With the end-of-year holidays quickly approaching, you may be planning to travel abroad. But in the excitement of preparing for an overseas trip, it’s easy to neglect the part that isn’t so fun: studying up on safety precautions. Before you board that flight, get to know your destination, https://smartraveller.gov.au is a great place to get you started.
Before You Go
RESEARCH YOUR DESTINATION: Smarttraveller has regularly updated information on the safety of your destination plus advice on local laws, entry requirements and anything else you may need to know. You can subscribe to Smarttraveller for e-mail updates when the situation of your destination changes.
GET TRAVEL INSURANCE: You know the saying: “if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.” Without insurance, you or your family are personally responsible for any medical costs you incur while travelling. In some countries, like the USA, an unexpected visit to the emergency room can cost tens of thousands of dollars. It’s simply essential to take out travel insurance.
__REGISTER ONLINE: Provide the Department of Foreign Affairs with your trip itinerary and contact details. It will help them to contact your family in case of emergency. Sign up for a Smarttraveller account and then register at https://orao.dfat.gov.au/pages/userlogin.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2fpages%2fsecured%2fdefault.aspx.
ORGANISE YOUR PASSPORT AND VISAS: All Australians must have a current valid passport before travelling overseas.
ORGANISE YOUR TRAVEL MONEY Plan how you intend to access your money overseas (ATMs, credit card, traveller’s cheques etc) and let your bank know the time periods you’ll be abroad.
GET VACCINATED Find out what vaccinations you require and organise to have them eight weeks before your departure.
While You’re Away
FOLLOW SMARTRAVELLER ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER: It’s an easy way to stay up-to-date with changes to the circumstances of your destination while you travel.
BE WARY OF SCAMS: There’s no need to be paranoid, but watch out for people who try to take advantage of you in unexpected ways such as posing as a police officer or tour guide.
DON’T MAKE YOURSELF AN EASY TARGET: Although there’s no way to completely avoid the risk of being robbed, you can mitigate it with measures such as not wearing expensive jewellery or “money belts” and by considering carrying a dummy wallet. 1
AVOID HIGH CRIME AREAS: Find out the “problem” areas of the destination you plan to visit and steer clear of them. 2
What if You’re Injured
If you’re injured overseas, the first thing you should do is contact your travel insurer to organise appropriate treatment. If you don’t have insurance, seek treatment from local doctors and hospitals. During business hours, the closest Australian embassy, high commission or consulate can provide you with a list of doctors who speak English. To contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra call +61 2 6261 3305. 3
The legal issues arising from travel incidents can be very complex, especially if you were overseas. If unexpected injury or out of pocket loss has spoilt your travels, we can help you navigate contractual claims or compensation for injuries abroad: https://www.shine.com.au/service/travel-law/travel-lawyers-compensation.
If you or someone you know has been injured overseas on a trip organised by an Australian tour company, you may be eligible for compensation. To find out more and to get started making a claim visit https://www.shine.com.au/service/travel-law/overseas-injuries-compensation.
Written by Shine Lawyers on December 10, 2018. Last modified: December 10, 2018.