Think before you book: overseas Leavers
Where are you heading? Bali, Thailand or Fiji? It's important to know about your destination's road rules to keep yourself safe.
You’re waiting for the webpage to load and after what seems like forever, the magic word appears on your screen: BOOKED. Finally! You’ve chosen your flights; secured the accommodation you’ve been Instagram stalking for the past month and checked out the best places to visit nearby.
Your overseas leavers’ trip has finally come together.
Leavers is the time to unwind and have a good time with your friends, but there are still important things you need to know about travelling for leavers; especially overseas. It is possible to have fun and stay safe at the same time. Here are our top tips for staying safe on and off the roads during your leavers celebrations.
- Travel insurance
- Accepting rides
- Driving overseas
- Motorbikes and scooters
- Public transport
- Look out for your friends
Thoroughly research your destination before you leave and read lots of travel advice – starting with www.smartraveller.gov.au. Find out the safest and easiest ways to get around. There are so many websites available at the tap of your phone screen, so be sure to read up on where you’re going.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry and travel insurance could make a big difference when you need it most. Make sure you know exactly what you are and are not covered for. Print a copy of all your documents and email them to yourself and your parents for easy access. Make sure you include a copy of your itinerary with information about when and where you’re staying and how they can contact you.
Do not accept rides from people you don’t know. If someone offers you a ride off the street, politely say no and wait for a registered taxi. Don’t jump in an overcrowded car – wait for the next taxi.
Check out the info on Smart Traveller about getting around while you’re away. Just like at home, road safety is a big problem overseas and young people can be particularly vulnerable. Make sure you’re aware of local laws and conditions. The last thing you want is big fines or for yourself or one of your friends to be injured, or worse. Depending where you’re off to, if you plan to drive a car or motorbike there’s a good chance you will need an International Driver’s Permit (IDP). Anyone over the age of 18 with an Australian driver’s licence can apply (no learner’s permits). You can apply for an International Driver's Permit through RAC Travel here.
Motorbike crashes involving Aussies are common, especially in Bali and resort areas of Thailand. If you are not a licensed and experienced rider, it’s a bad idea to try riding a motorbike or a scooter overseas. If you are, and you choose to ride, make sure that your travel insurance covers you for this activity, and double check that the hiring company has adequate insurance to cover any damage to the vehicle if it is damaged.If you’re getting on a scooter or motorbike, you need to wear a helmet with a strap, preferably a full face helmet. Make sure you follow the rules and stay safe – wear the right gear, don’t speed, don’t take risks and never ever ride or be a passenger with someone who may be under the influence.
Never use a taxi, boat, bus or train that looks overcrowded or unsafe. Even if the locals don’t use or wear seatbelts, make sure you always do.
Never leave anyone behind and always go somewhere in a group. When walking along a roadside, face the oncoming traffic so you can see cars approaching. Never walk alone and if you do find yourself separated from your friends and can’t get in contact with them, get in contact with the local police.