Site UpdateTravel Tips

20 Things You Might Not Know About Travel

It can be difficult to get answers about travel but this list of 20 lesser-known travel details will help.

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1.     Do I need a visa for short stays?

This is dependent on the country you are visiting.. Consult the country’s embassy or government website for specifics.

2.     Do I have to write to the embassy and explain why I’m visiting?

Sometimes you do. Taiwan is one of these countries but this process is only required for a stay of over 30 days for Australians. Some countries, such as Vietnam, offer an online ‘visa on arrival’ letter when you arrive by air.

3.     Can I extend my visa?

Yes, but most countries, including Australia, require extensions to be filed while the visa owner is not in the country, which means a trip to a neighbouring country.

4.     Do visas cost money?

You might have to send your passport along with fees to the embassy. The visa will be inserted and your passport’s validity checked. It is necessary to have at least 6 months left on your passport when you apply for a visa.

5.     What about my passport?

It is recommended to make sure you have enough blank pages for stamps in your passport and that it won’t expire until you return. You can renew your passport abroad, but it must be sent home for processing. 

6.     Should I get travel insurance?

Travel insurance can cover health issues, lost or stolen passports, lost or damaged luggage, plus missed or cancelled flights. It’s indispensable when something goes wrong, especially for business or long term overseas travel.

7.     What about luggage?

Luggage restrictions vary according to the airline or the country you are flying to. It is best to check with both. Overweight and additional bags may incur fees. Always ensure bags are tagged with your information.

8.     What can’t I take with me on the plane?

Airlines don’t allow any object deemed a weapon or any tools larger than 17cm. All liquids must be less than 30 mls and sealed in a quart-sized bag. To be sure, consult the country’s airline security site: America, Canada,  U.K.

9.     How much will my trip cost?

If you want your trip costs accounted for, try an all-inclusive package. Dining and tours will both make a difference. Take more money than you expect to spend—at least 10%. However beware, package deals may seem a great way to save money but they sometimes include low-end features no-one wants and hidden costs, always read the fine print before you buy.

10.  Where will I stay?

If you’re not picky about how many are sleeping in your room, a hostel may be a good choice. If you know friends in the country, ask to stay with them. There are also house swap sites that may be worth looking into where you can swap your home with people from another country, this could be a great way to save on accommodation.

11.  How can I keep costs down?

By eating budget-mindedly, using public transport, and booking through sites like Travelocity, Kayak, Priceline, or Hotwire. To avoid fees, don’t book tickets over the phone. Sometimes one-way tickets are cheaper than round-trip and if you have multiple destinations, check out tickets designed for multiple city visits.

12.  Free stuff!

Certain airlines will have free in-flight offerings you may not be aware of, especially on international flights, such as sanitising wipes, wing tips for kids, basic medicines, bandages and water bottle re-fills so it never hurts to ask!

13.  What if I miss my flight? Or it’s cancelled?

If you miss your flight, the airline may put you on standby or charge a fee to change the ticket. If a flight is cancelled, hotel accommodations, food vouchers, and/or discounts on travel are sometimes offered. If you have taken out insurance, some of these financial expenses may be covered.

 14.  What if I get sick or hurt?

If you’re not covered by travel insurance, you will have to pay for medical necessities. When visiting a remote place, international insurance is suggested. Always carry emergency funds or credit cards. Make sure you check with a travel clinic about any vaccinations you may need at least 8 weeks before travelling.

 15.  Can I use my phone overseas?

Whilst this depends on the country/s you are travelling to, it is advisable to check what plan you have with your provider and the costs associated with using your mobile overseas. It is possible to buy a SIM card in most countries depending on your visa status. Alternatively, you can use Skype or buy a prepaid phone card or a travel SIM.

16.  When should I book flights?

Flights can be booked at any time, however we recommend booking about six weeks before the travel date. Note that  booking companies will buy seats on flights and in an attempt to fill  each seat, they will usually run sales. The cost can be lower the longer you wait, but it is advised not to wait too long to book long haul flights. 

17.  What about last minute deals?

If you’re not picky you can reap some amazing rewards. To fill vacancies, hotels and airlines will sometimes offer last minute deals of up to 60% off, especially during low travel seasons.

18.  When should I travel?

Off-peak is always a good choice if you are looking to travel on a budget; you’ll find deals you may not be able to get any other time. Also consider that Australia has opposite seasons from many desired destinations, so plan accordingly!

19.  How do I get the best airfare?

Travelling on weekdays and staying over a weekend (e.g., Monday to Monday travel) can cut costs. Try the sites listed in tip #11 and be prepared to spend time searching for the best deals.

20.  Are there useful apps, websites?

There are plenty of useful travel apps and websites to help you plan your travel.

For a hotel on short notice: Hotel Tonight App (iPhone, android)

Organise your travel with TripIt App  (iPhone, android, blackberry)

For reviews on everything from hotels to restaurants: Yelp (iPhone, android)

Travel Insurance tips visit: Australia Post’s Information, Facts & Guides page

For reviews and tips: TripAdvisor app (iPhone,android)

A site that searches all the airline booking sites: