Travelling is a wild adventure, and part of what makes it an adventure is the possibility of complete disaster. Here are some tips for how to prepare for the worst so you can relax and enjoy the best of what your trip has to offer, while minimising your risk for the worst.
When you leave Australia as an Australian citizen travelling abroad, you have a few safety nets, and Reddit user baccgirl pointed out on LifeProTips that you should know what they are before the flight takes off.
A huge one is your country’s embassy; before you arrive, make sure you know where that embassy is located in your destination, and what their hours of operation are. Commenter doublestitch added that you might be better off getting that information for your country’s consulate, as embassies generally attend to diplomatic matters. But hey, why not both?
And that’s just the beginning:
Save your information
An embassy can help you get an emergency passport if yours is lost or stolen, but the process is sped up considerably if you have certain details on hand. baccgirl writes:
Have a secure email that you can access while overseas, with scans of important papers. Birth certificate, passport scan, emergency contacts. Once your international travel has finalised, delete the email address.
This is pretty good advice for any details you might need access to while abroad that you don’t want just floating around forever in your Gmail account.
But you don’t just have to be digital. After all, if you’ve lost everything, that might include email access. madi154 wrote of their own harrowing experience saved by a paper and pen:
Also write down important phone numbers of your family members and the number of the hotel or people you’re staying with and the address. Have multiple papers with this and put this everywhere! Put it in every luggage, wallet and bag you will travel with. You never know when you will need it. For example, my luggage was lost and thankfully I had a paper with the phone number and address of the people I was staying with so that the luggage could get delivered there.
Check your passport expiration date
You need a valid passport to leave Australia, but baccgirl writes that many countries “require you to have a minimum of 6 months of validity remaining on your passport AFTER your departure date from that country”.
Even if your holiday is only a few weeks long, you need that passport to be valid for much, much longer. Just check the numbers in advance so you don’t get sent home from the airport extremely disappointed.
Register your trip in case of emergency
There was also a recommendation from swild89, who commented, “I’ll add to that – register your travel itinerary with the government. You can plan everything you want, but if an emergency strikes, you are prepared.”
In Australia, this is done via Smartraveller. It notifies the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of where you are, and enables them to contact you and your family in case of emergency.
Be ready to roll with the punches
Some commenters complained that all these tips were actually just advising people to go overboard and ruin their holiday with worry. As RunninADorito wrote:
Being fully and completely prepared is both impossible and stupid. The idea that travelling to a different country requires a crazy amount of preparation is the wrong mindset.
If you’re going to France you might want to do X. If you’re going to Cambodia do Y. Understand the circumstances and deal with likely issues. Don’t be scared of life and the world.
An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of trouble, but it’s also important to keep things in perspective, and not let fear stop you from seeing the world.