Virtual Travel on VMTV’s Elaine

Travel Tuesday on The Elaine Show VMTV 23rd March 2020

(Travel Information is up to date at time of publication)

It has been a very difficult time for everyone since the spread of the Covid 19 virus and the travel industry has seen unprecedented upheavals and changes. I’ve put together a number of issues that viewers will have questions about. At the moment there is a recommendation to avoid all travel and this is likely to remain the status for some time.

Travel Advice from ITAA

Dublin 24th March 2020    The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) is asking customers to be mindful of the pressures faced by travel agents across the country as the Coronavirus situation progresses, and to be patient and #BeKind in their interactions when dealing with travel agency staff.

Travel agents are working hard to assist customers by securing refunds and changing travel arrangements where possible. Customers are currently being prioritised based on the proximity of their bookings, with bookings made for March and April taking precedence over bookings later in the year.

John Spollen, President of the ITAA said, “This is a fast moving situation, and a stressful time for everyone. We are asking that our customers take into consideration the pressure that counter staff are under as we all navigate this difficult period. Our members are working as hard as they can to refund customers and find alternative travel arrangements, and we ask that travellers remain mindful of this when engaging with our member staff in stores and by phone.”

He continued, “ITAA members are monitoring the situation on behalf of their clients on a day to day, hour by hour basis on what is a fluid situation. The health and welfare of our customers is paramount and we are ready to advise them, updating the situation when the Department of Foreign Affairs updates us.”

The ITAA is advising travellers to read the Department of Foreign Affairs travel advice for the country they are travelling to, which includes entry requirements and a link through to download the DFA Travelwise smartphone app that provides specific travel health advice for countries. Travelwise advises that travellers currently in countries that are reporting cases of Novel Coronavirus, otherwise known as Coronavirus or COVID-19, should follow local public health advice. Travellers should keep up to date on the country advice during their visit.

The ITAA also advises that holidaymakers ensure that they have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and also obtain comprehensive travel insurance before travelling, which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation. Affected holidaymakers are advised to follow the advice of the Department of Foreign Affairs, local authorities and accommodation providers.

Enhanced health screening procedures have been put in place at arrival and departure areas in many countries. Travellers should comply with these processes and take relevant preventative measures to reduce the risk of exposure.

#BeKind

#We’reAllInThisTogether

The ITAA is advising travellers to read the Department of Foreign Affairs travel advice for the country they are travelling to, which includes entry requirements and a link through to download the DFA Travelwise smartphone app that provides specific travel health advice for countries. Travelwise advises that travellers currently in countries that are reporting cases of Novel Coronavirus, otherwise known as Coronavirus or COVID-19, should follow local public health advice. Travellers should keep up to date on the country advice during their visit.

Enhanced health screening procedures have been put in place at arrival and departure areas in many countries. Travellers should comply with these processes to reduce the risk of exposure. If you are returning from an affected area you should follow the HSE guidelines and self-isolate or self-quarantine if necessary. Holiday makers returning from Spain have been advised to self-isolate for two weeks.

Some Tour operators and agents are making specific concessions

Topflight Summer Holidays

  • Balance due date is now 6 weeks before date of travel (reduced from 12 weeks) to give people extra time to think and make decisions.
  • Or Topflight is also offering their customers who have booked for Summer 2020 and would prefer not to travel this summer the company will move the deposit already paid for Summer 2020 to a holiday for Summer 2021 with no amendment fees

G Adventures are offering 110% credit on any holidays booked up to April 30th 2020 

Sunway focus is helping travellers with immediate trips.  If you have booked a Sunway holiday, but want more flexibility and peace of mind, Sunway are giving customers more time to pay their final balance –  an extra three weeks before you have to pay final balances. Sunway are also proactively contacting all of their clients  due to travel to offer a range of flexible options. For clients travelling with Sunway’s own chartered holidays (Turkey) , clients will be offered alternative holidays or a credit note for new dates. These credit notes can be used for 2020 and 2021 travel.

What will my travel insurance cover?

Your travel insurance provider will only offer refunds of your holiday cost if you cancel or cut short travels plans to areas the DFA has advised against “non-essential travel” or “do not travel”. If you choose not to travel or wish to leave an area not covered by DFA’s advice, you will not be entitled to a refund.

Important Notice from Blue Insurance: Please note that any travel policy issued after 23:59 on 16th March 2020, will no longer provide cover for any claims resulting from Covid-19 (Coronavirus).
Note: Optional Travel Disruption cover must be purchased before any public announcement prohibiting travel to the area you are travelling to. A 7 day moratorium period applies from the date of inclusion, cover is unavailable/does not apply for trips departing/booked within 7 days.

If you are unsure about your travel insurance cover and specific scenarios, please read this document by Blue Insurance outlining top travel insurance FAQs regarding COVID-19.

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Most Important Go To Site For Travel Information

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation:

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises against all non-essential travel overseas at least until March 29. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship. This decision was taken on the advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team to combat COVID-19 and in view of the imposition of new restrictions on entry by many countries and the ongoing reduction in international flight services.

The Irish Health Authorities require anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland, to restrict their movements on arrival for 14 days. Check the Irish Health Service COVID-19 Advice Page for full information on these requirements. This includes Irish residents. Exemptions are in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff.

We continue to make updates to our online travel advice for over 200 countries and recommend that you download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. If abroad you should register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/coronavirus/

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Airlines

If your flight is cancelled for any reason, your airline will notify you. If you booked your holiday with a travel agent, please contact their travel agents Support Team and they will be able to provide options for your booking including:

  • Re-routing the flight
  • Changing the dates for your holiday
  • Possibly a voucher from the airline to the value of the refunded services

If you booked your flight yourself

  • Go to your individual airline website and see what value is offered for future travel changes some are offering 110% vouchers as refund such as Aer Lingus on all flights booked for travel before 31st May 2020.
  • Ryanair will be operating a severely reduced schedule from Wednesday 25th March 2020
  • Ethiopian and Turkish Airlines are suspending flights from Dublin

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If you’ve booked a cruise these are the guidelines from the following companies

If you have booked a cruise with one of the following cruise lines and are scheduled to travel within the below specified dates, your cruise may be impacted, and we will contact you regarding your options.

If you are scheduled to depart on a cruise after the dates specified below, your cruise is scheduled to operate as normal.

Please see below links to relevant cruise lines for information on up to date procedures:

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Virtual Travel

I’ve found some ways that you can enjoy travel from your armchair to help viewers through these difficult times. Often when we travel we don’t get to see everything we want to because the queue to the museum is too long or you just don’t have time to fit it into your schedule. Well many museums and galleries around the world are opening their doors to online viewing.

Here’s a list of some incredible museums and galleries that are open to everyone online.

1.National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC

This is one of my favourite websites because the quality is excellent and you may have a little person who is a big fan of dinosaurs in your house so you can take a trip together.

https://naturalhistory2.si.edu/vt3/NMNH/z_tour-022.html

The museum offers a virtual tour of permanent exhibits and current exhibitions – it is easy to use and very informative.

Enjoy a selection of exhibits from the Ocean https://naturalhistory2.si.edu/vt3/NMNH/z_tour-022.htmlto the forests exploring all types of natural life and animals.

The London Museum of Natutal History also has an interactive tour which is really well presented. https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/natural-history-museum

2. Vatican Museum Sistine Chapel

Avoid the queues and visit the famous Sistine Chapel. Since its completion in the 1483 it has been used as the venue for election of new popes. It was renovated by Pope Julius II from 1508-1512 who employed Michelangelo to paint the ceiling and altar wall. http://www.museivaticani.va/content/museivaticani/en/collezioni/musei/cappella-sistina/tour-virtuale.html

If you’d like to find out more about the fascinating panels and murals in the Sistine Chapel I recommend using a good art source for explanation such as the Khan Academy. Khan Academy Sistine Chapel

Other good galleries to feed your inner artist include https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/app

Or Why not take a trip around Moma and The Met

3. If Fashion is your thing then visit The Victoria and Albert Museum in London

These videos from google arts and culture explain some of the garments on display in the V&A. They can be viewed on google videos on  artsandculture.google.com https://artsandculture.google.com/project/360-videos

I’ve picked out some interesting clips featuring designs by Vivienne Westwood who updated the corset https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7jUYVlcx8c&feature=youtu.be

and Coco Chanel who created the LBD https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6kovrOuL5g&feature=youtu.be

4. Take a trip to Broadway and enjoy the best musicals in NYC

Enjoy seven days free viewing of Broadway shows or sign up for a membership for $8.99 per month  https://www.broadwayhd.com/

View musicals such as,  “Cats,” “The King and I,” and “The Sound of Music,” along with originals the platform filmed including performances of “Kinky Boots” and “42nd Street,” from Broadway, The West End, and other elite venues around the world.

While you’re in New York take a street art tour of some murals https://artsandculture.google.com/story/HAUxIVumcQkQtw

 

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