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.
Foreign governments may have restrictions on the amount of currency you can take into or out of their country. Always check in advance the requirements of the countries you are travelling to.
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:
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 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 assistance, and cancellation. 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. The Allianz Group is one of the largest insurance and financial services groups in the world.
The assistance provider for Worldcare Travel Insurance 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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Travel insurance from Worldcare covers you for medical and hospital expenses, overseas emergency assistance, and cancellation. It also provides cover for your luggage and personal effects if they are misdirected, lost, stolen or damaged.
Terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply so make sure you read the Product Disclosure Statement for full details.
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?
Before starting your journey, we suggest you speak with your health professional to discuss your:
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.
Worldcare’s international travel insurance policies provides cover for 36 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 terms, conditions, limits and exclusions that apply, including details of 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:
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.
3. Recommended vaccinations
There are vaccinations recommended when travelling overseas that are specific to some destinations. These may include:
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 flights aren’t always a pleasant experience, so take care of yourself by:
Worldcare Travel Insurance: Worldcare and Allianz Global Assistance are trading names of AWP Australia Pty Ltd ABN 52 097 227 177 AFSL 245631 which issues and manages travel insurance as agent of Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL 234708. Terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply. We do not provide any advice on this insurance based on any consideration of your objectives, financial status or needs. Before making a decision please consider the Product Disclosure Statement. If you purchase a policy we receive a commission which is a percentage of your premium - ask us for more details before we provide you with any services on this product.
Worldcare Emergency Home Assistance: Terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply. See Worldcare Emergency Home Assistance Terms & Conditions for details. Worldcare Emergency Home Assistance is provided by AWP Australia Pty Ltd ABN 52 097 227 177 trading as Allianz Global Assistance.