FIJI Trip: My first international vacation in 2 years
Greetings from Fiji!
We have escaped Sydney for our first overseas trip in 2 years. That’s a long time for us. Pre-COVID-19, we usually travelled internationally about 3 times a year. During COVID we have cancelled trips to New Zealand, the Caribbean, Bali and the USA. It’s only due to reduced restrictions in Australia and tourist-dependent and highly vaccinated Fiji that has allowed us to travel here.
Luckily, relaxing on holiday appears to be a skill we have not lost during COVID lockdowns. We are happily enjoying our small resort stay and our villa’s pool and the lagoon beyond.
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The anxiety surrounding our departure and making sure we had all the vaccination and testing certificates and insurance and pre-booked stays, transfers and testing were huge. Now we are here, retrospectively it doesn’t seem that bothersome. Mind you I say that just having scored negative on our medically supervised 3 day Rapid Antigen Test. If the result had been positive, that would have been a whole other ball game.
Why travel agents are even more important than they used to be
This is definitely a rest and relax trip. We used our usual travel agent – Sydney based Out & About to organise our travel. A couple of things about this. I always value the services of a travel agent. When things go bad with a trip – they can be your saviour. However, whereas travel agents used to earn a commission out of airfares, hotels and other travel-related bookings – paid to them by the provider, this seems to have all changed. Domestic airlines stopped paying travel agents a commission many years ago and it seems the same is now happening on international fares and hotel bookings.
We now pay some set fees for our travel agent’s services, so it’s not as much of a no-brainer as it used to be when you felt like someone else was paying. With the complexity of travel arrangements in the time of COVID, those few hundred dollars seem even more worth paying. Our travel agent provided us with copious updates as requirements changed prior to departure, and up-to-the-minute checklists to make sure we had everything we required. They also checked in with us almost daily the week prior to our trip to see if we needed any assistance, assurance, or just moral support.
I’ll update you with a trip report over the next few weeks, and contrast it with a visit to Fiji and the same resort back in 2017. Expect flight reviews of the Fiji Airways MAX 8, a bumpy 19 seater flight review, and my updated impressions of a lovely small island resort.
Sorry, have to go. I think I hear the native call of the Pina Colada.