Bookings & travel news
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.
Always give a family member or friend a copy of your itinerary so they can contact you in an emergency.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 and data roaming from overseas. Buy here before you travel.
As a general rule you should always try to hold
currency in multiple forms, that is:
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
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.
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.
YHA members get a huge discount on International Travel Insurance with QBE!
Join the locals and have fun with World Nomad's series of free language guides that contain around 30 basic phrases that you can download onto your iPod.
Travelling overseas? Pick up a Lonely Planet Guide or download chapters before you go.
"Do you have a bed available for tonight?"
While it's all part of travelling overseas, this isn't something you want to be
saying everyday - in another language, from a public telephone, at a noisy railway
Book hostels worldwide
Save up to 70% on international calls with your YHA eKit sim or phone card.
YHA Travel licences: 2TA002629 (NSW), LTA148 (NT), 3433524 (QLD), TTA32 (SA), TA-0033055
(VIC), 9TA00584 (WA)