Traveller Letters: Why can't I just pay for my own quarantine and travel overseas?

TESTING TIMES

Some of the frustrations faced by Australians who wish to travel overseas are expressed by Ben Groundwater in his recent traveller.com.au ("Why can Europeans travel but Australians can't") article. If we were to pay the two week quarantine cost up front into a designated Government trust fund and contractually agree to being tested on arrival and before release from quarantine, would we be permitted to travel overseas? Perhaps we should consider these measures to address some of the issues inherent in the Government ban. These are extraordinary times that require creative solutions.

Sidra de Zoysa, Glen Iris, VIC

CHANTILLY RACE

Margot Pope (Traveller Letters, September 5) wrote about Chantilly, France, but left out one of it's main claims to fame: its vintage racecourse which is the very soul of French thoroughbred racing. Many years ago my wife, daughter Rebecca (then seven years) and I were staying in tiny Fontaine-Chaalis near Chantilly and I wanted to go to the Saturday race meeting at Chantilly for a once-in-a-lifetime experience (my family has a racing pedigree in NSW). My wife demurred so Rebecca and I went. We plunged into the tote betting with gusto (there are no bookmakers on French courses) but it didn't go well and after four races with no winning bets we were down to our last $20. I said to Rebecca, "I'm having no luck, do you want to pick a horse?". We watched the horses parade for race five and Rebecca said, "Dad, bet on the pink and blue". No, punting by silk colours is for mugs and the horse was 25/1, I thought, but, hey, we couldn't do much worse so we had our remaining $20 on Roue Grande at 25/1. When the race was run Roue Grande trailed by many lengths into the straight and then appeared to get a second wind, swept down the outside and won going away. We quit while we were ahead, took our winnings back to Chaalis, collected Elizabeth and went into Paris for a slap-up dinner at Au Petit Riche and some shopping for the girls at Printemps. Such a day, such luck, such memories.

Dennis Leman, Hope Island, QLD

PARK YOURSELF THERE

With interstate travel out of the picture at the moment, I would recommend Sydneysiders enjoy a walk in the beautiful Sydney Harbour National Park. There are walks on both sides of the harbour that have spectacular views of the Harbour, access some beautiful secluded beaches and, as a bonus, there are plenty of coffee stops.

Peter MiniuttI, Ashbury, NSW

CLAIM GAME

Like Anthony Gooden (Traveller Letters, September 5), I also purchased travel insurance with InsureandGo for a trip that was cancelled. Unlike Anthony, I was out of pocket for flights and accommodation so made a successful claim through InsureandGo (who were easy to deal with). Even though I didn't go anywhere, the insurance was active from the day I purchased it. You can't expect a refund for travel insurance just because you didn't make a claim.

Carolyn Madden, Glen Iris, VIC

NOT SO EASYJET

We booked to fly Easyjet Luton to Aberdeen on Wednesday, September 9, returning Friday, September 11. Five weeks ago we received an email from Easyjet stating that the flight had been cancelled and offering us the option to rebook on another flight or get a refund. As we are unable to leave Australia for the UK we requested and were promised a refund. Imagine our surprise when three weeks later we received an email advising that the Aberdeen to Luton flight had not been cancelled. We reread the original email to realise that only the Luton to Aberdeen leg of the booking had been cancelled. Great, Easyjet, why would I still want to fly Aberdeen to Luton when my flight to get me to Aberdeen had been cancelled?

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Eric R Milne, Forest Lodge, NSW

GIVING BACK

Could someone please advise what an appropriate "thank you" in monetary terms that my diligent and hard-working travel agent should receive for all they have done in securing refunds for cancelled flights, accommodation and a cruise? It seems too little just to rely on my next international booking as, unfortunately, it may be a long way off.

Tony Strong, Bundanoon, NSW

CARIBBEAN DREAM

Now that the dust has started to settle after the initial impact of COVID-19, it's time to give praise where praise is due. A big shout out is due to Alan from Please Yourself Travel, the Australian rep for Cuban Adventures, and trading in Sydney as Big Planet Adventure. Alan has been amazing in obtaining refunds for two parts of our planned Mexico and Cuba trip that didn't eventuate in April. A big thank you to Cuban Adventures who refunded our tour costs in full, with no delay, and immediately upon request. Qantas' refund is in the pipeline (after some pressure from the ACCC) but we hope it won't exceed the expected three months. We certainly won't forget Cuban Adventures when we decide to travel to Cuba in the future.

Vicki Copping, Oatley, NSW

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