2. BOOK YOUR TRIP - Check!
3. PACK YOUR BAGS - Check!
WHAT ARE YOU FORGETTING?
This will be the most important thing you do. If you insure your car, house and contents then why wouldn’t you insure yourself? Travel Insurance covers anything from medical expenses to lost, stolen or broken property. Don’t be caught out of pocket thousands of dollars when something goes wrong. For as little as $1.50 a day Travel Insurance is a must! Be sure to shop around when selecting your insurer. Flight agencies tend to be overpriced compared to your local bank or health insurer. For the last 8 months I have be insured with Southern Cross Travel Insurance for less then an average return flight from Brisbane - Adelaide.
You never know what can go wrong when you are travelling! It is always smart to make several copies of your travel documents. I would suggest 3. One hard copy on yourself at all times, an electronic copy and a copy back home left with a family member or friend. That way if you need an emergency passport issued or to claim on your travel insurance while abroad you can do so quickly and efficiently.
PASSPORT & VISAS
Firstly ensure you have a minimum of 6 months validity remaining on your passport prior to booking an international getaway. For many countries this is a basic requirement for entry. The second important task you need to do is check whether you require a VISA prior to travelling. Being Australian I can travel almost everywhere without a visa or I can obtain one on arrival. Brazil for example however you need to apply online prior to visiting. This simple mistake cost me thousands in lost airfares and no Rio De Janeiro for me this time round!
You’ve gone to the trouble of protecting yourself with Travel Insurance. Don’t forget to protect your body! Vaccinations can be extremely expensive but several countries can and will deny you access if you aren’t up to date with your vaccinations. Not to mention the potentially fatal diseases you can catch if you travel immunisation free. Thankfully most vaccinations offer lifetime immunity meaning it is a once off expense. If you have private health insurance be sure to speak with your provider to discuss any available rebates. For me it was $1,000 and over 13 shots later before I was ready for my around the world trip. I am terrified of needles but it was worth every second of short term pain for the long term gain! I use Travel Doctor in both Adelaide and Brisbane City and couldn’t fault them.
REGISTER YOUR TRAVEL
With so many events happening around the world it is vital your government knows where you are. Whether it be a natural disaster or a terrorist attack your government can not help you if they don’t know where you are. For Australian’s I would high recommend registering online with Smart Traveller.
There is nothing worse then international roaming charges! On my first trip abroad I received a bill from Telstra in excess of $6,000 for a 3 week trip to Canada. All because I failed to look into my contract fees! Save yourself the hassle and either leave your mobile at home, use it for wifi only or invest in a travel sim. When travelling through Europe, London is my suggested city to purchase your sim. Recharge from as little as 15 pound to get you started and enjoy data usage throughout most EU countries.
It is always a good idea to have between $100-200 converted currency on you prior to your arrival. Ensure you covert your currency PRIOR to arriving at your departure airport. Airport retailers offer poor currency conversions and charge excessive commission fees. Throughout your trip I would suggest avoid carrying large amounts of cash due to the likelihood of it being stolen. Travel cards are a great alternative and several companies offer low withdrawal fees and no loading fees. I personally prefer to use my Suncorp everyday account card. For a small 3% currency conversion fee and $5 ATM withdrawal fee it is quick, easy and convenient. All without the hassle of having to transfer money for a 3rd party provider.
4-6 weeks prior to your international departure be sure to alert your bank that you are travelling abroad. I’ve lost count of how many cards I’ve had blocked due to forgetting this simple step.
SPREAD THE WORD
If you are heading away for an extended period of time be sure to redirect your mail, turn on your out of office via your email provider and change your mobile voicemail message.
If you have any additional tips to help fellow travellers plan for their trip I would love to hear from you!