Baggage: Minimise the risks of losing your baggage by identifying it clearly with external as well as internal labels. Use bags that can be locked. Record details of the contents as well as types of luggage, including brand names, colour and dimensions. Count your bags at every arrival and departure point.
Health: See your doctor as you may need vaccinations or medicines depending on where you are travelling. Note that these can take several months. Ensure your dental, optical and any other health or medical needs are satisfied before you go.
The Travel Doctor: http://www.tmvc.com.au/
Information: Read as much as you can about the countries or cities you are planning to visit. Time spent doing this before you leave can make your time on the ground more worthwhile. For example, you can avoid making a trip to some major monument, gallery or museum if you know in advance that it is closed for the winter.
Money: The bank debit cards you use at home are increasingly usable overseas and are a convenient way of by passing money-change processes. However, it's important to have backups such as a credit card, travellers' cheques or cash in case technology fails. It is also a good idea to keep money supplies separate in case of loss or theft. Keep the serial numbers of travellers' cheque and photocopies of credit cards somewhere safe and away from the rest of your belongings.
Currency Converter http://www.oanda.com/currency/converter/
Passports: Be sure to check passport validity for all members of your travelling team well ahead of your travel date. Australian passports take up to ten working days to process and are valid for ten years in the case of adults and five years for children under the age of 18. Some countries require a 6-month validity on the passport, so please remember to change your Australian passport six months before it is due to expire, or you may experience difficulty with immigration authorities.
Travel Advice or Warnings: Check www.dfat.gov.au/travel for current travel advice on any of the countries you plan to visit.
Travel Documents: Make sure your airline tickets and other travel documents, including vouchers, contain the correct details of names and dates to avoid any hitches or confusion.
Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. It's inexpensive, especially when compared with the cost of an unscheduled return, or an uninsured hospital stay in another country, should the unforeseen occur. Your Travel View agent will be happy to find you the policy best suited to your needs.
Suresave Travel Insurance: www.suresave.com.au
Valuables: Minimise the number of valuables you take travelling. Buy a cheap watch rather than take your antique gold one and think carefully about the wisdom of wearing your expensive jewels. Obviously it depends where you are travelling to but it's worth remembering that it's easier to lose things when you are in a different environment and out of your routine.
Visas: Double-check visa requirements for the countries you are visiting. These can be time-consuming and difficult to obtain once you have left Australia. Visa Waiver program for the USA:http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/id_visa/esta/
Travel during the Shoulder Season
Travelling during the shoulder season - the period between low and peak travel seasons - can have many advantages for budget-conscious travellers and you can still enjoy the best a destination has to offer. The shoulder season falls at the beginning and end of the high season, when rates for many hotels, flights and package holidays are reduced.
Taking advantage of the seasons
The key to shoulder season travel is to avoid school holidays and "obvious" times, but to travel as close as you can to peak season. It can be advantageous living in the southern hemisphere, where holiday periods are different and annual leave more flexible for many workers.
If you're travelling to the Mediterranean, consider mid-May and June or late September-early October. The weather is still warm, especially in southern Europe, the locals are more relaxed and you've far more chance of getting a table at a popular café or having a beach to yourself.
For winter holidays, ski resorts in the northern hemisphere open in late November, but see little traffic until the Christmas week. In early or mid-December you'll find cheaper flights and accommodation and less crowded slopes, shorter lift queues and often discounted ski hire and lift passes. Alternatively, try travelling at the tail end of the ski season (check when Easter falls to avoid the school holidays) when resorts are winding down.
Fiji's busiest season is between June-August when Australians and New Zealanders flee the winter, but you can get bargains in the shoulder periods in March and November. Even in the wet season there are regional variations, so you can head to drier parts of the islands.
Festivals and Public Holidays
Let us do the homework for you on local festivals, big sporting events and holidays - prices in the US rise over Thanksgiving and remember changeable dates for events like Carnival and Easter. If you're not going to join in the fun, it's not worth paying a premium.
Be aware of the internet and making bookings online
Online websites will publish discounted airfares for short periods of time but beware of the restrictions and availability. Often the price will capture your interest but then once booked you are unable to make changes without having to pay a substantial fee.
Booking hotels online – we have heard many a story of clients booking and paying for a hotel online to only arrive late at night and find the accommodation is not up to standard or in some cases not even operating or is full.