Overseas holidays involve a lot of planning and preparation. Regardless of how many itineraries you’ve printed off, Spanish words you’ve memorised, or coloured ribbons you’ve put on your black suitcase for easy identification, you can never be too prepared. To help minimise the stress, our personal travel managers have compiled a list of essentials to help you feel most prepared before your holiday.
Passport – Organise your passport well in advance. A straightforward Australian passport application takes approximately three weeks to process. If you already have a passport, you should check the expiry date. Some foreign governments require at least six months beyond the period of intended stay, and you may be refused entry if you do not comply.
Visa – Before any overseas trip, make sure you’re aware of the visa requirements of the countries you’re both transiting through and visiting. There are many countries where Australians don’t need a holiday visa, however the rules can vary if you’re travelling for business or to work. Australian passport holders should visit www.australia.gov.au or contact foreign embassies directly to seek guidance.
Travel Insurance – Three words… Don’t risk it! In the unlikely event that you fall off a scooter and break your ankle, your luggage gets lost, or you come down with a bug and need medical attention, travel insurance can save you a lot of money and grief. Fortunately, finding the right travel insurance policy to suit your needs can be a fairly painless process, with your personal travel manager able to source options for your consideration.
Credit Card – Notify your bank of when and where you’re travelling. This will ensure they don’t cancel your card due to seemingly suspicious activity. Also be sure to ask your bank what transaction and conversion fees you may incur when using your card internationally as this could save you big bucks.
Be a “Smartraveller” – Register your travel plans at smartraveller.gov.au. This will help the Australian Government contact you or your family in the event of an emergency. The website also offers the most up to date safety advice for your destination.
Packing doesn’t have to be an arduous task. From rolling your clothes to packing items in sets of outfits, there are many tips to make this process more efficient. One sure way to help you keep your essentials down is bearing in mind the weight limit for checked luggage. This varies from airline to airline so be sure to check. If you exceed the limit, you may have to pay extra, so it doesn’t hurt to ask yourself “Do I really need this?”.
Know the exchange rate before you go. Don’t despair if maths isn’t your forte. There are plenty of apps designed to assist with conversions. It’s also a good idea to take a travel money card with you. These are available through all major banks as well as foreign exchange agencies and some airline frequent flyer programs. They carry minimal transaction and conversion fees, can be used at most foreign ATMs, and offer the security of a back-up card should something happen to your primary card.
Make an effort to learn the basics of the language in your destination, including “hello”, “please”, “thank you”, “I don’t understand”, “my name is” and “where’s the nearest toilet?”. No matter how bad your accent is attempting to speak the native tongue is a great way to immerse yourself in a new culture and earn you respect from the locals.
There are travel apps for everything from flight tracking, public transport, city guides, maps and translation. For some extra travel inspiration and photography tips, a great way to find new and unique experiences is to look up your destination on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest to see what other travellers have been up to.
For more helpful tips on how to plan for your next exciting adventure, speak to your personal travel manager or find one here.