With overseas summer and school holiday planning well underway, travellers are reminded that the Smartraveller website, www.smartraveller.gov.au, should be your first stop before booking your trip to make sure you are well informed and prepared.

Every year, more and more people depart Australia for holidays or to visit family and friends. As the number of overseas trips climbs to more than 9 million each year, the number of Australians seeking emergency assistance from the Australian Government also continues to rise. The unexpected may happen to you while overseas, but travellers can avoid serious problems with the right preparation and planning.

Wherever you travel, it’s important to research the safety of your destination, remember and respect the local laws, and find out about any changes that might affect you. Just as family and friends back in your homeland can change, so can a lot about your homeland.

Australian consular assistance can’t override local laws, even if they’re new to you or seem harsh by Australian standards. If you are arrested or jailed while overseas the Australian Government can’t override local laws, get you out of jail or pay your hospital bill.

And if you’re travelling to your home country, there are some other important things to remember. If you are a dual citizen, you need to bear in mind that your citizenship may not be recognized in some countries. This means you need to think about which passport you travel on. If you travel on a non-Australian passport, you may not be able to seek help from the Australian Government if you run into trouble.

The Smartraveller website provides information on the type of assistance the Australian Government can provide in an emergency and guidance on other useful resources to help you prepare for your trip. It includes the latest advice on health risks, visa requirements, tips on personal safety, carrying medications and local laws and customs you might not know.

You can subscribe for travel advice updates to be sent to your email or download the Smartraveller app to your mobile phone to stay informed while you travel.

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