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Tens of thousands of New Zealanders travel or are resident overseas. For most this is an incident-free experience but the best laid plans can be upset by a number of problems. Some are impossible to forsee or avoid so, by planning ahead and arming yourself with the right information, you can reduce the risks you might encounter overseas. Please see our Top Ten Tips:
- Check the latest travel advice.
- Register your travel and contact details. This information is kept absolutely confidential and only used if there is an emergency. For example, it means we can give you warning of an approaching tropical cyclone, give you advice on what to do if there’s major civil unrest, and check your well-being if there’s been a terrorist attack.
Take out travel insurance. Your policy should cover any activities you plan to undertake (from scuba diving to scooter riding), personal liability, medical treatment, emergency medical evacuation, and any pre-existing medical conditions. Even minor medical treatment can be very expensive overseas.
If you suffer an injury overseas and return to New Zealand, ACC may be able to help with treatment costs in New Zealand, but only if you intended to be overseas for less than six months. ACC is unable to cover expenses incurred overseas. Visit www.acc.co.nz/travel to learn more.
Keep in contact with family and friends. Give a detailed copy of your itinerary, including accommodation details and your travel insurance policy, to a relative or friend. If you change your itinerary, let your loved ones know. If you find yourself caught up in an overseas emergency situation, don’t forget to phone or email to let family know you are ok.
- Make sure you look after your passport while you are travelling. It is a valuable document and is necessary for any international travel. Losing your passport can create real difficulties and could even cut your travel short. Take a photocopy of your passport with you and leave a copy at home with a family member or trusted friend. Check your passport validity before you depart: many countries require a passport to be valid for at least six months beyond your intended departure from that country. Information on obtaining a New Zealand passport can be found at the Department of Internal Affairs website.
- Check visa requirements and make sure you have at least one clear page in your passport for immigration stamps. Your travel agent or the Embassy or High Commissions of the countries you intend to visit or transit through can tell you about visa and entry requirements, which you should check well in advance.
- Check health precautions. Ask your travel agent or doctor if any vaccinations are recommended for the areas you are travelling to. A health professional can also provide information on how to stay well while travelling.
- Take a mixture of money. Check with your bank or credit card company what they recommend and whether ATM facilities are available where you are going. Have some cash already exchanged, for your transit and arrival. Before you leave New Zealand, decide how you will get emergency funds if you need them.
- Obey local laws. The penalties for breaking the law are the same for a tourist as for a local. Being a Kiwi does not equal a “get out of jail free” card.
- Know where your nearest New Zealand Embassy/High Commission/Consulate will be.