Winter has come to Australia, and many Aussies are heading north to escape the cold. We've put together some advice to help keep your European summer escape sunny.
Before you go
Do your research
Prevention is the best defence. Know what you might face and plan accordingly.
- Read the travel advice for your destination.
- Understand the local laws and culture.
- Find out if there are any current events or special occasions happening in your destination that could impact your trip.
Get comprehensive travel insurance
Sometimes things don't go to plan, no matter how prepared you are. Having travel insurance means you won't have to foot the bill.
- Buy insurance as soon as you book travel to cover yourself against cancellations.
- Read the fine print before you buy. Ensure you understand what it does and doesn't cover.
- Give a copy of your insurance policy to a person you trust, along with a copy of your itinerary and passport.
Read more about travel insurance.
Talk to your doctor
At least 6 weeks before you go, talk to your doctor about:
- any recommended travel vaccinations
- whether your medications are legal in the countries you're visiting
- how to adjust medication safely when changing time zones.
Read more advice about taking care of your health while travelling.
Organise your passport and visas
You can't travel without them!
- Get your passport out and check it at least 6 weeks before you travel. Look at the expiry date and check for any damage.
- Find out what visas you may need.
- Check for any other entry requirements in your destination.
Some European countries are part of the Schengen Area, meaning Australians can travel for up to 90 days without a visa. Ensure you understand how your Schengen visa-free days work.
Learn more about travel in the Schengen Area.
While you're away
Look after your belongings
Losing belongings like your passport, wallet or phone can quickly turn a holiday stressful. Take precautions to protect your valuables while you're travelling.
- Keep hold of your bag and phone in public. Even putting them on a café table next to you can be risky. Opportunistic theft is common.
- Be aware of your surroundings, particularly when moving through crowded areas where pickpockets might be preying on tourists. Don’t walk through crowds distracted by your phone or a map.
- Keep your passport safe and know what to do if it's stolen, lost or damaged.
We store so much of our lives on our phones. But are you prepared if your phone is lost, damaged or stolen while you're overseas?
- Back-up your devices before you travel and regularly while you're away, if possible.
- Know your important account passwords.
- Ensure you can access any e-tickets through another device.
- Have some key contacts written down.
- Set up alternate two-factor authentication options that don't require access to your phone.
Read more about preventing theft while you're travelling.
Look after yourself
Don't lower your safety standards just because you're on holiday.
- Never drink and operate a car, scooter or bike.
- Always wear a helmet. Even if not wearing one is legal.
- Check any equipment you hire before you use it. If it looks or sounds wrong, raise it with the hire company.
The risk of crimes such as sexual harassment and assault can be greater in some European countries. Take extra care if you're travelling alone. Don't share accommodation with strangers or publicise where you're staying. Only use official public transport.
Be careful using dating apps while travelling. Criminals have used them to scam or harm travellers.
Read our advice for different types of travellers for more safety tips.
- Never travel without travel insurance.
- Leave a copy of your passport, itinerary and travel insurance policy with someone you trust.
- Take a hard copy list of key contacts with you, including for Australian missions, your travel insurance emergency line, and local emergency services.
- Understand your visa or visa-waiver conditions and be careful not to breach them.
- Keep your passport and other valuables safe.
- Know what to do and who to contact if things go wrong.