Overseas Travel Hints

  • Overseas Travel Hints and Tips

    Embarking on an overseas adventure can be one of the greatest experiences you will ever have. You will have an entirely new set of experience, meet people from all over the world and undergo amazing personal growth. To ensure you have a smooth trip it’s best to be well prepared in advance. Here are hints and tips that will assist you get the most out of your experience.

    Before you leave

    Always give a family member or friend a copy of your itinerary so they can contact you in an emergency.

    Knowledge is power

    This is particularly important when it comes to weather. You don't want to arrive for your long awaited beach holiday in the middle of winter. Similarly, monsoon season in India is best avoided when possible. So have a general plan on where you are going to visit in which month and read up about the climate expectations. This will help you pack effectively too!

    Reading Map_Shutterstock

    Cultural difference

    It's an unwritten rule that when we are travelling, we respect the culture of the country we are visiting. In many places this will be made obvious ... wearing shorts and singlets to visit many famous churches and mosques simply won't be accepted.. To make things easy for everyone read up on local customs before you travel and if in doubt your friendly hostel staff can give you a crash course in local etiquette.

    Arriving at your destination

    Always aim to arrive in a new town during the daylight hours. It is more difficult to get your bearings at night. And then there are the added difficulties of bank and ticket offices being closed, less public transport services and fewer options if you simply don't like where you've ended up!

    Tip: Research directions between your flight, train, bus or ship to you r accommodation prior to arrival.

    Hostel Signage_Shutterstock

    Reserve your accommodation

    Reserving a bed in advance of your stay can save you the frustration of missing out on accommodation, particularly during popular holiday times. Booking weeks ahead isn't always necessary, but your travels will run more smoothly if you've made a call ahead to ensure a bed will be available for you when you arrive. You can book international hostels online through the Hostelling International website. Most hostels also accept reservations by e-mail and fax with your credit card details. While trying "Do you have a bed available for tonight?" in a foreign language, from a public telephone at a noisy railway station is all part of the travelling experience, it's not one you'll enjoy every day!

    YHA booking mobile site

    Hostels in other countries

    To keep costs really low, in a few countries you may be asked to make your own bed and keep your room tidy, and do the odd chore around the hostel. Smoking is not allowed in bedrooms and most hostels are totally smoke-free. Some hostels may have a bar on the premises while others may be alcohol-free. In many countries, sleeping bags are not acceptable for reasons of hygiene.

    Travel Insurance

    If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. Regardless of whether you’re currently healthy, accidents happen all the time. Without a comprehensive travel insurance policy, ambulances, time in hospital, loss of baggage and last minute cancellations can cost thousands of dollars. If you haven’t organised your travel insurance yet, YHA members can get a discount on their travel insurance here www.yha.com.au/insurance

     Red first aid kit_shutterstock

    Communication

    Taking your Australian mobile overseas can prove very expensive. International roaming means you are charged high per minute rates to make AND receive calls.  Also, be aware of the high cost for using mobile data plans to send and receive e-mails and browse the web.   Look at alternative low cost options to communicate with home – email, SKYPE, Facebook, Facetime, WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat (on Wi-Fi or from an internet café), prepaid local or international SIM cards. YHA members receive a discount on ekit International SIM cards that will ensure substantial savings on calling from overseas. Buy here before you travel.

    Girl_on_phone

    Taking money overseas

    As a general rule you should always try to hold currency in multiple forms, that is:

    •  Cash for daily expenses and emergencies 
    • Travellers cheques, pre-paid travel cards or debit cards for the bulk of your funds 
    • Credit cards for unexpected or larger expenditures 

    Talk to your bank or financial institution to find out about their debit card options for travellers. Make sure you let your credit card provider know you will be travelling – otherwise your account may be frozen when you try to use it overseas.

    Tip: Try to capitalise on exchange rates by monitoring your currency well in advance of your planned trip. Additionally, some credit cards are more traveller friendly than others and wave the currency conversion fee.

    Money_Shutterstock

    Manage Your Money

    Managing your money is all about proper planning and research. You should understand how much you will spend per day at each location and then budget accordingly. Sticking to this plan is important as you do not want to be left short of funds during the last few days or weeks of your holiday. While often difficult, you may need to forgo certain activities in order to have money for future activities – don’t be the traveller who gets over excited and spends all their money in the first week of a six month adventure.

    Further Advicesmart traveller

    To keep pace with changes overseas, visit smartraveller.gov.au. It contains handy tips for overseas travel, advice on issues commonly affecting Australians overseas and the latest security updates. To find out more visit smartraveller.gov.au, telephone 1300 139 281, or speak to your local travel agent.