The trend for Australians to travel overseas continues to increase. The majority of Australians leaving the country are going on short term holidays. And surprise, surprise… People aged 60 years and over are increasingly travelling overseas.
Perhaps you are one of the many baby boomers with the travel bug? Are you planning to tick your retirement travel bucket list with a trip overseas? If so, check out the list of essential travel tips you need to do before departing the country.
Recently we travelled to Bali. We have travelled overseas multiple times. Before leaving for Bali I believe we were complacent. I remember thinking “We are just going to Bali”. We were thinking it was just a short holiday, that we weren’t travelling very far, or for very long.
We were complacent in regard to many of the tips I have listed below. We did not register our travel details with Smart Traveller, we did not give copies of our travel details to our family etc. And have a guess what? Just after we arrived in Bali the volcano, Mount Agung, was at the highest risk possible of erupting. At one stage we were experiencing regular earth tremors. We ended up registering online with Smart Traveller while in Bali. This experience has taught us a lesson. I prepared this list of pre – planning travel tips, as much for ourselves, to check before we travel overseas again.
Retirees Enjoying Travel – Preparation Checklist For Overseas Travel
1. Make Sure Your Passport And Visa Are Up To Date
- An Australian passport is valid for 10 years.
- It is important to check your passports expiry date before you travel.
- Make sure your passport doesn’t expire while you are away. Remember, some countries refuse entry if passports have less then 6 months validity.
- Check up to date information for the visa requirements of the counties you plan to visit.
- Apply for your visas well in advance of your departure date. While some may be able to obtain a visa within 2 weeks, it is better to apply at least 2 months before your travel date.
2. Check Travel Health Advice
- Visit your GP at least 6 weeks before travel
- Check the travel advice for the countries you plan to visit and make sure you have all necessary vaccinations up to date.
- Obtain a letter from your GP with a list of your medications and medical conditions.
- Take additional medications, in case your travel is delayed.
- If appropriate, get your GP to write a medical certificate stating you are fit to fly.
3. Travel Insurance
- It is vital to get travel insurance before you travel overseas. In fact, getting travel insurance is as important as taking your passport with you when travelling overseas. You never know, you may need to cancel your trip, you may become sick or injured, you may become stranded in a country, loose your luggage etc. There is a very long list of reasons why travel insurance is an absolute must.
- Once you have decided on your travel plans and begin booking your trip, buy your travel insurance. The sooner you purchase the travel insurance, the better. If anything changes in relation to the destination where you are planning to travel, you hopefully will be able to reclaim the travel expenses you have already paid.
- Read the travel insurance policy. Understand what you are covered for. You may need to purchase additional coverage to suit your personal / travel needs.
4. Check Travel Warnings
- The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade issue up to date travel warnings.
- Check Smart Traveller website to see if any travel warnings are posted about the country you plan to visit.
5. Register Your Trip With Smart Traveller
- Register with Smart Traveller online, before you leave Australia.
- Create your personal account, and list your travel plans, on the Smart traveller website. Then, if there is a problem while you are travelling overseas, you can be notified and receive regular updates from the Australian government.
- There is also an emergency helpline number that you or your family can access.
6. Copy And Email Your Travel Itinerary And Passport
- Make copies of all travel documents, including accommodation details, airline and other transport tickets.
- Make sure it is a detailed itinerary with dates of where you will be, address & telephone number of accommodation, and all booked details of your travel arrangements.
- Basically, all travel details and bookings made before you leave home are best shared with your next of kin.
7. Travel Money Cards and Comparisons
- Always notify your bank of your overseas travel plans.
- Check out travel money card comparisons to help decide which will suit you best.
- Consider travel credit cards, pre paid travel cards, travel debit cards and foreign exchange rates
- Check out all the transaction fees and charges, including ATM withdrawal fees, and the exchange rate.
- Also consider how you will reload money onto the card while travelling overseas.
- Check the expiry date on your cards. Make sure none will expire while you are overseas.
- Always carry some foreign currency with you as you depart Australia. Then you will be able to buy food, pay for a taxi etc. on arrival.
- If you choose a travel credit cards – Make sure you take credit cards with a chip (not a swipe) and pin number.
- Review the limit on your credit card. Make sure you have enough credit for unexpected events.
- Debit cards for overseas also work, as long as Visa or Mastercard.
- Be aware of the daily withdrawal limit on the card you choose to take overseas. You may wish to ask your bank if the daily limit can be increased.
- It is best to take at least two cards with you. This is in case one card will not work or is lost.
- You may prefer to have a travel money card. The appropriate foreign currencies are simply loaded onto the travel money card before you travel. Many banks offer these cards.
- Make sure you have internet banking set up, so you can transfer funds if necessary.
8. Monitor The Exchange Rate
- Check monetary conversions rates
- Try to understand how much you are likely to be spending while away.
- Notify your bank and credit card providers which countries you will be travelling to.
- Always carry some local cash
- Check that your credit card will work in the country.
- Cash converters in airports are usually expensive. Use reputable cash converters / hotels.
9. Take International Voltage Adapters / Electronic Chargers Etc.
- Bring an International voltage adaptor with you – for charging iphone / computer / camera
- Down load any apps (conversion rates, language translator) before you travel and be familiar with how to use these.
10. Keep In Contact With Family And Friends.
Consider how you will keep in contact with family and friends while you are travelling overseas. Possibilities include:
- Set up a Skype account so you can easily ring if you wish, without costing the earth
- Set up a private FB page or Messenger family group
- Post on FB
11. Travel Photography
When travelling we are all keen to be snap happy.
- Pack an extra memory card
- Pack an extra battery for your camera
- Remember to pack your camera charger
These pre – planning travel tips are intended to help make sure holidays are as stress free as possible, and to minimise the risk of any unnecessary problems. Use the list as a checklist whenever you are preparing to travel overseas. A checklist makes sure you don’t forget anything in the preparation phase. The aim is to be well prepared and organised before you leave the country. Then you can relax and enjoy your holiday.
What are your thoughts?
What is your best travel tip? Have you any suggestions regarding travel money cards, travel insurance etc. Have you any travel tips in addition to what I have listed above? Have you any other suggestions?
Please join the conversation. We would love to hear your thoughts.
Best wishes for safe and happy travels
From Estelle & Greg – Retirees Enjoying Travel.