RACQ travel consultants are experienced to help you with your travel planning. Here are some helpful tips you need to consider:
- Check your destination before departure: Even if you booked your holiday a year in advance and all things were fine, situations can change quickly, so please stay informed by checking the Commonwealth Government's Smarttraveller website.
- Know the local laws and customs: Every country is different so be aware of what is expected from clothing, alcohol rules and speed limits. Australian consular assistance cannot override the local laws so you must obey all laws in your destination country.
- Vaccinations and medications: Check with your doctor on what recommended vaccinations or other precautions may be needed before you travel. Make sure any prescriptive medicine you are travelling with is allowed in the country of your destination, and you have enough for the entirety of your trip. You should also take a letter from your doctor outlining the medications, even paracetemol.
- Basic first aid kit: Carry some basic first aid items with you as you may not be able to access these readily while travelling. Ask your doctor and chemist what to include.
- Travel Insurance: It is said that if you can’t afford insurance you can’t afford to travel. Once you leave Australia you leave the comforts of our hospital systems and even a simple trip to a doctor can ruin your holiday budget. You should have coverage for hospital and evacuations. Make sure it covers you for any specific activities you might do, for example skiing or hiking. Find out more about Travel Insurance.
- Passport validity: Make sure you have at least six months valid on your passport, even if you are only travelling for one week. Some countries will refuse you entry if you do not have at least six months on your passport.
- Visas: Check to see if you require Visas for the country you are travelling. RACQ travel agents can assist with this, or visit http://www.dfat.gov.au/visas/.
- Travel documentation: Leave copies of your itinerary, passports and travel documents with family or friends. It is also a good idea to leave a copy of your insurance policies and credit card numbers in case you need to quickly contact them to cancel cards.
- Money access: Consider backup access to money. A good idea is to travel with a separate visa and mastercard (not linked to one account), so if one needs to be stopped the other will still keep you going. Your bank should have a range of international ATM cards or traveller cheque options. Don’t leave organising your money until the day before you depart, you should test that your cards and transfer facilities are working well before.
- Emergency numbers: Take a list of emergency phone numbers with you, including credit card contacts, insurance numbers and any international calling numbers you may need (eg flight details and family).
- Mobile phone: Consider purchasing a prepaid TravelSIM, designed to reduce the cost of using your mobile phone when travelling overseas. You receive a new number and SIM card to place in your existing phone (check your handset is compatible first) and benefits include low cost international roaming in over 190 countries for calls, text and data. TravelSIM is available for purchase Australia wide from selected outlets including RACQ’s travel agencies.
- Electrical appliances: Purchase a power adapter before you travel, as often they are difficult to find and expensive at airports. Most electronic, department and luggage stores stock them at reasonable prices. Also think about how many items you may need to plug in/charge at a time.
- Drivers licence: Even if you don't intend to drive when you travel overseas you should always carry an International Driving Permit (IDP). This is a requirement for renting a motor vehicle in many countries and is helpful for tourists who find themselves in need of identification or assistance.
Smarttraveller, an initiative of the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, has a wealth of advice whether you are a backpacker, parents with children or travelling seniors.
Prepare for your holiday, and have a wonderful experience!