Register your overseas travel and/or residential details here.
Ongoing protests are occurring throughout Turkey. Large protests have taken place around Taksim Square in Istanbul, and also in Ankara, Izmir, Izmit, Bolu and Antalya, as well as in smaller centres. Police are reported to have used tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters.
New Zealanders in Turkey should monitor events through the media and maintain a high level of security awareness in public areas. You should avoid protests, demonstrations and large public gatherings. If you are in an area affected by demonstrations or violence, you should leave the immediate vicinity, remain indoors and follow any instructions issued by local authorities.
New Zealanders requiring consular assistance should contact the New Zealand Embassy in Ankara on +90 312 446 3333 or +90 533 284 0888 after hours.
The Escape lift-out in Sunday Star-Times recently featured an interview with Consular Divisional Manager Lyndal Walker. The feature included tips for staying safe, some anecdotal stories and an insight into behind the scenes consular work. Lyndal also emphasises some of our key consular and SafeTravel messages: register, get insured, and stay in touch with your loved ones. Read the full story.
Ramadan, the Islamic holy month, will be observed from approximately 9 July to 7 August (the exact timing depends on the sighting of the moon which will differ from country to country).
For Muslims this is a time of prayer and fasting with the fasting period lasting from dawn to sunset.
Travellers should always be sensitive to the local customs of the country they are in. This is particularly important during Ramadan. In some Islamic countries, eating, drinking and smoking in public is illegal. Visitors should seek local advice on appropriate behaviour.
In Saudi Arabia, over two million Muslim pilgrims are expected to visit Mecca to perform the Umrah during Ramadan. There is a continuing high risk of terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia so New Zealanders contemplating making the pilgrimage are advised to read our travel advice for Saudi Arabia. If you decide to travel, register your details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs so we can contact you in an emergency.
Each year a large number of New Zealanders travel to Pamplona in Spain for the running of the bulls festival that takes place from 6 – 14 July. The nature of the festival, together with the large number of visitors in one place, can lead to an increased number of robberies and every year a number of people are injured and hospitalised.
The New Zealand Embassy in Spain has advice for those going to Pamplona on their website - http://www.nzembassy.com/spain/news/san-fermines-festival-the-running-of-the-bulls. We encourage New Zealanders attending the festival to read this information and take the precautions advised.
Protecting the rights and welfare of New Zealanders abroad is one of the objectives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Ministry is currently carrying out its annual survey of New Zealanders who have received consular assistance during the past year. The survey is being conducted on the Ministry's behalf by independent research company Research New Zealand. If you are asked to participate, we would greatly appreciate it if you would share your views on the service you have received from us by completing the survey before 7 July 2013. Any questions about the survey can be directed to Terry Isaako at Research New Zealand on 0800 500 168 or (+64 4 462 6423) or email@example.com
For the latest information on health alerts overseas, please see our Health page.
Recently a number of New Zealanders have been manipulated and defrauded by persons abroad professing romantic interest and marriage intentions over the internet. Awareness is the key. If you have not met someone personally, you should not respond to their requests for money (regardless of how desperate their circumstances appear). See more information here.
Many countries require a passport to be valid for at least six months beyond your intended departure from the country. If you do not have 6 months validity on your passport, you may be stranded overseas as a result of being refused entry to a country, or offloaded at a transit point, and you will need to apply for an Emergency Travel Document or replacement passport in order to continue your travels.
You should check with the Embassy of any country you are visiting or transiting through for passport validity requirements, visa requirements and any other requirements for entry. Make sure you have at least one clear page in your passport for immigration stamps.
Take a copy of the personal details page of your passport with you and leave a copy at home with a trusted friend or family member.
Information on obtaining a New Zealand passport may be found at the Department of Internal Affairs [external link].
If you have had an Emergency Travel Document (ETD) issued by one of our embassies overseas, you should check with the Embassy of any country you are visiting or transiting through for entry requirements when travelling on an ETD.
Several countries require travellers using an ETD or any other type of travel document that does not fall under the category of a standard passport to obtain a valid entry visa before travel. If you do not have a valid visa in your emergency travel document, you may be stranded overseas as a result of being refused entry to a country, or offloaded at a transit point, and you will need to apply for visa.
A critical illness in China, an attack in Fiji, and a snowboarding accident, triple heart bypass and cancer diagnosis - all in the United States - led to some of the most expensive travel insurance claims New Zealanders made last year.
Claims for medical expenses are by far the greatest for claims made by travellers and the costliest place to fall ill or be injured is the United States, where doctors will conduct $20,000 worth of checks before you can even blink, Southern Cross Travel Insurance chief executive Craig Morrison says.
Some of the most expensive payouts last year included $100,000 State Travel Insurance paid in medical bills and an air ambulance for a man who was injured in a snowboarding accident in the US and $100,000 The Warehouse Travel Insurance paid in expenses after a man was attacked in Fiji and suffered major head trauma.
He had to be evacuated back to New Zealand via air ambulance at low altitude, a spokeswoman said.
Flight Centre Travel Insurance's most expensive claim was for $421,000 after a customer became critically ill in the US and had to be returned to New Zealand via private air ambulance.
Its second-most expensive claim was $200,000 for a person who fell ill in China.
Tower spent $143,000 after a client caught pneumonia on a cruise ship and $150,000 when another client required a triple bypass in the United States.
Southern Cross' highest claim for 2012 was for $208,000 after a New Zealander was diagnosed and treated for cancer in the United States.
The most common claims are to do with gastroenteritis, which could result in a visit to a local clinic and medication - easily worth $500, Mr Morrison said.
Medical costs rise quickly in the US, because the doctors check for everything as they are petrified of being sued if they misdiagnose a patient, he said.
"The fact is these agreements do not cover all costs that arise when an accident or emergency medical situation occurs - such as ambulance travel, medical support and flight costs for repatriation to New Zealand, or bringing a family member out to support you, " Mr Morrison said.
"For example, if you broke your arm in Australia and the break required a cast, you would also require a nurse to accompany you on the flight home in case of swelling that necessitated cast removal. This service alone would cost thousands of dollars for an uninsured traveller."
Providers warn that people should read their policies in detail, because a failure to note existing medical conditions could cripple bank accounts.
Though insurance can be pricey, most travellers can't afford not to have it if something goes wrong. "Don't wait for something to happen, " Mr Morrison says.
"It will be too late.".
- © Fairfax NZ News
Motorbikes and scooters are a great way to get around when you’re overseas, however accidents do happen and New Zealanders should ensure they have adequate travel insurance for all eventualities.
If you intend to hire cars, motorbikes, jet skis or any other motorised vehicle while overseas, talk to your travel insurer to check your insurance policy covers this and seek advice on any restrictions that may apply - such as whether you will be covered if you are not licensed to drive a motorbike in New Zealand.
Travellers should be as safety conscious when on holiday as they would be in New Zealand, even when local laws appear to be more relaxed – so don’t forget wearing a helmet goes hand in hand with riding your hire bike or scooter.
Recent cases of severe illness (including permanent blindness) and death have been reported in Indonesia following consumption of alcohol drinks adulterated with toxic chemicals, particularly methanol. These recent cases of poisoning were reported to have been as a result of the consumption of local spirits such as Arak (a rice-based spirit), and spirit-based drinks/cocktails, adulterated with or contaminated by toxic chemicals such as methanol.
Travellers to Bali, Lombok and other parts of southeast Asia need to be cautious about consuming alcoholic beverages, particularly cocktails and drinks made with spirits that may have been adulterated with harmful substances, particularly methanol. Labelling on bottles may not be accurate and substitution of contents can occur.
Symptoms of methanol poisoning can include fatigue, headaches and nausea, and are associated with increasing vision problems such as heightened sensitivity to light and blurred or reduced vision. If travellers suspect they have been affected by methanol or other poisoning, it is imperative they seek immediate medical attention.
Ciguatera, or fish poisoning, is an illness caused by eating fish containing certain toxins. These toxins come from a type of algae, and get into the fish either through it eating the algae, or eating fish which have eaten the algae.
It can cause symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and tingling fingers or toes. It can also make cold things feel hot and hot things feel cold. It has no cure. Symptoms usually go away in days or weeks but can last for longer.
Ciguatera can be found in many areas of the tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean regions and the Caribbean. There is no way to tell whether fish has been contaminated, so if you are visiting a tropical island in these parts of the world and want to avoid ciguatera, avoid eating reef fish. Deep water fish like tuna are a better option.
Page last updated: Friday, 14 June 2013, 16:30 NZST