If you’ve ever left your sunglasses, iPad, credit card or mobile phone in the back of the seat in front of you on a plane – you are a typical Australian traveller.
Sadly, we are well-known throughout the travel insurance industry as being incredibly, and often heartbreakingly, forgetful.
Although there are no official statistics (due to the fact most losses are not reported), anecdotally, we are notorious for not only leaving our "stuff " behind on planes but also leaving our passports at home and missing flights.
Too many of us are in the habit of shoving our things in the back seat pocket and then forgetting about them. Too many of us are in the habit of not packing carefully or not making a crucial decision to give yourself enough time to get to the airport.
Clearly we are not alone in our national forgetfulness. A New Zealand friend recently attempted to leave Sydney for Auckland, only to realise she hadn’t packed her passport.
“I just forgot Australia and New Zealand are different countries,” she said.
According to Phil Sylvester, travel safety expert at Travel Insurance Direct, parents travelling with kids will often complain that their child has left his/her handheld device (iPod or DS) on the plane -- only to arrive at the holiday destination, purchase a new one, and then leave the new device behind on the return trip.
“We get a lot of those claims. Sadly, you are not covered for forgetfulness,” said Sylvester. “If something is stolen you are covered. But if you forget something, it’s your own responsibility.”
“Travellers need to be aware they are not covered if they leave glasses behind on the plane. Travel insurance is a contract. When you sign it, you’re covered for unforeseen circumstances and you guarantee to behave in a way to reduce openness to risk. But we don’t cover reckless or criminal behaviour. Sometimes it’s hard when it’s just carelessness."
But here’s a tip: sometimes the wording can get you over the line. It can help if you say, "I had it when I left the hotel, but when I got home it was not there anymore." In that case, you’d have to report it to the airline.”
Travel Insurance Direct has developed a free app called Tripwise that gives advice about getting to and from your holiday destination
Make sure you have at least six months on your passport.
Are there visa requirements and vaccinations you need?
Where did you put your passport? Put it in your bag the day before you travel.
Make sure all the shopping you’ve done is not going to get you stung for excess baggage.
Make sure there is no liquid in your belongings over 100ml.
Time zones -- check you are turning up to the airport on the correct date.
Your flight -- allow enough time to get to the airport. You’re better off arriving well ahead of time and relaxing at the airport, rather than fighting your way through traffic and missing your flight. These days of budget airlines and non-refundable tickets mean you will be stung a fair bit of money. Budget airlines will not accept the excuse that the traffic was bad. You need to allow for bad traffic.
Getting to the airport -- If you can convince somebody to drive you to the airport then that’s always a best option. Many people think long-term parking is a good idea but there will be times when you might be running late and having to park your car and walk a fair distance all adds to the stress of travelling. Make it easy.
Make sure you have a good trip -- be informed about where you’re going and get all the information you need. For example, when you go to Mumbai, there will be two types of taxis, yellow and blue. Blue taxis are air conditioned, yellow taxis are not. Tips like this makes the experience nicer. So always research where you are going and make it as stress-free as you can.