Most dangerous places for Aussies overseas

Travelling is meant to be enjoyable, but it is also an arena for things to all go horribly wrong.

Thankfully, Australia runs 122 overseas support locations through its network of embassies, high commissions, consulates-general, consulates and Austrade posts.

To help stay safe on your next trip, the Australian government, through its Smartraveller website, has released its 2021–22 Consular State of Play report that details the top reasons why Aussies run into problems overseas, which of its consular offices are the busiest, the most likely place to lose your passport by country and how to avoid trouble when you travel.

Read: Where to travel if you are flying solo

And the top three consular services provided for 2021–22 were welfare, support after a death and illness or hospitalisation. Welfare includes support for a health crisis, support for minors who have missed their flights and even guidance following dating or an online scam.

Other consular services included support for immigration detention, child custody disputes, assaults, arrests and imprisonment.

The busiest top 10 consular offices are Thailand, the Philippines, the US, Indonesia, India, China, Vietnam, Japan, the UK and Hong Kong.

As well as general consular support, Australia also provided crisis support to Australians, permanent residents, visa holders and their families in Afghanistan, Ukraine, Tonga, Ethiopia and the Solomon Islands in more than 15,800 cases.

Read: What type of damage will void your passport?

And keep your passport safe when travelling to the US as it was by far the most likely place visitors were to have their passport stolen or lost, with consular offices reporting 253 passport cases in North America, compared to 193 in the UK and 53 in Spain in the third spot.

Smartraveller’s top tips from consular offices around the world:

  • if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel
  • ensure your visa remains valid
  • check if your medication is legal in your destination
  • if you are being treated for illness, talk to your doctor before you travel
  • look after your passport
  • if you wouldn’t do it in Australia, don’t do it overseas
  • look after your mental health, be mindful of your medical condition and act accordingly
  • ensure your family are aware of your whereabouts and keep in regular contact with them
  • visit Smartraveller before you go.

Read: The slices of paradise voted Australia’s best holiday towns

Fast facts:

  • as of 2021–22, 51 per cent of Australians hold a passport and there were nearly 1.5 million passports issued in that year, which is up 147 per cent on the previous year
  • Australian consular offices took 66,638 emergency calls, up 23 per cent compared to 2020–21 and supported a total of 34,710 cases of consular and crisis support
  • there were 2.37 million Australian departures for 2021–22
  • visiting friends and relatives was the top reason for travel.

If you are travelling and need support, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Consular Emergency Centre provides 24/7 support for Australians, their families and friends from anywhere in the world.

As well as specialised support for urgent cases, the centre also provides connections to Lifeline, rape crisis centres and sexual assault counselling services.

The centre can be contacted on 1300 555135 for calls within Australia and +61 2 6261 3305 while overseas.

Have you required consular support while travelling? Why not share your experience in the comments section below?

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.
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