Travel Resolutions You Should Keep In 2017!

Have you always wanted to travel the world? Do you find yourself dreaming about exploring new places? If you answered yes – ask yourself, what’s stopping you? It is time to leave those excuses behind and make travel the priority in your life. It is time to let that inner travel bug loose and let your desire to travel take control. It is time to make 2017 your year of travel.

1. Step outside of your comfort zone

It’s time to step outside of the security of your comfort zone. Challenge yourself and do something that you wouldn’t normally do in the comfort of your own home or routine. Whether it’s by travelling solo for the first time, participating in an adventure activity, tasting an unusual foreign food, approaching and making conversation with someone in your hostel – going outside of your comfort zone can mean different things for everyone. Say yes to the unknown, after all, these experience may just turn out to be the most memorable and valuable moments of your life.

2.Explore more of your own country

You don’t have to leave your home country in order to travel. Make the most of what surrounds you. What is in your own backyard? You may be surprised by the beauty and adventures that lie ahead of you.

3. Be open to new experiences and people

Stop letting your assumptions get in the way of experiencing new things. Keep an open mind about everything – people, places, food, culture, religion, and so on. Embrace diversity, appreciate differences and develop a better understanding of the world around you. Live each day in the moment and welcome everything and everyone with open arms.

4. Visit a new place and an old favourite

Tick off a place that you have always dreamed of visiting. You know, that one city that’s sitting on the top of your bucket list? The time is now. Do you have a place that you just absolutely love and can’t get enough of? Don’t forget that you can always revisit your favourite places again, and again. So why not visit both if you get the chance?

5. Learn something new in every place you go

Learn how to speak some phrases in a new language. Learn some facts about the history of the place you are visiting. Learn about the traditions and customs of the local people. Learn how to cook a delicious dish from that particular place. Learn about the hidden hotspots around a city. Never stop learning and expanding your horizons!

“Adventure awaits, start packing!”

 

All content provided on this blog is based on personal views and opinions and for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.  This policy is subject to change at anytime.

Travel Essentials Not to Forget

Flights and accommodation are booked. You’ve dusted off the suitcase and it’s packed and ready to go. The countdown is on. The excitement is taking over but have you double-checked that you’ve got all of the necessary travel essentials before you leave? Be prepared before you start your holiday with this checklist of travel essentials you can’t leave your home (and country) without.

Important Documents

You’re not going to get very far without all of those important travel documents – passport, transport/accommodation itinerary, e-tickets, physical tickets, and more. Don’t forget to keep a spare copy of them tucked away in your suitcase for emergencies.

Visas

Have you checked your visa situation and the travel periods associated with visas? Every country has different visa requirements so it’s important to check each and every country rather than make assumptions. Check with your travel agent or through your embassy.

Adapters

Your PowerPoint adapters are one of those things that are so little yet so essential. It’s going to be a real pain to charge your phone, cameras and electronics without them. It can be difficult to find adapters that will fit the Australian plug when you’re overseas, so be sure to get one before you leave. Worst case scenario: you can always grab some from the airport. I suggest a universal plug and power board with USB ports.

Money

When it comes to dealing with money overseas, there’s a lot more to think about than just swapping some cash. Make sure that you contact the bank to let them know that you are going overseas, this will prevent them from freezing your card for ‘suspicious activity’. It might be worth considering getting a travel money card, whether through your bank branch or one like the Cash Passport. They can make life a lot easier and be more cost effective when withdrawing cash and using EFTPOS overseas.

Travel Insurance

Never forget your travel insurance – it can be a lifesaver. Lost baggage, cancelled flights, delays, emergency medical…it can happen to anyone. Wouldn’t you prefer that extra sense of security knowing that your travel insurance company has got your back for any of those little travel mishaps? We’ve got a range of travel insurance plans for trips of all sizes to all ends of the earth, take a look here.

Now go and enjoy your holiday!

 

All content provided on this blog is based on personal views and opinions and for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.  This policy is subject to change at anytime.

 

Useful tips for a first-time traveller – Japan

Travel around Japan is very easy, travelling in a group, escorted tour, or on your own. Some useful tips if you are a first-time traveller to Japan.

  • Internet access. Free-Wi-Fi hot spots are not easy to find. The best alternative is to rent pocket Wi-Fi that allows you to connect with your device.  With various APPs i.e. Line, Viber, WhatsAPP, Skype, or Facebook, you can make a voice call home as long as you have Internet access.
  • Turn your mobile phone into vibrate mode when travelling on public transportation i.e. train, bus. It’s a Japanese custom not to talk on a mobile phone and keep your voice low while you are travelling on train or bus.
  • Plug and Socket Type
  • Some Japanese customs you may need to know.
  • Use timetable when travelling on a train

No surprised, paying surcharge on service fee on your holiday

nz

Preparing yourself to pay a 15% surcharge on public holidays when you are on holiday in New Zealand.  I was in Queenstown, last summer. Without realising, one morning we woke up for breakfast at the hotel and presented our Accord card for special membership rate as usual. Everything went fine till we got our bill for sign off. There was a full price for breakfast.  ‘It’s public holiday today, use membership card cannot be used,’ said the waitress. We was not informed when we presented our card when we walked in, I replied to her. How can you expect hotel guest to know about this when there was no sign or no know informed us. At the end, the hotel had to accept our membership card.

How do you feel as a tourist if there a 15% surcharge on your restaurant bill or no membership discount applied on public holidays? I personally has no issue about it, however, it would be nice to put up a sign on the window as a tourist in town. Later, when we walked to town to get some dinners, I noticed restaurants everywhere have a sign up on the window – 15% surcharge on public holidays. There was one said NO 15% surcharged on the window.  So we decided to walk in.

Public holidays in Queenstown

New Year’s Day:  1 January

Day after New Year’s Day: 2 January

Waitangi Day: 6 February

Otago Anniversary: 23 March 2015, 21 March 2016

Good Friday: 3 April 2015, 25 March 2016

Easter Monday: 6 April 2015, 28 March 2016

Anzac Day:  27 April 2015, 25 April 2016

Queen’s Birthday:  1 June 2015, 6 June 2016

Labour Day: 4th Monday in October

Christmas Day: 25 December

Boxing Day: 26 December

Source:  http://www.queenstownnz.co.nz/information/visitorinformation

6 Steps to starting your holiday plan

Going for a holiday is exciting! Planning for one is a bit of the work.

Allow time to plan ahead because doing your research will take time. If you don’t have time and have a little patient to do your research, find yourself a good travel agent. After all, planning yourself a holiday, getting to know a little bit of the history, culture and people of where you are going will make your holiday more enjoyable.

Simple steps to follows:

Step 1.  Research 

OFFICIAL WEBSITE – Start with an official website for the destination country. There are many good official tourism websites cover many aspects of the information necessary for your visit.  TRAVEL GUIDE websites, Travel Blog such as Lonely Planet, Expedia, and Trip Adviser will give you a good review.  Travel brochures, which you can download from travel agents online can give you a rough idea of how many days you should spend.  Reading weekend papers on Sat- Sun morning while having your coffee in the Café – supplements like the Traveller, Escape give you travel inspiration. Lastly, friends Facebook, Instagram will help build up your expectation and imagination while you are working on the plan

Before you go

Step 2. Book your flight

Things you should know when booking a flight.

  • Full-service airline or budget airline
  • First class, Business class, Premium Economy, Economy
  • Airline hub and route map from airline website – Stop over allowance. i.e. if you fly to Greece with Singapore Airlines, you can should stop over in Singapore or Dubai for no extra charge
  • Meals and in-flight entertainment – Special meal request. Airlines usually provide you with information on the meals available in flight.
  • Aircraft/ Seat.
  • Bassinette required advance booking because the number is limited.
  • Carry-on/ luggage allowance
  • Check-in process – would you be able to do a self-check-in, online check in, or counter check in.
  • Airport to some destinations, there are more than one airport available i.e. New York City, Washington D.C.
  • Time Zone of the destination country
  • Abbreviation of the country and city. Make sure it is the right destination that you want to go.
  • Lastly, airport map for transit, connection flight, shopping, pick up the area and so on…

Step 3. Take Out travel insurance

According to Smartraveller, the Australian government will not pay for your medical treatment cost overseas or the medical evacuation cost to Australia.  You need travel insurance for this.

There are many good reasons why you should take out travel insurance as soon as you book a flight.

  • If you have to cancel or delay your trip due to the unforeseen event for example sudden serious injury, or illness the travel insurance policy will cover your pre-paid costs such as your flight, accommodation and so on.
  • If yours pre-paid accommodation or has been damaged due to the bad weather, and you need to work on alternative booking, travel insurance can help.

Step 4. Accommodation

Things you should know when booking for accommodation

  • Hotel, Motel, Inn, service apartment, hostel, homestay.
  • Star Rating
  • Bed – King Bed, Queen Bed, Double bed, Single bed
  • Breakfast included
  • Parking Available / Any fee applied
  • Check in / Check out time
  • Member Discount/ Airline Mileage/ Rewards Point
  • Location of your accommodation. Does any public transportation available?
  • Customer reviews. Make sure you read some of the reviews online

Step 5. Local Tour

Hop on Hop off tour is a great idea to explore the city for the first time.  Some tours offer a special discount if you book online in advance. Check with your travel agent or go online.

Step 6. Transportationbus

Advance booking, especially car hire will guarantee you a car on your arrival. Read terms and conditions carefully; minimum age, international driver license needed? Most of the travel insurance policies give you cover for the excess on the rental, therefore, check your Travel Insurance policy before you buy any additional cover.  Lastly, check the road rule of your destination country. Driving on left or right-hand side. And don’t forget to download a road map on your Phone or a copy one.

Why Smart Traveller recommend Travel Insurance

Why Smart Traveller recommend Travel Insurance

If you incur medical expenses while overseas and you don’t have travel insurance, you are personally liable for covering these costs. The Government cannot pay for medical expenses overseas. Nor will your domestic private health insurance.

Travel insurance is as essential as your passport, regardless of your travel destination. If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel!

The basics

Travel insurance can cover you for insurable events that may occur before or during travel, such as trip cancellation/interruption, medical expenses for injury or illness, theft of valuables, baggage delay or damage and more.

The cost of travel insurance is based on a number of factors such as the type of cover requested, the age of the insured, the destination of travel, length of stay and any pre-existing medical conditions.

The fine print

  • Travel insurance is a contract. Always read the PDS & policy wording and ensure that you understand exactly what your policy covers.
  • Travel insurance is not unlimited. It may not cover you for cancellation or change to travel plans. Keep a copy of the PDS & Policy wording for your records.
  • Some policy trip cancellation clauses do not cover costs associated with a trip cancellation resulting from a change to the travel advice for your destination.
  • When shopping around for coverage, make sure your insurance policy will cover you for the activities you plan to participate in and is valid for the duration of your trip.
  • Always clarify any specific policy issues directly with the insurer, preferably before you proceed with the planned travel.

Medical coverage and pre-existing conditions

  • Ensure that medical cover offered under the insurance policy is adequate for possible expenses in the country you are going to visit. In some parts of the world medical costs can be very expensive.
  • Ensure you declare any pre-existing medical conditions you may have. Failure to do so may nullify all coverage.

Limits and exclusions

  • There are standard general exclusions on most types of travel insurance policies. These can include acts of civil unrest, self-inflicted injury, acts of terrorism, loss or theft of unattended baggage, and pre-existing medical conditions.
  • Some travel insurance policies may be invalidated when injuries are sustained as a result of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Standard travel insurance policies generally exclude ‘dangerous’ or ‘extreme’ activity, such as snowboarding or surfing, rock climbing, kite surfing, hunting, bungee jumping and scuba diving. In some cases you can pay an additional premium to cover such activities.
  • If you intend to hire cars, motorcycles, jet skis or any other motorised vehicle, talk to your travel insurer to check if it is covered by your insurance policy and seek advice on any restrictions that may apply, such as riding a motorcycle without an Australian licence or not wearing appropriate safety gear.
  • Generally, cover for luggage and personal belongings is limited and expensive items such as cameras, laptops and/or jewellery may have a per-item limit. In some cases you can pay an additional premium to cover valuables to a pre-determined amount.

Why do we recommend travel insurance?

While most Australians travel safely overseas, some find themselves in trouble. Each year we handle many thousands of cases involving Australians in difficulty overseas. This includes cases of hospitalisations, deaths, and evacuations to another location for medical purposes. Medical treatment overseas can be expensive whether it is for injury from an accident or for illness such as food poisoning, appendicitis, or heart attack.

In cases where the individuals are not covered by travel insurance, such personal tragedies can be further compounded by a long-term financial burden. Hospitalisation, medical treatment, medical evacuations, or even the return of the deceased’s remains to Australia, can be very expensive.

Daily hospitalisation costs in Southeast Asia regularly exceed $800; return of remains from Europe in excess of $10,000. The cost of medical evacuations from the United States regularly range from $75,000 to $95,000 and sometimes up to $300,000. The Department has handled medical evacuations from Bali in which costs have exceeded $60,000.

Unfortunately, not all of these cases involved travellers covered by travel insurance. Travellers who are not covered by insurance are personally liable for covering incurred medical and associated costs. As a result, families have been forced to sell off assets, including their superannuation or family homes, to afford to bring loved ones back to Australia.

Where Australians cannot obtain travel insurance to cover their personal circumstances, they should consider the potential financial risks before deciding whether to proceed with planned travel overseas.

More information

The Insurance Council of Australia has good information on travel insurance and lists companies that provide travel insurance products. The Australian Government does not endorse any particular travel insurance provider.

The National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA) is the national trade association for insurance brokers in Australia. Insurance brokers are able to provide advice to consumers on insurance matters, including travel insurance. The Australian Government does not endorse any particular broker or insurance provider.

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission also provides a number of useful tips on choosing a travel insurance policy, making claims, or how to complain about an insurer.

If you have concerns about your travel provider or your insurance policy, contact your travel or insurance provider, Financial Ombudsman Service, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, or your state or territory consumer affairs agency.

Original Article here on Smart Traveller

Smart Travellers Top 10 Travel Tips

  1. Check the latest travel advice for your destination and subscribe to receive free email notification each time the travel advice for your destination is updated.
  2. Take out comprehensive travel insurance and ensure it covers you for the places you plan to visit and the things you plan to do.
  3. Before travelling overseas register your travel plans and contact details online or at the local Australian embassy, high commission or consulate once you arrive so we can contact you in case of an emergency.
  4. Obey the laws of the country you’re visiting even if these seem harsh or unfair by Australian standards. Don’t expect to be treated differently from the locals just because you’re Australian.
  5. Make sure that you have the right visas for the countries you are visiting or transiting and check any other entry or exit requirements.
  6. Make copies of your passport details, insurance policy, travellers cheques, visas and credit card numbers. Carry one copy in a separate place to the originals and leave a copy with someone at home.
  7. Check with health professionals for information on recommended vaccinations and other health precautions. Remember that vaccinations can be an entry requirement for some countries. Also find out about taking medication overseas – certain medicines aren’t allowed in some countries.
  8. Make sure your passport has at least six months’ validity from your planned date of return to Australia. Carry extra passport photos in case your passport is lost or stolen and you need to replace it while you’re away.
  9. Keep in contact with friends and family back home and give them a copy of your travel itinerary so they know where you are.
  10. Check to see if you’re regarded as a national of the country you plan to visit, and whether dual nationality will have any implications for your travel plans.