Schoolies warned of no DFAT bailouts
For the thousands of Australian school leavers who plan to celebrate the end of their school years at overseas hot spots like Bali, Fiji and Thailand, DFAT has warned that if they get into trouble while overseas there are legal and practical limits to what consular officers can do.
"Remember that when you leave Australia you leave behind the support systems, emergency services and medical services we all take for granted at home," DFAT warns on its smarttraveller website.
To help schoolies better prepare themeslves for their overseas trip, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has just launched a new section of its smarttraveller site with practical tips for staying safe when travelling.
Some of the tips include:
- Keep in touch. In addition to keeping a copy of your itinerary on the fridge at home, be sure to stay in regular contact with your family. Also keep a copy of phone numbers, passport numbers etc should your phone get lost, stolen or the battery dies.
- Look after your mates. Keep in contact and be aware of where friends are in your group. Organise a time and place to meet friends in case you get separated and don't let your mates go home alone or with someone they have just met.
- Don't break the law. Just remember the laws and penalties of the country you are visiting will apply to you.
- Protect yourself from drink spiking. Don't accept drinks from strangers and never leave drinks unattended.
- Take care around water. Like at home, you should never swim when under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Get travel insurance. Read the fine print for what you will and won't be covered for. Some things like failure to wear a helmet can invalidate insurance if you have an accident.
Travel insurance can cost as little as $2 a day and can save you from massive medical bills or transport costs should you have an accident. It is good to shop around for travel insurance and use comparison sites like Mozo so that you can be sure you're paying for the coverage you need and not for things you don't.
Mozo also advises schoolies to travel with a selection of travel money options to avoid any money issues while overseas. This includes prepaid travel cards, cash and an ATM card. More information about travel money options can be found by reading the travel money 101 guide.