The Coronavirus is here! Dramatic headlines are flowing, misinformation is rampant and panic has officially set in… but hopefully and by now your cupboards are full of toilet paper, tissues and pasta so perhaps we should pause, relax, enjoy a cocktail (hopefully you stocked up on your favourite beverage) and think about that next holiday!

While the press and social media are clearly painting a scary picture of what weeks to come might look like, the reality is that we are all waiting to see what will unfold and how it will impact Australians. As I write this article, China is on the verge of recovering from this crisis (only 27 new cases were declared yesterday) but Italy kicked off its own lockdown a week ago. All we know for sure is that this is all temporary.

In this context my priority is (1) to ensure the well-being of customers, (2) to minimise the impact of this crisis on travel budgets, and (3) still provide travel options. And so with this in mind, I would suggest you follow the next steps.


What you should do now?

First, if you have already made travel arrangements, then you should regularly monitor what is happening at your planned destination. Is your destination likely to be a hotspot? Will local destination authorities deny you entry or ask you to self quarantine? Will you be required to self-quarantine as you come back to Australia? These are some of the things you should be mindful of.

Second, should you consider cancelling your plans then I encourage you to familiarise yourself with the terms of cancellation of your bookings to understand whether you are likely to pay cancellation costs and if so at what point. A number of airlines, cruise lines and travel operators have and continue to review their capacity, schedules as well as relaxing their cancellation policies so it is worth waiting until your next cancellation deadline to cancel your plans.

Third, if you are still planning to go, make sure to review and perhaps reconsider your transit hubs. Make sure that transiting through a particular airport/city that will not cause for you to be denied entry or self quarantine at your end destination. For example, you may want to reconsider going to the US via Europe . Again requirements change quickly so you have to think ahead and/or be reactive. With rules and regulation changing on a daily basis, you should ask your travel agent for assistance.

Fourth, If you are flying in Economy, you may want to consider upgrading. Business Class will provide that extra personal space, which you may now find is worth all the money. Some of you may even want to consider private jets. I hear it is a very popular form of transport these days!

Finally, if you are planning an upcoming holiday you will have the hard task of picking between what are considered safe destinations.


Where you should go?

While some may choose to hibernate for the next few months, others still have the urge to explore the world and discover new places. So where is it safe and reasonable to travel to? In the current context, close to home always feels like a good option and in our case Australia is probably as good a place as any. Actually the desolate Australian bush or some of the most remote Australian islands are probably the best place to be for the next few months so here are some options I would consider:

The Indian Pacific is a rail journey taking you from Perth, to Adelaide and Sydney in comfort and style. This 5 star, all inclusive experience is born out of one of Australia’s most remarkable surveying and engineering feats when the East to West rail track was first completed in 1917. Luxury cars have now replaced the livestock and it is an incredible way to discover the Australian outback, from the Blue mountains to the Nullarbor and every goldmine in between. If the Indian Pacific is something you always thought you would do later in life, well now is a great time to put it back at the top of your bucket list.


The Indian Pacific


El Questro is one of the most memorable places where to stay in the Kimberly region. The property boasts 700,000 acres of deep gorges, majestic mountains, thermal springs, mud and salt-flats, rainforests and cascading waterfalls. El Questro also caters for all with different types of accommodation from luxury to glamping to general camping so you are free to enjoy the Kimberley the way you want. Finally, El Questro also suits families with kids staying and eating for free at Emma Gorge. Suggested itineraries combine a 3 or 4 day stay at El Questro plus a week of 4 wheel driving across the Western Australian outback.

El Questro











Emma Gorge’s accommodation is tented cabins, bringing you closer to nature and heaps more fun for the kids/grand-kids. The little ones can also be fed with a restaurant on premise as well so no need to worry. While remote, El Questro has everything you need to survive the Coronavirus!



Australia’s remote islands present appealing options for self-quarantine with breathtaking scenery, beaches, marine life and properties. Norfolk Island and Lord Howe will introduce you to another way of life where scenery will blow you away and where tranquility is a theme in its own right. Both islands are accessible with commercial flights. Lizard Island or Lady Elliott on the other hand are best to explore the great barrier reef and present incredible marine life, sharks, turtles you name it. Needless to say both Lizard and Lady Elliott provide an exceptional snorkeling and scuba-diving experience! These last 2 islands are however more difficult to access – A commercial flight followed by a boat or charter flight connection. A range of accommodation options are available on each island, although Lizard Island commands a premium.


Lord Howe Island


Norfolk Island


Lizard Island



Lady Elliott Island


Alternatively, if you are looking at overseas destinations, it is worth considering Southern Africa, Russia or South America which have been marginally affected by the virus so far.



Namibia has so far presented no cases of coronavirus and offers plenty for the discerning traveller – from moon like landscape, to incredible red sand dunes and game reserves. This rugged country is rather inhospitable but provides a perfect place to hide from the Coronavirus. The luxury desert retreat you can stay at are indeed the perfect place for self quarantine and will make you feel so far away from civilization. Finally, as a former German “colony” and territory of South Africa, Namibia also presents a unique and mixed cultural heritage worth learning more about.


Chile has so far been somewhat spared by the virus with few cumulated cases and so it is another option to consider at the moment. Chile is a land of contrast. With more than 6,000kms of coastline along the Pacific ocean the country offers so much variety in landscape and experiences. From the desert of Atacama, to the ski fields of the Santiago back country, the vineyards of Valparaiso, the National Park of Torres del Paine, to the Chilean fjords or Easter Island, there is something for everyone in Chile.


Safe travels


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Natalie Amanda
Natalie Amanda
22:16 09 May 20
Highly recommended St Ives Travel. Competitive with price and above and beyond service. Will definitely use this local agency again.read more
00:46 08 May 20
I have used St Ives Travel for organising and booking many of my holidays over the past few years, and recently specifically with Emily. Due to the unfortunate circumstances surrounding Covid-19 and not being able to travel, we had to cancel two large overseas bookings we had made. This was very disappointing for us, however Emily made this process so smooth and trouble free for us, dealing with the cancellations/postponing of flights and hotels, so we didn't have to worry. I could not recommend her and the team at St Ives Travel enough!! We are truly grateful for the time and effort they put into making our experience easy!read more
rowena coleman
rowena coleman
10:14 26 Jan 20
Always have had fantastic holidays booked by Emily . Would not hesitate to recommend . The service and advice is very professional and attention to detail is outstanding . We love travelling and Emily provides a stream lined worry free experience . Well done !read more
Elizabeth Williams
Elizabeth Williams
08:58 05 Jan 20
When I went to China in 2019, I was given assistance by Adelina which was most helpful.I went to New Zealand in December and again was given all the help I needed cheerfully and courteously !! I recommend St Ives Travel and will definitely use them again.read more
Brian   Selby
Brian Selby
00:11 15 Dec 19
WE have used St Ives Travel, especially Genevieve Westgarth for well over 10 years. She has arranged many amazing holidays for us , both overseas and in Australia. We let her arrange our flights and holidays and have never had any problems. She is a lovely person to deal with and always comes back with quick replies if she does not know the answer. I would not hesitate to recommend St Ives Travel, especially Genevieve.read more
Alvaro Rivanera
Alvaro Rivanera
04:48 29 Nov 19
I'm a single parent, and had to organise travel for myself and my children travelling overseas to the US. Given I don't travel often, I chose the aid of a travel agent to assist with tickets, connections, etc.At St Ives Travel, I was treated with the utmost courtesy, given advice for things I had not even considered, and the service did not end there.Throughout the holiday, I had someone to contact in case of anything, and they assisted in making the flights over and back the most comfortable possible.The best experience I could have hoped for, and looking forward to the next trip!read more
Ian Beasley
Ian Beasley
21:14 18 Nov 19
We have planned trips with St Ives travel for more than 7 years. In that time we have had no issues. All our arrangements have progressed perfectly.Because of their expertise and meticulous attention to detail we would have no hesitation in giving them the highest recommendation. Ian and Barbara Beasleyread more
Sue Doherty
Sue Doherty
03:57 17 Nov 19
I assumed that going to a travel agent would be the best way to book a holiday but when booking a trip to the UK through Vietnam for my husband and myself the agent advise was wrong, we were told we didn’t need a visa during transit we did, we were told we needed a visa for our 2 day stop over, we were told this would have been provided by the Vietnam Airline also we didn’t have the room to use during our long stop over and the late check out on our way back. Not very impressive.read more
Fred Barton
Fred Barton
01:52 07 Nov 19
We are very happy with the service we have received in booking our upcoming holiday. The recommendations have been exactly what we want.read more
John Boughton
John Boughton
05:31 06 Nov 19
We have had nothing but complete satisfaction with St ives Travel over many years especially in our dealings with Adelina who provides excellent service. She has taken time to understand our travel preferences and many times offers up travel proposals that meet our expectations. Adelina is always a pleasure to deal with and at the same time is very thorough and highly reliable. We couldn't arrange our travel without her.John and Jenny Boughtonread more
04:26 05 Nov 19
St.Ives Travel have never let me down. I'm totally confident if I book a trip or flight it will be as ordered. I get back-up if things change and I trust my Personal consultant, Adelina Arancibia, in her professionalism, attention to details & commitment to my needs. Adelina crosses the "T"s & dots the "i"s in my travel plans.........if there is a better or cheaper alternative I am advised. Cruises are their specialty and I have enjoyed many. I have cruised 140 days, over 80 flights & visited 65 Countries, 650 Cities on 6 continents. I have seen Antarctica on a Holland America cruise which is the 7th continent. I have had upgrades & extra on-board incentives. I trust St. Ives Travel & in over 10 years and 20 tours I can recommend their personalised service and dedication to their customer's peace of mind and pleasurable travel experiences. I can't thank them enough!read more
Pat Plenge
Pat Plenge
09:20 18 Oct 19
I’m a Uni student in St ives and I booked my Europe tour with st ives travel. They knew everything about all the destinations and every little detail that may have caught me out if I didn’t see a travel agent. Would recommend booking here if your looking for well travelled and experienced consultants. Very happyread more
David Dubos
David Dubos
03:13 05 Oct 19
A travel agency normally lives and breathes flight bookings doesn't it and can do a quote in few seconds or minutes can't it?. I made a phone call Tuesday for a flights quote. Half a response with no options finally on Thursday. No further response by Saturday either to the other two flights requested or to a simple direct question regarding use of points.Pathetic. All I can think is maybe they don't make enough money off it so the service is rock bottom? Do you own - don't bother with this pathetic outfit!read more
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