What You Need to Know About Traveling to Australia During This Fire Season


Virgin Airlines is waiving the change fee for any guests who need to change flights because they are affected by the fire. The airline is also offering, as an alternative, a travel bank credit.

Not all insurance plans cover natural disasters, so it’s important to read the fine print.

“If travelers do have a cancellation policy in place, their trip must still be reasonably impacted by the fires in order to cancel and be reimbursed for their trip,” said Megan Moncrief, chief marketing officer of squaremouth.com, a travel insurance comparison site. “This includes their destination being uninhabitable, under a mandatory evacuation, or they are prevented from reaching their destination entirely.”

For those who already have trips booked, but don’t have insurance, if the time allows get “cancel for any reason” insurance. These plans allow travelers to cancel a trip for any reason, including just not wanting to go anymore.

“These policies cost 40 percent more than a standard trip cancellation policy, and only reimburse up to 75 percent of the trip cost,” Ms. Moncrief said. “They also must be purchased within 21 days of the first payment toward the trip, which likely means it isn’t an option for already-planned trips.”

For people already in Australia and looking to stay informed, keep a radio around. Australia’s national broadcaster, ABC, is offering regular updates. The Fires Near Me app, developed by the New South Wales Fire Service, is also popular among Australians.

Official maps, evacuation orders and other updates can be found on ACT Emergency Services Agency, EmergencyWA , New South Wales Rural Fire Service, Northern Territory Fire and Rescue Service, Queensland Rural Fire Service, South Australian Country Fire Service, Tasmania Fire Service and VicEmergency.


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