Smart Traveller is an initiative conducted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It is an online guide which provides advice to Australians on how to conduct themselves and stay safe when travelling, at both a foreign and domestic level.
There are many benefits to accessing Smart Traveller. Here at Shire Shuttle Bus, we encourage all our customers travelling overseas to look up Smart Traveller as we always want our customers to say safe and enjoy their travels as much as possible.
What are some of the advantages to Smart Traveller?
Smart Traveller constantly reiterates to Australian travellers that they must be conscious of the law and culture whenever visiting any foreign country. Many behaviours that Australians consider completely normal and permissible are completely taboo in other countries and may even be illegal. For example, alcohol consumption and certain modes of dress are illegal in some countries and can carry heavy fines and prison terms. Such practices may not be illegal in some countries but are still heavily frowned upon and can still lead to an unsafe situation. By encouraging Australians to learn about the law and culture of whatever country they are visiting, Smart Traveller can help prevent intercultural misunderstandings and serious legal trouble.
Smart Traveller is also beneficial as it encourages travellers to take out Travel Insurance before they depart to cover medical costs they may incur while overseas, which the Government will not pay. Travel insurance can help compensate travellers during a variety of unfortunate circumstances that may take place, and at Shire Shuttle Bus, we strongly recommend customers to purchase at the very least the most basic of insurance (See our blog on the benefits of travel insurance)
The Smart Traveller guide also stipulates that people with both physical and mental health issues should consult medical advice before travelling and that all travellers should make themselves aware of the standard of medical care in their travel destination. If a person is suffering from an illness that they probably will be unable to receive care for in a certain place, they should probably reconsider such a place as their holiday destination.
Smart Traveller warns travellers about existential threats around the world, including terrorism. Regions where there is present political unrest, authoritarian governments and frequent terrorist activity should probably be reconsidered on your travel list. The guide also warns about places where outbreaks of illnesses are taking place (for example, the 2014-16 Ebola outbreak) and encourages customer diligence.
Smart Traveller gives advice to specific groups of people with specific interests, such as women, children and LGBT people. The guide offers advice to women and LGBT people on travelling in places where the view on sexuality and gender is different to ours (see the above point). Smart Traveller also offers advice regarding travelling with children that are of use to parents and to students, such as to always watch out for each other and to always obey the law.
Along with providing paramount information for tourists, smart traveller is also beneficial for volunteers and aid workers wishing to work overseas. Smart Traveller notifies aid workers that they must find out if their organisation is legally registered in the country of operation and to always seek work permits before departing on their trip. Unauthorised aid visits are often terminated immediately by host governments and the participants are sent home.
The Smart Traveller website also features a subscription option for travel advice where travellers can register their trip and receive specific advice on where they are going. Smart Traveller also offers access to the Australian Government’s 24-hour consular assistance line. The consular assistance line can be accessed in both Australia and overseas and is of great need for travellers who so happen to fall into a situation where immediate inquiry is needed.
For the reasons listed above, we strongly encourage all travellers to access Smart Traveller and remain as aware as possible when travelling overseas. Always remember to take everything into consideration when deciding where to go or not, and thus make every holiday you go on an enjoyable and memorable experience!