Planning any big trip like a destination wedding or a honeymoon takes a lot of hard work and effort. Organising leave from work, planning out the destination, working out how you’re going to get there and where you’re going to stay and what you’re going to do, finding a good travel agent to help with this, saving funds, packing, the list goes on and on. The exhaustion you feel by the time you get on that departure flight means the holiday you’re undertaking will be that much more deserved. After all that time and effort, the last thing you need is any further worry and drama. So follow these simple tips for stress-free travel.
Make sure you have a valid passport when travelling internationally and always remember that your passport must have six months validity left from your return date into Australia. It sounds crazy (if your passport is valid, it’s valid, right?) but it’s a weird and outdated rule that does exist. You may not be allowed to travel if your return date is within 6 months of your passport’s expiration date. So if your passport is due to expire soon, get a new one. And remember that your flight ticket name must match your passport name exactly (excluding middle names, these are not needed). If your passport says Steven, your ticket cannot say Steve. This may take some forward planning if you are getting married and plan to drop your maiden name before travel. Name changes and invalid passports can be a nightmare, don’t get caught out.
Luckily most countries welcome Australians with open arms and there is nothing more than a passport needed for entry. However, visas are needed for a few popular destinations and it’s best to be prepared. The USA requires an ESTA to be completed online before travel, Turkey has a similar policy. Vietnam requires a visa in advance but this can be done online. Argentina requires payment of a reciprocity fee in advance. China, Russia, Brazil, as well as some smaller African and Middle Eastern nations also need visas in advance that must be done through your local embassy or consulate. Not having the right paperwork for your destination can see you denied boarding onto your flight so be sure to triple check all needs for all countries you are visiting while away.
This is a big one. Your health and safety while away are always your most vital concern. It’s important to have enough medication to cover yourself for the duration of your travels, as certain prescriptions may not be available overseas. For third world countries, certain vaccinations may be required such as typhoid, cholera, hepatitis A and B, and yellow fever which itself is mandatory when travelling to Brazil. These are not all obligatory but certainly a good idea when travelling through areas that may not be as developed or have the same standards of health and care as Australia. Your doctor can advise on what vaccinations might be needed for your travels. There are also some over the counter medications (such as Codeine) that you cannot take into countries like Japan without prescription.
If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. It scares me no end when clients decide to travel without insurance, it opens them up to so much potential danger. You wouldn’t leave your house or car uninsured, so why yourself? A good travel insurance policy will protect you if sick or injured, if you need to be evacuated, if you have big delays or cancellations, if you have rental car excess to pay, if your bags are lost, if you cause injury or damage to someone else or their property, if unforeseen circumstances cause you to change or cancel your trip, and many more. I have seen clients faced with all sorts of travel issues and emergencies while overseas and knowing that you are insured is great peace of mind. Most policies should only amount to a few dollars a day which is a small price to pay for that comfort.
Changes and Cancellations
It’s always best to be 100% certain of your plans before locking in any flight, tour, or accommodation package with full payment. Cancellation and change feels will generally apply for any amendments after booking time, and these can sometimes be up to 100% of the price paid. There is no set rule; it will usually depend on the type of airfare purchased or the hotel’s specific guidelines as to what fees you might be facing. These fees can range from minimal if you’re lucky to horrific if you’re not, and generally the cheaper price you pay at the time the less flexibility you will have. So while booking early is always a good rule of thumb to get the best possible deal, lock those plans in and avoid making changes where possible.
If you got into trouble with the law, you wouldn’t defend yourself in court. You’d seek out a good lawyer, an expert in their field who can provide the best quality service. A good travel agent will do the same thing. They will be able to sort through all the noise of the online sites you are visiting, listening to your personal dreams and desires, to tailor the best possible flights, tours, and packages for you individually. A good travel agent will know your destination and can make personal recommendations, can describe all airlines in details and explain why saving money with one might not be the best idea, and will be there to call if you run into trouble or need assistance while overseas. The Internet might seem cheaper at first, but it cannot answer your questions or alleviate your concerns. For anything a little more complex than a simple domestic flight, consider speaking to a professional. Their prices are usually very competitive and they will also have access to a lot of options and airfares that may not be available anywhere else online. And as with any other service, any little extra you might pay will surely be well worth it in the long run.
Safe and happy travels.
Our Travel Expert
Read more about our travel expert Caleb van Schmal and his incredible experience here.
If you'd like Caleb's help planning your own honeymoon, just drop us a line and he will make it simply unforgettable!