1. Make sure you have a signed, valid passport and visas, if required. Also, before you go, fill in the emergency information page of your passport!
  2. Read the Consular Information Sheets and any Travel Warnings for the countries you plan to visit.
  3. Familiarize yourself with local laws and customs of the countries to which you are traveling. Remember, while in a country, you are subject to its laws!
  4. Make 2 photocopies of your passport identification page. This will facilitate replacement if your passport is lost or stolen. Leave one copy at home. Carry the other with you in a separate place from your passport.
  5. Leave a copy of your itinerary with family or friends at home so you can be contacted in case of emergency.
  6. Notify by phone or register in person with your country embassy or consulate upon arrival.
  7. Don't leave luggage unattended in public areas. Don't accept packages from strangers.
  8. Don't be a target! Avoid conspicuous clothing and expensive jewelry and don't carry excessive amounts of money or unnecessary credit cards.
  9. In order to avoid violating local laws, deal only with authorized agents when you exchange money or purchase art or antiques.
  10. Don't use your home address on you luggage tags. You don't need to let anyone know where your empty house is located. Put your business card in your luggage tag. For an extra measure of security, attach another business card inside in case your bag gets lost.
  11. Never leave your luggage unattended in public areas especially in airports and never accept packages from strangers.
  12. Stick to the main roads and avoid taking shortcuts down narrow alleys and/or poorly lit streets. Carrying maps around looking perplexed, and stopping to look at monuments or buildings, obviously shows that you are from out of town, and may attract the wrong type of attention.
  13. Make a list of your credit card and travellers cheques company phone numbers in case you have to cancel them in the event of loss or theft.
  14. Try to think about where you are going that day and carry sufficient cash or travellers cheques for that and any unforeseen extras, plus a card. That should cover all you need and will limit any losses if anything did happen. Using travellers cheques, will always be helpful, as will using a credit card for any purchases made so that you can take advantage of the additional insurance offered.
  15. Fortunately, most people in most countries that you will meet on your travels abroad will be honest, friendly and hospitable. But it is an unfortunate fact of life that not everyone you may meet will be as such. There are unpleasant types out there, allbeit very few.
  16. Beware of well-dressed people who happen to be around, happen to speak your language fluently and happen to come up to you and start chatting. Gangs exist that are fronted by some very credible people who win your confidence and then take you to see their friend or a relative where you can buy lots of different things at low, low prices. Don't be tempted - you will get ripped off!
  17. Approach any "special deals" with caution, especially if you have to go off the beaten path to get them. If it sounds too good to be true, it is - it's as simple as that!
  18. Don't under any circumstances get involved with or take drugs. Some counties have severe penalties for drug misuse including the death penalty. You could get to stay a long time in that at the government's expense if you are caught even with a very small amount.
  19. Take lots of pictures, its all that will remain.
  20. The first thing you should do if anything goes wrong is to contact your relatives and friends at home.
  21. If you get into trouble, contact your country Consul!


How to pay for things when you are overseas
When dealing with foreign money, you have a couple of basic choices. You can convert all your money into foreign currency before you go, you can get travellers cheques or you can use your credit card or cash card.

The problem with getting a wad of foreign cash beforehand is twofold: you won't get the best rate of exchange and you'll be stuck on your trip carrying a load of cash, which is risky. If you plan to pay for things in cash, the better route is to get travellers cheques from a bank and convert them to cash as you need them. This way, if you lose them or if they're stolen, you can get them replaced and continue your travels. Plus if they end up in anyone else's hands, it will be tough for them to cash them because they require matching signatures and photo identification. The other option is using a credit card, which is discussed in more detail below.

How to get the best exchange rates
The only place worse than an exchange booth in town is the one at the airport or train station. These establishments profit from the convenience they provide, so if you land in a foreign country without any money, and you need to convert some travellers cheques quickly to get to your hotel, you can bet the exchange counter is making a healthy profit out of your situation.

Avoid this by getting your currency from a bureau de change at a local bank before you go, which will get you into town where you can find a bank that will give you a better rate. Banks will exchange travellers cheques into the local currency, often without charging a fee. You'll generally get better rates at banks than at currency exchange booths on the street, and you can do a quick comparison before you change your travellers cheques.

Another way to get good exchange rates is to use your credit card. If you have a card and plan to pay the balance responsibly, use it when you travel overseas to get you a better exchange rate that you'll get almost anywhere. Credit card companies can get better rates than you can, so if you charge your hotel and restaurant bills instead of converting travellers cheques and paying cash, it will end up costing you less.

Do not, however, use your credit card to get cash from ATM machines. When you take out a cash advance, you'll still get a better rate than you would from most exchange bureaus, but you'll have to pay your credit card a cash advance fee, plus interest from the day you take out the money. Translation: if you take out 17 cash advances over the course of a two-week trip, you'll have to pay 17 separate cash advance fees. And if you take out more than you actually need, you'll end up paying interest on it, even if you convert it back to pounds at the end of your trip.

If you absolutely have to get cash from an ATM, err on the side of caution and take too little rather than too much. The cash advance fees - usually a couple of pounds - are generally lower than the interest on the daily balance you've withdrawn.

Great discounts
f you're a student, take your ID. It can get you discounted rates at cinemas, museums, youth hostels - too many places to mention. It can also get you better rates on trains, buses and other forms of public transport.

Professional affiliations can also help you get discounts. Museums and other tourist attractions often have special categories of visitors who can receive discounted rates. If you're a journalist, for example, you may be able to get free admission to certain tourist attractions if you show proof, so make sure to bring evidence of any professional memberships you have, just in case.

Another big money saver is your local rental car agency. If you plan to rent a car overseas, book it ahead of time. You'll get a MUCH better rate. It can mean the difference between #200 a week if you rent here and #100 a day if you go to a rental car agency in a foreign town - plus you have the benefit of reading all the terms of conditions in a language you can understand.

Lastly, consider staying in hotels, hostels or B&Bs that offer breakfast. Often the room prices aren't much (if at all) higher than places that don't serve breakfast. Even if it's simple fare, it can save you a bundle if you don't have to go out for a sit-down meal each morning.


There are many things to consider when travelling, including passport, tickets, exchange rates, accommodation and what to pack. While travel can be an exciting prospect, there can be situations where things may go wrong and travellers find themselves needing urgent medical assistance, help with replacing lost luggage and/or assistance with making an urgent trip home. This is where Travel Insurance can help – along with providing peace of mind for travellers who may find themselves in any of these situations. Travellers should thoroughly read the policy before they purchase travel insurance to ensure it meets all their needs and provides the appropriate level of cover. To help you decide on what type of travel insurance you need, contact your Insurance provider. Advises that travellers consider the following prior to taking out a travel insurance policy:

General information
Travel policies cover a wide range of possible claims which include overseas medical expenses, repatriation expenses, lost luggage, trip cancellation and liability. This makes them different to many other policies in that for a relatively small premium of a few hundred dollars, there could be a potential payout of hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical fees/evacuation. Accordingly, the policy wording needs to be precise and certain risks may be excluded from the cover in order to keep the premium affordable.

When choosing a cover for travel, make sure the policy will be recognised around the world. In some countries, if they don’t recognise the insurance underwriter, they may not admit you to a hospital.

If you are travelling, make sure that you are aware of who your emergency assistance provider is and how you can contact them. In the event of a travel emergency, you will need to contact them to faciliate the provision of emergency medical treatment and/or other required services. Details of the provider and contact numbers are shown on the assistance card provided with or within your policy document.

Be aware of exclusions. Most travel insurance policies won’t cover luggage that is left unattended in public places and the insolvency of the service provider, such as an airline, may be excluded. Travel policies generally don’t cover for war and warlike activities and may not cover for terrorism.

Pre-existing Conditions
Declare any pre-existing conditions both for you and any relatives at home. In most cases a travel insurance policy won’t provide cover if you fly home early because a relative was being treated for a pre-existing condition and dies as a result of that condition. In many policies, a pre-existing medical condition is regarded as any condition for which you have been to see a doctor or taken medication in the previous month before you buy travel insurance. Some policies may not provide cover if the relative is over a certain age. Travelling companions (eg not a family member) are normally covered for breaking their trip if you get sick or vice versa but again you must declare if your companion has a pre-existing illness at the time of taking out the policy. Disinclination to travel is not covered.

If you become ill or are injured, contact your travel assistance provider and collect all the medical and other related documentation required for your claim. Make sure you get a signed statement from the Registrar of the hospital where you were treated.

Most quality policies include full medical evacuation. However, don’t assume anything until you have checked with your insurer or agent. Don’t book a first class seat so you can stretch out your broken leg before checking with your assistance provider.

With regard to cancellations due to safety concerns. If you are concerned, or just decide to cancel your trip in the absence of an official warning against travel, your insurance may not cover the cancellation.

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