Great advice (and travel insurance) for globetrotting Australians.
Australians love to travel. That’s why, in our mission to keep Aussies everywhere safe, we offer a range of cost effective travel insurance plans through our alliance with Cover-More. But whether you take out our travel insurance or not, we want all Australians to be safe, so here are some important travel tips.
Your handy travel checklist - important tips and info for smart travellers.
Be a smart traveller - stay safe by registering your travel plans online
Did you know that Australians can register their details with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade when travelling abroad? Registering makes it easier to contact you in an emergency. Visit the Government’s Smartraveller website for more travel tips and advice (register your details on the website and you’ll receive up-to-date travel information by email too.
Get your travel insurance in advance
Make sure you purchase travel insurance before, or as soon as possible once you have paid the deposit for your trip. This will give you peace of mind in the run up to your departure and it means you can relax on your travels, safe in the knowledge your health and belongings are covered if the worst happens. And remember, with HIF travel insurance you can call us to nominate a family member or friend to amend your policy on your behalf or organise a Power of Attorney if your trip is lengthy.
Check your passports
It’s amazing how many Australians remember to organise travel insurance but forget to check their passport. Some countries require travellers to have at least six months validity remaining on their passports, and immigration authorities may refuse entry if you arrive with less than this. You can go online to apply for a new passport (or renew your previous one) or alternatively, telephone 131 232 and request an application form with your personal data included. It’s also worth noting that passports can be renewed up to two years after expiry.
Organise your visas
Make sure all of your necessary visas are in place before you leave Australia. If you’re unsure how to organise a visa, speak to the travel company (or coordinator) who managed your booking – they will be able to help you.
Check your credit cards
Don’t get caught overseas with a credit card that’s expired or maxed out. Check your credit card expiry dates and limits before you leave. Also, contact your bank or credit card issuer in advance and inform them of your trip. Your card can be blocked as a security precaution if it’s used abroad and your bank or credit card company don’t know you are overseas.
Money - it makes the world go round
Organise any traveller’s cheques, credit cards or cash you need for your journey in plenty of time. And make sure you’re acquainted with the currency laws in the countries you will visit, as some countries restrict how much money you can bring with you. Remember, if you intend taking or sending foreign currency to a value of AU$10,000 or more into or out of Australia, you must report it to the Australian Customs Service. There is no limit on the amount of currency you can bring in or out of Australia, but there are penalties for not reporting it. You must declare amounts of AU$10,000 or more in Australian currency or foreign equivalent. If asked by Customs, you must also fill in a Bearer Negotiable Instruments (BNI) form if you're carrying promissory notes, traveller’s cheques, personal cheques, money orders or postal orders.
Copy your travel documents
Make at least two copies of your important travel documents, including your passport, visas, itinerary, travel insurance policy, traveller’s cheques and tickets. Take your originals (and a copy) with you on your journey and leave a copy with a family member or friend in Australia.
Check out checking-in
Confirm the minimum check-in time with your airline prior to your departure. You don’t want to be the passenger who’s late and holds the plane up or (worse still) miss your flight altogether. Checking-in online is also a handy way to reduce potential waiting times once you arrive at the airport. Most airlines provide online check-in facilities – visit your airline’s website for more information.
Make sure you stay healthy. Visit your doctor prior to departure or, if you have travel insurance with Cover-More, contact their Emergency Assistance Hotline regarding any vaccinations or any other precautions that may be recommended. Find out more about healthy travel and vaccinations on the World Health Organization website.
Check that any medications you are taking are legal in the country you will visit. If you need to take essential medication with you, make sure that you keep the medication in its original packaging and carry a letter of approval from your doctor or dentist. If you need to travel with large quantities of medication, it’s also a good idea to separate the quantity between your luggage, in case bags go missing. For more information, phone Medicare Australia's Travelling with PBS Medicine inquiry line on 1800 500 147 or visit humanservices.gov.au.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
Minimise the risk of DVT while travelling by drinking plenty of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated drinks, and by exercising your feet and legs regularly to encourage blood flow. You can also purchase special socks from airports and pharmacies, which are specifically designed to improve blood flow during air travel.
Luggage and personal belongings - reduce the risks
Travel insurance that covers your belongings will give you peace of mind while you’re travelling, but there are some simple steps you can take to reduce the risk of losing your luggage and valuables. For a start, clearly label your luggage and secure all credit cards and passports under your clothes or in a money belt (to keep pickpockets at bay). Never leave your luggage unattended in a public place, and don’t offer to carry anyone else’s luggage through customs. For more information on luggage security, visit the Australian Government’s Travel Security website
Travelling to the USA?
Make sure you familiarise yourself with their airline baggage lock requirements, e.g. locks which aren’t specifically TSA compliant may be removed by airport handlers. More information is available on www.tsa.gov
Your driver's licence
Check that your Australian driver’s licence is acceptable in the countries you will visit. You may need to get an International Driving Permit which can be obtained from an auto club or association in the state or territory where you hold your current driver’s licence. Find out more about International Driving Permits.
Deliveries and bills
Cancel any deliveries (milk, newspapers, etc) and pay any bills prior to your departure. It’s always a good idea to ask a friend or relative to collect your mail and keep an eye on your home while you are away.
Again, good quality travel insurance will cover you if your luggage is damaged, but make sure you check your luggage as soon as you arrive at your destination. If you suspect your luggage has been damaged or tampered with, report it immediately to the airline and airport/port officials. If it turns out your luggage has been damaged or tampered with, you’re entitled to seek compensation from the airline or airport/port – make sure you get written confirmation of the incident from them.
Be aware of local laws and customs
In some cultures people are deeply offended by revealing or inappropriate clothes (breastfeeding in public may also be considered offensive). Many countries apply capital punishment and consular assistance cannot override these laws, even where they appear harsh or unjust by Australian standards. Age or health concerns are not valid excuses either.
Purchase adaptor plugs for any electrical equipment that you will take with you. Remember, plug sockets differ around the world, so ensure you have the correct type for your destination. For more information, check out the Worldwide Plugs & Sockets Guide
Find out more and get in touch.
To find out more and discuss your travel insurance needs, please call 1300 889 573 and one of our friendly advisors will be happy to assist. In the meantime, if you'd like to learn more about our travel insurance claiming process, please visit the How to Make a Claim page.
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Please note: Terms, conditions, exclusions, limits, sub limits apply. This is general advice only. This insurance is issued by Great Lakes Australia (ARBN 127 740 532 ABN 18 964 580 576 AFSL 318603). Please consider your own needs, financial situation and the Combined FSG/PDS to decide if this product is right for you.