Updated travel restrictions during the coronavirus outbreak

What you need to know.

As international efforts to contain coronavirus (COVID-19) ramp up, the Australian Government has raised the travel advice for Australians to level four (do not travel).

Here’s what COVID-19 outbreak may mean for your travel plans.

I have an overseas trip coming up soon

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has advised Australians to avoid all overseas travel and has urged Australians who are currently overseas to return home as soon as possible.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australians should cancel upcoming overseas travel.

“Our advice to all Australians, regardless of your destination, age or health, is do not travel overseas at this time,” Mr Morrison said.

“The decision reflects the gravity of the international situation arising from the COVID-19 outbreak, the risks to health and the high likelihood of major travel disruptions.”

If you have a trip booked, contact your travel insurer to find out whether you can make an insurance claim.


My flight, cruise or tour has been cancelled. Am I entitled to a refund?

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACC) Chair Rod Sims said, in most circumstances, you will be entitled to a refund, credit note or voucher for cancelled travel.

“We welcome the decisions by many businesses who are already offering refunds to all ticketholders and expect other event and travel businesses to also offer remedies to all affected consumers when events or travel services are cancelled,” Mr Sims said.

Airlines such as Qantas and Virgin Australia have waived rebooking fees and are offering credit for certain upcoming flights.

The ACCC has encouraged travellers to contact their travel provider directly to request a refund or credit note.

If my flight, tour or cruise has been cancelled am I entitled to a refund on other travel expenses, such as accommodation?

Contact the accommodation or service provider directly to see if they’re prepared to offer a refund or credit.

You should also contact your travel insurance provider to check whether you’re covered under your policy.



What happens if I want to cancel my travel booking?

If you no longer wish to travel due to concerns about COVID-19, this may be treated as a “change of mind” and your right to refund will depend on the terms, conditions and cancellation policy of the individual business.

“Consumers in all situations should contact businesses directly to request a refund or other remedy such as a credit note or voucher,” Mr Sims said.

Contact your travel provider and insurer directly to determine your entitlements.

Should I book an overseas holiday?

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has advised Australians to avoid all overseas travel.

With new outbreaks being reported each day it’s difficult to predict which area will be impacted next and what that will mean for travellers in the future.

Many countries have introduced entry restrictions and screening measures at border crossings and transport hubs, including some which have not had cases of COVID-19.

You may not be allowed to enter or transit, or you may be quarantined, based on your previous location and symptoms.

If you decide to book an overseas holiday, consider what may change between now and your departure date and keep up-to-date with the latest travel advice on Smartraveller.

How do I avoid contracting COVID-19?

The World Health Organisation has outlined steps you can take to prevent themselves and others from contracting COVID-19 and other viruses:

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Maintain at least one metre distance from anyone coughing and sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or bent elbow when you cough and sneeze.
  • Seek medical attention if you have a cough, fever and difficulty breathing.


The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and not as specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice and does not take into account any person’s particular investment objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives, financial situations and needs. You should obtain and consider the Product Disclosure Statement or terms and conditions relating to the products mentioned, before deciding whether to acquire any products.