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Many countries allow holders of overseas licences to drive on their own licence for a limited period of time. After this, people are generally required to convert to a driver licence from that country if they are staying for an extended period. If you are only overseas for a short period please check with the country you are travelling to, to see if your New Zealand drivers licence is valid on their roads and for how long. If required, you can apply for an International Driving Permit from your local AA before you travel. Please take a look at the AA website (http://www.aatravel.co.nz/) to check whether you need an International Driving Permit for the country you are travelling to.
Travel insurance gives you peace of mind should anything go wrong. You can travel with ease knowing that you will be covered if something unexpected should happen and know that you will be taken care of by professionals. Even if you are fit and healthy and take every precaution to keep safe you can still be caught unaware. Just imagine having all your luggage stolen and not being able to speak the language or finding yourself sick and being taken care of by foreign doctors.
It is a good idea to have a health check and dental check up before you travel. We recommend you consult with either your doctor or a specialist travel doctor at least 8 weeks before you leave for up to date advice on vaccinations and other precautions required for the countries you are travelling to. Remember that you may not always be near a hospital or pharmacist, therefore it is always wise to carry a small medical kit with you in case of emergency. If you require regular or prescription medicines make sure you get an appropriate supply before you leave and get a letter from your doctor detailing the contents of the medicine you will be carrying with you. Some countries have regulations on the types of medication and the amount that you can bring in. You should take a copy of your prescription and keep a spare copy in a safe place separate from the originals.
Get up to date information on the country you are travelling to. Lonely Planet guidebooks offer valuable travel advice on accommodation, activities and transport. These books also give you advice on visa requirements, health issues and cultural differences which may be useful. For YHA members we offer a 20% discount off Lonely Planet guides. Click here to link to our YHA Travel shop. For information on accommodation you can book online at http://www.hihostels.com/. Remember that your YHA card is valid at over 4,000 hostels worldwide. You can also contact our Customer Services team for information on overseas hostels and to assist you with making a booking.
You should contact the local New Zealand Embassy or Consulate for a list of English speaking doctors in the country you are in. New Zealand has reciprocal health care agreements with both Australia and the UK, which means you are entitled to free medical treatment in those countries if you get sick or injured. Please remember that these agreements only cover you for urgent medical care and will not cover medical evacuation back to New Zealand or treatment in private hospitals. It should not be considered a substitute for travel insurance. For all other countries make sure you get a full medical report to give to your insurer to cover any costs. It is important to make sure you aware of what you are covered for when taking out your travel insurance policy and to cover yourself for any pre-existing medical conditions you might have.
If you are aged between 17 -31, you can apply for a working holiday visa for up to 2 years to the UK. The main purpose of your trip must be to take a holiday, however you can work for up to 12 months over the 2 year visa period. We advise you to submit your application at least 3 months prior to your departure to ensure your application is processed in time.
If you wish to work long term in the UK or are over the age of 31 years you are able to apply for a Work Permit or an Ancestry visa if you can establish a link to a Grandparent born in the UK. Please click here to link to the British High Commission (http://www.britishhighcommission.gov.uk/) website for more information.
Before you leave New Zealand make sure you have a valid passport for at least one year. If you lose your passport overseas, you will need to contact your local New Zealand Embassy or Consulate where they can issue you a new passport. This may take up to several days to process and you may need to provide two passport size photos. It is often a good idea to take a supply of passport size photos when you travel as you often need these for other reasons, including visas.
If your passport expires while you are overseas, go to your nearest New Zealand Embassy or Consulate and get it renewed. Please click here (http://www.mfat.govt.nz/) for a list of offices closest to you.
Always keep the bulk of your money and important documentation on your body, in either a neck pouch or money belt. Wear them under your clothes so that you are not instantly recognisable as a tourist. It is also a good idea to keep photocopies of your important documents (passport, tickets, travel insurance) separate to your originals and leave a copy at home with family and friends. Don’t carry too much cash on you and remember that wearing expensive watches and jewellery can be a tempting target for thieves.
If you are going overseas, take them all. The bulk of your funds should be in travellers cheques with enough in cash to see you through the first few days of your arrival. YHA members can get free currency exchange through any Travelex office. Simply quote “Hostelling International” to redeem this great offer. A credit card will give you flexibility and provide you with an emergency backstop for unexpected events and expenses. Credit cards can be used in most ATM’s overseas to give you a ready supply of money. Check with you bank to make sure you can use your card overseas. Credit cards also allow you to transfer funds into your account using internet banking to top up your account if you need to.
Travellers cheques and credit cards offer good security. If your travellers cheques are stolen you are not liable and provided you have a copy of the purchase agreement and a list of serial numbers, the issuer can replace them within 24 hours. If your credit card is stolen it is important to report this immediately.