There's nothing better than anticipating a holiday abroad. Whether you're planning on lazing the time away on a beach in Bali or landing in a big European city for sightseeing or shopping, a little pre-trip preparation will ensure things go smoothly. These handy tips will get you off to a good start. Be sure to check them off your list. Then go. Prepare for your next trip by using our handy travel planner guide.
Download your travel planner
Visas and insurance
Do you need a visa? Rules are constantly changing so don't simply assume that you won't need a visa. A quick check with the embassy of the country you plan to visit will give you a definitive answer. You may also want to visit visalink.com.au for a quick requirements check if you plan to visit more than one country.
Organise your visa several weeks – in some cases, months! – before your travel date. You can apply for some visas online, but for certain countries you may need to rely on snail mail. As a general rule of thumb, the more 'unusual' or remote your travel destination, the sooner you should think about applying for your visa.
Check specific entry requirements for your destination. Visas may not be your only consideration. Some countries may require you to have at least 12 months remaining on your passport instead of the usual six months.
You should always make sure you have at least six months remaining on your passport from your date of departure.
Make sure your travel insurance is valid for each day of travel (including your departure and arrival date), that it covers you for any extreme sports or activities that you might be undertaking; and you should take all relevant documentation away with you.
In case of theft, keep copies of your passport, visas, insurance policy and any other important information separate from your originals. Consider storing copies digitally – either by emailing them to yourself or by using a 'cloud' system such as Dropbox.
Want to know more about where the Australian passport can take you? Check out our helpful infographic here.
Health and safety
Don't take your health for granted – book a check-up with your doctor and/or a travel doctor at least six to eight weeks before you travel. Also, if you've been putting off that trip to the dentist, now is a good time to go.
Do your own research to find out the potential health risks you could be exposed to at your destination and whether you require vaccinations or a vaccination certificate before you go.
Find out before leaving if you can drink the local water. If you have to drink bottled water and you'd rather not contribute to plastic bottle landfill, take your own water bottle and purifying tablets.
As well, try to be aware of mosquito-prone areas. Cover up, use repellent and a mosquito net when sleeping.
Even if rabies is not a concern in the country you are visiting, thoroughly clean any animal bites with soap and water, and seek immediate medical attention.
Be sun smart: you wouldn't leave home without a bottle of water, hat and sunscreen in Australia during the warmer months, would you? So why do it abroad?
Always visit your local doctor on your return if you feel unwell or notice any unusual symptoms. If you have a pre-existing injury or medical condition it might be worth finding out the address of the nearest hospital or specialist in the area you're travelling to. You may also consider joining IAMAT, the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers. For a small donation you can receive a list of English speaking doctors in member countries.