For those of you who are wanting to step further in to the world of travel, maybe for your first time, or maybe your first long term trip, here are some useful preparations you can take to ensure a less stressful journey.
A Visa is a form of permission, issued by the government, for a non-citizen to enter, transit or remain in a particular country. Depending on your nationality, where you intend to go, and how long you intend to stay for, you may have to apply for a visa.
Organising your visa should be one of the first things you do when heading to another country, as processing times vary from consulate to consulate and there could be a delay in your application that could prevent you from leaving your country.
Most foreign consulates will require proof of travel, accommodation and insurance before considering your application – in this case, I always ensure that anything I book is refundable in the event that my visa doesn’t get approved.
If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. There is a reason this saying exists. Travel insurance is a small investment in comparison to the unexpected costs associated with an overseas accident.
Choosing the right travel insurance policy can seem daunting if it’s your first time – especially when a Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) is 40 pages long.
Before choosing a travel insurance policy, I always consider where I’m going and what activities I’ll be partaking in. If I going to a destination where there will be snow, I always ensure that the insurance offers some sort of added snow cover.
When choosing a policy, the first section of the PDS that I always read is ‘What Is Not Covered’. This is a great way of filtering through some of the unnecessary information on a PDS. This allows we me to assess what costs will not be covered and under what circumstances in turn allowing me to determine if the policy is right for me.
I then ensure that the policy covers medical expenses, including transport, as well as cancellation cover that corresponds with the total cost of my trip.
Most travel insurance companies offer different levels of cover with a varying excess. Ensure that you carefully read how these policies differ before purchasing one.
One of the final steps, is to compare the policy cover and its cost against other companies. I also ensure that I read reviews on the companies claim process and the success rate that comes from those claims before buying.
One of the great things about purchasing a travel insurance policy is that many offer a ‘cooling-off’ period that provides a full refund in the event that you cancel your policy within a certain amount of days. In the event that I have to apply for a visa, I find a policy that works for my trip but I don’t book it until the day of my appointment with the consulate. This provides me with a financial safety net if my visa gets denied within the ‘cooling-off’ period – I can get a full refund.
It is important that you register your trip with SmartTraveller or a like company. This ensures that if you have an accident overseas your family and friends can be contacted on your behalf.
It’s important that you ensure the country you are wanting to travel to is regarded as a safe travel zone. Please note that depending on where you intend to go, some travel insurance companies will not cover you because of the associated risks. Lists of safe travel zones can be found on your government websites.