Travel is back, so it’s time to start packing your bags and preparing for the holiday you deserve. To help make planning a breeze, we’ve pulled together everything you need to know about travel insurance, the best travel apps to download, the latest news on the Digital Passenger Declaration and lots more in this ultimate travel checklist.
Organise your maps
Getting lost may sometimes be the desired outcome while exploring a new city (in Venice, for example) but to avoid unexpected disorientation, add CityMaps2Go to your phone before arrival – it allows for offline navigation with downloadable maps. Google Maps also allows you to download maps for offline use and it’s worth marking restaurants to try or key attractions, so you can see what’s nearby as you wander.
Create a packing list
Cramming clothes into your suitcase isn’t packing – it’s creating a chore at the other end. Use an app such as PackPoint to prep properly for your trip: enter your destination, dates of travel, length of time you’ll be away and what you plan to do, then the clever tech creates a dedicated packing list based on data such as weather forecasts and whether you’ll have access to laundry facilities.
Download the Qantas app
Stay on top of your all-important travel details and the latest updates with the Qantas app. It lets you check in to your flight and receive notifications about boarding times, departure gates and baggage arrivals, as well as book, manage and monitor your current trip.
Take out travel insurance
Ask both seasoned travellers and first-timers about planning a trip and you’ll get the same response: it’s not wise to go anywhere without first purchasing travel insurance.
Post-COVID, securing travel insurance that suits your needs is more important than ever. Some insurers do offer coverage for complications that come with contracting COVID-19 before or during your travel, but cover and eligibility requirements vary. Some policies have a cooling off period for COVID cover, so the best time to organise your insurance is immediately after you’ve booked your trip. Some credit cards offer a level of travel cover as part of their benefits, but it’s crucial to confirm what is and isn’t included—you might need to up the inclusions before you depart.
If you want a provider that helps you go further (literally), try Qantas Insurance: you’ll even earn Qantas Points on selected policies, which range from cancellation cover to comprehensive cover.
Once you’ve organised your travel insurance, send a copy of the policy to your travelling partner or family back home (for quick reference) and save the customer service number in your phone in case you need to speak to someone in a hurry.
Arm yourself with travel apps
Your smartphone can be a travelling lifeline, especially if you’re clever with your apps. Before heading overseas, check what the local rideshare is and make sure you downloaded it ahead of time. A currency conversion app will help you keep track of money, and downloading offline maps will allow you to reach your destination without needing access to Wi-Fi. Here’s our guide to the best travel apps you should download for your next trip.
Get runway ready
If it’s been a while between flights, it's important to brush up on your luggage etiquette. Liquids need to be kept in a clear bag in your carry-on at security, and items such as aerosols and flammable liquids that are classed as dangerous are prohibited.
Look into lounge access
Qantas Club and eligible Qantas Frequent Flyer members have access to an extensive lounge network that includes both Qantas and partner lounges. Access to the club, business or first class domestic and international lounges depends on your Qantas Club and Qantas Frequent Flyer membership tier status.
Most major domestic airports include Qantas club and business lounges, while many international terminals house business and first class lounges. Additionally, as Qantas is part of the OneWorld alliance, Qantas Gold, Platinum and Platinum One Frequent Flyers are automatically assigned an equivalent OneWorld Priority tier (Emerald or Sapphire), which includes benefits such as business and first class priority check-in, pre-reserved seating and access to business and/or first class lounges depending on the tier.
Don’t forget: if you’ve received a Qantas lounge invitation, attach it to your booking at least 24 hours in advance.
Before you switch on international roaming, do your due diligence. Depending on the rate your provider charges, it might be easier (and cheaper) to purchase a local SIM card upon arrival at your destination, or pre-purchase an international SIM card.
Streamline your finances
Minimise stress over money by getting things in order well before you pay your first restaurant bill. Tackle any confusion around tipping by downloading the Global Tipping app before take-off, which tells you how much to add to the bill depending on which country you’re in. Consider downloading Xe as well, which has an offline currency exchange calculator function, so you’ll never be caught doing complex maths in a new place.
Share your plans
Giving family and friends a copy of your travel plans, including accommodation and flight details, ensures someone will always know your whereabouts. For additional safety, sign up to Smartraveller’s alerts in case there’s urgent information regarding your destination while you’re travelling.
Protect your passwords
Make certain you’re the only one who has access to your personal details while abroad. Sign up to a service such as LastPass, a management portal that securely stores personal information and passwords.
Think your passport expires “next year”? Check again. If your passport expires within six months of your return flight, you’ll need to renew it before you travel. You’ll also need to confirm whether the countries you’re visiting require visas for entry and, if you plan on driving, check whether you’ll need an international driver’s licence.
Keep your receipts
Visitors to Europe are not subject to VAT, or value-added tax. Any VAT paid over a certain amount – often 175 euros ($260), but this varies across countries – at a VAT-free retailer is refundable. Considering VAT can be worth up to 20 per cent of your purchase, it's an easy way to have your holiday help pay for itself. In order to claim at customs, you’ll need to have specific paperwork completed by the vendor you purchased your goods from and you’ll need to carry the items themselves. Have a look here for more information.