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LEARNING TO LIVE WITH THE ALIEN WITHIN

A FUNNY thing happened to me when I was in Canada recently. I caught COVID…again.

This was my second bout of the dreaded virus. The first – ironically – also came on an overseas trip.

I was in Quebec attending RendevousCanada 2023 and let me tell you, it’s not much fun waking up in a hotel room on the other side of the world feeling like death warmed up.

Worse still, it was the day I was due to check out and join a group of complete strangers on a four-day post event famil tour. I struggled through the first day before the dreaded RAT test revealed the truth.  

Fortunately, the group I was travelling with were very understanding and after a day and a half I was right as rain, which brings me to the point of the story.

It seems that most travellers have come to the conclusion that COVID is just something that we will all have to live with for the foreseeable future.

For example, put 1,500 people from around the world in a conference centre for three days and it’s highly likely someone with the virus will give it to someone else.

“COVID continues to be one of the main reasons our customers claim and it looks like it’s going to affect travellers for some time to come,” commented Jo McCauley, CEO for Southern Cross Travel Insurance, in a recent press release.

“On average we are paying out claims for cancellation and travel disruption due to COVID to the value of $1,500, which is a sizeable cost.

“It’s still very much at large and impacting our customers’ plans.”

The potential threat is only likely to become more widespread with the USA, Japan and China recently opening their borders to non-vaccinated travellers.

According to extensive research and pricing data obtained by Comparetravelinsurance.com.au, travel insurance has increased on average by more than 35 per cent since the pandemic.

This has led some 36 per cent of Australians surveyed by the same online company to say they would opt out of getting a policy because of the rising costs.

Perhaps even more worrying (yet hardly surprising) is that it’s our young folk who are most likely to risk travelling without adequate cover just to save a buck or two.

Older travellers are also being affected. Some are effectively being priced out of the overseas market due to the rising cost of travel insurance.

“Even if the price of a policy has increased post pandemic, the cost of overseas medical bills or trip cancellations can far outweigh the cost of a policy, particularly in today’s travel climate,” advises Natalie Ball, Director of Comparetravelinsurance.com.au.

“It is vital that all travellers put their health and safety first.”

Wise words and as we come to terms with travelling in a world where COVID is still a potential threat, it pays to take adequate precautions…literally.

IN THIS ISSUE one lucky reader is going to win a holiday in one of Australia’s favourite destinations – The Whitsundays in Queensland. Return flights and five nights accommodation are all included.

We’ll also look at revolutionary ideas to help flyers beat the effects of jet lag, discuss why Australians love getting their clothes off at the beach and find out what’s new in both Italy and Spain.

INSIDE THIS MONTH

The Bare Facts About Why We Love Going Nude

Australians have always been an outgoing, friendly bunch. Now it seems we rule the world when it comes to taking our clothes off. Find out why we put other countries in the shade for nude sunbathing.

Can Chilli And Chocolate Beat Jet lag?

Jet lag is a problem that affects almost all long-distance travellers. Now world-first research done here in Australia could have found the cure…or cures. You may be surprised by the findings.

24 Hours In Quebec City

With only a few hours to explore a new city, what’s the best way to maximise your time? Jon Underwood took to the pavement to discover the charms of Quebec City.

The Splendour In The Grass

Jenny Evans visits iSimangaliso Wetland Park, the country’s first World Heritage Site, and finds a diverse tapestry of wildlife. She even gets to share her shower with a warthog…!

Win A Trip To The Whitsundays

Win a trip to one of Australia’s most popular destinations. We’ve got return flights to The Whitsundays and five-nights’ accommodation at Daydream Island Resort and The Sebel Whitsundays Airlie Beach.

Five Big Things For Your Bucket List

From prehistoric creatures to swathes of red dirt, Australia really is home to some big attractions. Here are five must-see items for your bucket list, plus a fresh look at one of our greatest driving routes.