Don't get caught out - travel advice
For all those cricket fans making the big trip Down Under this winter to follow England take on Australia for the chance to retain The Ashes, there are a number of things to think about before you travel.
And we’re not talking about whether Monty should be in the side or not.
To ensure that you have as great a time as possible while you’re out in Oz, it’s worth checking out the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s top tips for travelling.
Before you travel:
- Always take out travel insurance and make sure you read the small print – we all hope that nothing bad will happen while we’re away, but should this happen, your travel insurance will be essential - especially when medical evacuations from Australia to the UK can cost over £100,000.
- You need a visa to enter Australia, so don’t fall at the first hurdle – visit Australian Government - Department of Immigration & Citizenship for more details.
- Make sure that you photocopy all of your vital documents and store them separately to the originals, these will come in handy should you be separated from these documents at any point
- Visit Foreign & Commonwealth Office - travel and living abroad for further advice and useful contacts before you travel, such as the consular offices around Australia:
- Adelaide: (+61) (0) 8 8232 9817
- Alice Springs: (+61) (0) 4 3884 7007
- Brisbane: (+61) (0) 7 3223 3200
- Canberra: (+61) (0) 2 6270 6666
- Cairns: (+61) (0) 4 27744269
- Darwin: (+61) (0) 8 8941 6130
- Hobart: (+61) (0) 3 6213 3310
- Melbourne: (+61) (0) 3 9652 1600
- Perth: (+61) (0) 8 9224 4700
- Sydney: (+61) (0) 2 9247 7521
While you’re in Australia:
- Your belongings.
Be sure to look after all of your valuables such as cameras and MP3 players and don’t advertise to thieves; also be aware that theft from safe deposit boxes is common in the cheaper hotels and hostels. Proportionally British nationals in Australia are more likely to have problems with a lost or stolen passport than anywhere else. Keep it secure at all times. Proof of age cards are available, at little cost, from Roads & Traffic Authority (RTA) offices around Australia, and are an accepted form of ID for many everyday services, such as entering licensed premises. By obtaining such a card, you would not need to carry your passport with you unless travelling – thereby greatly reducing the risk, and cost, of it being lost or stolen.
- Driving in Australia
If you’re planning on driving around Australia to follow the team, there are a number of key points to remember:
a. Australia is a huge country – be sure to take regular breaks as you drive
b. Plan your trip and don’t leave anything to chance – you don’t want to find yourself lost in the outback
c. Let your friends/family know your travel plans so that someone knows where you should be at any time
d. As a visitor, you may drive in Australia on a valid UK driving licence. You must carry your licence when driving, in addition to a valid passport. An international driving permit is not sufficient. There is an on-the-spot fine for not having your licence with you.
- Beaches and swimming
Australia has some of the most spectacular beaches in the world for you to enjoy, but be sure to take the following precautions:
a. Don’t swim after consuming excess alcohol
b. Always swim between the red and yellow flags
c. Do not swim on your own or on unsupervised beaches. Rip currents can occur at any beach, and can sweep even the strongest swimmer out to sea. There are more British victims than any other foreign nationality, with as many as 600 British nationals rescued and up to four being drowned each year.
Australia has strict quarantine restrictions, so make sure you know what you can and cannot bring in to the country – visit Foreign & Commonwealth Office - travel and living abroad for details.
Reciprocal medical arrangements exist between Australia and the UK. But - the agreement has many exclusions so should not be used as an excuse not to buy travel insurance. For more information visit Medicare Australia.