It’s always important to be prepared before travelling. The last thing anyone wants is to be stuck in a foreign country, possibly with a language barrier, when something goes wrong. Here are a few tips to cover yourself on the off chance it’s not all smooth sailing.
1. Register with Smart Traveller
Smart Traveller is a fantastic website and smartphone app for Australian’s* who are going to be travelling overseas. It has a detailed breakdown of all countries worldwide and outlines alerts, issues and information for people who are travelling. It covers everything from natural disasters, terrorism threats, medical breakouts, law changes and whether or not it is safe to travel. There is also a place where you can register your travel plans with Smart Traveller so that in the unlikely event of danger the Australian authorities know your location. The recent earthquake in Nepal is the perfect example of why this is so important. The Australian government immediately knew how many Australians were over there, their names, locations and contact information, and can work to find them as quickly as possible.If you are travelling to a country that’s not ‘typically safe’ it’s a good idea to check Smart Traveller often before you depart for your journey to ensure there aren’t travel restrictions or serious threats
*Smart Traveller is an initiative by the Australian Government. For international readers, check out whether your government has a similar program.
2. Check visa requirements
Make sure you check the countries visa requirements before you leave home. Every country has a different policy on visas and they can often differ depending on what country you live in. It is always a good idea to make sure you check out these policies before you go, as it may take a few days to be granted access to certain countries. This can save you a lot of time and money when you get to your destination. Some countries can be overly strict and refuse your entry if you don’t have the correct visa requirements. That’s one sure way to dampen your holiday spirits!
3. Purchase travel insurance
I can not emphasize enough how important travel insurance is. It is essential in your travel planning and budgeting. Some countries do not have good healthcare systems, with emergency trips to the doctor or hospital costs hundreds of dollars. It is the perfect case of you would rather be safe than sorry. Tourists get hurt travelling all the time, you don’t want to have to fork out your life savings because you need stitches after cutting your foot on some coral. When booking your travel insurance make sure you’re always honest about your plans and what you’re doing – it’s not worth not being covered to save a few dollars on a policy.
4. Check your passports expiry date
Similar to checking visa requirements, each country has different policies regarding passport expiry dates. As a general rule, many countries require you to be travelling on a passport with at least 6 months validity, but some countries may even ask for 8 or 12 months. Be sure to check this before you leave, because you can be reject and refused entry if you don’t have enough validity left on your passport!