Making sure you return from holiday with great memories
Travelling can be a real adventure – but an important part of any overseas experience is making sure that you keep yourself safe while you’re exploring.
When you’re planning adventures overseas, there’s so much excitement that it can be easy to forget about the parts of travel that are a little less glamorous. Organising travel insurance may not be as thrilling as planning your routes and researching the major attractions – but having the best time possible is a whole lot easier to do when you know that you’ve got peace of mind from travel insurance.
What travel insurance is
Travel insurance is intended to cover a particular set of financial losses and/or lump sum payments for accidents that can occur while travelling. Pretty simple! Your policy might include cover for the following risks:
– Medical and repatriation services. This section usually covers you for expenses reasonably incurred in respect of: (i) medical treatment including surgical fees, hospital charges and emergency dental treatment, (ii) additional hotel/travelling expenses of the patient or a friend, member of the family or a nurse travelling with the patient, (iii) additional expenses due to delays resulting from an injury or illness, (iv) transporting the patient (you) back to your home country for medical reasons including the use of an air ambulance, etc.
– Cancellations and travel disruption. This section usually provides for reimbursement of deposits and payments made for transport and accommodation booked and not used by you due to the necessary and unavoidable cancellation or interruption of the journey as a result of causes beyond your control, such as death, illness or accident of the insured, defined close relatives or your travelling companion. This section may also cover additional expenses for defined travel delays due to missed connections or for cancellation and curtailment of public transport services due to strikes and hijacks.
– Luggage, travel documents and money. This section usually covers loss or theft of and damage to personal baggage, including clothing and personal effects. This cover might also apply for loss/theft of your passport or other travel documents – and in certain circumstances can even include money, if it has been stolen from you.
– Personal liability. This covers your legal liability for injury to third parties or accidental loss of or damage to third party property.
There are also extras that you can choose to add on, depending on how comprehensive your policy is. This can include cover for specified additional items such as jewellery or expensive electronic equipment or cover for pre-existing medical conditions.
What travel insurance isn’t
Like any kind of insurance, there are circumstances and activities that travel insurance won’t cover. So while travel insurance is there to help keep your trip running smoothly, it’s not a license to run wild and live dangerously.
If you’re looking into some more extreme activities, it’s important to make sure it’s covered. Being left liable for medical expenses is the last thing you want to happen when you’re recovering from an injury or illness away from home!
You also need to be responsible about your possessions – make sure you’ve read through your policy to make sure you don’t put yourself into a situation where you won’t be covered if something goes wrong.
Ensuring you have the best time possible
Being responsible doesn’t mean being boring! The world is out there and this is your chance to seize the moment and discover new and exciting things. You’ll see amazing sights, you’ll meet fascinating people, you may even pick up a little bit of the local language. Here are our top tips for travelling safely while still having an amazing time.
– Prepare your passport. Before you head off on your adventures, be sure to leave photocopies of your passport and your travel itinerary with someone back home. It’s also wise to carry a photocopy of your passport with you, separate from your actual passport – so you have some form of identification to speed up the replacement process.
– Important contacts. As well as contact details for your loved ones back home, it’s sensible to keep contact details for your nation’s embassy or consulate on hand. Be aware that not all nations have embassies in all countries however and sometimes your closest diplomatic mission may be in a neighbouring country. For example, there is no Saudi Arabian or Sri Lankan embassy in New Zealand – instead, nationals from those countries can connect with their embassies across the Tasman in Canberra. It’s also worth making a note of international phone numbers for your bank and credit card company.
– Medical safety. If you require prescription medication, pack a note from your doctor outlining all of the medication you are currently prescribed – and be sure to keep medications in their original containers so that you don’t need to worry about questions being asked about any medication that you’re carrying. If you’re travelling to certain places, you may also be recommended to have immunisations prior to your trip – you can talk to your regular general practitioner or a specialist travel clinic about particular destinations.
– Talk to your telco. With modern technology, we’re all deeply connected to our devices. Often, when you step off a plane in a new country your phone will automatically connect to a local network. But if you don’t investigate roaming charges or international calling plans, you may find yourself running up a huge bill. It may be easier to use a pre-paid calling card, or if you’re travelling in a country for a longer period of time you could purchase a local sim card so that you can use local networks at local prices.
– Making sense of money. You will make life a lot easier for yourself if you inform your credit card company that you’ll be going overseas – otherwise, you may discover that your account has been frozen for suspicious activity. Having two different cards can also be worthwhile as some machines may only accept Visa or Mastercard. You can also exchange money in advance – but do keep in mind the limits that your policy has in place regarding coverage for cash.
– Getting a sense of direction. If you’ve got a smartphone, but you don’t want to use data while you’re overseas, one way to make the most of your device is to download maps of the local area beforehand. You can find out more information about how to do this online – just make sure to search for your phone’s Operating System and your preferred map app. You can still use GPS while your data is switched off, too – just be aware that it may not be as precise as it would be when using data.
– Keeping important things close. They may not be the most fashionable of garments, but an anti-theft pouch or belt can be a huge help. Whether you go for the pouch around the neck or a belt around your waist, you can keep your important items
– passports, cash, credit cards – safe underneath your clothing so that they are well away from pickpockets and opportunistic thieves.
- Staying safe. When you’re in a new place, you won’t always know how to stay safe – whether it’s knowing what parts of town to avoid, or knowing which taxi companies are reliable. While doing some research beforehand can help a lot, there are also little things that you can do to keep yourself safe. Travel with a companion where possible, or if you’re heading off on your own, make sure to let people know where you’re going. It could be someone else staying in your hostel, or even sending a quick message to someone back home. If you see a stack of business cards at the counter or your accommodation provider, grab one! You never know if you’ll find yourself somewhere unexpected and unsure of how to get back to your home for the night, so having the exact location and contact details of where you’re staying on hand at all times can be very helpful.
Having a plan that keeps you safe and ensures you are covered if anything unexpected happens is important for travelling. A comprehensive insurance policy can help with this. It’s important that you read and understand your policy wording in order to have the best time possible without any worry! That way, you can enjoy your time abroad knowing that you and your possessions will be looked after.