Going overseas for a major cultural or religious event
The advice on this page pre-dates COVID-19 and the Australian Government's overseas travel ban.
You won’t be able to depart Australia to travel overseas, except in very limited circumstances. Many countries have put in place measures in response to COVID-19, including strict entry and movement restrictions. Major events around the world have been affected, including many listed below.
For more information:
If you're travelling overseas for (or during) a major cultural, sporting or religious event, you may need to take extra precautions.
This page provides general advice about:
- impacts of major events on Australian travellers
- staying safe and avoiding danger
- major sporting events
- major religious events
- major cultural events
This page is for Australians planning a trip for, or during, a major event overseas. If you're already overseas and need help, see our advice about what to do when things go wrong.
Impacts of major events on Australian travellers
- Flights and accommodation can be booked out well in advance.
- Many restaurants and shops may close for extended periods.
- Roads may close, as festivities often take over the streets.
- Local prices can go up, as there's more demand from tourists.
Staying safe and avoiding danger
Before and during major events, criminals target foreign tourists. Even experienced travellers can have problems. Know the dangers and how to avoid them.
- Research your destination. Know what crimes are common. See the travel advisory for your destination.
- Be aware of scammers. Many operate online. Scammers especially take advantage of the influx of tourists and scarcity of tickets and accommodation available. See our advice on avoiding scams.
- Go easy on the alcohol. Drunk and disorientated travellers are easy targets for criminals. Especially for robbery and assault. If you're drunk and something goes wrong, your travel insurance may not cover you.
Before you go, see our general advice about staying safe and avoiding danger.
Looking after your health
With a major influx of foreign tourists, you may have challenges getting health care overseas. Local providers may also increase their prices to take advantage of the increased demand.
- Get travel insurance. Medical assistance overseas is generally expensive. Sometimes even more during major events. Don't get stuck with a bill you can't afford to pay.
- See your doctor. Ideally 6-8 weeks before you go. Get the right vaccinations for your destination.
- Know the health risks there. Read the 'health' section of our travel advisory for your destination.
Before you go, see our general advice for taking care of your health.
Stay within the law
You must stay within the law. If you break the law, even in the privacy of your hotel room, you could be arrested or jailed.
- Don't fight. Major international sporting events generate a sense of national pride. Some people take it too far, which can lead to violence. Know when to walk away.
- If alcohol is illegal there, don't drink, even in your hotel room.
See our general advice on staying within the law.
Major sporting events
- Commonwealth Games
- Cricket world cup
- Football (soccer) world cup
- Rugby world cup
Each Olympic Games occurs every 4 years. Each time, a different country hosts the event. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) publishes details for each.
Also see details of corresponding Paralympic Games (International Paralympic Committee).
Tens of thousands of people from around the world travel to the host city to watch, and join the festivities. With the large number of visitors, the risk of things going wrong increases.
Learn more about the Olympic Games (IOC).
The Commonwealth Games occurs every 4 years. The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) controls both the Commonwealth Games and the Commonwealth Youth Games.
Participants are from 71 nations and territories of the Commonwealth. This covers about 1/3 of the world's population.
The destination changes for each event. The next events are:
While the audience is smaller than Olympic Games, tourists flock to each host city before, during and after the events. This increases risks to travellers.
Learn more about the Commonwealth Games (CGF).
Cricket world cup
The Cricket World Cup (International Cricket Council) is the world's top cricket tournament. It's the finale of a global qualification process over several years, that narrows to just 10 teams.
It takes place in a different destination every 4 years. The next one is India 2023.
Learn more about the Cricket World Cup (ICC).
Football (soccer) world cup
The FIFA World Cup is the pivotal tournament for international football (soccer). Managed by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the FIFA World Cup is the second largest sporting event globally.
The tournament is every 4 years. A different nation hosts it each time. The qualifying phase is the 3 years prior.
Rugby world cup
The Rugby World Cup (RWC) is the key rugby union tournament globally. It's the 3rd largest sporting event in the world. The top 20 teams from nations around the world participate.
It runs for seven weeks, every 4 years. A different country hosts it each time.
Events are at venues across the host nation. This means it's not just one city that is flooded with international tourists, it's many.
The next Rugby World cup is France 2023.
Learn more about the Rugby World Cup (RWC).
Major religious events
This list isn't comprehensive. It doesn't aim to cover all religious events for all cultures. It discusses some of the key events around the world that can impact Australians overseas.
For more information and events, see the Harmony Day calendar of religious and cultural events (Department of Home Affairs).
Christmas and Easter
Each year, 2 billion Christians around the world celebrate Christmas and Easter around the world.
In most countries that celebrate Christmas, it's a national holiday. The main celebration is Christmas day, each year on 25 December. In some countries, it's Christmas eve on 24 December. In others, it's 6 January.
Easter commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus on Good Friday, then celebrates the resurrection on Easter Sunday. Easter is in March or April, with exact dates changing each year.
Christmas and Easter celebrations particularly impact Australians travelling in Europe and the Americas. It also impacts travellers in predominantly Christian countries in Africa and the Pacific.
Each year, a billion Hindu, Sikh, and Jain people celebrate Deepavali (Diwali).
Also known as the 'Festival of Lights', Diwali celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance.
Diwali celebrations particularly impact Australians travelling to India, Nepal and the island of Bali in Indonesia.
Learn more about Diwali (Government of India).
Over three million people perform the Hajj pilgrimage in Makkah (Mecca) each year. If you're travelling to Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj, it's important to be well prepared.
Most of the world's 1.6 billion Muslims observe the holy month of Ramadan each year.
You can expect to find nationwide Ramadan celebrations in countries where Islam is the national religion. You'll also come across Ramadan celebrations in other destinations with Muslim populations.
See our information and advice on Ramadan.
Major cultural events
- Anzac Day
Anzac day commemorates the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.
Anzac day is 25 April each year.
In recent years there have been increased safety risks surrounding Anzac Day. Particularly for those travelling to attend the dawn service in Gallipoli, Turkey.
Learn more about Anzac Day traditions.
Oktoberfest is a major festival in Germany. The festivities centre around Munich in the state of Bavaria. It's a 16-18 day folk festival that starts mid-September and ends on the first Sunday of October.
Each year, over 6 million visitors attend the event.
The event involves live music, carnival rides, food, wine and most famously – beer. In fact, almost 7 million litres of it (City of Munich).
If you travel to Munich to attend Oktoberfest, be aware of the risks. It's also your responsibility to act appropriately, respect the local culture and stay within the law.
Learn more about Oktoberfest (City of Munich, Germany).
- see our general advice for taking care of your health.
- see our general advice about staying safe and avoiding danger.
- Read our travel advisory for your destination.
- Read our advice for Australians performing the Hajj.
Ramadan is the most important month on the Islamic calendar. Explore this page to learn local laws and customs during Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr, after Ramadan.