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TRAVEL TIPS2021-10-08T15:53:23+11:00

Members Travel Tips

Not sure where to travel? Four tips for choosing a travel destination2021-07-06T16:01:31+10:00

Identify the purpose of your trip

As previously mentioned, it is important to know what you expect from your holidays before choosing a travel destination. What do you want? Do you want to relax on a deserted beach and leave all your worries behind? If so, there are fashionable destinations like Costa Rica that combine stunning beaches with the power of a volcano. But if you want to find other options, we have some paradisiacal beach destinations for you.

If, on the other hand, you’re looking for wild experiences when it comes to choosing a travel destination, there are also options for you. Sunrises taken right out of Hollywood, animals in their natural habitat and unnavigable roads are some of the experiences that can be enjoyed in destinations such as Africa. The possibilities are endless; identify what you want to experience and adapt your journey to it.

Your time restraints

The length of a holiday is another key point when choosing your travel destination. If you have to take a long-haul flight to get there, this deducts two days from the total time you have, one for the outbound journey and another for the return. In addition to the long journey itself, you need time to adapt to the time difference.

On the other hand, given that these are the places with the longest journey time, it is preferable to opt for them if you have at least two weeks to explore. If your holiday is just seven days, perhaps it would be better to stay in Europe. If you don’t have a set return date, you can take an extra-long trip, even without a return ticket.

The size of your budget

Distance doesn’t always mean a higher price, as it is always possible to find a good offer, wherever your destination. However, it is useful to set a limit on the amount you wish to spend. You must bear in mind that not only will you have to pay for your plane ticket, you also have to think about accommodation, food and the standards of living at the destination.

Some remote areas imply a higher flight price. On the contrary, their currency is worth very little compared to yours. This means that the cost of the tickets can be compensated by lower day-to-day expenses during the holiday. Within Europe, the opposite is often the case; flights can be found at low cost, but accommodation and food costs can be extremely high.

What kind of trip you’re looking for

Continuing on from the previous point, another important point when choosing a travel destination is the type of trip. If you consider yourself an adventurous person, you can let yourself be carried away by the experience and eat in street stalls and other low-budget establishments. Also, when it comes to accommodation, you can share a room with other travellers and get around on foot or rent a bicycle if the terrain permits.

If travelling comfortably and not having to improvise is more your style, it’s going to cost you. Guided excursions, taxis or dinners in restaurants will considerably raise the budget, but will also mean that you can relax more. Make sure your destination gives you what you’re looking for.

 

If Going Overseas Always Refer to the Australian Government “Smart Traveller Website”” for Information2021-07-06T15:58:58+10:00

Smartraveller website address:
https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

Your Travel Budget2021-07-06T16:04:45+10:00

Before you can even begin to plan a trip, you need to take a good look at your finances and figure out how much money you have to spend on your holiday. This will dictate a lot of the future steps including where you can travel to and for how long.

Creating an Initial Budget

Determine what you can afford. Assess how much money you have available for the vacation. Keep in mind your ongoing expenses that you’ll need to take care of when you return like rent, utilities, and food costs. You don’t want to stress yourself out during your vacation by having no money for when you return.

Get advice from friends and family. Ask around if anyone you know has visited your destination. While websites and web reviews are helpful, you don’t know if they’ve been influenced by local sponsors or the like. Friends and family will give you more personal and trustworthy advice.

  • Ask questions like “What does a meal cost there?” or “What are some cheap things to do there?”

Use online budgeting tools. There are numerous websites designed to help your budget specifically for travel. They will help you determine the local costs of goods and what expenses you’ll need to consider.

  • Try sites like BudgetYourTrip.com, SavingForTravel.com, and IndepdentTraveler.com. Set up an account and enter the details of your budget and travel expenses.

Budgeting for the Basics

Determine your method of transportation. Travel to the location of your choosing may be expensive. Determine the costs of taking a plane, train, coach bus, rental car, or cruise ship to your selected location. Air travel is the quickest option but may be costlier than train, bus, or car rental if the distance isn’t too great. You should also keep in mind the environmental impacts of each method of transportation. A cruise ship affords the greatest luxury and will often include a number of stops but is also the costliest option.

  • You can compare plane ticket costs with Google Flights, SkyScanner.com, Expedia, FareCompare.com, or Kayak. Always research price comparisons before making your purchase.
  • sider local transportation. Once you reach your destination, you’ll need further transportation to get around locally. Many people take taxi cabs, ride-sharing cars, local transit buses, or the subway to get around locally. If you have some extra money, you can travel more easily by renting a car at your location.
    • Use your preferred search engine to research public transit at your destination. Not all cities will have all of the options mentioned above.
    • You can compare rental car prices SkyScanner.com, Expedia, or Kayak as well. Always research price comparisons before making your reservation.
    • If you are renting a car, you should also consider what rental agencies are close to your airport or hotel.

Consider lodging expenses. One of the more significant items you’ll need to budget for is your lodging cost. Lodgings vary greatly in cost and quality so be sure to consider your exact needs and what’s available at your destination. If your destination hosts many tourists, there will likely be a wide variety of hotels, motels, resorts, and bed-and-breakfasts.

    • Pick a hotel that is located near the attractions you’re seeking. This will prove convenient and save you in local travel costs.
    • Consider amenities like televisions in the rooms, internet access, and access to a swimming pool. You should also consider the quality and size of available beds and bathrooms, the availability of air conditioning, and whether or not they serve a complimentary breakfast. If you have any questions that aren’t answered by their website, call the front desk.
    • Check customer reviews on Google and Yelp. Keep in mind that nearly every hotel has some excellent reviews and some that are terrible. Read as many as possible to get a comprehensive idea of the quality.
    • Some locales will have hostels where you can stay at little or no charge in exchange for doing some chores.
    • You can compare hotel prices and features on Expedia and Kayak as well. You can also use Hotwire, Hotels.com, Priceline, Travelocity, and Agoda. Always research price comparisons before making your reservation because different sites may have different prices at the same hotel.

Include food costs. Of course, you’ll need to eat during your trip so you need to budget for meals. Keep in mind that you’ll likely be eating out and that food costs can vary greatly between different places. Use your preferred search engine to determine local food costs.

    • If you need to save some money on food, consider getting a hotel room with a kitchenette or at least a microwave and then purchasing some easy-to-make meals at a local grocery store.

Keep an incidentals fund. Always create your travel budget so that there is a little money left over. You’re likely to find some sort of cost that you hadn’t considered beforehand. It could be as simple as needing sunscreen for the beach or pharmaceuticals for an unforeseen illness.

Consider travel insurance. Travel insurance is commonly used to insure against a variety of significant unforeseen costs such as medical care that won’t be covered by your insurer because you’re out of network, lost luggage, falling victim to theft, or a transportation accident. Travel insurance can often be purchased from vending machines at airports or online.

    • Allianz, Travel Insurance Direct, CoverMore, Bupa are some websites that offer standalone travel insurance.
    • You can also get travel insurance from general insurance providers like Geico and State Farm. You may be able to get a discount if you purchase auto, life, or home insurance from these providers already.

Budgeting for the Extras

Determine sight-seeing costs. Sight-seeing is a common practice for travelers. Think about the transportation, admittance and other costs related specifically to these trips. Most monuments, parks, and museums are free of charge but some may cost a small amount money. Research these sights beforehand so you can factor them into your budget.

  • ook up pre-packaged sight-seeing tours in your destination. They may be the most cost-efficient and thorough way to see a locale’s major sights.

Determine your entertainment costs. If you’re planning on attending amusement parks, enjoying the local nightlife, or taking in a show, factor these costs into your budget. You may want to create a rough schedule of your daily entertainment plans so you can research them ahead of time.

    • Use sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor to research local entertainment and get an idea of the costs ahead of time.
    • Consider getting a AAA membership. They offer travel discounts at restaurants and entertainment venues.

Consider gifts and souvenirs. Many travelers purchase gifts for others other souvenirs for themselves. It will be difficult to determine the costs ahead of time so make a budget you can stick to.

    • Make a list of the people you intend to purchase gifts for ahead of time and try to assign a rough dollar amount.

Doing Budget-Friendly Planning

Save up some money. Travel can be expensive so developing a comprehensive budget is a great idea.

  • You may also need to set aside money from your typical day-to-day expenses so you’ll have enough. Work out a regular amount of money to set aside for your travel expenses and begin saving as soon as possible.
  • If you need some extra money to make your travel budget, consider a part-time or temporary job like driving for a ride-sharing program or writing for an online publication. Search for temporary jobs on websites like Craigslist, Indeed.com, or FlexJobs.com.
  • f you’re a frequent traveler or have travel benefits from your credit card company, you may be able to defray the costs of airfare or travel.

Convert your currency. If you are leaving the country, you may need to exchange your money for the local currency. Use your preferred search engine to find the name of the country you’re visiting to determine what type of currency they use. However, many foreign countries that use different currencies also widely accept U.S. Dollars, so you may want to search whether or not this is applicable in your destination.

    • Use the website http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/ to determine the exchange rate. Simply enter the amount of money in your travel budget and then change the second box to the currency of your destination country.

Consider an all-inclusive vacation. There are a number of agencies that provide all-inclusive vacation packages that can reduce the cost of specific items and make it easier for you to budget. They usually include lodging, food, and entertainment provisions like tickets to amusement parks or guided tours. Specific packages are usually geared toward couples, singles, and families with children.

 

How To Choose the Right Type Of Luggage or Bag for your Travels2021-07-06T16:05:27+10:00

A JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND MILES BEGINS WITH A TRUSTED TRAVEL BAG. AT EAGLE CREEK, WE BELIEVE ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PARTS OF THAT JOURNEY IS PACKING SMART. THAT’S WHY WE’VE BEEN OBSESSED WITH MAKING DURABLE AND COMPELLING BAGS SINCE THE DAY WE OPENED OUR DOORS. EVEN MORE THOUGH, WE’RE OBSESSED WITH HELPING YOU CHOOSE EXACTLY THE RIGHT LUGGAGE FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP. HERE’S EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PICKING A WHEELED LUGGAGE VERSUS ROLLING SUITCASES VERSUS DUFFELS, TRAVEL PACKS, AND MORE.

We know how hard it can be to squeeze everything you need into one piece of luggage. When you’re cramming everything into that your suitcase, you need the bag itself to have plenty of pockets for organisation, and you also want it to have other smart travel features (like lockable zippers and beefy wheels). After all, we all know the “joy” of sprinting from Gate A3 to Gate Q36 to make a connecting flight. Whether you’re checking your bags or looking for the best lightweight carry-on or travel backpack, we’ve got the solution for you. This handy buying guide will help you choose the right type of luggage for your journey.

Whether you’re a frequent jet setter or an occasional traveller, you don’t want to get stuck with bulky, poor-quality travel bags that get in the way of your trip. Take the time to think about the needs of your trip, and choose your bags and packing organisers accordingly. Knowing what to expect—and how much you’ll need to pack—will enable you to easily choose between different travel packs and duffels, as well as individual features such as wheels, handles, sizes, and organisational travel accessories.

WHAT IS THE BEST LUGGAGE FOR YOUR TRAVELS?

To ensure that you choose luggage, suitcases, and travel bags that are a perfect fit for your needs, here are a few important things to consider.

  1. Length of journey. How long will you be traveling? For a weekend trip, you may be able to fit everything into a lightweight carry-on. For a longer adventure, you’ll want to consider a piece of rolling luggage depending what type of gear you’ll need to bring.
  2. Modes of transportation. Will you have multiple layovers or include budget flights? Will your journey include train or bus rides? If you’ll be on the go and moving between multiple types of transportation, you’ll absolutely want a lightweight carry-on, wheeled backpack, or even a backpack duffel that’s easy to handle and fits in overhead compartments of trains, planes, and buses.
  3. Type of travel. Will you be camping in remote locations or staying at a posh hotel? Depending on where and how you’re traveling, the amount and type of gear you’ll need may vary. A traveler on the go will be looking for the lightest travel pack possible, while those staying in a hotel or hostel will be able to more easily consider a piece of rolling luggage.
  4. Activities. What type of activities will you be doing and what do you need to pack to do them? If you’ll be laying on a beach and plan on packing bathing suits and sarongs, your suitcase needs will likely be much different than someone who will be packing climbing gear and using multiple modes of transportation to get there. Some situations call for an adventurous bag capable of holding up to mud, rain, and being strapped to the roof of a bus, while other in situations you’ll be glad for a versatile bag with a separate wet compartment to hold swimsuits and beach gear.
  5. Research. Check out packing organisation tips on Travel Bloggers Blogs to get ideas of exactly what to bring with you on your next trip!

There’s a correct piece of luggage for every type of trip. Whether you’re shopping for one piece or an entire collection, you can make your travel so much easier when you are well-equipped. So now that you know your travel needs, you’re ready to choose the perfect travel bag. We’ve broken each type of bag down by category and recommended use.

LIGHTWEIGHT CARRY-ONS

Recommended use: International travel, weekend trips, overnight stays, or single-day business trips

Most people try to maximize their carry-on packing, fitting everything they can into the luggage dimensions allowed by the airline. This is the way to go when traveling (if you can do it) because it’s really nice to know your bag will be arriving at your destination with you. Purchase lightweight carry-ons that offer all the features you love—retractable handles, durable wheels, multiple compartments for organisation, and more— make sure they are in compact sizes that are light, super easy to carry, and designed specifically to fit in the overhead bin (without cramming and slamming).

ROLLING LUGGAGE

Recommended use: Use rolling luggage for business travel, weekend trips, and well… most of the time.

The tried and true favourites of most seasoned travellers are large rolling bags. Gone are the days of lugging a massive suitcase by a single handle. Now you have a variety of rolling luggage to choose from to carry your heavy belongings with ease.

Make sure you’re focused on quality when choosing one of these handy travel mates as wheels can break and sometimes get stuck. Large rolling bags or wheeled duffels are a great option if you need a lot of space—the spacious main compartment allows you to fit a ton of gear, which is easily organised once you understand how to use packing cubes. But for those who’d like a little more organisation in their luggage, a wheeled upright typically comes with more compartments to separate your goods. You may also want to consider convertible luggage, which offer the convenience of wheels, backpack straps, retractable handles and so much more.

It’s also a good idea to think about whether you want your rolling luggage to have the traditional two wheels or four. Many people enjoy having 4-wheeled luggage because the bag glides almost effortlessly by your side, easily rolling down the aisle of the plane. Four wheels also makes travel less strenuous because you’re not putting a ton of weight on your wrists. Plus, a 4-wheeled bag gives you a little more versatility—for example, if you’re pulling your bag up a curb, simply tilt the bag back and pull it on two wheels. However, one thing to note about 4-wheeled luggage is if you are doing lots of travel by bus, and will need to store your bag in an upright position, you may want to opt for 2-wheeled luggage, because 4-wheeled bags can move around easily on buses in motion.

 BACKPACKS AND WHEELED BACKPACKS

Recommended use: Day trips, adventure travel, multi-destination, and international travel

Rolling uprights are a great option for carrying lots of gear, but depending on where you’re going, you may find it more comfortable and convenient to carry a travel backpack or backpack duffel instead. If you want to merge the concept of travel backpack and rolling bag, consider a convertible backpack which converts from one into the other. Whichever bag you decide to travel with, you may be surprised at how light today’s packs are when you carry them on your back—instead of having to constant roll them behind you.

TRAVEL PACKS AND DUFFELS

Recommended use: Business travel, day trips, round the world trips, and adventure travel

A travel pack is a great alternative to traditional piece of luggage or suitcase. You may find that it offers versatility that many other bags don’t. When packing for any kind of trip, remember that you don’t always want to lug around a giant rolling upright behind you. Travel backpacks are great for folks that plan to be on the go a lot and may face the challenge of cobblestone and dirt streets. And travel duffels work well for adventure travel—the bathtub construction and water repellent fabric are a great boon on certain types of trips.

Should I get Travel Insurance?2021-07-06T16:08:33+10:00

Travel insurance

Travel doesn’t always go as planned. If you’re going overseas, travel insurance is as important as a passport. Without it, you or your family could suffer financially if things go wrong. No matter who you are, where you’re going and what you’re doing, get insurance.

Some travel insurance policies internationally may cover COVID-19-related claims. These policies aren’t widely available in Australia yet. Some travel insurers are starting to sell international travel insurance to Australians. However, it may not cover COVID-19-related claims.

A ban on overseas travel from Australia remains in place. You can’t leave Australia unless you get an exemption from the Department of Home Affairs.

Most standard policies also won’t cover you for ‘Do not travel’ destinations. Check with your travel insurance provider.

For more information about international travel insurance see the CHOICE website: Does travel insurance cover the COVID-19 coronavirus? (CHOICE).

Explore this page for general advice on:

This page is for Australians preparing to travel overseas. If you’re already overseas and something has happened to you, see what to do when things go wrong.

We’ve partnered with CHOICE to produce our general advice on travel insurance. For more information about choosing a policy, see the CHOICE travel insurance buying guide.

Travel insurance for your health

Travel insurance is especially important if you need medical assistance. Healthcare overseas can be very expensive. Most countries won’t give you free care, or subsidise the cost of your care. You, or your insurer, must usually pay full price.

Medical situations most basic policies cover

  • Emergency medical treatment.
  • General medical assistance.
  • Patient transport to hospital by helicopter or ambulance.
  • Medical evacuations back to Australia.
  • Injuries and accidents, unless it’s from an excluded activity.

Be aware that you may not be covered if something happens to you as a result of an excluded activity. For example, most policies cover a broken bone. However, if you broke your leg skiing and your cover specifically excluded skiing, you won’t be covered.

It’s unlikely an insurer will cover you if you go to a destination where the advice level is ‘Do not travel’.

Common exclusions for health claims

Most comprehensive travel insurance policies exclude pre-existing physical and mental health conditions. Some insurers will cover you if you pay extra. Commonly excluded are:

  • bone and joint conditions
  • breathing and lung conditions
  • cancer
  • circulatory and blood conditions
  • diabetes
  • disabilities
  • heart conditions
  • kidney or liver conditions
  • mental health conditions
  • pregnancy
  • viruses and diseases

Insurers generally won’t provide cover if you’re:

  • receiving, or waiting to receive, medical treatment for undiagnosed symptoms
  • travelling against the advice of a medical practitioner
  • travelling to get medical treatment for your condition (medical tourism)
  • already diagnosed with a terminal condition

Getting cover for your pre-existing condition

If you have a pre-existing condition, you may face challenges getting insurance that covers it. You may need to find a specialised insurer.

You may need a policy that covers you for situations that aren’t connected to your condition.

If you don’t get insurance and can’t pay for medical assistance

Be aware that hospitals in some countries will refuse to give you medical assistance if you don’t pay upfront, or hand over your insurance details. Even if it means you might die.

In an emergency, hospitals in countries with a reciprocal health care agreement may treat you. However, you may still have pay to some of your costs. You should still get travel insurance. Hospitals in other countries may treat you, and then give you an invoice to pay.

If you don’t have travel insurance, you’ll have to pay for your treatment. If you can’t pay, you’ll have to ask your family or friends for money. If you don’t pay your medical bills, you could be:

  • arrested or jailed
  • prevented from leaving the country until you pay
  • sued by the hospital, even if you’ve already left the country

The Australian Government can’t pay your bills.

Travel insurance for your baggage and valuables

Travel insurance can cover the cost to replace your baggage and valuables. If you’re insured, you can claim the replacement costs for items that are lost, stolen or damaged.

Some insurers will also help you organise the replacement if it’s something you need while you’re away.

Items insurance can cover

  • Electronic devices. This could include smartphones, computers and cameras.
  • Baggage and personal property. This may include clothing, toiletries and personal effects.
  • Jewellery and valuables. This could include rings, necklaces and watches.
  • Cash. This is usually only a small amount.
  • Sports equipment. This could include skis, surfboards and hiking gear.

Item limits

Most policies set item limits. If you’re carrying an item worth more than the limit, you can usually pay extra to cover it.

If you’re not carrying expensive items, you could save on your premium by selecting a policy that provides less baggage cover or lower limits. Or choosing a medical-only basic policy.

Common exclusions for baggage and valuables

How your property problem happened and what it is can impact your insurance cover.

  • You usually won’t be covered if you were breaking the local law when the incident occurred. This can include not wearing a motorbike helmet on a moped.
  • Many insurers won’t cover you if something happens to your property when you’re under the influence of alcohol. Even a low blood alcohol level can get your claim denied.
  • Your items won’t be covered if the incident occurred while you were doing an excluded activity. For example, if your policy excludes riding motorbikes and you lose your phone while riding, you can’t claim it.
  • Unattended baggage is rarely covered. Even if you turned away for just a moment when it was stolen.
  • Valuables locked in a car may not be covered. You may need a separate car insurance policy via the Hire Company – and excess reduction cover from your travel insurer as an extra.
  • Baggage checked in on an airline may not be covered. Ask your airline what their policy is for items lost, broken or delayed when in their care.

Covering the cost of cancellations and delays

Plans change. So do advice levels in our travel advisories. Travel insurance can cover cancellation costs if you need to change your plans.

Find out what’s covered for cancellations and delays. Read the product disclosure statement (PDS) before you buy your policy.

When insurers may cover cancellation costs

Most travel insurance policies can cover your costs if you need to cancel your trip. Some may cover you if:

  • we raise the advice level to ‘Reconsider your need to travel’ or ‘Do not travel’
  • you or someone you care for gets seriously sick, or a family member dies
  • you were going overseas to study and your course is cancelled
  • you have an emergency situation at home or work (e.g. fire, flood or burglary) in the days before you leave
  • you fall pregnant before you go and your doctor says you can’t travel

Common exclusions for cancellation cover

Most insurers won’t cover cancellation costs if:

  • you’re cancelling because of a situation that was known about before you bought your policy
  • our advice level was already at ‘Reconsider your need to travel’ or ‘Do not travel’
  • you’re cancelling due to a mental health issue or episode
  • there’s a demonstration, war or terrorist incident in your destination unless we raise our advice level to ‘Do Not Travel’
  • there’s a pandemic, epidemic or natural disaster in your destination unless we raise our advice level to ‘Do Not Travel’
  • your tour company or airline makes a mistake with your booking, or goes out of business

For more information on cancellation cover, see the CHOICE travel insurance guide.

Types of travel insurance policies

There’s 100s of travel insurance policies to choose from. For each, there’s a list of extras to consider. Before you choose an insurer and a product, consider what type of policy suits your needs.

  • comprehensive travel insurance
  • basic travel insurance
  • complimentary credit card travel insurance

Choose the right coverage for your circumstances. Don’t just choose the policy that looks cheapest on the surface. Make sure it covers what you need or it could end up costing you more in the long run.

For more information, see the CHOICE travel insurance buying guide.

Comprehensive travel insurance

A comprehensive travel insurance policy covers a lot. These policies cover most things for most people in most situations. It won’t cover everything, or everyone. You may still want to explore the insurer’s optional extras, or opt for higher item limits if you’re carrying expensive items.

Comprehensive cover suits most Australians. These policies cover:

  • medical assistance and medical emergencies, often without limits
  • cancellation costs and delays
  • property problems (e.g. lost, damaged or stolen valuables)
  • some legal problems you may face when things go wrong
  • some higher risk sports and activities

Some cover more situations in their standard policies, without having to pay for extras. For example, some comprehensive policies cover skiing and SCUBA diving. On other policies, you have to pay more.

There’s a wide spectrum of comprehensive insurance products to choose from. Generally, at the higher end of the price range you’ll have higher item or claim limits, a lower excess and more customer service.

Compare CHOICE reviews of single trip and annual multi-trip travel insurance policies.

Basic travel insurance (medical only)

Basic cover can be a popular choice with backpackers and budget travellers. It’s generally for people who travel light, without expensive items and just want the cheapest option.

Most importantly, basic policies still cover your health and medical emergencies. Medical assistance is usually the most expensive cost Australians can experience overseas.

They usually don’t cover your property or cancellation costs. If they do, the conditions are more restrictive and claim limits are much lower. Usually, they have much higher excess than comprehensive policies.

See medical only travel insurance options (Insurance Council of Australia).

Credit card travel insurance

Some credit cards come with complimentary (free) travel insurance. Before you default to the free option, make sure you understand what it covers, for how much and what you must do to activate it.

Check how your free credit card travel insurance policy compares. Read credit card travel insurance reviews by CHOICE.

What credit card travel insurance can cover?

Credit card usually provide basic cover for some medical emergencies, cancellations and problems with your baggage and valuables.

They’re different from most comprehensive policies. Often, they cover fewer situations and have lower item limits. Before you go with the free option, read the PDS. Compare it to one from a comprehensive policy so you understand what you’ll be covered for.

Activating credit card insurance

You usually have to ‘activate’ the insurance policy. Often, this is by booking your trip using that card. Some may consider your policy activated when you:

  • use the card, or your card’s reward points, to book your return flights
  • you pay a particular portion of your trip on it
  • manually activate the policy via internet banking or contacting the bank

Before you choose to go with the free option, make sure confirm with your bank how to activate it. Don’t assume it’s activated, you could find yourself overseas without insurance when you need it.

Read the CHOICE travel insurance buyers guide. Check out their reviews.

Checklist: How to choose the right travel insurance

Keep in mind that not all policies cover all things, in all countries, in all situations. You need to make sure you choose a travel insurance policy that suits your needs.

  1. Consider where you’re going

Some policies are destination-specific, others are worldwide. The level of cover and the cost of travel insurance can vary depending on the region you’re travelling to. Risks in some regions or destinations may be of greater concern than others to the insurer.

  • Choose a policy that covers you for every country you’re travelling to, including stopovers and transit points
  • Consider the current situation where you’re going, always check out the latest risks and issues in the destination’s travel advisory – and subscribe to updates
  • Make sure your destination’s advice level isn’t ‘Do not travel’. Check if your policy covers you for cancellations if the advice level goes up after you’ve booked.

Read about current risks in each destination’s travel advice. Understand what each advice level means.

  1. Decide how long you’re going for

Travel insurers usually quote based on how many days you’ll be away.

  • If you’re just planning a quick trip, you may want a one-off travel insurance policy. These are for a set number of days.
  • If you travel often, or for extended periods, consider an annual multi-trip policy. It may end up being more convenient and better value.
  • If you’re going overseas long-term to live or work, you may not be covered by some policies. You may need to get domestic health and property insurance in your destination. Ask your insurer.

Annual multi-trip policies and credit card travel insurance policies can restrict the length of each trip you take. This could be anywhere from 15 to 365 days, depending on fine print in your policy. Some allow you to pay for extra days.

Compare CHOICE reviews of single trip and annual multi-trip travel insurance policies.

  1. Think about what you’ll do there

Insurers exclude a lot of activities in their standard policies. Even common activities, like going on a cruise or skiing. You may need to pay extra to ensure you’re covered for what you’re planning to do. Or, get a specialised policy. Check the policy’s fine print.

  • Check the list of activities that are specifically included or excluded in your insurance.
  • Check their definitions for activities. For example, walking in the mountains may be considered mountain climbing above a certain altitude.
  • You might need to pay for extra cover for your activities. This is often the case for skiing, bungee jumping, scuba diving, hiking or riding a motorcycle.
  • If you’re planning to drive, check if you’re already covered or can pay extra. It could be cheaper through your travel insurer, compared to getting another policy from the car hire company.

If living and working overseas long term, you may have other insurance requirements to meet. Your visa conditions may require you to get a local health insurance policy. Make sure you check.

See our general advice for the activities you plan to do.

  1. Think about your age and health

Your age and health will impact the type of policy you need, and how much it costs you. This especially applies to people with pre-existing conditions.

  • You must declare all pre-existing health conditions to your insurer.
  • If you’re not sure if your condition is covered, ask your insurer.
  • Your insurer may ask for a health check and medical assessment. Ask your insurer if they’ll cover your condition automatically or you’ll need an assessment.
  • Most policies have an age limit. Mature Australians often pay more for cover.

Also learn more about taking care of your health.

  1. Work out how much your valuables are worth

Expensive items may cost you more to insure. Think about what you’re taking with you. Consider what it would cost to replace those items if they get lost, stolen or damaged.

Policies vary when it comes to how they cover valuable items. They often have limits on the value for each item, and adding cover for valuables can vary from 100s of dollars to 1000s.

  • Check individual item limits on your baggage cover. You may need to take out extra insurance to cover your valuables properly.
  • Check the excess. On many policies, it’s more than the value of key items you’re taking. Consider paying extra to reduce or remove your excess.
  • Always check the fine print on your policy. This is in the PDS. See what items they exclude, and the situations they’ll cover.

Also see our general advice on preventing theft and muggings.

  1. Shop around and choose what’s right for you

There are plenty of insurers with a range of travel insurance policies for you to choose from. The most important thing is that you choose a policy that covers what you need for you and your trip.

  • Browse and compare your options on Find an Insurer. This is a free service from the Insurance Council of Australia.
  • Read the CHOICE travel insurance buyers guide. Check out their reviews.
  • Narrow down your options to policies with the features (inclusions) you need.
  • Read the PDS for your shortlisted policies. You’ll be surprised what situations and items some policies specifically exclude.
  • Choose and buy the policy that’s right for you. Always declare everything upfront when you buy your policy. If you don’t, you may void it anyway.

Resist the temptation to just get the cheapest option without checking that it suits your needs. This also applies to free credit card travel insurance. Consider your unique needs and read the PDS. If it’s not a match, it’s not good value.

See more advice on choosing the right travel insurance policy for you. Read the CHOICE travel insurance buyers guide.

How the Australian Government can help

The Australian Government is limited how and when it can help Australians overseas. It’s important you understand our limits.

We can’t pay your bills for you. We can’t loan you money.

Consular services are not your ‘backup plan’ if things go wrong and you need money.

You must take personal responsibility for your situation when you travel. This includes your finances. We expect all Australians travelling overseas to take out appropriate insurance for their trip.

In many cases, you’ll depend on your travel insurer for help when things go wrong. This includes both financial and practical support.

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

Understand how and when we can help. Read the Consular Services Charter.

Read more

  • Read the travel advisory for the destinations you’re travelling to and through.
  • Read our general travel advice and tips before you go.
  • Read our general advice for travellers with disability. This includes getting travel insurance.
  • Understand how and when we can help. Read the Consular Services Charter.

See also

How Packing Cubes Work2021-07-06T15:46:07+10:00

A STAPLE FOR ANY FREQUENT TRAVELER, THE HUMBLE PACKING CUBE IS A HERO PRODUCT THAT TAKES THE STRESS OUT OF ORGANIZING AND TRANSPORTING YOUR STUFF. BEFORE YOU TRY ROLLING, STUFFING, AND SHOVING THINGS INTO YOUR SUITCASE, LEARN HOW TRAVEL PROS USE PACKING CUBES SO YOU CAN SAVE ROOM WHEN PACKING YOUR LUGGAGE. 

Perhaps you received packing cubes as a gift, or you picked some up based on rave reviews from other travellers. Now what? Are they just sitting in your closet, or maybe you’re using them for home storage?

Worse yet, maybe you tried to use the packing cubes haphazardly on a trip and they just confused you! If you don’t really understand how to use packing, read on for the definitive guide to what they are—and how to best organise your packing list using packing cubes of all different sizes. Once you learn tips and tricks to get the most out of a packing cube system, you’ll learn to love them. Here’s everything you need to know.

WHAT ARE PACKING CUBES?

Packing cubes are organisational tools for your suitcase that come in all shapes and sizes. Made from a range of durable and lightweight materials, most classic packing cubes are a rectangular shape and close with a zipper. Packing cubes work with either the rolling or folding method of travel packing.

Packing cubes are primarily used to organise clothes while traveling, but the range of sizes (not just rectangles!) make them ideal for also organising camera gear, cordsaccessories, and more. They differ from nylon or plastic compression bags because they can do so much more—compression cubes can compress just like a bag, but they can also hold and organize any other gear on the road.

In short, anything you put in a suitcase can likely be organized with a packing cube!  

DO PACKING CUBES WORK—ARE THEY EVEN WORTH IT?

When it comes to packing a suitcase, it pays to be a little obsessive. If you tend to rearrange your suitcase multiple times on a trip, ensuring it’s as organised as possible, then packing cubes are helpful and well worth the investment. Using packing organisers is a quick, easy way to bring order and harmony to your bag—and to your trip.

And because packing cubes come in all shapes in sizes, you can use as many or as few cubes as it takes to organise your gear. That means you might choose just two medium sized cubes and a smaller sized cube to pack for a beach vacation to Thailand’s islands, city attire for Beijing, and hiking clothes for a few nights in Yangshao’s rice terraces.

In the winter though, compression cubes and larger cubes are worth the investment—these helpful cubes space and cinch-down those bulkier items. Both of these sized cubes are worth it for travellers packing for long-term trips, or for families fitting a lot of gear in one bag!

For the true organisational fan, invest in a set of packing cubes and a set of packing sacs to start—that way you are picking the right cubes for your type of trip and you have a helpful range of options.

HOW TO USE PACKING CUBES 

PACK LIKE WITH LIKE

When you pack for a trip, your clothes, shoes, and accessories come from well-organised drawers, shelves, and closets. But on the road, all those items have to share the same limited real estate inside your travel pack or road trip duffel. Here are two approaches to using packing cubes:

  • Group items like you would at home. You don’t keep your underwear with your shoes, or belts and electronics in a drawer with your pants. So separating them in your travel bag just makes sense—and there are packing cubes specifically designed for packing each different type of gear. Think: shoe cubes, toiletry bags, bra cubes, t-shirt cubes, and more.
  • Pack by trip activity. You could pack a beach-weather cube—including cover ups and linen dresses—by rolling them in neat rows, arranging them as close together as possible. Swimsuits are easily scrunched into the same medium packing cube around the neat rows of outfits, or put them in a water-resistant slim cube. Consider the same approach for your hiking wardrobe—admittedly easier considering it may consist of just leggings, sports tops, and thin hiking pants and shirts.

As noted, packing cubes come in a broad variety of styles, shapes, fabrics, and they act like compact drawers and shelves in your bag, keeping similar items together and separating them into categories.

  • Use Packing Cubes for pants, t-shirts, pyjamas, socks, and more.
  • Use Garment Folders to keep dress shirts, dresses, skirts, and more wrinkle-free.
  • Use Compression Cubes for bulky items and dirty clothes.

In practice, that means you can roll your socks, scarves, belts, and underwear and put them into a small, extra small cube, or slim cube. Then roll your t-shirts, compress, and zip them into a medium packing cube. Large cubes work well for your pants, larger shirts, and bulky items—although really you should look to compression cubes if you’re packing sweaters and winter gear.

A packing starter set is a great way to start your collection with a variety of sizes.

USE PACKING CUBES THAT FIT YOUR LUGGAGE

Once you have the cubes packed, it’s time to fit the cubes into your luggage. This is when travellers often get frazzled because, admittedly, when you place the cubes in your bag, they take up the entire suitcase. But, if you compress them enough—and if you packed everything into them—then it all fits. At the end, fit your shoes on top (even better if you place them in their own packing bag) and then wedge any smaller packing sacks with remaining accessories into extra spaces around the cubes (these slip into the spaces created by handles and wheel wells).

What are these smaller items? Your jewellery, small electronics, cords, headsets, pens, notebooks, belts, camera, and sunglasses. Packing Sacs come in a variety of sizes to make packing these items easy.

  • An extra small sac or a durable cube works perfectly to protect your jewellery.
  • A medium packing sac is ideal for your electronics cords, toiletries, or as a way to easily store your travel first aid kit.
  • Don’t forget your makeup, and all your small odds and ends that seem to defy any category. For these smaller items, try another study cube.

Don’t get flustered on your first time with packing cubes, they do take some finagling, but you’ll quickly learn exactly the right configuration for your specific travel gear.

PERFECTLY CONTAIN DIRTY CLOTHES STINK

All too often a squished bag of dirty clothes accumulates and takes up more space than necessary when traveling. Separating soiled from clean clothing has always been a challenge for travellers. One solution is to launder soiled clothes daily, but that can get tiresome. Once you’re done wearing something, if it’s dirty, don’t crumple it into a ball, but rather toss it in a laundry sac, or roll it up and place it back in your Pack-It Clean/Dirty Cube—these feature one breathable compartment, and a second water-resistant compartment to hold in moisture and control odours.

If you keep the rolling technique, you can maintain a strict level of organisation in your suitcase until you get home. Sweaty stinky gym clothes? Wet bathing suit? No problem. Clean/Dirty Cubes ensure the unused, clean clothes remain just that—clean—so you can quickly identify unworn outfits to either use on the remainder of your trip, or when you get back home, the dirty clothes to pluck out and throw in the wash. This method ensures everything stays smelling fresh for your entire trip.

STAY ORGANIZED DURING YOUR TRIP

Upon reaching your accommodation, you can pick out your cube of choice, hang up all your clothing (or if you’re moving hotels throughout your stay, just take out one or two outfits) without disturbing the rest of your suitcase. It’s that simple. Once you use packing cubes, you save so much time by not rearranging your suitcase time and time again.

15 BEST PACKING CUBE TIPS

In the interest of providing an even more comprehensive overview of how best to use a packing cube, top travel bloggers share their top tips for organising your suitcase with packing cubes.

  1. Segment Small Electricals: Ben Horton uses packing cubes to segment small electricals—something made easier with the new eTools Pro. “I use small and medium packing cubes to organise my camera cables and batteries when I don’t want to take a whole camera bag out on location with me. It means I can travel light and grab small accessories with ease instead of having to empty the contents of my pack in order to find things.”
  2. Organise Camera Equipment: Jeremy who blogs as Travel Freak opts to organise camera equipment in his packing cubes. “Camera lenses will fit inside medium-sized Gear packing cubes. Other sturdy packing cubes can be used to pack your camera body or any other valuables that you may need while traveling. Don’t forget; never pack expensive equipment in your check-in luggage. You should always keep your valuables in your carry-on.”
  3. Protect Fragile Devices: Will from The Broke Backpacker suggests using Velcro dividers to protect fragile devices. “When using packing cubes for camera gear or fragile electricals, it’s key to use the stiff Velcro dividers integrated into your Gear Protect-It cubes. Use these dividers to create separate compartments within your cubes for each piece of equipment.”
  4. Easily Differentiate Kids’ Belongings: Victoria from Bridges and Balloons uses packing cubes to keep her kids organised while traveling. “I was already a packing cube fanatic pre-kids, but they’ve become even more useful now we travel as a family. Kids come with a lot of extra baggage and the cubes help keep it all organised. They’re especially useful on flights or in the car when we use them to separate snacks, toys, and spare clothes. For the kids’ main luggage, I have different colour packing cubes so I easily know whose is whose.”
  5. Reduce Plastic Waste: Meg of MappingMegan.com uses sustainable packing cubes to reduce plastic waste. “I love my water-resistant packing cubes, which protect the other contents of my luggage. And I use them to reduce plastic waste. You might be tempted to separate your dirty clothing, toiletries, or other items in plastic bags, only to discard them once you have used them. But this kind of usage of plastic bags causes so much waste and it is becoming an increasingly prevalent environmental problem. Use packing cubes and sacs instead!”
  6. Organise Your Toiletries. Travel writer Tim Leffel utilises a toiletry organiser when on the road. “I’ve been using packing cubes since I first went backpacking around the world in the mid-90s, including hanging travel toiletry kits to keep those items organised and hang them up in bathrooms without enough counter space.”
  7. Stay in ShapeStoryteller Emily Lush uses packing cubes to stay in shape. “I actually have a rather unusual use for my packing cubes—I weight them with toiletries and use them as dumbbells when I’m traveling. Each morning I do reps of different exercises to strengthen and tone. As a long-term traveller, it’s been an important part of my routine to keep fit on the road.”
  8. Colour-Code Your Packing System: Jarryd and Alesha from Nomadasaurus have a color-code to organise their packing cubes. “Having lived out of a backpack for the better part of a decade, packing cubes are absolutely essential to how we organize our gear. It might seem a little obsessive, but we have different coloured cubes for various items. Blue cubes for underwear and socks, green for shirts, red for pants and shorts, and black for cold-weather gear such as a fleece, thermals, gloves, and a hat.”
  9. Just Say Yes to Wrinkle-Free Clothes: Maggie from blog The World Was Here First layers clothing in packing cubes to avoid creasing. “My partner and I both use and love the Compression Cubes. One thing that works best for me when it comes to getting the most out of those specific cubes is to make sure my things inside are as flat as can be. I notice that many other people suggest rolling clothes to maximise space in the cubes, however, I have found this not to be nearly as effective as folding them flat and stacking them instead. It helps with the compression, maximising space, and also limits the number of wrinkles I get in my clothes.”
  10. Keep Essentials in Your Carry-On: Amber from FoodDrinkDestinations.com keeps a packing cube of travel essentials in her carry-on. “We bought an original packing cube in 2008 before our first round-the-world-trip. Since that time, we place the same packing cube carefully in one of our carry-on bags. We refer to it affectionately as The Cube. Inside we store all the small, but often important, stuff that we don’t want to lose. At any one time The Cube safely holds a bag of random currencies from around the world, transit cards from cities we frequent, random mobile sim cards, a portable Wi-Fi device, ear plugs, headphones, business cards, extra photos for visa applications, immunisation records, a backup credit card, and anything else small. The handle makes it easy to slip in and out of the carry-on bag. And, because it is a soft packing cube it doesn’t take up a ton of space!”
  11. Separate Seasonal Clothing: Sustainable travellers Max & Oksana from DrinkTeaTravel.com use packing cubes to categorise winter and summer clothing. “As full-time travellers, we learned the value of our packing cubes many years ago and now don’t go anywhere without them. As we often travel for long periods of time and in different climates, sometimes, half way through the trip, we’ll reorganise our folder packing cubes. We’ll put away our “winter” clothes in one cube and tuck them deep in our suitcase and keep all the “summer” clothes in another one. This keeps our suitcases neat and tidy!”
  12. Pair Packing Cubes with Rubber Bands: Kimmie of Adventures & Sunsets maximises space in her packing cubes with rubber bands. “Packing cubes have been my lifeblood while traveling and backpacking through 65+ countries. I travel with two large cubes and one smaller one, which I find fit perfectly, vertically in my 65L backpack. This packing cube tip is actually from my mom who works as a flight attendant; to fit as much as possible in your packing cubes try rolling clothes up with rubber bands! I keep a stash of rubber bands with me and roll all my clothes up tightly and place them like Tetris into my packing cubes.”
  13. Keep Delicates Separate & Safe: Bruna, travel blogger at Maps ‘N Bags separates her delicates in small packing cubes. “I usually travel with three packing cubes. One for tops, another for bottoms, and a third packing cube for socks, underwear, and bras. Because the last one is the smallest I have, and I don’t want to damage my underwired-bras, I tuck the cups inside of each other and stack them. Finally, I put the socks at the bottom, inside the cup to hold its form. It works like a charm.”
  14. Organise Your Road Trip Supplies: Jackie The Globetrotting Teacher uses packing cubes to stay organized on a road trip. “I love using packing cubes for road trips. Before leaving, I organise outfits and what I need for the night, like pyjamas and my toothbrush, in my packing cubes accordingly. I also have a cube for toiletries and one for medicines and first aid supplies. Then, instead of a suitcase or a large bag that takes up so much space, I use a trunk organiser, a bin or drawers to store my packing cubes in my vehicle. Because everything is separated, I can pick and choose what I take into a hotel or unpack in a tent. It’s much easier than hauling a suitcase in and out of the car every day.”
  15. Keep Your Cruise Cabin Tidy: Sandy from Boulevardsandbyways.com keeps her cruise cabin tidy by using packing cubes. “When packing for a recent 10-day cruise to the Caribbean I decided to purchase a set of packing cubes. With packing cubes in hand, I organised the different types of clothing I’d wear at various times during the cruise. Bathing suits and cover ups went in one, dressy tops and slacks in another. Shorts, t-shirts and tank tops filled larger packing cubes, and bras and underwear fit in a smaller sized cube. Because of the lack of drawer space, I kept the filled cubes in my suitcase. Whenever I needed an item, I’d pull my suitcase out from under the bed, pluck out the needed items and I was ready to go.”

Regardless of how stylish or simple your packing techniques are, once you give them a real try—no half-heartedness like some first attempts—you’re going to love them. Of course you could freewheel it and try to organize your bag using old shoe boxes or zip lock bags, but homespun solutions usually just add to the chaos. Face it, unless your clothes, gear, and travel accessories are properly corralled, they tend to wander, and before you know it, you’re traveling with a bag that looks like a rummage sale.

Once you’ve got your bag packed with packing cubes, it will be the most compact, organized suitcase of your life. You’ll be so proud you may not even want to unpack it upon arriving at your destination. But trust us, this is when packing cubes really shine.

International Travel Documentation must haves (Includes Medical Documentation)2021-07-06T16:09:31+10:00

Before departure it’s important to consider what travel documents you need for travel including your ticket, valid passport, forms of photo identification and more.

Tickets

You need a valid airline ticket to travel on any domestic or international flight. If you’re travelling on an electronic ticket (e-ticket), you’ll be issued with an itinerary receipt that you should carry with you at all times.

Passports

All passengers need a valid passport for international travel, regardless of the destination, but as some countries require at least six months validity remaining on the passport, you should check with the consulates of all the countries you’re planning to visit prior to your departure, as you may be refused entry if you don’t comply.

Important things to know before you go:

  • Visit the IATA Travel Centre  to check the passport validity requirements of your destination
  • When you depart from Australia you need to present your passport, boarding pass and completed passenger departure card to Customs
  • When you arrive in Australia you need to present your passport and a completed passenger arrival card to Customs
  • If you need to apply for or renew an Australian passport visit Passports Australia  for more details.

Machine readable passports

Some countries now require customers to be travelling with a machine readable passport. It has been confirmed that South Africa, India and Colombia are imposing this requirement, among other countries.

You should check with the embassy of the country you are travelling to for their specific passport requirements. Non-compliance can result in denied boarding.

Forms of identification

Domestic flights within Australia

If you’re travelling on a domestic flight within Australia, you’ll need to carry the following items with you:

  • photo identification such as a driver’s licence, passport or social security card; or
  • your ticket booking reference (printed on your e-ticket itinerary receipt); or
  • your Frequent Flyer membership card, Airline Club membership card; or
  • the credit card used to purchase the ticket.

Domestic flights within Australia departing from an international terminal

Domestic flights departing from an international terminal are flights between Australian capital cities that connect to or from a International service.

If you’re travelling on a domestic flight departing from an international terminal, and are 18 years of age or over, you’ll be asked to produce photo identification (ID) that includes your full name at check-in.

Important points to remember when travelling domestically on an international flight include:

  • Your booking name must match the ID you’re using.
  • Check-in is at the International terminal of the city you’re departing from and International check-in times apply.
  • Airport Customer Service Agents will check your ID and attach a ‘D’ (Domestic) sticker to your boarding pass.
  • You must keep your boarding pass and present it at Customs clearance points at the commencement and conclusion of your domestic trip. This is required to comply with the Migration regulations administered by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

Find out more about domestic passengers travelling on international flights at Australian Customs and Border Protection ServicesOpens external site in a new window.

Photo identification

Acceptable forms of ID include:

  • a valid passport (non-Australian customers must show a passport as ID);
  • a valid Driver’s Licence issued under a law of the Commonwealth of Australia or an Australian State or Territory;
  • a document issued by the Commonwealth of Australia, or a State or Territory of Australia, or by an authority of the Commonwealth of Australia, that identifies the person;
  • an Aviation Security Identification Card (ASIC) issued by the operator of the aircraft, or the operator of an airport in Australia;
  • an Australian university or TAFE photo identification card; or
  • an Australian-issued APEC card.

Identification for customers under 18 years of age

Travelling with a parent or guardian:

Children under 18 years of age travelling with a parent or guardian can travel without an acceptable form of ID as long as the parent or guardian has an acceptable form of ID. A Customer Service Agent will endorse the child’s boarding pass with the details of the accompanying adult.

Travelling unaccompanied:

Children under 18 years of age travelling unaccompanied and without an acceptable form of ID can still travel. A Customer Service Agent will escort the child through International departure and arrivals channels.

Note that there are additional requirements for children under 12 years of age travelling unaccompanied. For information on domestic and international travel for unaccompanied minors visit children travelling alone.

Travelling as part of an organised school or community-based group:

Children must be accompanied by a school teacher or adult group leader holding a letter of authority which verifies that the adult has permission to escort the children. The accompanying adult will be responsible for the children at all times. The letter should contain the following information:

  • purpose of the trip;
  • full names and dates of birth of the accompanying adult(s);
  • full names, dates of birth and sex of each children travelling.

For further information visit travelling with children and infants.

Visas

A visa is permission for a non-citizen to travel to or transit through a particular country. To find out if you need a visa for travel to a particular country, visit the IATA Travel Centre

Medical Documentation

Some travellers have special needs or concerns that require specific attention, particularly if air travel is involved. Older travellers, women who are pregnant or people with a chronic condition may be required to carry documentation of their medical requirements. Here are some tips to make sure you have everything covered.

Documentation: All travellers may wish to carry documentation stating basic health information such as blood type and allergies.

Pregnancy: Pregnant women may require a letter from their doctor or midwife stating their expected date of delivery, as international flight is not permitted after 36 weeks by most airlines (or after 32 weeks if you are expecting a multiple birth).

Medical conditions: If you have a medical condition that may require special attention during travel, you may need to provide your airline with a medical certificate. By making your airline aware of your needs, you will ensure your maximum comfort on your journey.

Pacemakers: People who have a pacemaker may be concerned about security checks as pacemakers may be affected by modern screening equipment. All travellers with a pacemaker should carry a letter from their doctor and advise the staff at the airport screening area.

Vaccination: Always carry your vaccination record with you, especially your vaccination certificate for yellow fever. This is required for entry to some overseas countries.

Travelling with medicines: If you require a prescription medicine, you should carry a supply with you (preferably in your hand luggage), along with a letter from your doctor certifying your need for the medicine and any other medical items that may be questioned by customs officials, such as syringes. Because of airline security, large quantities of liquids and sharp objects may have to remain in checked luggage. Make sure that any prescriptions you may need filled overseas are written as generic names: trade names can differ among countries. Where possible carry enough medicines to last the length of your trip as some may not be readily available in other countries.

MedicAlert: Recognisable identification such as a MedicAlert bracelet may be advisable for those with chronic conditions such as diabetes and for those with potentially dangerous allergies. These types of identification are internationally recognised and will ensure you are diagnosed and treated promptly, as well as overcoming any language difficulties in the event of an emergency.

Consult your doctor or healthcare professional if you have any queries about your health on holidays, or queries about documentation you may require.

 

What to Pack for Your Holiday?2021-07-06T16:10:13+10:00

Whether this is your first trip or you’re a seasoned globetrotter, it’s always helpful to have a list of the travel essentials you may want to pack for your vacation. You know what we mean—a comprehensive international travel checklist that covers everything from travel packing must-haves to a list of toiletries, and so much more.

STEP 1: CHOOSE THE RIGHT TRAVEL BAG FOR YOUR TRIP

Before you even begin deciding what to pack, it’s important to find a travel bag that’s as versatile as you need it to be, while also fitting all your stuff and being easy to carry. Consider the length of your trip, as well as if it’s an international vacation, if you’ll be using budget airlines, and your primary activities—all of these considerations impact which bag is best for your trip.

Wherever you’re planning to go, pick luggage that is versatile, lightweight, and big enough to hold all your travel essentials. The most important decision you’ll make is (as far as luggage is concerned) is buying a bag that has an awesome warranty. Traveling with a piece of luggage with a broken wheel, handle, or zipper is the absolute worst! Brands that back their gear with stand-up warranties build that promised durability into their gear.

  • Rolling Luggage: Let’s face it. Wheels are nice. There’s no need to carry all your gear on your back or via a duffle bag if you know you’re going to be traveling in a city where there are paved roads and sidewalks. You may also want to consider a bag with off-road wheels, making them extra durable for trips even when there isn’t a smooth path.
  • 4-Wheels: As you fill up your wheeled luggage, weight can become a bit restrictive—especially if you have to walk long distances. Consider 4-wheels to keep the weight off your wrist and effortlessly roll your bag by your side.
  • Duffel Bagel: These are simple, lightweight bags and are crazy durable. Sling it over your shoulder, or put some wheels on it and get on your way. These are the most versatile travel solutions you can get, with everything from classic duffels to convertible backpacks, wheels, and more.
  • Wheeled Backpack: If you’ll be going through different types of terrain, or switching from airports to cobblestones, having a bag with the option to roll it or carry it like a backpack or duffel is really handy.
  • Travel Backpack: If you know you don’t want the extra weight of wheels, traveling with a travel pack is going to mean hands-free mobility and ultimate versatility.
  • Carry-On: Whenever possible, travel with carry-on luggage. It means you can save time at the airport, save on check-in fees, guarantee the airlines won’t lose your bag, have everything you need with you at all times, ensure you don’t have to wait at baggage claim…the list goes on and on.

Travel Tip : Picking the right travel luggage is an important step not only on this trip, but all of your future trips as well. You may need more than one bag in your collection, but you can narrow down the list of choices based on what will be the most useful to you most of the time, and what best fits everything you need to pack.

STEP 2: ORGANISE YOUR TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

If you plan to do lots of different types of activities on your vacation, you’ll have a fair amount of gear you need to pack into your suitcase. Keeping everything organized can be a challenge. One of the best things you can do when you’re packing for any trip—especially one that requires packing lots of layers—is to use packing organizers.

It is all about keeping your suitcase organised with packing organisers so that you know exactly where everything is, and so your clothing can be arranged and compressed, easily allowing you to fit more in your bag. Why spend your time packing and unpacking when you can quickly unpack by sliding your organizers directly into hotel drawers, and pack up quickly, getting seamlessly from one place to the next without having to rearrange your entire bag every time?

Wondering how to use packing cubes? Basically, keep your clothing organized in compartments based on outfit type or activity type. Zippered packing cubes come in all shapes and sizes, making it easy to keep your bag neat and provide quick access to all the different things you’ll need during your trip. You can use compression sacs or cubes to reduce the volume of your clothes by up to 80%—his is especially convenient for bulky items such as sweaters and jackets. And folders are great for keeping dress clothing nice, neat, and folded.

Another way to use packing cubes is to organize your travel packing list by item type. Keep all of your shirts together, all of your pants together, all of your underwear together, and all of your jackets together. If what you’re going to do each day is still up in the air, or you like to pick out your clothes the day of rather than having your outfits planned ahead of time, you’ll know exactly where to find each item of clothing.

START WITH THIS CLOTHING PACKING LIST:

THE BASICS

  • Lightweight clothing that can be layered
  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • Sweaters or fleece jacket
  • T-shirts and tank tops (be respectful of the culture you are visiting)
  • Pants and/or shorts
  • Belt
  • Socks (wool socks are best for hiking and camping)
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Rain jacket, windbreaker or umbrella
  • Pyjamas/sleepwear
  • Underwear
  • Sunglasses and glasses case
  • Dresses and/or skirts
  • Jewellery (organize in a small cube or sac)
  • Hat or sun visor
  • Scarf or bandana
  • Swimsuit or swim trunks (consider a clean/dirty organiser)
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Travel speakers
  • Travel pillow, eye mask, and ear plugs
  • Electric converters and adapters
  • Travel apps that will help with language, directions, money conversion, and digital journaling

You’ll want to pack smart (not lots of) clothing options if your trip will take you to a variety of places, or conversely if you will be navigating off the beaten path. Having a packing list with several options doesn’t mean you’ll need to over-pack. (And in fact, you shouldn’t.) Just pack smart. Include clothing that can be worn on your daily adventures and then dressed up slightly with a different pair of shoes and a scarf. Maybe a dress that becomes a skirt, or comfortable travel pants that can be dressed up for a day at the market. Also consider clothing with SPF or mosquito repellency if you’ll be in environments where that would be beneficial.

Travel Tip : Creating a well-organized bag before you leave can transform your travel days.  Learn more about choosing the right packing organizers to pack the variety of everyday basics you’ll need on your international or weekend vacation.

STEP 3: PACK YOUR TOILETRY BAG

If you’re carrying on, keep your toiletry bag light and compliant. Liquids, gels, aerosols, creams, and pastes must be compliant to which countries you are travelling too. They must be stored in container, clear plastic, zip-top bag.

HERE’S A COMPLETE PACKING LIST OF TRAVEL ESSENTIALS FOR YOUR TOILETRY CASE:

THE TOILETRY BAG BASICS

  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash
  • Hair brush or comb, hair ties, barrettes/bobby pins
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Sunscreen and face lotion with SPF
  • Make up packed in a washable sac
  • Face wash and/or makeup remover wipes and Q-tips
  • Night time moisturizer/lotion
  • Lip balm with SPF and lipstick or lip gloss
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Extra contacts, solution, and contact case
  • Glasses and prescription sunglasses
  • Prescription medication with the label/script so that you can refill if needed and not be questioned by the authorities in the countries you are visiting.

TOILETRY BAG EXTRAS

  • Cologne/perfume
  • Personal mini mirror
  • Hair products like hairspray, hair gel, and beard oil
  • Clothesline and detergent
  • Shaving kit and extra razors
  • Sewing kit/clothing care kit, stain remover
  • Facial tissues and/or toilet paper
  • Travel Towel
  • Nail clippers and tweezers (optionally, scissors, which must be in checked luggage)

TRAVEL HEALTH

As soon as you decide to travel internationally, check Australian Government Smartraveller website or The World Health Organisation website for comprehensive information on travel vaccines, medicines, and local travel advice. Whether you decide to get vaccinated or not is your decision, but many vaccinations require administration two months before travel begins. So get informed!

Although you can buy pre-made travel health kits online, it’s just as easy to use small, water-resistant packing sacs as the container for your kit, then construct one from your medicine cabinet at home, only securing those items you may not already have on hand.

  • First aid kit (bandages, gauze, adhesives, etc.)
  • Personal prescriptions (copies of scripts)
  • Pain and fever relievers (also children’s strength if you are traveling with kids)
  • Thermometer
  • Cold medicines and throat lozenges
  • Diarrhea/laxative medicines
  • Oral rehydration salts
  • Allergy medicines
  • Hydrocortisone cream/antibacterial ointment
  • Multivitamins
  • Sunburn relief
  • Insect repellent/mosquito net/sting reliever
  • Motion sickness pills or bands
  • Altitude sickness pills (if you are planning to hike in higher altitudes)
  • Eye drops
  • Moleskin
  • Medicines and vaccinations specific to the region/activity

ADDITIONAL HEALTH ITEMS

  • Hand sanitiser or wet wipes
  • Prescriptions in original packaging (you’ll want to make sure you have these in your carry-on bag just in case something were to happen to your checked luggage)
  • Sleeping medicines
  • Glasses and glasses case (email yourself a copy of your prescription, just in case)

Travel Tip : Your under-the-seat bag can hold a lot! Some travelers can even pack an entire trip in a small bag—at the very least learn how to put your under-the-seat bag to good use when packing for international travel.

STEP 4: PREPARE YOUR PERSONAL ITEM CARRY-ON BAG

The next thing you’ll want to do is prepare a packing list especially for your personal item carry-on bag with anything that you’ll want with you on the flight. It’s always a good idea to make sure you have an outfit (or two) and a few essential toiletries in your personal item just in case your luggage is lost.

If you’ll be traveling around to multiple destinations, make sure this small bag has items to keep you comfortable on any train, boat or bus rides. It’s always nice to have a bag that’s easy to access so you don’t have to get into your luggage each time you need your eye mask. But remember, you’ll be carrying all of this, so keep it light.

We recommend you consider using a small daypack, shoulder bag , or waist pack as your personal carry-on item. Here are some good things to include in your carry-on bag packing list:

TECHNOLOGY

  • Mobile device and charger
  • Laptop, iPad, or E-reader and charger(s)
  • Headphones (consider noise-reducing headphones if you’re sensitive to sound)
  • Camera and GoPro/video camera, memory card, and chargers
  • Electrical converters and adapters

TRAVEL COMFORT, ENTERTAINMENT, AND INFORMATION

  • Travel pillow, blanket, eye mask, and ear plugs
  • Travel journal and pen (it’s awful when you forget your pen!)
  • Books and magazines
  • Deck of cards and travel games
  • Chapstick and lotion (t’s dry up there)
  • Water bottle (you’ll need to fill it up once you get through TSA)
  • Guide books, travel guides, maps, language guides, etc. (if you will need any of these upon arrival at your destination, put it in your carry-on)

STEP 5: COLLECT IMPORTANT TRAVEL DOCUMENTS, CASH, AND CREDIT CARDS

Start by collecting all of your important documents in a travel document organiser. By bringing all your important information together, this will help ensure you have everything you need to get from one place to the next.

Not sure what you need? Here’s your international travel checklist, document-wise:

  • Passport/visa(s)
  • Personal ID/Student ID card
  • Frequent flyer card(s) and other loyalty program card numbers (ex: hotel chains and airlines frequent flyer member numbers)
  • Cash and credit card(s) (call your credit card companies before you travel to inform them of your travel, otherwise they might turn them off to prevent perceived fraud.
  • Health insurance cards/document(s)
  • Travel insurance information
  • Reservations and itineraries (print them and save them electronically for easy access)
  • Hotel and/or tour contact information
  • Transportation tickets (plane, train, bus, car, etc.)
  • Emergency contacts and important addresses
  • Copies of all these things in case you lose your wallet
  • Guide books and maps

Travel Tip : As soon as you book a trip, it’s a good idea to double-check that your passports and IDs aren’t expired, and that they will not expire while you are traveling internationally. You’ll also want to inform your bank if you’re traveling abroad so they don’t assume fraudulent activity and freeze your credit card. Also consider emailing yourself a copy of your passport, driver’s license, medical cards and itinerary, so if anything happens to them you’ll be able to access them online.

STEP 6: CONSIDER TRAVEL SECURITY

In most large cities, travelers should always be on the lookout for pickpockets. The easiest way to keep your belongings safe is to keep them hidden and close to you. One way to do this is to stash your valuables underneath your clothing. Another way is by locking your bags closed and using reflective accents to help folks see you at nighttime.

CONSIDER THIS LIST OF SAFETY TRAVEL ESSENTIALS:

  • Money belt or hidden pocket
  • Neck wallet
  • Undercover Bra Stash for credit cards and cash only
  • Leg wallet
  • Incognito All Terrain Money Belt which looks like a real belt!
  • Luggage Travel Lock
  • Reflective clothing and luggage accessories
  • Bring a headlamp or mini flashlight, better to be safe than unprepared

Wearing a money belt or neck wallet lets you keep your valuables close to your body and away from prying hands. Review all the different styles and choose what works best for you and the type of travel you’ll be doing. You may also want to choose an option with RFID protection. RFID protection keeps all passports with an RFID chip (issued after 2006) and credit cards/debit cards safe while travelling. How? It’s simple. Identity theft can occur when someone is able to “read” through your purse or pocket via the microchip, which has personal information stored on it. By using an RFID blocking technology, your personal information is protected.

STEP 7: PREPARE YOUR HOME

If you’re going on an extended trip, it’s essential to get your home in order before you go. Here are some simple tasks to think through before you head to the airport. (And yes, this travel checklist also includes thinking through home care.)

  • Have the post office hold your mail
  • Stop newspaper delivery
  • Set up an email autoresponder (unless you plan to be connected)
  • Arrange for the care of pets, lawn, and plants
  • Pre-pay your bills
  • Prearrange school absences for children and get any home study assignments required
  • Empty refrigerator of this that will expire
  • Unplug appliances
  • Turn off heater/air conditioner
  • Turn down water heater
  • Turn off washing machine taps
  • Lock all doors and windows
  • Set up timed light system
  • Store valuables in a safe place
  • Leave house key and trip itinerary with a trusted friend
  • Leave flight and hotel itineraries with a relative
  • Reconfirm/check-in online with airline before you Uber, train, or shuttle to the airport

Travel Tip : If you will be gone for more than 30 days, it’s a good idea to check with your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance for specific instructions.

What to Look for When Choosing a Camera for Travel2021-07-06T16:10:48+10:00

For many years, we have travelled to amazing places with a very, very old point and shoot camera and our super dodgy iPhone 7’s. We visited places like Iceland and, with no money for a camera or understanding of how important it was, we took pretty bad quality photos and now, we have nothing but those to show for ourselves. We wish we could go back in time and have a better camera to capture the amazing places we visited. A great camera for travel is essential and, thanks to some great advancements in tech, not only are cameras better, there are cameras to suit a wider range of budgets and needs.

If you’re thinking about buying a new travel camera but are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information out there, We hope this guide will be able to help you. Here, we’ve compiled everything we know and wish we knew about cameras, from start to finish, stepping you through everything you need to actually choose the very BEST new travel camera for you.

1. Understand the different types of camera

Before you start looking for a new travel camera, it’s important to understand the different types of camera available. This will help you work out which one best suits your needs, travel style and budget. Here’s a breakdown of the four main types of travel camera.

DSLR

For a long time, the DSLR was King of the cameras. When we bought our first good camera, we went straight for a DSLR as it offered the very best image quality, manual control and a range of lenses to play with. A DSLR is comprised of two parts – the body and the lens. Inside the body, there’s a mirror that reflects the light coming from the lens, sending it through a series of mirrors or a prism, to the viewfinder.

This means, you can see the exact image you’re going to capture and there’s no lag time, as you experience with a point and shoot or mirrorless camera. DSLR’s have great battery life, as the viewfinder uses very little power, but because of all that tricky mirror tech inside, even the smallest of DSLR’s is quite big and heavy. For us, our Canon 7D DSLR offers amazing quality photographs and control over each image we take but it’s expensive, bulky and heavy. Remember, you will get addicted and want new lenses and they ain’t cheap!

Best brands: You’ll find people who are loyal to different brands but both Nikon and Canon perform very well, when it comes to lenses we are a big fan of the Sigma Art Series lenses, they’re so smooth and buttery.

Mirrorless 

Enter the era of the mirrorless camera, which has fast become the go-to choice for travellers! In fact, we are looking to switch to mirrorless this year. You’ll find mirrorless cameras are smaller and lighter than a DSLR. Remember all that stuff we said about DSLR’s and their mirrors? Well, as the name suggests, a mirrorless camera doesn’t have all that junk in its trunk, so it’s far lighter. The imaging sensor in a mirrorless is exposed to light at all times, which gives you a digital preview of your image, as opposed to seeing it with your own eye as you do with a DSLR.

You can still buy interchangeable lenses for a mirrorless, which is part of what makes it a BIG step above a point and shoot camera. While the camera itself will be lighter, if you go for a big lens it’s going to add weight, so keep in this mind when shopping. Mirrorless cameras offer excellent image quality and full manual controls, they can be much lighter than a DSLR but they burn through battery life faster. From what we’ve seen, mirrorless is a cheaper alternative to DSLR.

Best brands: The new Sony Alpha Series of cameras are legendary, so they’re definitely worth looking into, though Fujifilm throws down too.

Point & Shoot 

The best thing about a compact point and shoot camera is the size and weight! They’re easy to slip and out of your pocket which, honestly, means you’ll probably take more photos than if you have to whip out your big DSLR or mirrorless each time (trust us, they get annoying). Don’t let the idea of a point and shoot put you off by conjuring up images of grainy, terrible photos because the technology has come a long way.

On the low end of things, you can get a fantastic, powerful little point and shoot for under $300. We recently bought a SONY RX100V for its video capabilities and it’s now our go-to camera over our DSLR because it’s so incredibly light, easy and fast to use, reliable and amazing in low-light situations. We love it. Ours was by no means cheap (coming in at around $1,400). A compact point and shoot camera doesn’t have to mean compromising on photo quality. Depending on your budget, they can offer fantastic, reliable images with absolute ease!

Best brands: Panasonic and Canon offer some great options for less and, of course, Sony.

Action Cam 

If you live for adventures, an action camera like a GoPro could be a fantastic choice for any of the others listed here. We met a photographer who exclusively shoots on GoPro and his images are fantastic, so there’s no reason an action camera couldn’t be your one and only camera too. Action cameras are incredibly light and relatively easy to use, especially as you can tether them to your phone and use it as a remote for the camera, making it perfect for solo travellers wanting to get photos of themselves. You can also do some really creative photography with an action camera + accessories, things like split-shots, where the photo is taken above and below the water at the same time. It’s awesome.

In addition, you will find waterproof housings far more affordable than you can for the camera types listed above. This means you can take your action camera skydiving, snowboarding and snorkelling with you. They capture amazing action video, are sturdy and open up a world of unique photography options. Of course, the disadvantages are around stability, the ability to manually control the shot, zoom and battery life.

Best brands: GoPro really has the market cornered, though we’ve heard good things about Sony’s action cams.

2. Think about how you want to use it

Now you know the four main types of camera and what each of them actually does, plus a few of the pros and cons, it’s time to figure out how you want to use your new travel camera. This is going to help you decide which type of camera is best suited for you. From there, you can hone in on what, specifically, you need your camera to do then find the perfect one for you.

So, take some time to have an honest think about what type of traveller you are. If you love action and adventure, chances are you’re going to need something light. If you’re a luxury traveller who likes to chill out a lot, something a little heavier may not bother you. If you like to have full control over your travel photographs and really craft the shot, a DSLR might be more suited. If you just want to snap some images for the memories, a point and shoot might be your best bet.

It’s also important to be honest about how lazy you are because a DSLR is a big investment and if you don’t genuinely have the patience to learn how to use it in manual mode, maintain it properly and take the time to set each shot, you’re not going to get your money’s worth. This is where mirrorless cameras or a high-end point and shoot like mine make a great alternative.

3. Weigh up the ergonomics

Okay, so you’ve been real with yourself about how committed you are to travel photography, your travel style and photography needs, which means by this stage you should have a fairly good idea of the type of camera that’s going to suit you best. Now, it’s time to weigh up the ergonomics of the camera. When you start researching different brands, these are the things you’re going to want to look for.

Size

Be sure to hold each camera in your hands so you can understand the size of it properly. Think about how you plan to transport it safely and securely. Will it need its own backpack or camera bag? How big will this need to be and how much bulk is that going to add to you? Will it fit easily in your carry-on for long-haul flights? If you’re after a point and shoot, will it fit snuggly and securely in your pocket? Does that mean it can easily be pickpocketed? If you’re after a DSLR, how big is the camera with the lens on and where/how are you going to store and transport the lenses?

Weight 

Again, you need to hold the camera in your own two hands to truly understand the weight of the thing. Our DSLR is ridiculously heavy but, when you first hold it, it feels so cool and professional you don’t really notice it. Trust us, after a 6-hour walking tour through Europe, you, your shoulder and your massage therapist know all about it. It’s important you get a very good feel for the weight of any camera you’re considering buying then think about how that weight converts to travel. A heavy camera and all its lenses won’t transport itself so think about how that weight will feel on your back or shoulder while in transit and how you can make that weight bearable. If you don’t think you can cope, choose a lighter option.

Durability 

Trust us, the last thing you need is a flimsy camera that can’t take a knock. While you’ll have the very best intentions of keeping your beloved camera safe and sound, you are definitely going to drop it, bump it, scratch it or hit it at some point. Can it take a knock? Will it fall to pieces at the first bump? How is it in different weather situations? Does it handle damp weather situations okay? What happens if you’re somewhere really cold or really hot? Make sure your camera can stand up to all the different travel situations you’re going to put it through.

Ease of use 

Is the camera you’re looking at within your capabilities or is it really complicated to work out? If you need to learn to use the camera in manual mode, are you committed to doing that? We love using our DSLR in manual mode as we love the control it affords us and we can take the shot exactly as we want to but it took us a while to learn how and, when we see a photo we want to take, it does take me a few minutes to set the shot up and get the settings right. What are the menus like? Do they look easy to figure out? What about the controls on top of the camera, do they make sense? If it all looks too crazy, it might not be right for you.

4. Understand the extras

Aside from the basic features and ergonomics, there are a few other things you’ll need to consider. Again, these will only come into play depending on what you want your camera to do for you.

Battery life 

This is a big one! When you’re out all day travelling, you either need a camera with fantastic battery life, lots of spare batteries for a camera with shitty battery life or a way to recharge batteries.

Image stabilisation 

Image stabilisation will reduce shakiness when you’re shooting, which means reduced blurriness when you’re shooting in a low light situation. Without a tripod, we are pretty much unable to use my DSLR for video or low-light situations as it’s just so shaky when hand-held – the weight of the thing makes this problem even worse. Our Sony RX100V has fantastic image stabilisation which is a big part of why we bought it and what makes it so good for video. Consider whether image stabilisation is something that matters to you.

Video mode features

If good quality video footage is a priority for you, you’re going to want to look into the video features of your potential new camera. The standard for high-definition (HD) is 1080p but you can also find cameras shooting as high as 4K, which is four times the resolution of 1080p. Consider if you want to be able to shoot in slow-motion too.

Wifi connectivity 

Think about how you want to access your photos and if it’s important for your camera to have wifi connectivity. If it doesn’t this means you’ll need to download the photos from your computer/laptop to access them. If it does, you can transfer photos from your camera to your device – perfect for getting a great snap on your phone and social media quickly and easily.

5. The cost of camera accessories

The cost of a camera doesn’t start and end with the purchase of the camera itself. Here are a few other things to consider as they’ll impact the overall spend on your camera and could potentially impact your decision on what to go with.

Camera Bag 

If you’re shelling out big bucks for an amazing camera, it needs to be protected properly. So, factor in the cost of a very good quality camera bag that offers reliable protection for your camera, We would also recommend it’s waterproof, comfortable on your back and shoulders and meets airline carry-on requirements.

Additional Batteries 

If your camera is going to have a low battery life, be sure to factor in the cost of additional batteries.

Cost of memory cards 

Before you buy, look into the cost of memory cards for your camera so you aren’t shocked when you go to the check-out and have the salesperson ring you up for an extra few hundred dollars. Again, it’s just one of those things you need to buy but will, ultimately, bump up the overall price of your camera.

6. Shop around and know what you want

Before you start looking at cameras and go out shopping, make sure you have a really clear idea of what it is you want. When we get into stores it can be easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of information a salesperson shares with you and they’re often speaking a lingo us mere mortals may not properly understand. So, be very clear on what it is you do and do not want. Know your budget and stick to it. When you go into a store, be confident and well-informed. We always do detailed research before we go, so we are rock-solid in our knowledge and, when we are talking to them, the salesperson knows I understand what I’m talking about. Decide what you need first, then find a camera that matches that.

We would also recommend watching YouTube reviews of cameras. If you’re a visual learner, seeing the camera in action and a compare/contrast of different features may be really helpful.

While online research and online shopping are great tools, especially if you find a great sale online that saves you some money, it is important you go into a store and hold that camera in your own two hands so you can properly understand its size, weight and quality. If we could give you one piece of advice, it would be this: choose a camera that is the best quality you can afford for your budget and be very aware of how heavy it is. There’s a reason our Sony is our favourite – the photos are great quality and it’s light as a feather!

Travel Safety Tips2021-07-06T16:11:19+10:00
  • Research the safety of your intended destination with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  • Carry with you at all times the contact details of the Australian embassy.
  • For up-to-date information on ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe’ areas of the city, consult with your hotel manager or local tourist information officer.
  • Try to blend in with the locals and avoid looking or acting like a tourist.
  • If you are mugged, don’t fight back. It is better to lose a few dollars and a wristwatch than get injured.

On this page

  • Travel safety
  • Transport safety
  • Hotel safety
  • Don’t stand out in a crowd when travelling
  • Don’t make yourself an attractive target when travelling
  • Beware of scams when travelling
  • Where to get help
  • Things to remember

Unwary tourists can make easy targets for thieves because they stand out in a crowd, are unused to their surroundings, and are generally carrying money, credit cards and valuables like cameras. You can reduce your risk of being mugged or robbed by taking a few simple precautions. It is a good idea to research the safety of your intended destination with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. This government department keeps an updated bulletin on travel destinations, covering factors such as political unrest or criminal activities that target tourists. You could also consult with your travel agent, or talk to friends who have already visited your intended destination.

Travel safety

Suggestions include:

  • Keep your travel plans, including accommodation details, to yourself.
  • Don’t hitch hike.
  • Try not to travel at night.
  • Avoid ‘seedier’ areas of the cities you visit, especially at night.
  • Ask your hotel manager for advice on ‘safe’ versus ‘unsafe’ local areas.
  • As a general rule, city streets that include children and women suggest the area is safe for families.
  • Carry with you at all times the contact details of the Australian embassy. If your city doesn’t have an Australian embassy, find out which other country’s embassy is available to help you, such as the British embassy.
  • Keep a photocopy of your passport and all other important documents in a safe place.
  • Use ATMs during the day, when there are people around.
  • Try to rely more on credit cards and travellers cheques than cash.
  • If you are mugged, don’t fight back. It is better to lose a few dollars and a wristwatch than get injured.
  • Avoid incidents such as fights, riots or civil disturbances at all times.

Transport safety

Suggestions include:

  • At the airport, watch for your suitcase as it appears on the carousel. Don’t hang back and wait for the crowds to disperse – you might find that someone else has already taken your bag in the meantime.
  • Avoid changing money at airports, as thieves could be watching you.
  • Consult with your hotel manager or tourist information centre about the public transport in your area. Make sure you know what official taxi cabs look like. A thief may pose as a taxi driver to lure you into their car.
  • Don’t share taxis with strangers.
  • Carjacking is a problem in some cities. When driving, keep all doors locked and windows up. Make sure your boot is locked too.

Hotel safety

Suggestions include:

  • If possible, choose accommodation that has unmarked ‘swipe cards’ rather than numbered keys for each room. If you lose your swipe card or if it is stolen, the thief won’t know which room to rob.
  • Take note of emergency exits, stairwells, fire escapes and emergency plans, just in case.
  • Always lock your hotel door when retiring for the night. If there is a chain included, use it.
  • When arranging to meet people you’ve never met before (such as business associates), wait for them in the lobby. Don’t ask them to come up to your room.

Don’t stand out in a crowd when travelling

Suggestions include:

  • Even if you’re not sure where you’re going, walk like you’ve got a purpose.
  • Match your dress style to that of the locals. Don’t wear an obvious ‘tourist’ outfit like a loud shirt with a camera slung around your neck.
  • Be discreet when map reading.
  • Notice the people around you. Be wary if someone seems to be taking more than a passing interest.

Don’t make yourself an attractive target when travelling

Suggestions include:

  • Don’t wear expensive jewellery on obvious display.
  • Wear valuables (such as traveller’s cheques and credit cards) on a belt worn under the clothes and next to the skin.
  • If feeling particularly vulnerable, wear your money belt somewhere other than around your waist. Thieves know all about money belts too.
  • Consider carrying a ‘dummy’ wallet holding a small amount of cash. If you are directly confronted by a mugger, you can hand over the dummy wallet and avoid further distress.

Beware of scams when travelling

Thieves devise inventive ways to rob you. Some of these may include:

  • Posing as a police officer and asking to check your money for counterfeit bills.
  • Posing as a tour guide and offering to show you the sights of the city.
  • Slipping sedative drugs into your food or drink.
  • Thieves in different cities tend to favour different scams. Ask your hotel manager or local tourist information officer for more information.

Where to get help

  • Travel agent
  • Australian embassies
  • Local police
  • Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Things to remember

  • Research the safety of your intended destination with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  • Carry with you at all times the contact details of the Australian embassy.
  • For up-to-date information on ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe’ areas of the city, consult with your hotel manager or local tourist information officer.
  • Try to blend in with the locals and avoid looking or acting like a tourist.
  • If you are mugged, don’t fight back. It is better to lose a few dollars and a wristwatch than get injured.
Travelling on Public Transport Overseas – What to Know2021-07-06T21:19:19+10:00

Public transport

Public transport is a cost effective and convenient way of getting around overseas. However, just like in Australia, it carries risks.

Whether you’re getting around town by bus, ferry or train, it’s important to be prepared. Know the risks specific to your destination, so you can take steps to reduce them and stay safe.

 

Explore this page to learn the top-10 tips for transport safety overseas.

 

Research your destination

Travel together

Select the safer seat

Know the route and destination

Follow instructions

Be aware and alert

If it doesn’t add up, speak up

Be assertive

Protect your property

Know how and where to get help

 

This page is for Australians preparing to travel overseas. If you’re already travelling and need help, see what to do when things go wrong overseas.

 

  1. Research your destination

Travel advice. Know the key safety risks and common crimes where you’re going. Read our travel advice for your destination.

Tour guide and hotel manager. Ask a local for their advice on getting around safely. They may have up to date local knowledge on which forms of transport to avoid generally, or at certain times.

Ask the internet. Check online travel sites and forums. See what other travellers have experienced so you can make informed decisions about which forms of local transport you take.

Read our travel advice for your destination. Understand what each advice level means.

 

  1. Travel together

Travel with others. Travelling solo is more risky than travelling with others. Especially for women and LGBTI travellers.

Safety in numbers. If you’re on your own, find others to sit near. This counts while you’re waiting for the transport, and when you’re on it.

Keep your kids close. If you’re travelling with children, understand the risk of kidnapping in your destination. Keep your kids close, and sit between them and the aisle.

Also see our advice for women, LGBTI travellers and/or people travelling with children.

 

  1. Select the safer seat

Sit up the front. It’s often safer to sit closer to the driver, or the guard if there is one.

Stay on camera. Many trains, buses and ferries and stations have security cameras. If you can see a camera, the security guard monitoring the feed can probably see you.

Look for light. Choose a seat that’s well lit.

Look around. If a passenger near you is acting suspiciously, move.

 

  1. Know the route and destination

Plan your route.

Know where you’re getting off.

Set an itinerary. Write it down, or consider getting a travel planning app.

Learn more about travel planning apps (CHOICE).

 

  1. Follow instructions

Listen for announcements. Especially if there’s changes to the route or safety issues.

Comply with ticket inspectors. If you don’t have a ticket, or got the wrong ticket, you could be arrested or jailed. Especially if you didn’t get a ticket at all.

Learn more about staying within the law.

 

  1. Be aware and alert

Observe your surroundings.

Keep the volume down. If you’ve got headphones on, make sure you can still hear what’s going on around you.

Change seats. If you feel threatened in any way, move.

Get off. If something doesn’t feel right, get off. Trust your instincts. Consider getting a licensed taxi for rest of your journey.

Learn more about staying safe and avoiding danger.

 

  1. If it doesn’t add up, speak up

Terrorists often target public transport stations and vehicles.

Watch for suspicious behaviour. If you observe suspicious behaviour, report it.

Watch for suspicious items. If you see bags left unattended, cars parked in strange places or other items generally out of place, report it.

Learn more about terrorism.

 

  1. Know your boundaries

Be assertive. If a fellow passenger makes you feel uncomfortable in any way, make it clear it’s unacceptable. Try being polite first. If this doesn’t work, be direct.

Move away. If someone crosses your boundaries, move away.

Learn more about reducing your risk of sexual assault.

 

  1. Protect your property

Keep your bags on you. If possible, don’t let them out of your sight.

Lock and chain bags. Especially if travelling overnight, or if you have to put them out of sight.

Get a money belt. Keep your passport, cash and cards in a money belt under your clothes.

Learn more about reducing your risk of theft and robbery.

 

  1. Know how and where to get help

If you need urgent help overseas, contact local authorities first. We publish local emergency numbers in the travel advice for each destination.

Driver or staff. If something happens, talk to the driver, ticket inspector or nearest security guard.

Transport police. Many public transport systems have specialised police on public transport. They may be uniformed, or plain clothed.

Call for help. If you’re in immediate danger, call loudly for help. Don’t be afraid to scream.

Local authorities. If there’s a crime, report it to the local police. You may need the police report to support your travel insurance claim.

Hospital. If you’re assaulted, or sexually assaulted, get local medical assistance.

Friends and family. Especially if you’re not properly insured and need money.

Travel insurer. Contact your travel insurer. Most have 24 hour contact numbers.

There are limits how and when the Australian Government can help when Australian overseas. In most cases, you should exhaust all avenues before contacting us for help. Read the Consular Services Charter.

 

 

Make Sure to use No-Fee Bank Cards2021-07-06T16:12:16+10:00

Don’t give banks your hard-earned money. Keep that for yourself and spend it on your travels. Get a credit card and debit card that doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee or an ATM fee. Over the course of a long trip, the few dollars they take every time will really add up!

Take an Extra Bank Card and Credit Card With You2021-07-06T16:12:54+10:00

Disasters happen. It’s always good to have a backup in case you get robbed or lose a card. You don’t want to be stuck somewhere new without access to your funds. I once had a card duplicated and a freeze put on it. I couldn’t use it for the rest of my trip. I was very happy I had an extra and not like my friend, who didn’t and was forced to borrow money from me all the time!

How Can I Use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology for Travel?2021-07-06T16:13:28+10:00

What is RFID technology?

RFID tags are similar to bar codes, but they use radio waves to transmit information short distances. Most of us periodically use RFID technology by going through payless electronic toll centers on highways or utilising the “Fastpass” admission system used at many amusement parks.

How to use it when you travel?

RFIDblocking wallets are designed to help insulate you from a very particular brand of electronic pickpocketing, called RFID skimming. When activated by an RFID reader, these chips transmit certain types of information wirelessly, so that you can verify your identity or even make a purchase without swiping your card.

Here Are Some Practical Tips to Help You Protect Your Home While You’re Away on Holiday2021-07-06T16:14:49+10:00
  • Let trusted neighbours or friends know your travel plans so they can deal with any emergencies. Perhaps they can park their car in your driveway, take out your bins or mow your lawn so it looks like someone is still at home.
  • Ask someone to collect your mail on a regular basis or redirect through Australia Post and cancel your newspaper delivery.
  • Buy timers for your lights and program them to turn on and off in different rooms at times that match night and day patterns.
  • Make sure your electrical appliances are not left on stand-by. Unplugging things like your TV and computers will protect them from power surges, and save you power as well.
  • Turn down the telephone ringer volume and turn off any alarm clocks so that people outside your home can’t hear them for extended periods of time.
  • Turn off your garage door opener and ensure the door between your garage and your home is locked.
  • If you’ll be away for a long period of time, consider turning off your home’s water supply at the mains to prevent the risk of leaks.
  • Double check all doors and windows have been key locked.
  • Consider increasing your home security. If you already have an alarm system, don’t forget to switch it on before you leave and make sure the person looking after your property knows how to turn it off and back on. Making arrangements to have your alarm monitored will provide you with 24 hour protection while you are away.
  • Be conscious of your social media activity while you’re away. Avoid discussing your travel plans on Facebook and Twitter and while it’s nice to share pictures with friends, wait to post photos from your trip until you get home.
  • Water your houseplants/garden plants. If you have a house sitter or neighbour coming to check on them, leave them clear instructions.
  • Inspect your yard. Is the garden shed locked? Is everything put away? You don’t want to extend an invitation to thieves by leaving a ladder or tools in plain view.
  • Clear the fridge. Eat or toss leftovers and perishables. If you’re going on a long trip, you may want to clean and unplug the fridge to save energy.
  • Check the pantry, too. Rotting potatoes smell unbelievably gross. If onions, potatoes, garlic or other items have been sitting around too long, toss or compost them before you leave.
  • Take care of your pets. If your pets are staying in the house while you’re gone, make sure they have fresh food and water, as well as clean litterboxes or cages. Scan the house to make sure they can’t get into anything dangerous. Leave detailed instructions for your pet sitter.
  • Contact your alarm company. If you have a security system, let them know the dates you’ll be gone, as well as the name and number of a house sitter or neighbour.
  • Set a timer for your lights. Another burglar deterrent is a Fake TV, which is a little plug-in device that simulates the flicker of a television.
  • Notify your credit card companies of your travel plans. Otherwise, they may mistakenly flag your card for fraud if they see it being used in another country.
  • Wash, dry and fold laundry. Don’t forget that last peek into the washing machine.
  • Share your travel plans and a house key with a trusted neighbour or friend. You never know what might happen while you’re gone, so it’s wise to give at least one person access to your house.
  • Turn off your water heater, or set it to the minimum temperature. If you’re a morning-shower person, you can wait to do this until just before you leave.
  • Unplug appliances, such as your toaster and coffeemaker.
  • Close the blinds or curtains. This makes your house more secure and helps regulate the inside temperature.
The Best Tips for Using Your Phone Overseas2021-07-06T16:15:29+10:00

The days of wandering the world with an occasional phone call home are long gone.  Our smartphones are our pocket concierges when we travel: as well as helping us to stay connected to loved ones at home with texts and video calls, it’s how we book our next hotel, find our way around a new city and, of course, take and post photos to show what a great time we’re having.

But if you don’t have a plan, roaming the world can cost big bucks. These are five of the best ways to travel overseas with your smartphone without coming home to a shocking bill.

Buy a pre-paid travel SIM before you leave

Before you depart Australia, you can purchase a pre-paid SIM card for the country or region you’ll be visiting which provides data, call and text allowances. This allows you stay in control of your spend and top-up the SIM card if you burn through the initial allocation. Buying and activating the SIM in Australia also means you’ll have an Australian number to provide to your contacts and will be connected from the moment you touch down in a new country.

How to set it up: Purchase a travel SIM from your telco, the airport or Australia Post outlets. They start at around $25 depending on how much data you want and where you’re going. You will need to specify the region you’re travelling to before purchasing a pre-paid travel SIM.

Buy a pre-paid SIM when you arrive

Take advantage of local rates by buying a pre-paid SIM card with lots of data when you arrive at your destination. The data allowance is usually larger than what you will get with a travel SIM in Australia – anywhere between 5GB and 30GB – which means you can stay connected to friends and family at home through apps such as FaceTime, Skype and WhatsApp. Though you’ll be able to make local calls ­ (handy when trying to nab a table at the hottest restaurant in the city), you won’t be able to call Australia without incurring extra charges.

How to set it up: Before you leave, ask your Australian operator whether your smartphone is locked to the network. If not, it’s simply a matter of inserting the new SIM when you arrive. These are usually available at the airport or from a phone or convenience store.

Use your existing SIM card with global roaming

Australian telco providers all offer roaming packs which makes it possible for travellers to use their own number and data allowance in other countries. Telstra and Optus both offer $10/day roaming packages, which include 200MB and 100MB daily data respectively and unlimited talk and text. Vodafone offers $5 a day roaming to more than 55 countries so you can use as much data as your plan allows and unlimited calls and texts.

How to set it up: In the settings, enable data roaming. Check with your provider for specific instructions

Create a Wi-Fi hotspot for your family

Save money and encourage your teenagers not to wander off in search of Wi-Fi by keeping all your family’s devices connected with one pre-paid SIM card you can use as a hotspot rather than shelling out for several SIMs. Simply choose one with plenty of data.

How to set it up: Follow the instructions above for activating your SIM and change the generic password assigned by the phone to a more secure one of your choosing to share with your family.

Just use Wi-Fi

If you want to really save money, keep your smartphone on flight mode and just use Wi-Fi wherever and whenever you can find it. Its available pretty much anywhere you want to stop and rest – hotels, restaurants, cafés, and shopping centres – and some cities around the world, such as Seoul, Helsinki and New York, offer free Wi-Fi in select spots around town. You won’t be able to make or receive calls but can stay in touch and plan your trip using data.

How to set it up: Simply select the available Wi-Fi network and carefully read the terms and conditions – most services will require you to enter your email or other information. Exercise caution when using free Wi-Fi as it’s possible for someone else on the network to snoop on your information.  It’s a good idea to buy a VPN (virtual private network), which can be purchased for as little as $5 a month. This protects your connection and is like have a private tunnel to the internet.

How to Back-up Your Travel Photos2021-07-06T16:16:06+10:00

Only the most dedicated photographers take a proper camera with them on holidays; for most us, the high quality of our smartphone camera is more than enough to document our travel memories. And when you’re taking scores of snaps a day on the road, it’s best to do a back-up every day.

While the free 5GB offered by most cloud storage solutions is enough for many users (on average, people keep around 1000 photos and videos on their phone at once), it’s a good idea to give yourself plenty of room for future back-ups to avoid a frantic deleting session before a once-in-a-lifetime shot.

There are plenty of cloud storage and back-up options for both iOS and Android devices – find out how they work and what they cost so you can make the most informed decision.

iCloud

Available on iOS

Apple’s iCloud Photos is a built-in feature of iPhones and iPads that automatically backs-up your camera roll in full resolution when it is enabled in the settings. This way every shot you take on your iOS device is replicated in iCloud so you can free up valuable memory on your iPhone and still be able to access your photo library from any device.
How it works: Go to “Settings”, “Photos”, then “iCloud Photos” and set the switch to “on”, and check you have enough space for your images in iCloud.
Cost: 5GB free; 50GB/$1.49 per month; 200GB/$4.49 per month. 2TB/$14.99 per month is a good option for a family to use for all of their back-ups.

Please note prices may vary depending on the service provider.

Google Photos

Available on iOS and Android
Google Photos is a free service for both iOS and Android users that stores unlimited photos in up to 16-megapixel resolution and unlimited full HD videos. Google Pixel smartphones owners can take advantage of unlimited storage of full-quality images and videos; anyone else who wants to store high-resolution pictures and videos needs to purchase storage space.
How it works: Google Photos is pre-installed on Android devices and can be downloaded from the App Store for iPhone users. The app backs-up and syncs your images automatically.
Cost: 15GB free on Google One; 10GB/$2.49 per month; 20GB/$4.39 per month; 2TB/ $12.49 per month; 10TB/$124.99 per month; 20TB/$249.99 per month; 30TB/ $374.99 per month.

Please note prices may vary depending on the service provider.

Dropbox

Available on iOS and Android

This well-known professional cloud storage service is ideal for online photo and video storage thanks to the ease of access from its smartphone app. Dropbox allows users to upload and organise their photos and videos into folders and view them whenever they want from any device.
How it works: The Dropbox app is available to download for both Android and iOS. Users have the option of setting up automatic back-ups from their device. Tap “Camera Uploads” and toggle to “on”.
Cost: 2GB free; 2TB/$15.79 per month; 3TB/25.58 per month.

Please note prices may vary depending on the service provider.

Microsoft OneDrive

Available on iOS and Android

Even though Microsoft owns OneDrive, the platform is open to all iOS and Android users as a photo and video back-up option. It features automatic uploading of designated files and allows users to back-up, organise and share photos and videos from the app.
How it works: From the OneDrive mobile app you can choose to either selectively back-up files or set it to automatic by clicking on the “Me” icon at the bottom, then “Settings”, tap Camera Upload and set to “on”.
Cost: 5GB free; 50GB/$2.99 per month; 1TB/$10 per month.

Please note prices may vary depending on the service provider.

Amazon Drive

Available on iOS and Android

Amazon customers with an Amazon Prime membership have access to unlimited storage for smartphone images and videos online. It’s also possible to create a family vault and give access to your memories for family and friends. You can order prints and create photo books and calendars using the images you have stored on the platform.
How it works: Set up Auto-Save by tapping “More”, then “Settings” and click “Uploads”. Update preferences and approve back-ups over cellular if Wi-Fi is not available.
Cost: Free for Amazon Prime members ($6.99 a month); non-members can only access 5GB of storage.

Please note prices may vary depending on the service provider.

Guide to Driving Overseas2021-07-07T10:11:36+10:00

Heading overseas? That’s exciting! Planning on hiring a car? Even better. Touring the world on four wheels can be a magical way to travel. However, whether you’re a rip-roaring roadster or a slow poke sally, driving overseas can also pose its pitfalls. A road trip adventure can seem marvellous until you find yourself broken down on the motorway or busted for disobeying local road rules. Our overseas driving guide can get you geared up and ready to go. Below you’ll find tips on venturing into the unknown, a description of speeding limits by country, and a lesson on drink driving penalties around the world. You’ll also discover how to understand foreign road signs. Happy reading!

Tips on venturing into the unknown

Documented driver

Depending on where you’ll be driving, you may want to consider an International Driving Permit (IDP) for your trip. This handy piece of paper costs just $39 (AUD), is recognised as valid identification in over 150 countries and allows you to drive internationally without a hitch. It’s important to note that an IDP does not replace your Australian driver’s license. When behind the wheel overseas you should always have your regular driver’s license and passport with you. Note as well that some insurance policies actually require you to possess an IDP in order to drive overseas.  Be sure to check the country’s licensing requirements before you fly out (you can do so at the Australian Automotive Association) Top tip: IDPs are only available through state and territory motoring clubs. Take care that you don’t get swindled by counterfeit versions.

Check the rules

Driving rules can differ greatly around the globe which can have huge consequences on the way you get around. Even subtle differences, like turning right on a red light in the USA, are essential to understand before you step on the gas. On the other hand, major differences, like driving on the other side of the road are crucial to get your head around. Make sure to do some research before you head abroad and if you are going to be driving on the opposite side of the road, ease yourself in. Don’t hop in the driver’s seat straight after a long-haul flight and try to avoid high traffic areas initially. Hiring a small car can also assist when navigating foreign roads

Emergency kit

Much like driving rules abroad, different regions around the world may have varying requirements when it comes to emergency supplies on the road. For instance, in certain parts of Europe such as France and Austria, you must store a fluorescent jacket in your car in the event of a breakdown. In Belgium you must carry a fire extinguisher while German laws require you to carry a warning triangle and a first aid kit. Make sure you research these specific requirements as failure to comply could result in an on-the-spot fine.

Find your way

While we always encourage travellers to ‘lose themselves’ in their adventures, we recommend not doing so figuratively! Getting lost overseas can be incredibly frustrating, particularly when you’re under tight time constraints. Alleviate the stress of losing your way by requesting a GPS from your rental company or bring your own. You may want to bring old fashioned printed maps along with you as well just in case! When you want to get off the grid, it’s easy to get caught up planning on your destination. However, your journey can be so much more than just getting from A-B.

Culture crash course

Driving styles and etiquette can vary greatly from one country to the next. Whether it’s a more aggressive approach on the road or a general relaxation of rules and regulations, it can be hard to adjust to new driving cultures. Reading up on local standards and accepted norms may be helpful prior to your trip but be wary of overly exposing yourself to negative opinions and stories. While it’s ideal to arrive prepared you don’t want to be completely put off!

Stay in the slow lane

Cruising down the highway at soaring speed may give you a boost of holiday endorphins but a hefty fine might slow down that rush. It’s far more advisable to stick a safe, moderate pace when you’re getting the hang of new roads and behaviours. For those feeling apprehensive when tackling foreign terrain it’s important not to feel rushed or compelled to speed. If possible avoid fast motorways on your first day or two.

Speeding limits around the world

We all know that getting caught speeding will undoubtedly result in a hefty fine or penalty, but the cost can vastly differ around the world.

Over the years some humongous fines have been documented. The world’s largest speeding fine was from a Swedish motorist who was caught driving at 300km/h. He was charged $1million, due to the fact that under Swiss law the amount of fine is determined by not only the speed recorded by also the wealth of the driver!!!

If you’re not keen on giving all your holiday budget to the speed police. Our advice is to wise up and know how fast you can go before you get behind the wheel.

Obviously penalties may change over time and fines will vary according to the percentage or how many km/mph over the limit you are driving. If you’re caught speeding more than 50k over the limit could even see you locked behind bars!

Here’s a snapshot of the various speed limits on highways around the world and the likely penalties you could face.

 COUNTRY    MAX  SPEED (HWY)   PENALTIES (AUD) 
Abu Dhabi 140km  $1,000
Australia 110km $160 – $2,530
Belgium 120km  $200 – $3,500
Canada 75mph $40 – $227
Czech Republic 130km $25 – $102
Denmark 130km $275 – $800
Germany No Limit (Autobahn)  $35 – $680
Latvia 100km  $10 – $665
Hong Kong 110km $53 – $167
Spain 120km  $130 – $550
Sweden 120km  $160 – $430
Singapore 90km  $120 – $183
Taiwan 110km  $50 – $253
United States 80mph $35 – $2,500
United Kingdom 70mph $130 – $4,000

Drink driving penalties around the world

We all love a tipple or two, especially on holidays. But let’s face it, unlike a good gin and tonic, alcohol and driving are not a good mix. Penalties for drink driving can also have dire consequences around the world. Check out these hefty punishments before you start your engines!

Australia

In Oz, getting on the grog before you drive can
lead to fines, license suspensions, imprisonment
and a medical assessment. She ‘won’t’ be right mate!

Malaysia

Unless you want to lose your license and your
marriage, stay clear of the beer in Malaysia before
taking a spin. If you’re jailed for drink driving, your
spouse can expect the same punishment.

South Africa

We all want our vacations to last the distance, but a 10-year prison sentence (and the equivalent of a $10,000.00 fine for being smashed while steering) might be pushing it.

Turkey

The Turkish punishment for driving under the
influence is no walk in the park. In Turkey, drunk
drivers are taken 20 miles out of town by police and forced to walk back under escort.

Taiwan

You certainly don’t want to be caught tipsy while travelling in Taiwan. If you cause serious injury or death to another person while driving, you could
face the death penalty!

Saudi Arabia

Drunk-driving is strictly illegal in UAE. Corporal punishment from driving under influence can
lead to lashings.

Check age limits

Be aware that many countries have a minimum and maximum age for renters. Drivers under the age of 25 or over the age of 70 may face surcharges or not be permitted to rent at all.

Off-roading

Many hire car companies will not cover you if you have an accident on dirt tracks or unmarked roads. So make sure you know where you’re covered before you hit the road.

Don’t get fleeced

When you hire a car, the company will try and upsell you their collision damage insurance, this is a daily amount you pay which reduces the excess you in the event of accident of theft. All well and good, but these additional options are overpriced and only reduce your damage liability to around $300-$500.

Read the small print

Your car hire insurance is usually included in the price of hiring the car. Before your pick up date make sure you know what you’re covered for and what you’re not. To minimise the chance of being shocked at the shop, carefully read your entire reservation documentation to avoid and nasty surprises down the track.

Foreign Road signs

Luckily you don’t really have to speak the local lingo to understand the rules of the road. Currently over 50 countries have signed the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals that aims to simplify and standadise road signs all over the world. However, there are still plenty of differences about driving at home than in foreign lands. If you’re feeling wooly headed we help to claaaarify some of the most common road signs you’ll come across overseas.

Warning signs

Rules were meant to be broken, except when it comes to road safety. Warning signs are to advise caution of hazards or likely hazardous conditions. Although they may differ in colour, they are typically triangular or diamond in shape as and most commonly they will have a yellow background with black writing, or white background with a red border.

Regulatory signs

These are traffic signs telling road users on what they should or shouldn’t be doing. They may reinforce traffic laws, provide information about parking, or instruct which direction you are allowed to drive. Regulation signs vary around the globe but tend to be blue with white instructions.

Prohibitory signs

As the name suggest these signs explain the rules of the road. They are used to prohibit certain types of manoeuvres or types of traffic like no bicycles, no stopping, no parking, no entry etc.  They tend to be circular and red in colour in Australia, throughout Africa, the USA Canada and Asia.

Information signs

These signs do what they say on the tin. If there is a hospital ahead, a stop sign, parking ahead an information sign is the very noticeable placard that informs people of the purpose of an object, or gives them instruction on the use of something.

Indicative & direction signs

Turn right, no through road, one-way street, pedestrians only, pass on either side….if you’re looking for specific road guidlines these are the signs and symbols to look out for.  They tend to be circular and blue with white instructions throughout all of Europe. However as the Vienna Convention does not specify sizes, colours, symbols or positions of such signs you may find these vary considerably from country to country.

Speed signs

Speed limits signs globally are pretty self-explanatory, but don’t forget what measurement you’re reading them in! All European countries use the metric system (kilometres) with the exception of the United Kingdom, where distances and speeds are indicated in imperial measurements (miles) the same as the USA.

Freeway signs

Depending on where you are in the world you might refer to a freeway as a highway, motorway or expressway. It can be daunting to drive on fast moving roads in an unfamiliar car in foreign lands, so make sure you’re prepared first. Keep an eye out for signs that clearly say ‘freeway’ and avoid them if you are not confident.

Important Links

American Auto Club

Canadian Auto Club

Royal Automobile Club of Belgium 

Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club

Automobile Club de France

Automobile Club d’Italia 

Dutch-automobile-association

Automóvel Club de Portugal 

Royal Automobile Club of Spain

Automobile Association New Zealand 

Automobile Association UK

Royal Automobile Club Aus 

Smart traveller road safety information

FIA 

European road signs 

How to Shoot Great Videos on Your Mobile Phone2021-07-06T16:21:09+10:00

It’s easy to make a great video using your smartphone with these pro tips.

First and most importantly shoot with your camera horizontally

  • Shooting with your camera while it is vertical will lead to black bars on the side of the screen because your desktop and TV are all set up to display horizontally.
  • While shooting video the iPhone is easier to handle when it’s horizontal. This will lead to stable footage.
  • Put your phone in airplane mode to avoid pesky calls or messages ruining your recording

Stability of the camera is crucial

Here are a few quick tips on how to shoot stable footage with your mobile:

  • If you are shooting a static shot, prop your phone up against an object to keep it steady or use a tripod
  • If you are moving while shooting be sure to keep your arms against your body to keep a steady shot.
  • Your neck is also a natural stabilizer. Try resting your phone on your chin to help stabilize.
  • Tap and hold the screen the area where you want the image to be in focus. This will lock the focus for the duration of your recording.

Be attentive to lighting

The iPhone does really well in natural light, so take advantage of it:

  • Find any available light source and get close to it.
  • Make sure that your subject is facing the light.
  • If no light is available, add some! Even just a flashlight or the light from your smartphone can make a big difference when shooting in low light.

Use the rule of thirds

  • The rule of thirds is a concept in video and film production in which the frame is divided into nine imaginary sections. Think of it as a giant tic-tac toe board with each line creating a reference guide for framing the image. Instead of putting your subject directly in the centre of the shot, move the subject to the upper third, as illustrated in the video above. The result is a dynamic and well-composed scene that is pleasing to the eye.

Zoom in with your feet, not the zoom tool

If you want to capture close-up footage with the iPhone, move the phone physically closer to what you’re shooting; don’t use the zoom tool. The iPhone zoom feature is digital not optical, so using it results in lower quality, pixelated footage in close-in shots. The iPhone has a high quality camera but is limited by the iPhone camera app. To unleash the full video recording power, download a third party app and play with your settings.

Pay attention to sound

There’s nothing worse than poor audio hampering your otherwise well-shot video. Here are a couple of quick tips to help you record a clean audio track:

  • Be aware of your surroundings – if you’re filming out in the open and it’s windy find shelter or wait for the wind to die down
  • Get as close to your subject as possible and ask them to raise their voice slightly above conversation level
  • Avoid blocking the microphone with your fingers while holding the device or recording video. The location of the microphones on the iPhone can be seen below:

Editing your video

There are a number of great apps you can use to edit your video. We recommend:

iMovie for Mac users
VSDC for PC users
Clips for iPhone users
Adobe Premiere Clip for Android users

How Early Should You Get To The Airport?2021-07-06T16:18:14+10:00

It’s one of the more divisive subjects of travel; just how early should you get to the airport?

The organised insist it’s hours in advance, while more moderate travellers seem happy to saunter into a queue following the very last call to board. But there are some indisputable facts of the beginning of any journey: a lack of planning and consideration of schedules can run the risk of you missing your flight and tarnishing your holiday. If you’re unsure of how early you should be arriving at the airport, here are a few things you should consider.

Where are you flying to?

Whether your journey is domestic or international greatly alters the timings of your airport arrival. A good rule is that an optimal arrival time at the airport is at least one hour in advance of domestic flights and at least three hours in advance of international ones. Both take into consideration potential bottlenecks at security, check-in times where stowed baggage is required and time taken to traverse the airport itself.

Check with the airline you are flying as they might have different arrival policies is place.

Where are you flying from?

Airports vary wildly in size and structure so don’t ever assume you can get to your gate with a few strides. Munich’s Franz Josef Strauß Airport, for example, requires a shuttle to take you between some gates, while the walk between Terminal A-West and Terminal E at Philadelphia’s International Airport clocks in at 1.7 kilometres. In short, don’t assume you’ll be able to get from A to B (or check-in to gate) in 10 minutes and take this into account when considering your arrival time.

Are you checking in online?

Online check-in is widely available to passengers and eliminates additional time spent in a queue, so if you’ve got a seat and a ticket, you can probably safely shave off an extra half hour from your time spent at the airport.

Do you have baggage?

Add a little time to your schedule if you’re travelling with baggage. Even if you don’t have to check in, you’ll have to drop your bag at a counter (Qantas has speedy self-service bag drop counters at all domestic airports, as well as international departure terminals in Brisbane, Sydney or Perth).

What time of year is it?

Think you’re the only one heading off for a break? Think again. It stands to reason that if you’ve decided to make the most of the October long weekend so have many other people. According to recent data, the busiest times of the year for flying are the mentioned long weekend, along with Easter and Christmas. If you’re travelling at these times, it’s advisable to add an extra half hour for safety.

Who are you travelling with?

If the family is in tow, it pays to arrive a little earlier. Ferrying several people through check-in, security and the airport in general certainly adds more than minutes to your transit time. Also, if you’re in time for when boarding begins, you’ll benefit from the family-first rule – where those with children begin the boarding process, allowing for a less stressful boarding experience.

Which class are you travelling in?

If you’re travelling in Business or First Class, you’ll want to get to the airport early for an entirely different reason: to spend as much time luxuriating in a lounge as possible.

 

How to manage your money when you travel2021-07-09T10:43:22+10:00

When you’re planning an overseas trip, you always need to think about what you’re going to use for money once you get there. The choices these days are pretty straightforward, and as with all things in life, each travel money option has its pros and cons.

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Cash still comes in handy. No matter where your travels take you, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an outlet of any description that doesn’t accept cash, and in remote places paying with plastic may not be an option. It’s generally a good idea to have enough cash on hand for a couple days’ expenses.

Buying money at the bank before you go

Banks usually give competitive exchange rates and fees, but shop around various banks and other providers as you might save a few dollars. At a bank, if you buy $1000 worth of foreign notes you’d generally pay about $25 in fees and commissions, roughly 2.5% above market exchange rates on the day. Some institutions give existing customers a fee discount.

Place your currency order about a week before your trip (allow longer for exotic currencies) as some places may not have the currency you need in stock. If an institution needs to order the currency, rate changes can occur between the time you order and receive your cash.

Buying money at the airport

So if you wait until you get to the airport, what can you expect to pay? Fees and exchange rate profit margins at the airport are up to 8%, so buying $1000 of foreign notes could cost you $80 in fees and margins.

Some airport providers give better rates if you order in advance. However, if you wait until you arrive at the airport and use your credit card to buy the currency from Travelex there, you’ll pay much more.

Prepaid travel money cards

These cards are offered by major banks and by money exchange companies like Travelex. Before leaving, you pay money into the card account and you use it for purchases and cash withdrawals as per a debit or credit card. For foreign currencies (not Australian dollars) you can “lock in” your exchange rate (including the exchange rate margin – see below) when you load money onto the card. These cards can be replaced if lost or stolen.

Fees

A major difference between pre-paid cards and debit/credit cards is their fees. Some costs aren’t immediately apparent, such as margins built into the exchange rates applied to transactions. While you won’t pay an annual fee or interest, you may pay:

  • exchange rate margins when you load and close the card – these are not specifically disclosed by the providers and vary from day to day,
  • fees to load the card – either a percentage of the total or a flat fee,
  • ATM withdrawal fees,
  • an exchange rate conversion fee when you use the card – varies between providers, and
  • further fees if you reload or close the account.

The small print

As with all cards, make sure you read and understand the terms and conditions, including the fees.

In general, this popular type of travel money relies on a hefty exchange rate markup when loading money onto pre-paid cards. Portability and convenience can easily be offset by the exchange rate margin and a confusing array of other fees – so be especially vigilant when considering one of these.

Also, be sure to have the right currency loaded on the card, since card issuers may charge two percent per transaction – or more – for using currencies not loaded on the card.

On a shoe string?

Pre-paid travel money cards may not do you much good if you spend less than about $3000 overseas, since the fees you’ll pay for having and using the card will likely outweigh any overseas ATM or transaction costs you’d incur if you used your regular bank-issued debit or credit card.

Credit cards

Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere for purchases and cash withdrawals. A credit card charges a currency conversion fee, plus a cash advance fee for withdrawals, plus you’ve got the interest rate building up on any withdrawal.

Fees

  • Cash advance fees in particular can really put a dent in your travel budget, so avoid them unless it’s an emergency.
  • Some companies don’t charge interest if you pre-load enough money to your account, so check with your card provider.

ATM and debit cards

Most banks, building societies and credit unions offer ATM cards that can be used for international purchases and cash withdrawals. Unlike credit cards, which offer interest-free days, the debit card transaction is deducted straight from your bank account and you won’t be charged interest for cash withdrawals unless you overdraw your account.

Fees

  • The big banks generally apply a currency conversion fee to overseas debit card transactions.
  • A further amount for ATM withdrawals usually applies, as well as possibly foreign ATM owners’ fees, so the fees for making lots of small withdrawals can really add up.
  • There are accounts with no fees though, so check your bank, building society or credit union’s policy.
  • ATM withdrawals and debit card purchases via EFTPOS may be charged as a flat fee or a percentage. The currency conversion fee is additional and applies to all foreign transactions.

Dynamic currency conversion (DCC)

Not really as exciting as it sounds, DCC just means a hotel or shop in London or Lisbon might offer to charge your card in Australian dollars, rather than sterling or euros. The potential problems are twofold.

  • Firstly, the exchange rate offered by the foreign hotel or shop probably includes a profit margin for them. The exchange rate is unlikely to be as competitive as the rate your bank or credit card provider would apply to the transaction.
  • Secondly, if you’re using plastic, you may be charged a second fee by your credit card company, as some charge for cross-border purchases – even those in Australian dollars.

So, should I pay in Australian dollars or foreign currency?

When in Rome… We suggest you pay in the foreign currency instead of Australian, and let MasterCard or Visa apply their more competitive exchange rates. In short, pay with the coin of the realm when you travel.

Travellers’ cheques

Traveller’s cheques may seem like a relic from the past – something your grandparents may have used as they made their way around the globe in propeller-driven planes  – but they still exist.

The trouble is that the number of banks that offer them, and the number of places that accept them, has significantly dwindled in recent decades. Traveller’s cheques would only really make sense if the nearest ATM or card terminal is a long way away.

Some people like to carry travellers’ cheques as a back up since, unlike cash, they can be replaced by the provider if lost or stolen. If you don’t use them, some foreign exchange providers will refund the cheques at no extra cost. Be sure to keep a record of the serial numbers (in a separate place to the cheques) so you’re protected in the event of loss or theft.

Fees

  • Check the fees and commissions that apply. Depending on where you buy travellers’ cheques, they may cost more than cash due to the insurance that’s built in.
  • Check if a second set of fees will apply when you go to cash the cheques in overseas banks and exchanges.
  • Also find out where you’ll be able to exchange the cheques.
Tips for Travelling with Babies2021-07-09T10:53:23+10:00

Decided to take your baby on a plane? Well done! Life doesn’t end when you have a baby and parents with little ones need to travel too. It can be daunting but with a bit of preparation, you can take to the sky with baby in tow.

First-time parents probably have many questions when it comes to bubs and planes – do airlines allow you to bring your own stroller? Are there different rules for liquids (ie, breast milk) when travelling internationally? Do parents need to book a seat for babies? So, here are our tips for making your flight with baby as smooth as possible, and the tricks Philippa Christian, child carer to the stars and author of Nanny Confidential, uses when she travels the world with her young charges.

What to do when booking

  • Consider flight times – it might be cheaper to fly later in the day, but if your baby gets tired and grumpy in the afternoon it’s worth it to pay the extra and have a cheerful baby en route.
  • Infants booked on flights aren’t assigned a seat and must travel in a bassinet or on their parent’s lap. If you do want a seat for your baby, make sure you request it when you book.
  • Parents can now choose a Seat with Bassinet when booking international flights (excluding those operated on 737 aircraft) . The child must be less than two years of age and weigh less than 11kg. There could be related costs and depends who you are travelling with. It’s generally free for customers travelling in international First, Business or Premium Economy cabins.
  • Request a baby meal when you’re booking; Airlines provides a limited range of baby food, milk, bottles, cereals and rusks but advises passengers to bring products they know their baby will consume. You can also inform your Airline of any special dietary requirements or allergies your baby might have.

Have identification ready

If you’re flying internationally, your baby will need his or her own passport. There’s nothing trickier than trying to get a baby to stay still for a passport photo so make sure you get it well ahead of time in case you need to have more than one shot at it.

What to bring in your carry-on

  • “Invest in a backpack with a number of dividers,” says Christian. “This is the best way to keep your hands free to cuddle your baby until you are seated on board.”
  • Babies come with a lot of baggage – strollers, capsules, nappies, bottles – so it’s important to check what you can and can’t take on the plane. You can bring: a reasonable amount of baby milk – breast milk or powdered formula and sterilised water; juice; baby food in liquid, gel or paste form; and disposable wipes.
  • Pack your carry-on with care – the last thing you want is to be rummaging around your bag trying to find the nappies during a mid-air nappy emergency.
  • Always pack a change of clothes – yes, for the baby but just as importantly for yourself, too. Actually, make that several changes of clothes.

What about a stroller and bassinet?

  • Double check your baggage allowance for little ones to see if they include a collapsible stroller and collapsible cot, bassinet or baby capsule. The easiest thing to do once you arrive at the airport is check your stroller in and use one that’s available free of charge from the airline. A staff member will collect it from you at the boarding gate.
  • Bassinets provided on most airlines flights are approximately 71 centimetres long, 31 centimetres wide, 26 centimetres deep, and have a weight limitation of 11 kilograms.

Time your feeds

Some people are lucky to avoid the ear pain that can occur when the plane begins to ascend or descend, but others, including babies and children, find it very hard to deal with. Sucking on a bottle for babies can help,” says Christian. “Where possible, try to time feeds for take-off and landing.”
If feeding is not an option, Christian recommends a dummy.

Ask for help

Cabin crew can prepare, heat and wash bottles or dummies. Baby changing tables are available in selected washrooms but bring a plastic changing mat with you as well.

 

Dress babies in layers

“The temperature in the plane is usually quite a bit cooler,” says Christian. “Rug up a little with layers that can be removed if required. Go for tops and bottoms so nappy changing is efficient, and make sure nothing is too tight.”
Tips to Make Flying With Kids a Breeze2021-07-06T16:18:47+10:00

From booking and packing to exploring your destination, these practical tips make travelling with kids a breeze.

Booking

  1. Request a child, toddler or baby meal when booking flights

Even if the airfare is a child’s ticket, this type of meal is not automatic; you must specify it when you book online, when managing your booking online or when you book through a travel agent. If your child has allergies you’ll need to specify that, too. Note: for children under the age of two who have allergies, you may need to bring your own food.

  1. Consider a night flight

If the flight takes place when your child would normally be sleeping it’s likely they will sleep for a large part of the flight.

  1. Reserve an infant bassinet 

The bassinet attaches securely to the wall in the front row of each section in the aircraft, giving your baby a place to lie down and freeing up your arms for a time. There are limited bassinet seats on aircraft and some don’t have them. Note: the weight limit for a bassinet is 11 kilograms.

  1. Check the sleeping arrangements and children’s facilities before booking accommodation

Many hotel websites say they have cots, but you need to find out the type of cot and make sure it suits the age of your infant or child. Some hotels also have prams and child seats (which meet local standards) available to use during your stay. Ensure your accommodation has a lift if you’re staying on an upper floor or request a ground-floor room.

Packing

  1. Make a checklist of all the things you may need during your flight

Medical: Children’s pain-relief medication in case of fever or ear pain (check with your doctor and remember to pack the dosing device that comes with the medication); nasal aspirator.

Entertainment: A few favourite toys; children’s headphones; a surprise toy/game.
Food: A few extra snacks; food to accommodate any allergies.
Personal care/cleaning up messes: Spare clothing for you and your baby (remember, spitting up has no aim); wipes; more spare nappies than you think you’ll need.
Comfort: Extra dummies; the special cuddly toy they can’t sleep without.

  1. Do your research into child safety restraints

Different countries have different rules and availability regarding child safety seats. Do some research into how infants and young children can travel in taxis, buses, trains and so on if you anticipate using these methods of transport at your destination. You need to decide if you feel comfortable with the products available at your destination (for example, some taxi companies may carry booster seats) or if you feel you need to bring your own child seat. If you bring your own child seat, enquire with your airline about whether it can be used on board or if you must check it in with your luggage.

  1. Remember: you can take your own pram or stroller

If you want the comfort and convenience of using your own pram or stroller at your destination, you’ll need to check it in with your luggage (some airports provide a loan pram until you board your flight) or check it in at the departure gate, depending on the airline’s policy.

  1. Check the accessibility of your destination

Some cities are incredibly hilly with very uneven walkways or have underground transport that doesn’t always have lift access. If you’re considering using a stroller or pram, the terrain may determine your travel plans. For young babies, an alternative to a pram may be a sturdy baby carrier.

  1. Get older kids involved in packing their own luggage

Give them guidance about the type, size and number of items they can bring. If your kids are old enough to carry their own things, buy them roll-around luggage and a small backpack. If they know they’ll have to carry their own things on holiday, they’ll be more likely to be critical about what they pack.

  1. Bring something new and don’t tell your child about it until you need to activate its powers

Buy something small and exciting – such as a toy, activity book or game for their entertainment device – and don’t tell them. If they start getting antsy while waiting to board the plane or during the flight, produce the surprise item to provide a fun distraction that helps to keep them happy and focused.

  1. You need kid-sized headphones

If your child has trouble using the headphones or earbuds supplied by the aircraft, buy a pair of volume-limiting, child-safe headphones and an airplane headphone socket adaptor for two-pronged outlets.

Getting excited

  1. Look at a map and learn about the destination

To help your child get the most out of the holiday, show them where you’re going and talk about the distance and the destination. If you’re going to a country that speaks a different language, use the opportunity to learn a few basic words and phrases before you arrive.

  1. Get your child excited about air travel

Chat about what it means to go in an airplane. Explain the limitations (they will need to sit, listen to the crew and be respectful of the other people on board) and the fun side (watching movies, eating special meals, being up in the sky, going to a new place) so your child knows what to expect.

On board

  1. Sip during take-off and landing

The change in altitude can be hard on the ears. Have a drink ready for your child and encourage them to sip during take-off and landing. If you’re breastfeeding, ask the staff if you can safely breastfeed your baby during these times. If not, see if your baby will breastfeed as soon as you’re in the air or back on the ground.

  1. Keep busy in the air

Take advantage of the time when the seatbelt sign is off. Let the little ones walk along the aisle, take them to the toilet or change their nappy, and use the time to stretch your own legs. Back in the seat, if they tire of the in-flight entertainment, channel their focus and energy using storybooks, colouring-in books and portable games as well as the children’s activity packs supplied by some airlines.

  1. Relax!

Kids feed off your energy. If you become anxious or stressed they will, too. Speak calmly, believe your own words and the little ones will follow.

On holiday

  1. Adjust to the local time zone

Travelling between time zones can be tricky but here’s the rule of thumb: it’s easier to keep children awake a bit longer (though they may be grumpy) than to get them to sleep at a time much earlier than their usual bedtime. Arriving at your destination in the morning or early afternoon helps everyone get over the time-zone change more quickly – your mission is to keep everyone entertained and awake for that first day and then it’s easier to fall into the rhythm of the local time for the rest of the trip. Also, get in sync with the mealtimes of your destination as quickly as possible. When all else fails, summon a glass of wine (for you) and movies for the kids. Relax – you’re on holiday and you shouldn’t worry too much about the time. Besides, you’d be surprised at how quickly babies adapt. Just keep their daytime naps short if possible.

  1. Don’t cram too much into one trip

Consider visiting just one city or destination for your holiday. Think about what you would do without kids in one day and then cut that itinerary in half (maybe even a third) for a more kid-friendly day. If you’re holidaying in a city, mix it up with plenty of kids’ activities among visits to museums, galleries and restaurants.

  1. Make a game of it

Give your child rewards for reaching certain milestones during the journey. Get creative and turn it into a game. For example, when we took our son, then aged four, hiking on a long, remote part of the Great Wall of China, I told him to keep an eye out for a golden coin while he was walking. I had a golden chocolate coin in my pocket, which I secretly dropped close to the end after climbing a very steep peak. Not only did it get us through many kilometres of walking, the excitement on his face when he found the coin was priceless.

  1. Let the kids take pictures and keep a diary

Consider purchasing a kids’ digital camera or an iPod touch they can easily hold and operate. It’s a great way for them to document their own journey. If your child can write or draw, get them to make notes and illustrate what they’re doing and seeing. If they’re having trouble remembering the details, ask them specific questions, have them look at the photos they’ve taken and get them to describe what happened (kids say the cutest things). You’ll love revisiting their photos, notes and drawings in years to come.

How to Prevent Dehydration while flying2021-07-09T10:20:19+10:00

IMPORTANT FACTORS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT AIR TRAVEL AND DEHYDRATION

Planning that exciting long awaited holiday or need to travel for business frequently via air? There are various reasons that make you feel so sluggish and under the weather during and after air travel. It is no mystery. You will be amazed to find out that something this simple can affect your body in such a significant way.

So, you want to make the best of that long awaited holiday or want to be at your best during that important business meeting half way around the world? Take a look at how proper hydration or the lack thereof will influence your air travel trip.

WHY IS DEHYDRATION WHILE TRAVELLING BY AIR A PROBLEM IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Do you remember the last flight you took that lasted for two to three hours? You ended up feeling hungry all the time, drinks were not tasting that good, your eyes felt like sand paper and your throat was feeling like ancient parchment.

What is the cause then? 

Dehydration is caused by not drinking enough fluid or by losing more fluid than you take in. Fluid is lost through sweat, tears, vomiting, urine or diarrhoea. The severity of dehydration can depend on a number of factors, such as climate, level of physical activity and diet.

It is not that uncommon and best part is that the majority of people that fly experience it in some form or the other.

WHY IS DEHYDRATION A BIGGER RISK DURING AIR TRAVEL AND WHY DOES IT HAPPEN?

The short answer is air circulation and how oxygen is supplied on airplanes.

With air travel, the air in the cabin is pressurized and oxygen is supplied. However, when passengers inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, all the oxygen is used up at some stage. Therefore it is needed to supply breathable air. This is done by circulating air from outside the airplane and letting air from inside the airplane to be extracted.

It is no news that the higher the altitude, the “thinner” air becomes and the lower the humidity becomes. This means the air is much dryer the higher we move up. Air at 35 000 feet has a humidity of only 10 to 20% in comparison to the 40 to 70% we are accustomed with in normal conditions. Therefore by just breathing we already get less moisture than we normally would for the duration of the flight. Adding stress to the mixture, it causes us to sweat more and increase our risk for dehydration even further.

In dry air conditions or low humidity such as on an airplane, the moisture molecules in your throat, nose, and eyes are attracted to the dry air surrounding you what causes you to lose moisture regardless if it is a two or 12 hour flight.

In addition, the hair like structures in your throat and nose needs to be moist to filter the air you breathe from irritants and pathogens. When your throat and nose is not properly hydrated, the risk of catching a cold is more likely.

WHAT CAN BE DONE TO PREVENT DEHYDRATION WHILE TRAVELLING BY AIR IN SPITE OF THE LOW HUMIDITY?

The easiest and most effective way is to ensure that you are in a top hydrated state before you board the plane and to maintain that hydration state while you already know you are entering an environment that will have an effect on your hydration state. Here is what you can do to prevent dehydration in spite of the low humidity while travelling by air.

  1. Drink water
    Drink at least 250 ml water every hour you are in flight. The secret is to drink small amounts frequently. It is a good idea to have your own refillable bottle of water with you or request some water from the flight attendants. Do not wait until you feel thirsty before you start to drink water.
  2. Use a hydration supplement like SOS Hydration
    When you need to be fresh and energized after a long flight, a hydration supplement is a great idea. Water is sufficient to keep you hydrated, but it will not be able to provide you with all the electrolytes and energy to ensure the low humidity on the plane does not get to you. While in flight you can use a hydration supplement that is supplied in sachets or tablet form and just add it to water you get on the plane. The majority of these hydration supplement drinks have an appealing taste and will not cost you anything extra while flying.
  3. Stay away from diuretic drinks and food
    The largest culprit on flights is alcoholic beverages and salty snacks. Alcohol is a typical diuretic drink and salty foods and snacks will make you thirstier. The best is to consume some water rich foods such as fruits and soups and drink water. If you want to drink anything other than water, fruit juices and soft drinks are better alternatives than alcohol. There are many conflicting arguments about coffee and tea being diuretic. The golden rule would be to drink it in moderation. There is no problem in drinking coffee and tea before you board for a flight. It is however advisable to drink it in moderation during a flight.
  4. Use eye drops
    When your eyes start to feel dry during a flight you should not rub them at all. It will only make dry irritated eyes feel even worse and make the problem more complex. Best is to use some eye drops as needed. People who wear contact lenses should make sure that the eye drops are suitable for them. If it is not possible to use eye drops while wearing contact lenses you should seriously consider using your spectacles instead for the duration of the flight.
  5. Utilise nasal spray
    The dry air that dries out your nose during a flight is not the only problem concerning your nasal section. It is not uncommon for some people who suffer from nose bleeds when they fly. Few people realize that nose bleeding is one of the common reasons of dehydration when they fly. A simple thing such as utilizing a nasal spray is the solution in most cases. It keeps the nasal section hydrated and prevents the delicate area from chapping and bleeding. Before you board the plane and once you realize your nose starts to feel itchy and dry, use some nasal spray again.
  6. Apply skin moisturiser
    The value of applying skin moisturiser during a flight is immeasurable. It is obvious by now that you will understand why your skin will feel dry and wrinkly during a long flight. It is also no secret that it can be very uncomfortable. Therefore, keep some close by in your hand luggage to relieve the dehydration of your skin and help to rehydrate your skin.
  7. Washing your hands and face
    Should you forgot the skin moisturiser or do not like to use it at all, washing your hands and face will do the trick close to what a moisturiser would. However this will require you to go to the washing cabin often to prevent your skin dehydrating.
  8. Breath more moisture
    Use a wet handkerchief over your mouth and nose to moisturise the air that you breathe.
  9. Mist your face
    Using a fine spray bottle similar to a perfume bottle filled with water can help to moisturise our skin without the need to get up frequently to go to the washing cabin. Just make sure you do not disturb other people sitting next to you.
  10. Are you asthmatic?
    Although the air conditioning on a plane is good because it contains less moisture and is clean, the problem is with the low pressure you need to deal with. Make sure you have sufficient supply of inhalers with you. In addition, it is even more important to ensure that you remain properly hydrated to prevent breathing problems.
  11. Curb jetlag
    As fascinating it may sound, it is true if you remain well hydrated during a long flight. It is true that it will certainly not help you with the time difference, but it will definitely help you to prevent or lessen the nausea, headaches, lethargy, and the overall feeling of fogginess after a long flight.
How to Travel Safely With Pets2021-07-06T16:19:25+10:00

The Basics of Pet Travel

  • Make sure your pet’s up for the trip “The first thing you want to ask yourself is, ‘Are you sure your pet really wants to go?’” says Patricia B. McConnell, PhD, a certified applied animal behaviorist and author of The Education of Will. “I’ve seen people who believed their dog would be fine or they wanted their cat to go with them, but the animal was terrified of strangers or a wreck in noisy places. So think about your pet’s personality and remember that traveling will involve exposure to new people and changing environments.” Also, consult with your vet if you have any doubt as to whether or not your pet is healthy enough to handle the adventure.
  • Book in advance. And confirm! Book your hotel or rental property early—and call to confirm you can get a pet-friendly room. “A lot of times hotels will only have a certain number of rooms available for pet use,” says Amy Burkert, co-founder of GoPetFriendly.com. Airlines and trains also have a set capacity for pets on each trip, so reserve ahead of time to be sure there’s a spot for your animal.
  • Get a (space-age) pet ID. “Your animal should always travel with tags that carry his name and your cell number. And ideally, your dog or cat should have a microchip,” says Dr. McConnell. Yes: a microchip. They’re about the size of a grain of rice, they’re programmed with a unique ID number, and they’re easily injected beneath your pet’s skin. If he gets lost, a simple scan can identify you as his owner. This isn’t just about keeping your tech edge—a 2018 study showed that microchipped dogs are more than twice as likely to be reunited with their owners as non-microchipped dogs, and microchipped cats are more than 20 times as likely to be returned home. Just be sure to keep your contact information current with the microchip registry database.
  • Get an approved pet carrier. Make sure the airline or railway has officially sanctioned your carrier by checking the requirements on the website. Then label the carrier with your pet’s name as well as your name and contact info. Mark it clearly and prominently with the words “Live Animal,” so nobody can mistake it for regular luggage.
  • Acclimate your pet to the carrier. As soon as you’ve got your carrier, start enticing your dog or cat to use it. “A lot of the hard carriers come in two pieces, so I recommend setting out just the bottom piece and placing your pet’s bedding—and even treats—in there to make your pet feel comfortable with it,” says Susan Smith, president and CEO of PetTravel.com. “Then put the top on and leave the door open at home. We have owners whose pets would prefer to sleep in the crate than the bed.”
  • Bring medical records. Gather health records, medication information, and proof of vaccinations from your vet—and carry them with you. Rules vary by airline and country, so check for any “pet passport” requirements (more below) long before it’s time to leave. You might even need your pet’s medical documents when driving across state lines, or to make an emergency visit to the vet. “I’ve scanned my dogs’ entire medical records to a USB drive and I keep that with us all the time on the road,” says Burkert. It’s also wise to attach your dog’s rabies tag to her collar (which proves vaccination), and to treat your pet with preventive flea and tick medication before you go.
  • Get the right gear. Invest in collapsible water bowls, waste bags, a safety harness, and a leash. Don’t forget comfort items like a dog bed and toys. “Bring things that feel like home because even for a dog who is used to traveling, the first days of a trip can be unnerving,” says Dr. McConnell. “Always travel with bedding that the animal has slept on or with one of your t-shirts placed in the crate because it smells like home and like you, which is calming to your pet.” The pet bed or crate can then serve as a cozy sleeping spot once you’re at your destination.
  • Stay on schedule. Try to feed your animal at the same times of day as you would at home. “Dogs get some of their security from staying on their routine,” says Burkert. Don’t overfeed before a long journey; a light meal a few hours before leaving can help avoid nausea during the trip.
  • Avoid adventurous eating. Bring your pet’s food from home, and stick to bottled water—changes in diet can cause GI upset in pets just as they can in owners.
  • Mark your territory. Once you’re at your destination, stick with your pet for a while to help get her settled. “If we’re staying in a new rental property, we don’t leave the dogs alone until we’ve been there for 24 hours,” says Burkert. “If we’ve unpacked and slept there, the dogs get a feel that this is home and we’re coming back.” When you do head out without her, consider using an X-pen or baby gate to keep her confined to a safe area. Or use the crate if that’s where she feels safe and comfortable.

Road Tripping with Pets

Follow these rules of the road:

  • Buckle up. You buckle yourself and your children into the car; a pet should be no different. “Animals should be restrained with a harness or a carrier that is secured to the vehicle for your pet’s safety and for your safety,” says Lindsey A. Wolko, founder of Center for Pet Safety (CPS), a nonprofit that crash tests and certifies pet harnesses, carriers, and travel crates. “An unharnessed pet can be a driving distraction, and during a crash can become a projectile that hits human occupants. Check the the laws for were you are going before you hit the road. Also, choose a certified restraint that’s sized for your pet—and position it in the backseat of your car because animals, like small children, can be injured by front-seat airbags.
  • Take pit stops. This one might go without saying, but it’s worth reminding yourself to stop every few hours to let your pet stretch his legs and relieve himself. “Give your dog time to sniff new sniffs,” says Smith. “And always keep him on leash because dogs may try to bolt in unfamiliar environments.”
  • Don’t leave your pet alone in a car. “Any animal is at risk of overheating if left in a locked car on a summer day; unfortunately we see this in the clinic frequently,” says Diana Fellen, DVM, On hot days, the temperature inside a car can reach over 40 degrees in 10 to 15 minutes, even with the windows ajar. That can be deadly. But it isn’t just a problem on hot days. On mild days—low 30’s, say—the temperature inside a closed car can surpass 40 degrees in an hour. On cold days the risk is reversed but equally dangerous, with temps in parked cars dipping below freezing. Partially opened windows also raise the possibility that pets might try to jump out, or that passersby will try to stick their hands in, which can scare animals and provoke them to bite. If you’re driving solo and you absolutely, positively *must *use a restroom, Burket suggests locking your dog in the car with a bowl of water and setting a five-minute timer so you’re reminded to get back as fast as possible.

Pets on Trains

Trains can be a great way to travel with pets, especially when they’re small. Please check the train carrier what rules apply as every country is different.

Some basic rules:

  • Pets must ride beneath seats in approved, labeled pet carriers. The maximum size for carriers is 19″ long, 14″ wide, and 10.5″ high—and your pet must be able to sit and lie down inside it without touching the sides.
  • Pets have to be at least 8 weeks old, healthy, and harmless.
  • Owners are required to sign a document certifying that their pets’ vaccinations are current, and accepting liability for their pet’s well being.

It’s a good idea to give your pet a long walk to tire her out before settling into her carrier. Then, once you’re aboard, be nice to her. Check on her frequently to make sure she has water; talk to her gently to remind her you’re nearby. “Just be sure to use a low, soothing voice when talking to your pet,” says Dr. McConnell. “Our voices can create calm or anxiety, so sing a lullaby to your best friend instead of a grunge rock song and it really might help keep her relaxed.”

Pets on Planes

The safest place for your pet is with you in the plane’s cabin. Please check with the airline is they allow animals to ride there, and they have to fit into a carrier that’s small enough to stay beneath the seat throughout the flight. Check the airline’s policies to be sure your carrier is approved. What’s more, your pet must have enough room inside the carrier to be able to stand and turn around—which means in-cabin travel is only an option for small animals like cats, small-breed dogs, and rabbits. Note that the guidelines for flying with emotional support animals or service animals are different, so it’s best to confirm the airline’s policies well before your travel date.

If you’re traveling internationally, regulations and fees will vary according to the airline and the laws in your final destination. Most countries require you to have a pet health certificate, please check with the airline or embassy from your intended destination for the correct advice.  If you can, book a window seat. “It’ll keep your pet away from the action in the aisle,” says Smith.

Of course, many pets are too big to fly in the cabin. So unless you’ve got both the time and the money to spend on a pet-friendly cruise aboard the Queen Mary 2, your pet will have to fly in cargo. In that case, follow these tips to help keep your pet safe:

  • Travel when the weather’s milder, ideally in fall or spring when it’s less likely your pet will encounter extremes of heat or cold during the flight.
  • As with other kinds of travel, use the right carrier—one that’s sturdy and IATA approved. Here, too, the crate needs to be roomy enough to let your pet stand up and turn around, and should to be labeled with “Live Animal” stickers, your contact information, and your pet’s name. Smith also recommends attaching a photo of your pet to the crate to avoid animal mix-ups. Use removable zip ties to close the crate securely; the last thing you want is for your pet to break free and get into the cargo hold, where the risk of injury is significant.
  • Freeze a small bowl of water and place it inside the crate. The ice won’t spill during loading, but it’ll be drinkable as it defrosts during the flight. If you’ve got a layover and someone else will need to feed your pet enroute, put the pet food in a plastic bag and secure it to the outside of the crate along with feeding instructions—and attach an empty food bowl inside the crate.
  • Similar to train travel, don’t overfeed your pet before flying. Give your animal a light meal several hours before take off to avoid nausea during the flight. And if you can, walk your dog before the journey to help him expend some energy pre-boarding.
  • Don’t sedate your pet. “Sedatives during air travel can increase the risk of heart or respiratory issues potentially caused by changing altitudes and atmospheric pressures,” says Kurt Venator, DVM, PhD, Purina’s chief veterinary officer. “Sedatives may also interfere with your pet’s balance or equilibrium while being transported in a carrier or crate.”
  • When you board, tell the flight attendants and pilots that your pet is in cargo so they can be extra mindful of the temperature and air pressure there.
  • Don’t be shy; advocate for your pet. Ask airline staff about her status as soon as you land.

 

 

Put your room number and hotel address in your phone2021-07-09T10:33:33+10:00

Am I the only one who can’t remember my hotel room number and the address of the place I am staying?

Put both these details in your phone when you arrival and delete when you leave – simple – saves a lot of hassle!

5 rules to follow when using free Wi-Fi overseas2021-07-09T10:33:07+10:00

Whether you’re looking for restaurant recommendations or trying to figure out where your hotel is, free Wi-Fi can be an absolute godsend when you’re travelling.

But this convenience also comes with a degree of risk.

Public Wi-Fi networks are notorious for security flaws that put personal data at risk, if you haven’t taken the necessary precautions. Here are five rules for connecting to Wi-Fi overseas. Follow these rules and you’ll be able to get online safely and securely.

1. Customise your phone’s security setup

We forget that our portable devices are just as vulnerable to malicious software as our computers, so consider purchasing security software for your phone before travelling.

2. Use strong, long passwords

A lot goes into a password, but it pays to make them complicated. Longer, more-complicated passwords that are unique to different accounts are much more difficult to hack and provide another level of protection when using your devices.

3. Make sure the network is legitimate

This is one of the most common ways hackers trick travellers. Before connecting to a network at a hotel of café, double check with the staff or manager the name of the network to make sure you’re not connecting to a dummy, insecure alternative.

4. Consider using a virtual private network (VPN)

Even if the network you’re using is password-protected, there’s still a chance your communication could be intercepted. For a subscription VPNs basically create a network-within-a-network just for you that ensures all traffic is through a private connection.

Most of the time your mobile network will be secure, so if you are after peace of mind and you don’t mind forking out for a little bit extra as you’re travelling, consider investing in a data plan to ensure you have absolute peace of mind when logging on.

Avoid Excess Baggage Fees2021-07-09T11:10:57+10:00

Is there anything worse than unexpected baggage fees? Well, okay *maybe* the plague would get a look in, but excess baggage fees would be a close second.

What are excess baggage fees?

Excess baggage fees are charges that you incur if your bags exceed the dimensions or weight allowances set forth by the airlines.

How to avoid excess baggage fees

There are lots of ways to ensure you won’t get charged those pesky excess baggage fees – but don’t worry, you won’t have to wear your entire wardrobe. From choosing a lightweight bag, cracking out the scales, or sharing packing space, here are our top tips for avoiding additional fees.

1. Pay for extra bags online and in advance

If you know you’re going to go over the weight or size limit, or are worried about it, it’s almost always cheaper to book extra luggage allowances in advance. You’ll find that most airlines will offer discounts of up to 50% if you pay online instead of choking up airport queues. Often you can pay for extra baggage by the kilo, or by piece.

Budget carriers like Jetstar and Tigerair have baggage allowances which start at around $36, so it’s absolutely worth scaling up if you’re unsure of how much you’re bringing, so you can save on those hefty baggage fees later.

2. Weigh your bags at home

It may sound obvious to weigh your bags before you leave, but so many people rely on the ol’ pick-it-up-and-guess trick, and if you’re off by a couple of kilos, it can hit your wallet where it hurts. Double check the weight of your bag once you’ve packed, and if you’re over, you can take out a few things.

However, trying to weigh your bag on bathroom scales is harder than being an acrobat in Cirque du Soleil, so we recommend portable luggage scales. These cheap, handy tools are also small and easy to pop in your bag, especially useful if you’re the kind of traveller that loves to shop. These magic little gadgets will save you having to deal with baggage fees on the return journey.

3. Share the love baggage space

If you’re at the check-in desk, and horror of horrors, your bag is terribly overweight, you can fall on the mercy of a travelling partner – especially if they’re a light packer. Swap a few things around and even out the load between your bags. Most airline staff will allow you to do it near the desk, but you can always pop to the side and quickly sort out your bags if you’re worried about holding up the line.

If you’re a planner, and the thought of a last minute pack-fest is not your idea of a good time, airlines like Jetstar let you buy your baggage by kilos, so you can purchase up to 40kg, and spread it out over a couple of bags. In this way, it won’t matter if the two bags are weighted unevenly, as long as they don’t exceed the total limit.

4. Buy lightweight luggage

No one ever thinks of the weight of the actual bags, and some options can weight up to 5kg – empty! Lightweight and durable baggage options will allow for all those extra souvenirs you just had to buy, whilst not racking up annoying baggage fees.

Older suitcase models can have heavy frames, which will eat up your weight allowance, so definitely check out what new lightweight models are available.

How much will I be charged if my bags exceed the weight or size limits?

Excess charges vary by airline. To help you out we’ve put together a handy list you can crosscheck your airline to know exactly how much you could be charged.

Airline Excess baggage charge
Air Canada $100CAD ($107) for an overweight bag, $225CAD ($240) for an additional checked bag.
Air China 190-700CNY ($38-142) for excess within allowed pieces, additional pieces start at 700CNY ($142).
Air New Zealand $35-205NZD ($32-187) per bag – please note these are pre-paid values.
American Airlines $100-$200USD ($139-278) per bag
ANA $40-140 depending on whether it is an extra piece or overweight.
China Eastern 1000CNY ($203) for the first piece, 2000CNY ($406) for the second
China Southern 1000CNY ($203) for the first piece, 2000CNY ($406) for the second
Emirates From $40USD ($55) per kg
Etihad Airways From $70USD ($98) per every 2kg
Fiji Airways From $18FJD ($12) per kg
Jetstar From $15 per kg
KLM €55-100 ($90-163) per bag depending on route and travel class
Korean Air From 70000KRW ($87) per piece
Qantas $78 per extra piece on domestic routes, and from $20 per kg on international routes.
Rex Airlines $7.70 per extra kg or $16.50 per oversized piece + $7.70 for excess weight
Tigerair From $20 per kg
United From $100USD ($139) per piece
Vietnam Airlines From $10USD ($14) per kg
Virgin Australia From $70 per piece

The above prices are a guide – please check with the airline you are flying with to get the correct pricing.

Note:

Some oversized or overweight baggage can be classed as cargo and subject to additional fees if you’ve exceeded the airline’s maximum weight restrictions. Excess baggage fees vary according to route and/or destination. Typically an overweight bag is classed between 23-32kg on long haul flights.

Talk to the Locals2021-07-09T11:16:38+10:00

Why you should try and meet locals while traveling

When you travel abroad, you can follow your itinerary, stay inside your bubble and keep your conversations limited to your travel companions. Or, you can branch out and meet locals while traveling. It’s more comfortable to stay with what you know. But in order to get the most out of your travel experience, you might need to stretch yourself. Strike up conversations wherever you go. The rewards are immense.

Top 5 Reasons to Meet Locals While Traveling

1. Out of comfort zone

Travel is all about getting out of your comfort zone: new foods, new places, unexpected delays, and language barriers. Meeting new people while traveling is yet one more way to stretch yourself. Why do we hesitate to put ourselves out there? Fear of rejection, awkwardness, or simply being unsure how to begin a conversation: these are some of the top reasons we avoid meeting new people. Like any other skill, striking up a conversation with a stranger is something you will feel more comfortable doing the more often you try. Stepping out of your comfort zone in this way is so important for building your confidence and people skills.

2. Cultural Immersion

If you really want to get immersed in culture and language, there is no better way than to meet locals while traveling. You will learn more from talking to real people than you ever will from a guidebook or even the internet. The best way to learn is by asking great questions. But remember, your destination is not just “your destination.” It is someone’s home. Be a respectful, curious, engaged listener wherever you go.

3. Authentic experience

Do you want to know the best places to get tapas in Granada or the best place to watch the sunset along the Seine? Talk to a local! The right person can point you to the food, sights, and experiences that the tourists don’t know about.

4. New opportunities

If you want to see the world in a way you never have, you will have to do something you’ve never done.

Making friends while traveling abroad is a great way to open doors of opportunity. This is especially important if you’re traveling solo with the intent to have a more unique, personal experience. By stepping out and meeting new people, you might find yourself with opportunities you wouldn’t have if you kept to yourself. Perhaps it’s an invitation to someone’s home, a family party, or even a simple tour around town. If you want to see the world in a way you never have, you will have to do something you’ve never done.

 

5. Lifelong friendships

If you have the opportunity to form a really meaningful connection with someone while abroad, you could very well find yourself with a lifelong friendship. You might even find yourself inviting your new friends to visit you at home, or with an invitation to return to theirs (with somewhere free to stay). Overcome your nerves and strike up a conversation — it will be worth it!

How to meet people while traveling

1. Start a conversation

At coffee shops, in restaurants, parks, and on public transit… The best way to meet locals while traveling is to simply start a conversation.

2. Work or volunteer

If you plan to go abroad for a longer stretch of time, do some volunteering or pick up a part-time job. Working with other people is one of the best ways to connect with them.

3. Stay with locals

Are you interested in trying something besides a traditional hotel for your accommodations? Try Couchsurfing. If you find an Airbnb option to rent out just a room of a home (rather than the whole house), there’s a good chance you’ll be able to connect with your host.

4. Friend of a friend

Get the word out that you will be traveling abroad. Using your Facebook, Instagram, or other network channels, you can say something like, “Hey, friends! I’ll be traveling to Japan this summer. Does anyone have friends or family I could meet while I’m there?” Be sure to use your discretion when sharing specifics about your trip online.

5. Use an app

There are many great apps such as MeetUp and Showaround to help connect you with people who share your interests.

Don’t be afraid to meet new people, both locals and other travelers, as you travel abroad. Connecting with others is truly one of the best things about traveling!

How To Get Cheaper Breakfasts at Hotels or Resorts2021-07-13T11:05:49+10:00

When you purchase a breakfast direct with the hotel or resort (online) you generally are paying full price.  75% off the time you can get a better breakfast price if you purchase the breakfast at check-in with the hotel or resort.

Ask the question – “If I purchase the breakfast now can I receive a discount?” – most hotels and resorts have a policy to secure the booking as they might miss out if you walk away.

The old saying – ” No harm in asking”

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