Planning a holiday or study exchange can be stressful. There are so many minute details and easily forgettable items that should be added to your to-do list. I am constantly writing down the items on the list below and reminding myself to do these before a trip.
1. Smart Traveller website
Make use of Smart Traveller and register your trip on the Australian Government’s website. If something happens locally, whether it be a terrorist attack or natural disaster, the government will know where you are and can assist you if needed. Also, sign up for updates for the countries you will be travelling to; any protests, safety concerns or general updates will be sent straight to your inbox.
2. Travel insurance
This may seem like an obvious one, but with a lot going on it is a good reminder. Remember, if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. Be sure to take the time to compare the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and inclusions, and choose the cover and insurer that best suits your needs. Check if you need to add things such as motorcycle riding or snow sports or whether it is already included. Additionally, some travel insurance is free with your credit card, so contact your bank to find out if this is available for you.
3. Go Global – Griffith
If the travel is university-related check out Go Global – Griffith. The Go Global website has all the information you need for registering your program or exchange and will provide you with information about funding, grants and scholarships that are available to you.
4. Travel money cards
Be sure to contact your bank and inform them of your travels prior to departing. There is nothing worse than going to use your card and having it decline because of suspicious activity. It is also a good idea to travel with a back-up for worst case scenarios. I opt to travel with a fee-free debit card and have a credit card for emergencies.
One of the things I learnt on my first overseas trip is how much it helps to download maps of the country/province in advance. Maps.me and Google Maps are both great for this and it makes finding your hotel etc. a lot simpler after leaving the airport without mobile data.
If the country doesn’t speak your local language, it is a good idea to learn and write down some common phrases before you go. I recommend learning the following:
- Hello / Goodbye
- Please / Thank you
- Do you speak English? / I don’t speak [insert language]
- How much does this cost? (As well as numbers)
- And most importantly, learn your allergies and/or any dietary requirements.
This will come in handy and make your trip run a lot smoother.