Learn to travel like a veteran with our travel tips!
- Log on to the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade at: www.dfat.gov.au. Type in your chosen destination(s) to check its safety. This department is forever updating their website on political unrest and criminal activities that target tourists, so the information you receive will be relevant. Note: this is also a useful site to go back to if you find yourself in a panic while on your travels and just want some extra peace of mind.
- You can register your travel and contact details online or at the local Australian embassy once you arrive if you end up getting injured - the Government knows how to contact you!
- Depending on where you're going, it's worth checking with your doctor on all the essential vaccinations and immunizations, and numerous overseas laws associated with carrying medicine. >>> Check how far in advance you need immunisation shots and when required medications are to be taken (e.g. anti-typhoid drugs) before you depart
- Check the seasons prior to booking your flight. India's climate, for example, plays a large influence on where to go and at what particular time of the year.
- Passport up to date? Check the expiry date on your passport, you don't want your passport to expire before you return home.
- Check if you will need a visa to travel through the country you intend on visiting. A visa doesn't always guarantee entry into a country.
- Label your suitcase & carry on bag with your contact details.
- Give your travel plans, accommodation details and arrival/departure dates to a couple of people back home you can trust. Also store behind photocopies of your passport, insurance policy, traveller's cheques, visas, credit card numbers and other forms of ID Take a spare copy of your passport and ID. for yourself and keep in a separate place when travelling
- Have a dental, vision and medical checkup.
- It's a good idea to wear a medic alert identification tag for conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy or heart problems. (www.medicalert.org).
- Take out appropriate travel insurance to at least cover hospital treatment and medical evacuation.
- Declare pre-existing medical conditions. Many insurers offer cover a number of pre-existing medical conditions. Unfortunately, if you don't declare these conditions, you may not be covered in a life or death situation
- Request neighbours empty your mailbox and keep an eye on your property while you are away.
- Bag capacity: Qantas restrictions are a good indication of what is generally allowed.
- It's worthwhile leaving the television or radio on low when you're away.
- Be sure to compare different sites when purchasing your flights. Depending on where you buy, the same flights can differ by hundreds of dollars. To save time, use a comparison site like IWantThatFlight.com.au
Pack and travel well
- Pack your luggage yourself
- Pack a small medical kit. Include in this kit, ample medication(s) &/or take a prescription with you. The trick is to have enough prescription to last your trip, plus additional medication for backup.
- When travelling through customs, it's simpler if you keep your medication in its original packaging. Written proof that you need the medication is also handy. The best form of written proof would be a note of explanation from your doctor along with a prescription note showing the contact details of your pharmacy, drug name and dosage. Check with your doctor though on what customs would deem an acceptable amount to travel with.
- Never leave your luggage unattended and never accept others luggage prior to and after boarding.
- If you happen to damage or lose your luggage, report it to the airline immediately and make sure you get a written report before you leave the airport.
- Keep money, documents or valuables out of check-in luggage.
- By all means, pack your best looking gear, but do as the seasoned travellers would - pack your gear in a less expensive looking suitcase and better still, tie a ribbon or string you'll recognise to the top so you're able to recognize it quickly on the carousel once you're off the plane
- Pack a roll up amenities bag and place in a plastic transparent bag. If you are travelling first class, you will no doubt receive a travel bag. If not, consider packing the following: toothbrush & toothpaste, deodorant, rosewater spray to refresh the face, earplugs, a face mask, eye drops for dry eyes & decongestant spray to equalize air pressure in the sinuses.
- If keen to test the airline's selection of grog, ensure you balance this out with a decent helping of water. It is easy to get dehydrated on your flight.
- It's a good idea to take spare batteries for your CD player and to pre-charge your laptop.
- As it is with mobile phones, your laptop needs to be turned off prior to take-off and landing.
- Items such as razors, or tweezers in your carry-on bag? Transfer these to your luggage ... airlines are becoming increasingly security-focused and may ask you to leave these behind.
- Keep your travel plans, including accommodation details - to yourself. but keep in continual contact with friends and family to ensure your whereabouts. It's as simple as a quick email or SMS.
- Ask your hotel manager for advice on 'safe' versus 'unsafe' areas.
- Try to rely more on credit cards and travellers cheques than cash.
- Never counter-sign travellers cheques until you need them
- If you get mugged, don't fight back. You're better off losing some loose cash and a wallet than spending time 'bunked up' in a hospital - or worse still, being sent home.
- Wear valuables (i.e: travellers' cheques and credit cards) on a belt next to your skin and under your clothes.
- If feeling especially vulnerable, wear your money belt somewhere other than your waist. Thieves are savvy buggers - they know all about money belts!
- Try carrying a 'dummy' wallet to 'give up'. If directly confronted, you can hand it over and go on your merry way. If you're keen to make it look like the 'real deal', place inside some local currency, old receipts and expired credit cards
- Try and carry with you at all times the contact details of the Australian embassy. If the city you're in doesn't have an Australian embassy, try and source another embassy, such as the British or Australia embassy.
- Try to blend in with the locals and avoid looking or acting like a tourist. You can do this by not openly displaying large amounts of cash, expensive jewellery and electronic gear. Other tips include matching your dress style to that of the locals and acting with discretion when reading a map.
- Even if you're not sure where you're going, walk like you know the place. You won't be seen as a target by thieves.
- Never leave money, valuables or documents in your room - always take them with you or place them in the hotel safe.
- Securely close the door of your room when you enter or exit it. Check that any sliding glass doors and windows are locked every time you return.
- Respect the local laws & customs. Learn a bit of the local language of the country you are visiting - they'll love you for it.
So now you're all sorted? Or perhaps you need some travel insurance tips too? We've got heaps more articles to help with your travels.