Before You Go
It’s easy to forget some important things amidst the excitement of planning a holiday and counting down the days to your departure.
But getting organised and making sure you’re well-prepared before you set off will help you enjoy your trip and stay safe.
Find out whether you need a visa to travel to your destination by contacting the relevant consulates or embassies. If you do need a visa, apply for it well in advance.
Check your passport (and your travelling companions’ passports) have at least six months’ validity remaining, from the date you intend to return to Australia.
Make two photocopies of your passport – leave one copy at home with a family member or friend and keep the other in your luggage, separate from the original.
It’s also worth doing this for visas, identification documents like your driver’s license, your plane and transport tickets and accommodation details.
According to the Australian Government’s SmartTraveller website, there is no limit to the amount of currency you can bring in or take out of Australia. However, you must declare amounts of $10,000 or more in Australian currency or the foreign equivalent.
You must also disclose any promissory notes, traveller’s cheques, personal cheques, money orders, postal orders or other bearer negotiable instruments, regardless of value, if requested by a customs officer or police officer.
SmartTraveller suggests that before you go, you:
- Register with your bank the period you expect to be travelling.
- Check with your bank whether your ATM card will work overseas.
- Organise a variety of ways of accessing your money overseas, such as debt and credit cards, traveller’s cheques and cash.
Try not to keep all your money in one place – put a little bit in each of your bags and ask your travelling companions to carry some.
Exchange a few Australian dollars into the foreign currency of your destination before you arrive, so you have cash on hand for a taxi or a bite to eat when you arrive.
Here’s a clever idea: keep emergency money in empty lip balm tubes.
Plugs and adapters are a complicated business. Our advice? If you’re travelling to multiple places, buy an ‘Australia to universal’ adapter before you leave and you’ll be fine in most countries. You can buy these adapters from hardware stores, travel and adventure stores like Kathmandu or at the airport.
Mobile phone and internet
Ask your phone company about the possibility of turning roaming on while overseas and what charges would apply. Or you can buy a travel sim card, but before you do, make sure your phone isn’t ‘locked’ to your network.
If you’re travelling to a non-English speaking country, study up on some useful words and phrases that could help you connect with locals and get out of sticky situations.
‘Hello’, ‘goodbye’, ‘sorry’ and ‘thank you’ are no-brainers, but ‘how much does that cost?’ ‘delicious!’ and ‘I’m staying at…’ could also prove handy. The Insight Guides website has useful phrases in a huge range of languages.
Of course, once you’ve learnt some phrases, the hard part is understanding the responses!
Let family or friends know your itinerary and register your trip and contact details with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in case of an emergency, natural disaster or civil disturbance.
Read up on your destination and its laws and environment so you know what to expect and check for travel advisories for your destination here. The Government’s Smart Traveller website is a wealth of general and destination-specific travel information.
Pack your own bag so you are 100% sure of its contents and keep it securely locked.
Travel insurance from Worldcare provides cover for medical and hospital expenses, overseas emergency medical assistance, cancellation fees and lost deposits. It also provides cover for your luggage and personal effects if they are misdirected, lost, stolen or damaged*.
Backed by Allianz
Worldcare policies are underwritten by Allianz Australia Insurance Ltd, a member of one of the world’s leading insurance groups. Allianz is one of the largest insurance and financial services groups in the world.
Worldcare’s assistance provider is Allianz Global Assistance, part of the international Allianz Global Assistance Group, one of the largest groups of assistance companies in the world. So it has the size, reach and expertise to help if you need emergency medical care.
* See Product Disclosure Statement for terms and conditions, limits and exclusions that apply.
Write down the Worldcare phone number for your destination from the list below and keep it handy.
Remember, these free call numbers only work from landlines and may not work from an Australian mobile overseas. Use the (+) 61 7 3305 7499 phone number from Australian mobiles overseas.
Also keep your Worldcare travel insurance policy number (or even better, your certificate of insurance) handy to refer to in case you do need to call us for help while overseas.
Worldcare 24-hour emergency assistance numbers:
- Australia 1800 010 075
- Canada 1800 214 5514
- China (North) 10 800 610 0434
- China (South) 10 800 261 1323
- France 0800 905 823
- Germany 0800 182 7635
- Greece 00800 611 4107
- Hong Kong 800 900 389
- India 0008 006 10 1108
- Indonesia 001 803 61 098
- Italy 800 787 451
- Japan 0066 3386 1052
- Malaysia 1 800 81 5102
- Netherlands 0800 023 2683
- New Zealand 0800 778 103
- Singapore 800 6162 187
- Spain 900996115
- Switzerland 0800 561 361
- Thailand 001 8006 121 082
- United Kingdom 08000 289 270
- United States 1866 844 4085
- All other countries (+) 61 7 3305 7499 (reverse charge)
Packing well is worth the extra effort and can make the difference between a fun, relaxing holiday and an uncomfortable, stressful one.
We share our top eight packing tips.
1. Choose the most compact luggage you can get away with
However big your backpack or suitcase is, you know you’re going to fill it. So be restrained and choose smaller luggage, even a bag that will fit cabin baggage requirements if possible. You’ll save time and hassle skipping the baggage carousel and thank yourself later when you’re not lugging around a suitcase the size of a small car!
2. Get organised
If there is ever a time to be organised, it’s when you’re living out of a suitcase. Fold or roll your clothes, don’t bundle them – you’ll fit more in your bag. Separate your clean and dirty clothes to keep your clean gear smelling fresh. And don’t forget chargers for your electronics.
Keep your toiletries in a separate washbag instead of floating around in your suitcase to contain any leaks or spills. Remember that regulations on travelling with liquids, aerosols or gels in your hand luggage apply for all international flights.
3. Go for comfort
What would your Mum say? She’d tell you to pack sensible shoes and a warm jacket, and she’s right. You’re going to be walking for hours so comfortable shoes are an absolute must. Also avoid anything too tight, too loose or that’s made from scratchy fabric.
4. Pack clothes you wear all the time at home
Chances are these are your most comfortable and versatile pieces. You may have visions of yourself being a totally different person on holidays and wearing adventurous things you would never dream of at home. By all means throw in a few crazy holiday clothes, but make sure you take plenty of your basics and favourites too.
5. Take clothes you can easily layer
It’s hard to predict the weather when you’re travelling, particularly if you’re hopping between climate zones. So pack things that make it easy to layer up and strip down as needed – jeans, tank tops, T-shirts and thin jumpers or cardigans are ideal.
6. Be security-conscious
Put locks on your luggage, always be aware of your surroundings, don’t leave your belongings unattended, and carry a small bag during the day that’s hard to grab (cross-body bags are great for this).
7. Take photocopies of your important documents
Photocopy your passport, plane tickets and any other important identification or travel documents. This will make it easier to replace them and/or continue your journey if they are lost or stolen.
8. Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance
Travel insurance from Worldcare covers you for medical and hospital expenses, overseas emergency medical assistance, cancellation fees and lost deposits. It also provides cover for your luggage and personal effects if they are misdirected, lost, stolen or damaged.
Looking after your health while travelling is important.
Have you considered pre-existing medical conditions you have, vaccinations you may need, medication you take regularly, and how to minimise the health impacts of long haul flights?
Visit Your Doctor
Before starting your journey, we suggest you speak with your health professional to discuss your:
- Duration and style of travel
- Past medical history
- Vaccination requirements
- Pre-existing conditions
- Disease prevention
A quick visit to your doctor will help ensure that you are adequately prepared to keep well on your journey.
If you have a medical history, we suggest you always carry a summary of this and your family doctor's details with you.
Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
Worldcare’s international travel insurance policies provides cover for 43 pre-existing medical conditions at no additional cost, provided that you have not been hospitalised (including day surgery or emergency department attendance) for that condition in the past 24 months*.
If you have a pre-existing medical condition that does not appear on our list, we may still be able to cover you for events arising from that known medical problem.
In some cases cover is offered by completing our brief online questionnaire, where many conditions may be covered for an additional premium.
* See our Product Disclosure Statement for full details of pre-existing medical conditions that are automatically covered and further details about pre-existing medical conditions.
Make an appointment with your general practitioner (or a medical centre that specialises in travel) well before your trip to check your standard vaccinations are up to date.
While you’re there, ask whether you’ll need any special vaccinations or medications for your destination, for example in areas with a high yellow fever risk.
Keep in mind that some vaccinations require several doses or need to be given several weeks or months before travel to be fully effective.
You can also check with Smart Traveller to see what's required for your travels.
The three Rs of travel vaccination:
1. Routine vaccinations (childhood or adult vaccinations)
These may include:
- Measles, mumps and rubella
2. Required vaccinations
When crossing some international borders certain vaccinations are required – check Smart Traveller for the latest on what's needed for your itinerary.
- Yellow fever
3. Recommended vaccinations
There are vaccinations recommended when travelling overseas that are specific to some destinations. These may include:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Japanese encephalitis
If you take any medication regularly, pack more than enough of it to cover the length of your trip, leave it in its original packaging, and check with local customs departments that you can bring it into the country.
If it’s a prescription medication, take the script with you plus a letter from your doctor explaining what it’s used for.
Some medications are very temperature sensitive, so talk to your GP about how to maintain their integrity. You may also want to ask your GP how to adjust dose regimes when travelling rapidly across multiple time zones.
In some countries, certain medications (including contraceptives, those considered ‘drugs of addiction’ or self-injectable medicines) cannot be taken in or bought while there.
Consider packing a simple first aid kit with bandages, bandaids, antiseptic spray or wash, painkillers and stomach remedies.
If you wear glasses or contacts, take a spare pair and the prescription in case they are broken, lost or stolen. Missing out on incredible sights because they’re a blur is the last thing you want!
Long Haul Flights
Long flights aren’t always a pleasant experience, so take care of yourself by:
- Doing frequent leg exercise, moving around the cabin, stretching and taking deep breaths regularly while seated.
- Wear flight socks to boost circulation and help prevent deep vein thrombosis – check with your pharmacist or doctor to ensure the correct type and fit required before you buy.
- Drinking plenty of non-alcoholic and non-carbonated beverages to prevent dehydration.
- Eating lightly to avoid bloating.