You’ve set your sights on a destination. Maybe it’s Mexico. Maybe it’s Greece. Maybe it’s South Africa… You plan the flights, book the hotels, and think about packing a lot…even though you know you’ll procrastinate and save all your packing to the night before. But is there anything else you need to do now that you’re forgetting?
That’s right! You’re missing holiday insurance cover. What if that flight gets cancelled – or worse, your leg gets broken?
That’s where we come in. Just get a quote for the sweet insurance we provide. So where do you start? The great news is this checklist makes it easy for you. So let’s get you ready for that trip…
10 things you need to do before you go.
1. Get a quote and buy travel insurance.
We have to start here right? It’s cliché but true. If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. Unfortunately travel (like life), doesn’t always go to plan and it usually goes awry during one of those times that you think “What could go wrong? Nothing ever happens to me!”. Then it does.
Those are the moments you are grateful for travel insurance policy. Hopefully it’s something small that we can help you with to get your holiday back on track quickly, or ensure that you’re not left losing money on a repair bill from your hire car… But if it happens to be bigger, you’ll be even more thankful.
If you haven’t travelled with us before, why not give us a try this time? Get a quote now and see how much you can save on quality cover. Then continue preparing for your holiday!
2. Subscribe to travel advisories.
Now that you’ve got travel insurance, you should keep up to date on the location you’re travelling to. Is it still safe to travel in? Is it still safe to travel to? Are there any travel alerts you should be aware of such as natural disasters, political issues, war or rebellion?
The simplest way to do this is to read the current advisory to all the countries you’re travelling to, then subscribe to updates from Smartraveller for all of them. They do the leg work for you, so you can just check your emails for updates whilst you decide if it’s better to buy new togs here – or when you get there.
3. Check, and double check passports, visas and tickets.
Critical documents which can completely derail your entire holiday if you miss something! Start with your passport and make sure it is valid for at least 6 months after you’re due to come home. If not, get onto a replacement fast to avoid any unpleasant situations overseas.
Next, check if you need a visa for any of the countries you’re travelling to. If you don’t, you may be denied entry and sent home – and that’s not something that travel insurance covers! Some have specific requirements like the United States, where if you don’t require a visa, you must still apply in advance for approval to enter through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization – even if you are only transiting through the USA. (There’s some helpful information on the Smartraveller website about this).
This may sound silly to you, but it’s easy to do when you’re swept up in the excitement of travelling and mistake the 12am departure for 12pm the next day. Even travel agents do it – so don’t rely on your itinerary alone, check your tickets carefully before you go.
4. Respect your destination – research laws and cultural differences.
In some places this is vital. In case you didn’t read about it, a British woman was recently detained by Dubai authorities for 3 days with her young daughter, after admitting to an immigration official that she’d consumed a glass of wine on the flight there. It’s illegal to drink alcohol (or be intoxicated) in public there, so you can be arrested on arrival after drinking or becoming intoxicated on a flight – even if you’re just in transit.
A small problem with the law in a different country, particularly if it’s also a different culture, can escalate far too quickly. Don’t risk offending anyone, or attract a lot of attention when you’re a foreigner. That’s often the catalyst for when you start receiving all the wrong attention.
How do you avoid offending or breaking a law when you don’t what it is? The best way is to research the laws of your destination and cultural practices in advance. Awareness is the best protection. Don’t risk trading your hotel for a cell. If you break the law in another country, there is not much travel insurance, or our government can do to get you out. Of course if you’re travelling to New Zealand, you probably don’t need to worry much about this one.
Check in with your doctor or a travel health clinic once you’ve decided where you want to travel to, just in case you need a vaccination to protect yourself from some horrible disease.
It’s worth doing, if you don’t take precautions where there are known diseases that can be easily acquired, you may not have the full travel insurance cover you thought you had – and some countries might not even let you enter if you can’t prove you’ve had the vaccinations they require.
6. Finish your homework.
Wherever you travel, make sure you know the activities you have planned are actually covered. The last thing you want to discover is that you won’t be covered after committing to a quadruple mid-air somersault skiing that breaks your collarbone.
The safest way to do this with is to always check the PDS which should list any exclusions to your travel insurance policy. We cover a lot of activities like bungee-jumping, paragliding, kite-surfing and white water rafting as long as they are run by a commercial licensed operator that is regulated by the country you are in. You won’t be covered for any type of motorcycle riding or if you decide to show-off and perform acrobatics or stunts while skiing or snowboarding though!
7. Backup your important documents.
Upload a photo of your passport, travel insurance policy, receipts and tickets online. Google drive is a great option, and is free to use. We’d strongly suggest using two-factor authentication to log-in and keep all your details secure – if you haven’t done this before, this page tells you how it works.
Then if the unexpected happens and you need to access your documents online, they will be there ready for you to download no matter where in the world you are.
8. Get flight alerts.
Just because you’ve got a ticket booked doesn’t mean things can change on the fly before you fly. Stay up to date on your flight details. Most airlines will give you the option to receive updates by text or email, so make use of the service.
You never know if your flight will be cancelled or delayed for whatever reason, and it can cause much less fuss and anguish if you hear about it before you’re stuck in the limbo of air-side at the airport. A small delay can even be good news if you’re caught in an impatient queue at customs – or if you still can’t decide which duty-free gifts you want to buy!
9. Pack strategically.
This is a short but important friendly neighbourly reminder to our fellow packers who try to stuff everything in. Don’t take all the things! Simplify and think about what you really need, and are most likely to actually wear while you’re on holiday.
When you’re tempted at the last minute to add that extra pair of shoes, take a deep breath first and see if one of the other pairs – or even the ones you’re wearing will do.
After all, you might need that precious suitcase space to bring back all the fabulous souvenirs and mementos from your trip – and the token gifts for all your work colleagues!
10. Take care of yourself.
Just because you’re days away from your flight doesn’t mean you’re out of the blue. If your health changes before you go, you must notify your travel insurer. That way they can update your policy and you can go on holiday safely knowing exactly what you’re covered for.
Sometimes, it may only be a cold that messes with you (you don’t need to tell us about that), but if you’re taking care of yourself before you go away instead of burning the midnight oil to complete that extra project at work or ensure the house looks immaculate – you will probably enjoy a much more relaxing and healthy start to your holiday.
You’ve worked hard all year and deserve a great holiday, so look after yourself so you can make the most of your break away!