Archive | Planning

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Travel Documents

Posted on 01 December 2009 by Sasha

Travel documents are vital to your travels and include passport, visa’s, insurance policy, plane tickets, itinerary, hotel/ tour vouchers etc.  These documents are extremely important, for example if you try to enter some countries without a visa you will be refused entry, if you forget your plane ticket or itinerary how will you know when to check in and what flight to catch? 

It’s a good idea to make a few copies of your travel documents, leave one with a trusted friend of family member, travel with a spare copy hidden somewhere in your luggage and even have an electronic copy on a USB.  To help keep track of your travel documents download the Travel Document Checklist.

Passport

A passport is an official government document that is your form of identification and proof of citizenship. Your passport is vital for any overseas travel and is used to identify yourself upon departing or entering a country. You will need a passport to apply for visa’s, cash traveller’s cheques as well as purchasing airline tickets. It is a requirement for some countries to have at least 6 months validity on your passport beyond your stay. Check with the embassy or consulate for each country’s passport validity requirements.

Visas

A visa is your official temporary permission to enter another country. There are many different types of visa’s including tourist visas, work visas, single-entry and multiple entry visas. Whether or not you need a visa and what visa you require depends on the country your travelling to, the purpose of your trip and how long you intent to stay in that country. For some countries you will need to apply for you visa prior to arrival while other countries will issue your visa upon arrival at immigration at the destination.

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Tips for Aussie Travellers

Posted on 30 November 2009 by Sasha

Travel Advisories

Smart Traveller is the Australian Government Website for Australians Travelling overseas. It is important for anyone planning to travel overseas to check this website as it contains important up to date information on security, health and other issues that may affect Australian Travellers overseas.  They also have a registration section where you can register your travel details with the Department of Foreign Affairs so that they can find you in the event of an emergency such as a natural disaster, civil disturbance or family emergency.

Visa’s

Visalink  is the website travel agents use to get the most up to date information on visa and passport requirements for Australian’s travelling overseas.  More information on visa requirements can be found on the DFAT website including reciprocal working holiday visa schemes.

 Passports

A passport is required for all Australian’s travelling overseas and yes you do need a passport to go to New Zealand!  Most adult passports are valid for 10 years, application can be submitted at most Australia Post shop fronts or through the Australian Government Passport Website.

Australian Embassies

At some point during your travels it may be necessary to get in contact with the Australian Embassy whether it’s in the event of an emergency or to get a lost passport replaced.  It is important to have a record of where the closest Australian Embassy is in proximity to the destinations you will be visiting.  It’s a good idea to have the contact detail of embassies programmed into your phone or written down somewhere among your emergency travel documents.

Quarantine

Australia has strict rules governing what items can be brought back into the country. Travel Bug is the Australian government website for quarantine. This website contains important information on shopping overseas, what you can bring back into Australia and duty free limits.

Driving Overseas

If you planning on hiring a car or doing any driving overseas then it’s a good idea to get an IDP (international drivers permit).

IDPs are accepted worldwide (in over 150 countries) as a recognisable form of identification and are officially sanctioned by the United Nations.  It is a translation of your driver’s licence and must be carried with your domestic driver’s licence at all times.

For more information on IDP:

Australian Automobile Association

Check if you destination requires an IDP:

International Driving Requirements

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Before You Go

Posted on 30 November 2009 by Sasha

There is a lot of planning needed before you go on your grand overseas adventure. Being prepared will take out much of the stress involved in travelling and ensures that your trip runs as smooth as possible and that you get the most out of the experience.

You should begin planning your trip months in advance.  There are so many things to consider including getting the best and cheapest flights which often means booking early, organising visa’s which may take weeks to get approved and getting vaccinations many of which take weeks or months to take effect.  Planning can seem overwhelming and the last thing you want to do is forget anything.  To help in your planning you can download the Travellers Checklist which has a 12month guide for planning a big trip.
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Research your Destinations

It’s extremely important when planning your overseas trip to research your destination thoroughly. Collect information from as many resources as possible. Read up on your destination, ask advice from an expert and seek advice from other travellers.

There are many things you need to consider like when to go, where to stay, how you will get around and what things there are to see and do. Don’t forget to take into consideration cultural differences and the health and safety aspects of the destination.

There are many great resources for destination information, including brochures and magazines, numerous travel websites, government websites and reviews/blogs.

You can not underestimate the value of a good travel guide be it for reading up before you go or as your guide while your on the road. There are a huge range of travel guides available from destination specific guides to guides following particular interests such as surfing or photography.

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Insurance

Posted on 28 November 2009 by Sasha

If you can’t afford travel insurance you can’t afford to travel.”

Travel insurance is vital for any overseas trip whether it be one week or one year. Never underestimate the importance of travel insurance. Accidents happen, belongings get stolen, luggage gets lost, and tours get cancelled. Travel insurance can’t stop the mishaps but it can stop the financial pain.

Why do I need insurance?

Travel insurance in it’s simplest form is financial protection for you and your belongings while travelling. It provides a backup if something should go wrong. Travel Insurance will pay for those unexpected costs that may arise during travel such as emergency hospital/medical expenses, trip cancellation, lost baggage and loss of belongings as a result of theft.

In Australia we take for granted the relatively affordable cost of medical care. In many other countries medical care is substantially more expensive so if you’re injured or fall ill and you don’t have travel insurance you will incur the bill!!!

An example from the Smart Traveller website…

  • Daily hospitalisation costs in Southeast Asia: $800
  • Emergency Surgery in the US: 290 000.
  • Medical evacuations from the US: $75,000 to $95,000 and sometimes up to $300,000.

It’s a good idea to carefully research different insurance policies, compare inclusions and prices to see what is going to most suit your needs. Cheapest is not always best so make sure to read all the fine print and check what the policy would cover. Insurance can be difficult to understand so ask a consultant or your travel agent about the details of the different policies.

Things to note

Most policies will not automatically cover activities such as skiing, snowboarding and scooter riding so if you’re planning on doing any of these activities make sure you get a policy that covers these activities.

*Note: This is just a broad guide to travel insurance. Each policy is different and coverage varies from policy to policy. What might be covered under one policy may not be covered under another. Always check the fine print.

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