I once had locals ask me in Buenos Aires for directions when it was clear that I was a tourist and spoke no Spanish. I turned around and caught one guy bending over about to take one of my bags (thankfully I realised fast). If it’s clear that you’re a tourist and you have a local asking you for directions – something is not right. Be on the lookout for choreographed situations – someone spilling drinks or sunscreen all over you and offering to help you clean it up afterwards – they can either be genuinely nice or they could be pick-pocketing you. This is what some like to call the Chaos theory.
with you,or if you do don’t flash them in public. It's really important to Keep your important belongings such as your passport and money separate. Always make copies of everything and scatter them throughout your luggage.
whilst every country will have their fair share of shady citizens, there will always be more friendly locals that will give you tips on how to stay safe and what areas to avoid. Take a phrasebook - don’t be shy to try your hand at the local language and you will be surprised at how receptive people will with your efforts.
if you’re travelling solo, make sure your friends and family know your itinerary and share your images from your travels along your journey. Sure, you’re making everyone jealous but you’re also letting them know that you’re alive and most importantly – having fun.
this one is an old trick my mother gave me when I was just a toddler. She would leave me with a whistle around my neck whilst I ran off to play with the other kids – if I was ever in any trouble or a strange man was offering me candy, the whistle would let her know of my whereabouts. Similar concept applies, the noise will scare off your potential attackers and will let others know of your whereabouts.
Research your destination and read the travel advice -
Check out the Smartraveller travel advice for the country you are planning on visiting.
Travel advice for popular Schoolies and Leavers destinations are below, and are on the travel advice page
. [ https://smartraveller.gov.au/countries/
Get travel insurance -
It's better to be safe then sorry expect the unexpected – nobody is immune from an accident, Appropriate travel insurance
should cover your medical treatment for illness or injury while overseas, as well as lost valuables or theft.
Register your travel plans -
Once you have locked in your travel plans, register your destination and contact details
with Smartraveller- it's quick and free.
You can even register your group of friends together – phone 1300 555 135
(option 3) and ask for a group registration form.
Check your passport -
It might seem like a given but always make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia.
If you still have a child's passport, remember it is only valid for five years, not ten. If you need a new passport, organise it well in advance of your holiday. See the Australian Passport Office website
for more information.
See a doctor before you go-
Your health is important so see your doctor, you might need new vaccinations or boosters for your destination, so it's a good idea to see a doctor in the weeks before you leave.
The World Health Organization (WHO)
and Smart Traveller's health
pages provide useful information for travellers on staying healthy.
If you're on medication, make sure it's legal in the country you're visiting.
Look after your mates-
Keep an eye out on your friends if travelling in a group, it's often the case that you get into difficulty overseas after becoming separated from friends.
Keep in regular contact and be aware of where people in your group are.
If you think a friend needs medical attention, don't delay – your hotel should be able to help you contact a doctor.
Don't break the law -
The laws and penalties of the country you are visiting will apply to you, even if they seem harsh by Australian standards.
There are strict limits on what the Australian government can do to help you
if you find yourself in trouble with the law
in another country.
Don't carry or consume drugs overseas. Ever. -
Many countries in our region have tough penalties for people arrested with drugs, including life imprisonment or death.
Possession of even small quantities of drugs such as marijuana can attract lengthy jail sentences. Don't expect to be treated differently from the locals just because you're Australian.
Even if you're under 18, you may be treated as an adult and held in an adult prison.
Watch your drinks -
Find out the legal drinking age in the location you are visiting – it may not be 18 and may vary depending on the type of drink.
Know your limits, and be aware drinks may be much stronger than in Australia. Protect yourself from drink spiking.
Don't accept drinks from strangers and never leave drinks unattended. If you're not 100% sure that your drink is safe, leave it – it's not worth the risk.
Alternative Schoolies -
If you're planning on taking an Alternative Schoolies/Leavers trip to volunteer overseas, take a look at the volunteering overseas
Make sure you also check the travel advice for your destination and obtain an appropriate visa – many countries will not allow you to undertake any form of work, including unpaid, on a tourist visa.
Ask for help if you need it-
If something serious happens and you don't know how to handle it, don't feel bad about asking for help.
Local authorities, such as tourist police, should be your first point of contact, together with friends and family.
Remember that travel insurance companies will often require a police report for crimes. If you need Australian government assistance, you can contact the consular section of the Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate-General at your destination.
Contact details are in the country travel advice
. You can also contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305