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The Unreliable Guide to… Summer Holidays, 2020 Style

By Nat Shepherd on December 11, 2020 in Satire

The most name-dropped town on the planet. Photo: Chris Hemsworth

The Unreliable Guide thought 2020 would be the year we finally went to Argentina. We’ve always wanted to go; what’s not to love about a country famous for red wine, sexy tango, and BBQ? We bought a guidebook, watched Evita and started learning Spanish, but then came COVID-19 and no one was going anywhere. It was adios, Argentina.
Yet, while overseas travel is still off-limits, interstate restrictions are currently lifting around the country. It now seems possible that we might actually get to go somewhere this summer. But there is so much conflicting advice about how, when and where we can travel. It’s a gamble – should we deposit some hard-earned on a trip that might get cancelled by a third wave, or wait and find that there’s nowhere left to book? Here are some tips and tricks to help you decide…

Stay in-state
Many of you have voted with your feet against the uncertainty of interstate travel. After the setbacks of 2020, you have no faith in Morrison’s recent promise that, “By Christmas of this year, certainly seven of the eight states and territories will be open.” Instead, you’re all booking holidays in New South Wales. Most holiday accommodation along the length of our coast is already booked for summer. A friend who lives in the ever-popular Byron Bay declared that the town is already busier than she’s ever seen it. Demand for accommodation is far outstripping supply. Hoping to go away but haven’t booked yet? You’ll be paying top dollar for a dump in the boondocks.

I’m going interstate
This could be an excellent idea, or it could be a really bad one if the borders suddenly close due to an outbreak. Even in a normal year, travelling involves some uncertainty, but with COVID we have to regularly monitor conditions. Currently, every state and territory has different definitions of what constitutes a COVID ‘hotspot’. Some focus on individual premises, others reject visitors from hotspot shires or veto entire states. Scotty has not been able to bully all the state premiers into following his lead, so there is no Australia-wide standard. That means we need to know the latest rules of both sides of the border we hope to cross, and have all our paperwork ready. If and when border decisions are formalised into state regulations, we should have more confidence about travelling to interstate destinations. But, as we’ve seen throughout this year, situations can change rapidly. If you do decide to book interstate, check the small print carefully and see if you will have any cancellation rights in the event of border closures.

When you get there
So you’ve hit the jackpot and actually found a decent holiday spot for an affordable price. You can relax now, right? Well, no. Many experiences now require pre-booking and are restricted to a maximum number of people. If you don’t organise your family fun in advance, you may wind up spending your holiday being turned away. Do some research on your destination, get in touch with the places you’d like to visit and see how they are managing their COVID-safe responsibilities.

Finally, if all that seems a bit much, maybe just ask around your friends and family and see if anyone fancies a house swap. Even if they live right next door, sometimes a change is as good as a rest!