Planning on a Holiday? Read the fine print first

Emily Shoemark

21 Jan 2021


  • Consumer Law

As plans to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine in Australia are announced, many people are beginning to think about their next trip, including the airlines who have already started advertising on sale.

Even with a vaccine COVID-19 will continue to be part of our lives, so it is likely that travellers will bear the brunt of any travel-related risks. With border closures and restrictions changing at short notice, sometimes daily, it is more important than ever to read the fine print when booking travel and insurance policies.

At the beginning of the pandemic many travellers were entitled to refunds or credits because the pandemic was an ‘unforeseen event’. Unfortunately, COVID-19-related cancellations are no longer unexpected. Most, if not all, travel providers will have specific policies about such cancellations and may impose specific conditions on travellers for refunds to be available in these situations.

Even though many people don’t read the fine print, this is where you will find the terms and conditions attached to your airline ticket or hotel booking. These contain the terms of a legal contract between you and the travel provider. If your travel needs to be cancelled the provider will rely on these terms to assess your eligibility for any refunds or credits.

So, before booking any travel make sure you understand the terms and conditions that will apply to you in different circumstances, noting that each travel provider and insurer are likely to have different terms. Key issues to look for include:

  • What happens if you decide to cancel your travel because of safety concerns?
  • What happens if the travel provider cancels your booking?
  • What happens if your travel is cancelled or needs to be postponed due to a government decision to close a border or put in place other restrictions which impact on your travel plans?
  • In what circumstances will you be entitled to a refund or credit if your booking is cancelled?
  • Are there any regulatory or safety requirements, such as proof of vaccination or compulsory masks, that you must comply with to travel? These may change from country to country, and airline to airline.

How can we help?

If you have any questions about terms and conditions that may impact you, please do not hesitate to contact the team at Snedden Hall & Gallop on 02 6285 8000 or by email.