Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months before your intended return date. Many countries also now require an electronic passport to enter.

It's a good idea to scan and print the photo page of your passport, keep copies for yourself and give one to a friend or family member. In the event you lose your passport this will assist in the process of organising a replacement.

If you lose your passport overseas, make sure you report all lost or stolen passports to the nearest police station or contact your nearest embassy.

Travel visas

It's easy to find out if you require a visa to enter the country you're planning to visit. It's important to remember that you may need a travel visa for each country you're visiting on a cruise.

You can check with the relevant embassy or do a bit of research about the country prior to departure. If you're an Australian travelling overseas, you can consult the DFAT website.

It is the traveller’s responsibility to obtain all relevant travel documents.

Caution: Many countries offer online visa application services but often they attract additional fees or are not authorised to issue visas. Always refer to links on Smartraveller to avoid being scammed or overcharged.

It's a good idea to leave an itinerary with family or friends including your overseas contact details, or details to contact the hotels at which you'll be planning to stay.

Register your travel plans on the smartraveller website. Providing DFAT with your trip itinerary and contact details will help them contact you or your family in the event of an emergency.

Finally, remember the importance of carrying your certificate of travel insurance with you at all times, as some medical providers may require proof of travel insurance before treating any problems.

Consider buying some foreign currency before you depart so you are prepared if you require cash when you arrive.

Currency can also be exchanged overseas, always check conversion rates and any additional fees you may be required to pay.

Foreign Currency Cards
Check with your bank to see if they offer a foreign currency card. When you use it, always check exchange rates and whether there might be fees when making a transaction. Be aware that these cards might be used as security when checking in at a hotel or cruise. Any amount frozen as a bond could take many days sometimes weeks to be credited back to your card after you check out or disembark.

Credit, Debit and ATM Cards
Let your bank know if you are planning to use your cards overseas. Banks can sometimes cancel a card if they detect a change in buying patterns, like shopping overseas. Also confirm if there are any international fees associated with using the card overseas.

There are many options for withdrawing money overseas. ATMs are everywhere, take caution though as many of them charge high withdrawal fees. Check with your bank if they have an overseas partner bank, as this could help reduce or even eliminate transaction fees when withdrawing money overseas. You should also consider your own security when using ATMs overseas, be aware of your surroundings and protect your pin number at all times.

If you're planning to drive while you're travelling, make sure you check the local road rules and licence requirements.

Driving on the other side of the road through a major city could be a big task if you have never done it before, so assess your confidence and make sure you're comfortable driving under potentially different road rules in foreign driving conditions.

You may hold a valid Australian Licence but it may not be recognised in another country. Consider getting an international drivers permit, as they're often a requirement for renting a car in many countries. 

In destinations where mopeds are popular, such as Thailand, you may be driving a moped, motor scooter, motorcycle or quad bike, you should read up on the details of your coverage on our PDS, and be aware of the rules you need to adhere to when using these vehicles overseas.

When you're shopping for travel insurance, make sure you read the fine print. All travel insurance policies limits vary, so check the exclusions and pre-existing medical requirements. There may also be extras you can add, like ski insurance or your choice of excess. Just don’t wait until you need to claim to read the policy.

Refer to the Smart Traveller traveller website for full overview of travel insurance considerations. You can also access the latest government surveys relating to travel insurance, which highlight how many travellers don't understand their cover or when they need to purchase cover. Learn more here.

Note that RACV Travel Insurance will be voided for countries with "Do Not Travel" status.

The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) Ltd AR 001243563 is an authorised representative of the issuer and receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. RACV Travel Insurance issued by Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd ABN 80 000 438 291 AFSL 246 548. Terms & conditions apply, refer to the PDS.