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When can we travel to Bali? | Doc Holiday travel advice

Escape’s Doc Holiday, Dilvin Yasa, answers all your travel-related questions.

When can I return to Bali?

I must visit Bali ASAP to complete my dental implant procedure (started pre-Covid). Is travel to Bali for medical reasons possible at the moment and are there any direct flights? When will Bali be expected to open for tourism again? 

It’s the $64,000 question for many Australians. Although Indonesian tourism minister, Sandiaga Uno, recently announced that Bali will be reopening for international tourism this month, the news must be met with a degree of caution. 

Not only is Indonesia trying to get back on its feet after a devastating wave of Covid-19 infections, there’s no word from our government yet on when Australians will be allowed to visit for general tourism. 

See also: 7 of the most romantic resorts in Fiji

You can certainly apply for a travel exemption for medical reasons through the International Travel Restriction Exemptions portal, however the site states that exemptions are considered for those who are “travelling to receive urgent medical treatment that is not available in Australia”. 

You’ll need to provide evidence to support your claim – in this case a letter from your dentist outlining your treatment and a statement on why travel for the treatment is necessary. 

Unfortunately, travelling to Bali at the moment is much more complicated than it usually is. Currently, there are no direct flights from Australia, and the cheapest flight I could find for a December departure (you’ll need to apply for your exemption at least two weeks before your proposed departure date) was $760 one way via Kuala Lumpur with Malaysia Airlines with a duration of 16 hours. 

I’m not sure how long you’re intending to stay, but return flights in December/January aren’t yet available. 

If you can afford to wait a few more months, both Qantas and Virgin Australia are set to begin regular services between Australia and Bali from March 27, 2022, although there’s every chance the dates will be brought forward as our government opens up international borders. 

Jetstar is currently scheduled to start flying from April 1, but, again, these routes are all subject to government and regulatory approval.

Beautiful Bali, Indonesia.

Airbnb refund dilemma

I booked an Airbnb in Surfers Paradise for June, but wasn’t able to travel due to the NSW lockdown. The owner will only give me credit, but since Queensland isn’t likely to reopen before Christmas, wouldn’t I be within my rights to insist on a refund?

I (and no doubt countless other Australians) feel your pain – lots of travellers have been caught out by the October 2020 changes in Airbnb’s cancellations and refunds policy, which no longer considers pandemic cancellations to be “unforeseen”. This essentially means anyone who books a property through the holiday rentals company is at the mercy of individual hosts’ cancellation policies. 

There’s been plenty of talk about its flexible cancellation policy search filter and booking only with those who offer free cancellation until 24 hours before check-in, but little about what happens if you can’t actually travel to the destination some six months later. 

According to the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission, what you’re entitled to in this situation depends on the terms and conditions you agreed to at the time of booking. “The credit expiry dates for most travel providers are the dates by which the credit must be used to make a booking, not the dates by which consumers must travel. 

Travel providers should be prepared to extend the expiry period of any credits to take into account the extension of any Covid-19 travel restrictions, to allow consumers a reasonable period in which to use the credit after the Covid-19 travel restrictions are lifted,” an ACCC spokesperson told Escape. 

When contacted, Derek Nolan, Airbnb’s head of public policy for Australia and New Zealand, pointed out the site’s flexible cancellation policy search filter, adding:“Guests can view the cancellation policy selected by their host prior to booking.”

Short answer? You’ll unfortunately have to wait for Queensland to open back up to enjoy your long-awaited holiday, or forfeit your money. 

See also:

Do dual citizens need their Australian passport to leave?

What’s the best way to do Lake Eyre?

Where are the best farm stays in Australia?

Do kids need to be vaxxed to travel internationally?

How do I score frequent-flyer points?

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