It’s that time of year again, when Aussie teens are getting ready to pack their bags and head off to Schoolies. With so many making the trip overseas without supervision for the first time, it’s no surprise that some parents will be feeling their stress levels rise.
New data, from online travel insurance provider , has shown that 90 per cent of policy-purchasers aged between 17 and 18 years are solo travellers. A third of these teen travellers are heading to Bali and Pacific region hotspots such as Fiji, and Vanuatu. A further 40 per cent are headed to Asian countries such as Thailand, Japan and China, which rank high on the list of top travel destinations.
InsureandGo are urging parents to take a policy out for their teens to help protect them against unwanted travel disruptions.
Mr Jonathan Etkind, Commercial Manager of said, “Schoolies is an exciting time for young Australians to celebrate the end of their studies. We understand how worrying it can be for parents as their children make their first trip alone.
“As so many are making their first trips overseas, they may need a little help getting themselves organised. Develop a contact schedule to check in, and pull together an emergency help kit to help ease their nerves about travelling alone,” said Mr Etkind.
offer coverage for both international and domestic travels, providing peace of mind for parents no matter where their children choose to go. However, some travel restrictions apply to high risk countries, flagged by Smart Traveller with ‘do not travel’ advice, so check with your insurer before booking flights.
“What many parents don’t realise, is that they can take out domestic travel insurance for their children travelling within Australia. If your child is making the trip down to the coast this Schoolies, domestic travel insurance can help in the event of unforeseen cancellations or travel delays, and even with coverage for personal belongings, depending on the level of cover,” said Mr Etkind.
Kate Fitzsimons knows the importance of purchasing travel insurance all too well. In 2012, her older sister Nicole, 24, died in a motorbike accident while holidaying in Thailand. To honour her sister’s memory and legacy, Fitzsimons went on to establish The Nicole Fitzsimons Foundation which works in part to raise awareness of travel safety amongst young Australian travellers.
“When you’re in holiday mode, it’s easy to let your guard down and not worry about things that might cause you harm. But there are so many things teens can do to protect themselves while travelling in Australia and overseas,” said Ms Fitzsimons.
“Simple things like telling your bank you’re travelling so they don’t suspend your card, inspecting any hire equipment beforehand for damages, and telling your driver someone is expecting you to arrive when travelling alone, can help make your trip as smooth and safe as possible.
“I can’t stress enough how important it is to purchase travel insurance before travelling. You just don’t know what’s going to happen, no matter where you are,” concluded Ms Fitzsimons.
1. Leave valuables at home – while it can be tempting for teens to take things like iPads and laptops to stay entertained on the plane, InsureandGo recommend leaving valuables like these at home. Such items can be a target for theft, or costly to replace if lost or damaged. If they’re taking valuables, be sure they choose a travel insurance policy that covers lost, stolen or delayed luggage.
2. Develop a contact schedule – before they leave, agree on a time to check in to see how they are going. Try scheduling it in the late afternoon or early evening before the celebrations begin. If you’re looking for something a bit more flexible, WhatsApp is great as they can respond when they have free time. In the event something happens to their phone and they are unable to make contact, certain travel policies can help with lost, stolen or damaged phones.
3. Get vaccinated – check with the doctor to see if they are visiting any countries that require vaccinations. Encourage them to drink bottled water, and to wash their hands regularly to avoid things like the dreaded Bali belly. If they’re feeling unwell after eating or drinking, a trip the doctor may be just the thing they need. If they have purchased travel insurance the costs can be covered as part of their policy.
4. Put together a safety pack – give them a list of emergency contact numbers including their insurance provider, local authorities, and their accommodation, as well as someone to call back home. In the event something goes wrong, most insurance providers have a 24-hour emergency assistance line to help resolve their issue.