You would have to live on the moon not to have heard about the Corona Virus by now.  Whatever you think about the virus itself and the way it is being reported, there is no doubt at all that it is affecting, and will continue to affect, our travel.

Those of us in the hospitality/tourism industries have a range of issues to deal with, including, first and foremost, the health and safety of our own staff and our customers.   In that regard, we are not doing anything particularly differently just now, but a couple of things that customers should note:

  • The safety screens that, in some of our offices, separate our cashiers from our customers are also effective at limiting any exchange of germs. You will not, therefore, see some of our cashiers wearing masks, but you do not need to be concerned as both they and you are reasonably protected.
  • We are conscious that the handling of bank notes and coins is not always very hygienic. If you are concerned about handling your cash, therefore, please ask our cashiers for our special envelopes, which are available for all cash exchanges on request.

In the countries where Interchange operates at the airports, we have already seen a huge reduction in the number of passengers arriving and departing, and this is likely to continue, at least for the immediate future.   We do not believe, therefore, that it is necessary to leave any extra time before setting off for the airport – if anything, the whole departure process is likely to be quicker due to the reduction in numbers.

However, a few points to help you with your travels:

  • Before you leave home, check that your flight is going to go (unfortunately, more flights than usual are being cancelled right now – either due to restrictions in flying into the arrival countries or the low number of passengers).
  • At the time of writing, there are only a few countries that have imposed any sort of restrictions on arrival or departure; China, Italy and Iran, and, in some parts, Japan, have all reduced the number of flights flying in and out of their various airports, plus they have imposed some exclusion zones around the main areas affected. To date, though, all other airports are operating as normal – although note that some airports and transport hubs are carrying out temperature checks on some/all arriving passengers.
  • If you are feeling at all unwell (whatever your symptoms) it probably makes sense not to travel at the moment. Check with your airlines whether you are able to cancel or move your flights (usually yes), but hotels may not be so easy.   Unfortunately, basic travel insurance is unlikely to cover any cancellation costs unless the country you plan to visit has been put on the ‘unsafe to travel to’ list by a country’s respective Foreign Offices.  But there are some travel insurance policies, such as the AA Silver Cover, that will cover all hotel and travel cancellation costs, irrespective of the reason – obviously they cost more, but they may be worth having in these difficult times.
  • So far as money is concerned, it definitely makes sense to take plenty of local cash with you on your travels, especially at the moment – as we have often said, not everyone accepts credit cards, and it is always good to know that you have cash ready for any eventuality.  Most Interchange offices offer a ‘buy-back guarantee’ which means that you can safely exchange more money than you think you might need, and change it back at the same rate when you return home.
  • Don’t forget that you can order your currency online in advance (, and then collect it directly at the office of your choice.

Finishing on a positive note; right now, with the reduction in demand for our ‘exotic currencies’, many of our offices are offering exceptional deals – just ask your cashier for the best rate they can offer on whatever currency you require.

And remember…. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly at every opportunity!

Safe travels!