria, is that we will soon be able to cross the border into Queensland. However we need to sign a declaration and display it on our car windscreen in order to do this. Queues at the border checkpoints between New South Wales and Queensland are extremely long with travellers complaining that they have waited for up to two hours to get across the border. Whether this will be the new “norm” until Victorians are able to cross the border again, is unknown at this stage.
We returned to playing lawn bowls a few weeks ago but numbers are restricted on the greens, there’s no more shaking hands or high fives, there are social distancing rules and shared equipment is sanitised after every game. There are also restrictions on the numbers of patrons entering the club premises.
Dining venues have more space between tables and are also restricted with the number of patrons, which is rather nice not being crammed in like sardines. However you need to book ahead if you want a table. We’re able to attend weddings and funerals again, but social distancing is still to be adhered to and there is no dancing allowed!
When you enter a shop or cafe there are “X’s” marked on the floor that are spaced at 1.5m intervals so that when you queue up to make a purchase you’re socially distanced from others. It really is a different world to the one we had before.
Four months ago we used to hear the planes heading into the Gold Coast Airport overhead where we live in Northern New South Wales. Now that sound is a rarity. At present there are only three flights a week landing at the Gold Coast Airport. However this will change after the border re-opens on 10 July.
Visitors travelling from Victoria are being screened at the airport and will be stopped at border checkpoints to go into quarantine for two weeks in a hotel before being allowed to holiday in Queensland. There are very strict laws and fines being applied to those who do not adhere to these rules.
Overnight the border between New South Wales and Victoria has been closed meaning that Victorians will no longer be able to travel interstate. This may have the affect of relieving the pressure on the Queensland border restrictions.
During the past few months travellers from Victoria and New South Wales have been flying into Ballina Airport and holidaying in Northern New South Wales. After doing their two weeks here these travellers are hoping to gain access across the Queensland border for their winter migration, when it opens again.
International travel is not looking promising in the foreseeable future. Experts are saying that international flights will not likely return to previous levels until the year 2023. Australian international borders will stay closed for the remainder of 2020. However there is some likelihood that there will be a “Pacific bubble” allowing travel between New Zealand and some Pacific Islands with Australia.
The government may eventually look at short-term overseas travel to countries other than New Zealand that have similar success in suppressing coronavirus.
However international travel as we knew it will certainly change. Travellers will need to be convinced that their fellow passengers are COVID-19 free. The only guaranteed way to achieve this is for airport testing to be introduced. A new test that takes 15 minutes could work but it will be very costly and time consuming.
Otherwise travellers may need to acquire a COVID-19 free certificate within 5-days of travel, plus temperature checks on passengers at the airport will probably be carried out.
Onboard, flight attendants will wear masks and gloves and possibly the passengers. Onboard meal delivery may look very different with more packaged products in the premium classes.
Also all airlines will be required to disinfect their aircraft after every flight, not just once a day.
Our proposed overseas trip to Spain and Portugal at the end of August has been cancelled. We also recently cancelled a cruise from Hong Kong to Canada in April 2021 as we felt there were too many uncertainties. As far as cruising goes we are still a little hesitant because of the Ruby Princess debacle and a couple of other cruise ships that had high cases of passengers with Coronavirus spreading throughout the ships. Maybe we will feel a little more secure by the end of the year but at this stage cruise holidays will be on hold.
Our travel plans at present include a few short trips within Australia. We recently did a caravan road trip down the New England Highway in New South Wales and we enjoyed it immensely. In a few weeks we are heading off again across the Queensland border to Bargara near Bundaberg and then heading inland to Carnarvon Gorge. This will certainly satisfy our wanderlust for the time being.
Once I feel a little safer to travel I would like to maybe fly to Sydney for a long weekend, fly up to The Whitsundays for an island getaway or get out into the greenery of the Scenic Rim in Southern Queensland for a country escape.
In 2021 we are planning a longer caravan trip to the Top End of Australia to see the Gulf Country of Northern Queensland, Darwin and Kakadu National Park. We also would like to hire a motorhome and travel around New Zealand next year.
In other words we will be sticking pretty close to home for the next 12 months or so.
What are your feelings about travel post Covid-19? Do you feel confident to get out and about again? What are your travel plans for the future?
Please Note: Article source for the future of international travel taken from Traveller.com.au and 9now.nine.com.au
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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Denyse WhelanJuly 8, 2020
Kathy, what a comprehensive post. I feel that by writing this you are also helping keep the current situation about COVID relevant for both historical reasons and practical ones.
Blogging is a place for timelines and yours highlighting travel is excellent.
People can see “oh that was then, and this is now” even in this ever changing landscape of COVID.
In our case, we have had not travel plans others than maybe a NSW small road trip once I am over my surgery coming soon.
It’s probably the first time I have felt relieved in some ways that travel because of costs was out of reach for us because I know that if I had been anywhere others than where we live now, I would have felt stressed & anxious.
For people such as yourselves and fellow travellers I do hope you get to achieve some of your plans. Loved your recent trip in NSW. Denyse
KathyJuly 8, 2020
Thank you Denyse for leaving a comment. I do believe that there are still a lot of people that don’t feel comfortable to travel anywhere at present and I can fully appreciate this. I felt very hesitant about venturing too far for a few months. I notice with my lawn bowls ladies that some of them are still not confident to resume playing again. I think I would be completely lost is I didn’t get to travel as I do have an adventurous spirit. The compromise of regional travel and getting across the border into Queensland next week will certainly satiate me for a while. Our trip down the New England Highway was incredible and I did feel very safe as there weren’t too many travellers on the road or in the caravan parks.
Sharon SmithJuly 8, 2020
Hi Kathy, as a Victorian I certainly feel that my wings have been clipped!! I must admit to (almost) enjoying the COVID restrictions from late March to June. I felt liberated to stay home and enjoy my own home and company ‘guilt free’!
Unfortunately I love to travel too, whether it is internationally or here in OZ, in our caravan. I think it will be quite a long wait to leave Vic again and a few years before OS travel will be safe. Thanx for your info!
KathyJuly 8, 2020
Hello Sharon, I do really feel for you because you’re not situated in one of the “hot spots”. I played bowls with a lady from Bendigo this morning and they are trying to get across the border into Qld on Friday. I think a few travellers exited Victoria well before the border closure hoping to head north for winter. I do hope that they get this virus under control in Melbourne and that you’re all able to travel again. It really is a personal thing. I hated being confined to home and couldn’t wait to get out and about again. However I am very cautious when I do go out and mix with other people. I don’t think we’ll be going OS for a while either – maybe New Zealand (but I consider that to be almost domestic travel!). Keep well and we’ll see you next year maybe. xx
JanJuly 8, 2020
Hi Kathy. I enjoyed reading this post. We too will be travelling only in Australia for the foreseeable future. After getting over having to cancel our Greece trip, I have come to terms with limited travel within Australia in our caravan. I hope one day next year or the year after we can travel to Greece.
KathyJuly 9, 2020
I thought I’d be a lot more disappointed about the cancellation of our Spain and Portugal trip than I am. I think that I’ve accepted the fact that international travel is off the agenda for a while, but who knows how I’ll feel in 12 months time. I’m also happy to travel in Australia for the time being. We also may take a trip to New Zealand once we’re permitted. I hope travel and our level of confidence to travel returns again next year.
Annette JonesJuly 10, 2020
Yes I’d be happy and confident to travel again.
Our travel plans have been severely dashed and we are re-thinking our exit strategies for our full-time life of travel and exploring overseas.
We thought we’d do overseas first then caravanning around Oz, however, the sequence has been interrupted and determined by Covid.
So it’s back to the drawing board for us and lots of research into buying a van, only problem will be is where to store/park it :) That’s apartment living for you!
KathyJuly 10, 2020
That’s good to hear. I’m sure we’ll feel more confident in say 6 months time. My husband is not keen to go overseas but is already talking about us maybe going to NZ next year. We were also trying to do our overseas travel first before we get too old, but now it looks like it will have to wait. We store our caravan in a yard at Chinderah for $17 a week. Many Gold Coast people do the same. We’re hoping to head off in ours in a couple of weeks time up north across the border.