Top 6 travel tips for your European summer getaway

A laughing couple sitting in a cafe in front of the Colosseum in Rome.

Winter is well and truly here in Australia, which explains why it’s been that little bit harder to roll out of our cosy beds in the mornings. If that’s the case, then I’ve got a little something which might help to warm you up – or at least reheat your sense of adventure. 

With Europe’s summer season officially kicking off, and international borders swinging open with giant ‘Welcome!’ signs for tourists and travellers alike, it could be the perfect time to chase the summer sunshine by jumping on a flight to the northern hemisphere. 

And you’re not the only Aussies looking to chase the sun. According to Allianz, the demand for travel insurance policies has taken off in the past three months, indicating that we are once again on the move.

But if it’s been a while since you’ve dusted off your passport to head overseas, you could probably use a few tips to help make your first time in Europe (post-Covid) a trip to remember – for the right reasons!

So, without further ado, here are Allianz’s top 6 travel tips for your European summer getaway!

1. Check the travel advice 

The Australian government’s Smartraveller website is your one stop shop for up-to-date travel advice and warnings, and even includes information on the vaccination rates, COVID-19 policies, and the prevalence of Covid cases for various European countries. 

One of the more important Smartraveller features is its travel warnings. In fact, many travel insurance policies will stipulate that they exclude coverage for destinations which have ‘Reconsider your need to travel’ or ‘Do not travel’ warnings – the two highest levels of travel warning. 

So, it’s worth checking out what the government’s latest advice is before you go booking flights, accommodation, and securing a travel insurance policy for your Europe trip. 

2. Organise your visas (if you need one)

Luckily for us, many parts of Europe are part of the Schengen Zone, meaning that those with an Australian passport won’t need a visa if they’re travelling inside the Schengen area for less than a total of 90 days, within a 180 day period. However, for those staying longer than that, you’ll need to look into getting a visa for the countries you’re staying in. 

3. Prescriptions and pre-existing medical conditions 

If you’re travelling with pre-existing medical conditions or require prescription medication, it’s really important that you’re over-prepared when it comes to what you pack. After all, if you’re stuck overseas due to unforeseen circumstances and run out of your medication, then it could be a hassle to find a doctor or a replacement for your script. So, it’s a good idea to talk to your GP before you embark on your European adventures and plan to bring extra medication with you. 

Similarly, if you’re travelling with a pre-existing medical condition, you should inform your travel insurance provider when applying for a policy. That way, they’ll be able to tailor your coverage to your needs. While it might raise your travel insurance premium, it could mean the difference between forking out thousands of dollars in an overseas hospital and having some extra cash to splash. 

4. Pack a travel insurance policy 

Travel insurance is a “no-brainer”, according to Allianz. Whether you’ve taken a spill on a moped in Rome, or got food poisoning from street food in Madrid, getting overseas medical treatment as a foreigner can be a costly way to put a damper on your summer Euro trip.

Allianz suggests that “travel insurance can help provide cover for things that you never expect to happen and gives you confidence to travel and enjoy your trip to the fullest. It’s important to compare policies. Look for things like limits and exclusions and choose a policy that provides enough to cover your costs.” 

Check out some of the other things travel insurance covers here.

5. Carry your proof of Covid vaccination 

Some venues, such as hospitality, healthcare, and entertainment venues, will require proof of vaccination before you enter their premises. This depends where you are and what the country’s rules and regulations are around COVID-19, but it’s a good idea to keep your vaccination proof on-hand, in case you need to flash your vax-card. Consider getting an ‘international COVID-19 vaccination certificate’ (ICVC)

The ICVC “is a vaccine certificate that meets international standards, and for Aussies it’s easily scanned via a QR code. Download it on your phone and carry a hard-copy along with your passport so you don’t miss out on that gig you’ve been dying to attend, or the exhibition you’ve planned to see,” says Allianz. 

6. Stay sharp 

Different countries have different social norms, so be extra aware of your surroundings and stay ahead of the unexpected. Some small travel tricks include carrying a small secure bag on the front of your body, so as to decrease the likelihood of pickpockets seeing you as a tasty tourist treat. Similarly, you should avoid wearing flashy valuables which could easily be stolen, like jewellery.

It’s also a good idea to have the local emergency numbers on hand, including the police and ambulance services, and even your travel insurance emergency contact number, in case something does go wrong. 

Of course, a travel insurance policy could cover you for several things which could go wrong on your European holiday. So, it’s definitely worth comparing policies to see what sort of inclusions you might need.

Compare international travel insurance policies - last updated 30 June 2022

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