With school holidays just around the corner and COVID-19 restrictions easing, now is the perfect time to start planning a family get away. While international travel may not be on the cards just yet, there’s plenty to see and do around Australia.

Exploring your own backyard also has benefits for the local economy. Our tourism and hospitality sectors have been the hardest hit by the pandemic, with the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing about three in 10 accommodation and food sector jobs have been lost since mid-March.

More of us traveling locally will boost the domestic tourism market and help support regional communities.

To make sure you travel and arrive at your destination safely these school holidays we have put together a guide to help you along your journey.

Book accommodation ahead

Coronavirus has impacted operations for most accommodation providers, so it’s important to book ahead wherever you plan to stay.

This doesn’t just apply to hotels and AirBnB either – even if you’re going camping, the booking rules and maximum capacity at your chosen destination may have changed. For instance, you are now required to make a booking for all campgrounds and campsites in NSW national parks, even locations that were previously available without a booking. So, be sure to call ahead and make a booking before you leave home.

More of us traveling locally will boost the domestic tourism market and help support regional communities, so it’s time to hit the road!

Prepare your car

The safest way to travel these school holidays is by car. This is because air travel, public transport, coaches and taxis all expose your family to more germs, increasing the chances of contracting a virus.

When travelling with kids, you tend to have a lot of gear so you may need a bigger car to fit everything. Our recommendation for a temporary upgrade is to try car subscription – a new service that gives you access to a car through weekly payments.

Larger cars are available starting from as little as $119 per week from online providers like HelloCars. Car dealerships are now also offering subscriptions thanks to Blinker.com.au, so you can head to your local dealer to see what’s available. The cars are all thoroughly sanitised before and after each booking for added safety.

Stay up to date with restrictions

Not only are social restrictions for each state changing regularly, some of our state borders are still currently closed. Make sure you familiarise yourself with where you can and can’t go before deciding on a destination.

Once you get there, ensure you stay up to date with what is and isn’t allowed in the state or territory that you are visiting.

The rules may change depending on how we’re handling the pandemic, so for the safety of your family and others, download the Coronavirus Australia app to get the most up to date information.

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Keep an emergency kit on hand

It is always handy to keep an emergency kit in the car, and with the current emphasis on health and safety, there’s never been a better time to put one together. Pack any essential medication, first aid equipment like band-aids and bandages. In light of COVID-19, it’s a good idea to add PPE such as masks and gloves, disinfectants, hand sanitisers and wet wipes. Paper bags and motion sickness pills could also end up being a lifesaver if you have a car sick child!

Continue social distancing

Although we are now allowed domestic travel, it doesn’t mean everything can go back to normal. It is still important to keep up with frequently washing your hands and maintaining a distance of 1.5 meters between others while on holiday. You may be visiting hotels, zoos, and theme parks, but try and avoid crowded areas, and if anyone starts to feel unwell, they must stay indoors.

If you’re unsure whether to seek medical attention, call the COVID-19 helpline for advice on 1800 020 080.