I don’t see myself as much of a traveller. Sure, I choose to live abroad and have called three countries ‘home’ but, in my mind, a traveller doesn’t stop travelling, they move base every few months and they try to see almost every damn country on the planet.
If that’s the case, then a traveller I am not.
But I do have a fair few air miles under my belt and I have relocated several times for better or for worse. I’m therefore often asked by people who know me or read my work just what is required to head overseas – what are the key things to remember before embarking on that foreign adventure, what should never be forgotten, where is the best place to start?
If your flights are booked and a dream holiday beckons, heading off around the world with family in tow can still be a daunting experience. If you don’t plan ahead and get organised before travelling, the trip of a lifetime can rapidly become a holiday disaster. In the spirit of sharing my lessons learned from a life lived abroad, follow these five basic travel essentials to stay happy, healthy and hassle-free.
1. Get your passports and visas in order
You won’t get far on your international travels without an up-to-date passport and necessary travel visas. First, find out what the requirements are in the location you plan to head to – what visa do you need, how long is it valid for, how do you apply, how soon do you get it? Then double-check your passport expiration, ensuring you have at least six months of travel time left on the passport, as some countries require this. Get the passports and visas right, then you’ll be legal and ready to head abroad.
2. Register with your government or local embassy
Stay smart while you’re travelling and register your travel and contact details with your local embassy at the destination or with your government at home. This makes it easier for the authorities to get in touch with you or your family if there’s an emergency. While registration doesn’t guarantee consular support, it’s a simple and effective way of remaining contactable when travelling or in those first few weeks and months overseas.
3. Check the travel advice for your destination
It’s also invaluable to understand whether any travel advisories have been put out about your destination of choice. Check for advice before booking your holiday, then check again when leaving in case it has changed for any reason. If in doubt, keep out. It’s simply not worth risking your safety, and that of your loved ones, in the name of a foreign trip. Keeping yourself well-informed by actively monitoring the situation abroad could be the difference between a dream trip and the stuff of international nightmares.
4. Take out the best insurance for travel
A must-have for all jet setters, a good insurance policy will cover you for lost belongings, flight cancellation costs, unexpected hotel bills and trips to the doctor, giving you valuable peace of mind and protection for you and yours. Illness and injury abroad can be an expensive experience. Southern Cross Travel Insurance provides great coverage for those unanticipated mishaps that you hope will never actually happen. As a travel insurance specialist in both New Zealand and Australia, SCTI insures hundreds of thousands of travellers every year and offers customers a wealth of experience and expertise. It’s well worth considering them before you leave.
5. Plan, plan and plan ahead
You’ll get nowhere fast without a plan. There’s so much to take care of, organise and get ready for when you head off. Items need to be shipped, finances taken care of, unnecessary belongings sold or given away, people informed of your travels and last minute purchases to make. It’s crucially important to be on top of your admin and aware of your first steps when you touch down in your new home. It can seem overwhelming but don’t let it get you down – the right mindset as you leave, and then land, will prove invaluable in those exciting days of travel to come.
This post was supported by Southern Cross Travel Insurance.