Tim’s Travel Tips
Tim, Insurance Manager at COTA Insurance offers some great travel tips.
Hi, I’m Tim. I’m the Insurance Manager at COTA Travel Insurance, where I have worked for over a decade. I love to travel, in recent years I have been to Fiji with my young family where we swam with tropical fish and saw sea turtles. We also visited the Mount Kilauea Volcano and Papakōlea Green Sand Beach in Hawaii. Before that, travel highlights include seeing the big 5 while on safari in Africa, the Rockies in Denver and touching a glacier in New Zealand. Here are some of my tips for travelling, to get you organised, save money and ensure that your trip is everything that you want it to be!
Plan your purchases in advance as some items are offered with significant genuine savings (such as alcohol) compared to others (like perfume or certain electronics devices). Many duty free shops also allow you to pre-order your purchases and collect them on your return to Australia saving you the hassle of extra shopping after a long flight.
Are you buying things to take with you on the trip? Check out the terms and conditions of the Australian governments Tourist Refund Scheme which allows you to claim back the GST on a range of items that you take with you on your trip that you buy within 60 days of departure.
Full details on the Australian Government website: www.border.gov.au/Trav/Ente/Tour or by calling 1300 555 043.
Avoid bill shock
Make sure you have an appropriate international phone plan (or turn off global roaming to avoid bill shock on your next phone bill).
A common option is to purchase a local SIM card for use while travelling, either before departure or once you land. Consider using free Wi-Fi where available. Installing one of the many communication apps available that allow you to message and even make voice calls for free, within your phone’s data plan.
Know your cover
Protect yourself and your hip pocket. With the potentially huge costs of overseas medical treatment, it’s no wonder the Australian government says, “If you can’t afford travel insurance you can’t afford to travel. 1”. Understanding the cover being offered ensures you can select the type of coverage that suits your needs – remember to ask questions as policy benefits and limitations do vary and read the product disclosure statement thoroughly. What may seem like a cheap deal may turn into an expensive exercise if it doesn’t cover what you thought.
Tourists can present an attractive target to thieves so here is a simple trick to add to your protection beyond the usual money belt.
1) Buy a cheap wallet (or a new wallet and use your old wallet for this trick).
2) Put in an expired credit card(s) along with a few dollars of local currency.
3) Put the wallet where you would usually carry your actual wallet.
If you do have your wallet stolen, you can be safe in the knowledge that your actual valuables are secure.
It’s tempting when travelling to capture every new sight with a photo. But don’t let taking pictures get in the way of actually experiencing what is going on.
Try to get the travelers (you) in the photos you take – it will make the photo much more personal and capture a moment in your life rather than just be an image.
Leave the painstaking photography of iconic attractions to the professionals and buy a postcard!
Comfort vs Style
Always take the most comfortable pair of shoes you own. They may not match your travel wardrobe or be as stylish as the new shoes you bought specifically for the trip, but after a few days of travel you will be glad to have the option to wear something comfortable.
Organise your packing
Make a packing list and always pack items when you think of them – getting organised before you go will pay dividends.
- Roll your clothes (don’t fold) to minimize wrinkles and maximise space.
- Pack socks inside your shoes which will help them keep their shape and save space.
- Consider using packing cubes or packing cells. These small zip-up bags can be used to organise and separate the items in your case to make your life easier while on the go. They come in a range of styles and even colours – a basic set from Kmart is only $9.
- Carry a pen with you – passenger cards are still common and filling it out on the plane will allow for an easier exit from the airport.
- Take a freshly washed cotton pillow case – now your aeroplane pillow (or hotel pillow) can be changed to something comfortable and clean against your face. It can also be used as a laundry bag if needed.
- Pack a few zip lock bags – They have a wide variety of uses.
- Always try to leave a little space in your suitcase for souvenirs and purchases you make on the trip.
And remember to take your sense of humour, it takes up no space and can be invaluable if you end up in an unexpected situation while travelling.
Have a question or your own travel tips to share?
Email Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org or post to Tim’s Travel Tips, 16 Hutt Street, Adelaide SA 5000.
1 Source: Smartraveller – provided by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. For further information visit www.smartraveller.gov.au.
Insurance and Membership Services Limited ABN 59 057 159 743 AR 246235 trading as COTA Travel Insurance is an authorised representative of Cerberus Special Risks Pty Limited ABN 81 115 932 173, AFS Licence No. 308461. Before deciding to purchase the product, please read the Product Disclosure Statement available at www.cota.com.au. This insurance is underwritten by certain underwriters at Lloyd’s.