8 things all savvy Aussie travellers do before going overseas

If you’ve got an overseas trip coming up, the list of things you need to do before you set off can feel as long as your arm. But it doesn’t have to be! Save yourself some time and stress by prioritising these eight must-dos.

1. Check SmartTraveller.gov.au

SmartTraveller.gov.au is the Australian Government’s official travel advice and consular information service. Visit the site to find important travel information for your destination, particularly regarding safety and security. You can also register your travel plans so that you can easily be contacted on the off chance of an emergency.

2. Double-check roaming options

There’s nothing worse than returning home after a trip only to discover an astronomical phone bill waiting for you. Avoid the hit to your wallet by checking your provider’s roaming charges before you travel, or even have a chat with them (as they might be able to offer you a better deal for your needs). If you use your phone a lot (especially data) or if you’re going to be overseas for a while, think about buying a local sim card once you arrive at your destination. If you’re visiting multiple countries, check out a multi-country sim card, like the ones available from GO-SIM and TravelSIM.

Don’t break the bank with expensive roaming.

3. Switch on flight mode to save your battery

You’re chatting with a loved one back home and your phone conks out. You’re wandering the streets of a foreign city, relying on the maps on your phone, and it dies. These scenarios are entirely avoidable: if your phone is on roaming, one way to extend its battery life is to put it on flight mode whenever possible (like when you’re on a long journey on a train or bus). Phone batteries can drain particularly quickly while you’re roaming, as your phone is constantly working hard to look for a signal. Give your phone a holiday as well.

4. Pack a first-aid kit

A cut here, a scratch there – these things happen. A small, but thoughtfully stocked first-aid kit should be among the first things you pack in your suitcase. Depending on where you’re going and what you’re doing, some essentials to include are: band-aids, antiseptic cream, gauze, tape, paracetamol, and, of course, any prescription medications you regularly use. You’ll thank yourself later.

5. Download some apps

While it’s become a habit for many of us, being glued to your phone while you pass through vibrant cities and stunning landscapes is a definite no-no. But that being said, there’s a whole world of apps out there to help the savvy traveller.

Consider CityMapper for getting from cafe to museum to bar, Snapseed (available for iPhones and Android) for photos to make friends back home jealous, Duolingo for impressing locals with your language skills, and XE Currency for avoiding nasty surprises when it comes to currency conversion. The Wotif app is also a winner, if we do say so ourselves, as it gives you access to special deals and allows you to manage your bookings while you’re on the road. You can also use it to share your itinerary with your friends and family back home to help them keep track of your travels.

Then put your phone away and enjoy the view.

6. Learn your foreign currencies and exchange rates

Some international travellers wait to withdraw money from an ATM at their destination. And that’s fine. However, airport ATMs often offer poor exchange rates, so it might be wise to grab some foreign currency before you leave Australia. You might also like to take some US cash with you, as it’s still the most accepted currency in the world.

7. Makes copies of all your documents

Make copies of all your most important documents – both electronically and in print form. That means your passport and visas, your travel insurance policy, your airline ticket and hotel reservations, and even your itineraries. Keep a copy for yourself, share one with your travel buddy, and send one to your emergency contact back home. That way if you lose anything, you’re covered.

8. Pack an adaptor (and a powerboard!)

Many of us over-think our packing, especially for overseas holidays. It’s usually not necessary, as most of the things you might forget can be replaced at your destination. But adaptors for Aussie appliances can be really tricky to find outside of Australia, even at international airports. Save yourself the hassle and make it one of the first things you pack. Pro tip: Pack a powerboard too so you can use your adaptor for up to four appliances at a time 😉

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