When things go wrong overseas

No one wants to think about it, and fingers crossed you should never have to, but there are all types of things that can go wrong when travelling overseas. From falling ill or losing your passport to being arrested or worse, there are a number of resources you can draw on for help.

Hopefully, you’ve taken out travel insurance for your journey. Your insurance provider will most likely have 24-hour assistance that you can contact from anywhere in the world.

If you fall ill or are involved in a medical emergency, or if your bags or valuables are stolen or lost, you should first contact your insurance provider.

If you do not have travel insurance or your insurance doesn’t provide sufficient coverage, your friends and family are your next best bet.

On missing a flight, transfer or connection due to delays or cancellations, you should first contact your travel agent, tour operator or transport provider. Your travel insurance policy may also cover you for financial losses due to such circumstances.

If you find yourself in a situation overseas where, at home, you would normally call for assistance from police, fire, ambulance or emergency services, you should contact the local authorities. Contact numbers for emergency services can be found in the Where to get help section of the travel advisories on the Smartraveller website.

If all else fails, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) may be able to help you, with practical advice or consular services and assistance provided through our embassies, high commissions and consulates as per our Consular Services Charter.

However, this support is a safety net only and not a fix-all. DFAT advises that to avoid such situations altogether you should take personal responsibility for your travel choices, your safety, finances and behaviour overseas, including obeying the laws of the country you are visiting.

Contact details for Australian diplomatic missions overseas are available on www.dfat.gov.au and in each country’s travel advisory.

The 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra can also be contacted for assistance from anywhere in the world on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 if in Australia.

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