Holidays are a great way to relax and take a break from the daily grind. We all need a vacation once in a while, and what better way to leave your worries behind than jetting off to the other side of the world?
However, planning for an overseas holiday doesn't happen overnight. There are precautions that need to be taken, arrangements to organise and bookings to confirm often months in advance. The more you are able to tackle beforehand, the less you'll have to worry about once you're actually on your holiday. After all, you want to make the most of your destination and enjoy your stay to the fullest.
Whether you choose to unwind by the beach in Hawaii, experience Oktoberfest in Germany or shop up a storm in Paris, there are certain steps it pays to prepare before you depart Australian shores. If you've got an upcoming trip planned for yourself or your family, here are some of the essentials you'll want to tick off your pre-departure to-do list.
Look after your health
Even if you're only going away for a few days, you can't guarantee that your health will be in the best condition at all times throughout your trip. Make sure to get the necessary medical check ups and tests done well before you plan to leave the country, so you have time to deal with any issues that may arise from the results.
If you need any vaccinations, make sure you schedule them far enough in advance for your holiday. Some can take a while to come into effect, so it's best to talk to your doctor about his or her recommendations.
If you need to take medicine with you, you should check with the embassy of the country you're visiting to ensure it is legal over there. Have your doctor write a letter stating what the medicine is, how much you'll need to take and who it is intended for (either yourself or someone travelling with you) and make sure you have it handy at all times.
Travel insurance will also help you prepare for any health concerns. Comprehensive policies include health insurance cover as well as cover for flight cancellations, theft or damage of your baggage and more.
Comparing health insurance cover in different travel policies ensures you get the most suitable deal for your needs.
Organise the paperwork
Paperwork is an unavoidable part of most holiday plans, so it's best to get organised as early as you can. Check that your passport (and those of everyone else who is travelling with you) is valid throughout your holiday, and that any names on bookings and tickets match up with your passport.
If you need a visa, don't leave this until the last minute as embassies can take longer than expected to process applications. Make a copy of all the paperwork you need (insurance documents, bookings, itineraries and passports) and keep it in a secure place, so you have a backup if the originals are lost.
Register your plans
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade recommend registering your travel details online or at the nearest Australian embassy after you have arrived overseas. This provides a means of contacting you in case of emergencies back home or abroad, such as a civil disturbance, natural disaster or family issue.
Secure your home
Unfortunately, burglaries can occur while you're overseas and your home is unoccupied. To reduce the risk of an incident, make sure your home is locked and secure and all alarm/monitoring systems are in full working condition.
Organise for a neighbour or friend to clear your rubbish and collect the contents of your mailbox, as these are obvious indicators of an empty home when left neglected.
Arrange your finances
A credit card will generally be accepted for most holiday destinations, but it can be useful to have some local currency with you before you land. Exchanging money at the airport is notoriously expensive, so make sure to find the best money changing facilities near you before you leave.
Make sure you understand the foreign handling charges associated with your credit or debit card. If you want to take prepaid travel cards, shop around to find the best deal and keep these in a secure place.