A Note from Sonia

I wanted to reach out and say a huge big thank you to everyone for their patience, messages of support and kind words over the past few weeks.

As you know, coronavirus (COVID-19) has sparked a major upheaval globally, especially with all things travel (and toilet paper it seems!). I know that I haven’t returned phone calls and emails with my normal speed! I am working around-the-clock to ensure that I am here to help you with whatever you decide about your travel plans – whether you choose to travel, defer, cancel or even “wait and see”.

It is such an individual decision and I can assure you that we will work towards the best outcome for you, no matter what you decide. The best sources for up-to-date travel advice are DFAT’s Smart Traveller website and World Health Organisation.

For those with plans booked for the second half of 2020 and beyond who have not been impacted by travel advices to date, I suggest a wait-and-see approach for the moment. I am working with my suppliers and partners to ensure we have maximum flexibility should anything need to change in the coming months, especially around final payment deadlines and conditions.


Industry Updates

In the last three days alone I have received dozens of updates from our cruise, tour, villa and airline partners offering unprecedented flexibility on new bookings. From cash refunds to future cruise credits - some able to be enacted up to 24 hours prior to departure - there are definitely reasons to be planning future travel, even now.

We are also seeing amazing offers on cruise lines which have been redeployed, with deals on extended 2020 seasons in Alaska as well as several closer-to-home sailings, including New Zealand, Australian circumnavigations and the Kimberley.

Not sure about 2020 travels?

If you’re not sure about committing to travel this year, please don’t hold off booking for 2021 or 2022 because I can guarantee you when the dust settles future bookings will go CRAZY. Plan now, take advantage of flexible conditions and let’s book that trip you have been dreaming of!

We are finding that existing bookings are being treated with more leniency if a future booking is made, so this is another reason not to cancel outright but to consider deferring the trip to later this year or to early 2021.

We also have Cancel for Any Reason travel insurance cover to give you added peace of mind. We can add this benefit to any new Covermore policies. The benefit covers up to 75% of cancellation fees, to a maximum of $10,000, and you can cancel for ANY REASON, even coronavirus. In addition, Covermore Insurance covers all policy holders (existing and new) for medical coverage should you become ill while travelling, again, even for coronavirus-related claims.

Travelling closer to home? Can I ask a favour?

If you’re planning something local, like a weekend getaway at Noosa, a Hamilton Island break with the kids, wine tasting in the Margaret River or a shopping trip to Melbourne, please reach out to me. I have great rates and added amenity bonuses for so many beautiful 4-5 star hotels, resorts and lodges across Australia and New Zealand. I can package it with flights, car hire, day tours and more. I might even throw in a roll of loo paper for good measure!

In the past I know some of you haven’t wanted to bother me with these smaller, local bookings, but in the interest of our small business I urge you to PLEASE BOTHER ME! Now is the time to put your money not through an online website or booking engine, but to engage a travel advisor to book your travel. Our rates are often as good, if not better than what you can find yourself - especially for higher end hotels and resorts. So drop me a line and ask the question for the next getaway you're planning. I would love the opportunity to book it for you.

Shima Amy and Annie

Amy, Shima and Annie, our office companion

And in other news... Welcome Shima!

I also wanted to take this moment to officially welcome our newest team member, Shima Charad. Shima joins us in a consultant role alongside Amy, assisting our clients with their travel arrangements. She is a cruise guru! After taking her first South Pacific cruise many years ago, Shima decided to put her degree on hold and went off exploring the world instead.

Her passion for travel landed her in the travel industry, where she has worked for the past eighteen years. She has travelled the globe, been on countless cruise ships and even been to Alaska FIVE times! I am so pleased to have her join our SJT family.

Finally, THANK YOU.

Thank you to each and every one of you for your support and travel bookings over eighteen years I have been doing this. Thank you also for the countless friends, family and colleagues you have sent my way. You are all a part of the amazing business I have built here at Sonia Jones Travel, and I know that with your continued support and our mutual love of travel that we will come through this time stronger and better than ever.

Yours in Travel,

Sonia x

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