Schoolies overseas survival guide and travel insurance tips

Andrew Munro 20 November 2017 NEWS

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A lot of Australian students are about to take the trip of a lifetime.

It's been well established that Aussies are really good at travel, and the soon-to-graduate generation seems to be no exception, heading off to increasingly exotic overseas destinations for their school-leaving celebrations.

And just like previous years, there's a good chance of someone ending up in an ambulance.

But ending up in an ambulance when you're overseas makes an enormous difference compared to being in one in Australia. A medical evacuation from the USA to Australia can cost $75,000 to $300,000, which is a far cry from the several hundred you might pay for an ambulance at home.

And foreign countries naturally carry some risks you don't expect to find at home. Schoolies in Australia might not find themselves sharing a bottle of arak, the Indonesian hard liquor, but some of the students heading to Bali probably will.

Where are Schoolies heading?

Destination Percentage of Schoolies travellers
Indonesia (Bali) 14%
United States 7%
UK 6%
Japan 4%
France 4%
Thailand 4%
Philippines 3%
Canada 3%
New Zealand 2%
Germany 2%

10 tips to surviving schoolies overseas

Travel insurance is a good place to look for survival tips. When travel insurance doesn't cover something, that usually means it's dangerous and worth avoiding.

  1. Get your travel vaccinations. Not only can they stop you from getting sick, but some travel insurance policies won't pay out if your misadventure could have been prevented by getting the recommended travel vaccinations.
  2. Mind the bikes, mopeds, bikes and rickshaws. Travel insurance will almost always have specific restrictions around how you're covered on motorcycles or other bikes. You might be required to be wearing a helmet, the driver might need suitable licensing and these requirements might vary based on motorcycle engine capacity.
  3. Make sure you have a way of calling home. The easiest way is usually to pick up the right international SIM card before departure.
  4. Buddy up. Don't travel alone if you can help it. There's safety in numbers.
  5. Stay hydrated. This is especially important if you're drinking alcohol. Make sure you're staying hydrated.
  6. Mind the sun. Australians love to tell visitors about how hot the sun is Down Under, but Australians get the exact same warning overseas. If you're travelling to a tropical spot, it's important to be sun and humidity smart.
  7. Mind the drink. Travel insurance typically won't cover an incident caused by recklessness, or one that would not have happened without the influence of alcohol. For non-alcoholic beverages, it's also a good idea to go for pre-bottled drinks where you know what's in them.
  8. Register with Smartraveller. This is the Australian government travel authority. By registering your travel dates and plans, the Australian government knows who to check up on in the event of a tsunami, earthquake, epidemic, arak distillery explosion or other disaster in your destination.
  9. Consider the risks. Consider the risks involved in your tours and activities overseas. If it's not covered by your travel insurance, it's probably dangerous.
  10. Get informed. Check for travel information for your destination and tips in this guide to schoolies travel insurance.

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