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Newbie to overseas travel
Where do I start??


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#1 Colleer

Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:20 AM

In March I am going on an all expenses paid trip to Hong Kong for 5 days / 4 nights.

I have never been overseas before - HELP!  Where do I start??  It is a work related trip, but not with much work stuff eg 1 day of seminars, a couple of nights of theme or gala dinners, a day trip to Macau and a free day or two to do as I please.

The trouble is that I don't even know where to start.  My passport is sorted, work is booking tickets etc.

Where do I turn to to sort out finances whilst I am over there?  What is the best option in Hong Kong?  Do I get a Visa c/c, or would my Mastercard be accepted over there?  How much cash do I take on me - in Hong Kong $$'s or AUD?

Where do I get HK$ from?

Travel insurance is a must I know, so I will have to put that at the top of the list.

Even simple things like - how do I find out what the weather is generally like in March in Hong Kong?

We are flying Cathay Pacific, so I probably need to find out what size bag I can take.  Though I don't want to take to much, so I have plenty of room to brings stuff back.

ARGH!  I have NO idea where to start, but I know I definitely need to get started now......

Help!  Any advice greatly appreciated.

#2 Zazzy1

Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:30 AM

I travel alot, i am recently back from a trip home to Ireland. I have been to HK also.

Regarding the weather just google what the weather is like in HK in March, travel websites will give a grid that indicates what the average temperatures are in that country at a certain time of year.

Regarding Travel insurance do make it a top priority sometimes your health insurance provider will do travel insurance(if you have helth insurance). if not again google is your friend.

You can get HK dollars in the bank before you go or wait until you get there and go to a Bureau to Change in the airport and change your ozzie dollars into HK dollars. When i went to HK i just used my usual debit card and took out a large amount of money to keep me going for a day or two. I left whatever i didn't need in the hotel safe and only took out what i thought i would need for the day. You can use your c/c though if you wish.

If you go onto the Cathay Pacific website you will be able to find out what there baggage limit is, it will also be on your tickets so maybe ask work what it says on your ticket?

Hope this helps original.gif

#3 Isolabella

Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:53 AM

Check if work have a travel insurance policy. DHs work have travel insurance provided for all DHs work trips (including hostage cover is he goes to west Africa this year).

We always use normal ATM cards and CC when traveling.



#4 2bundles

Posted 18 January 2013 - 03:10 PM

Www.tripadvisor.com

That will tell you about things to do, climate etc.

Hong Kong is lots of fun and is safe. Taxis are easy and cheap.

Macau is considered a different country, so don't forget your passport.

Any suitcase will be fine. If you can carry it it should be underweight lol!  

Take a small backpack onboard with some socks, a light cardigan etc. the plane can get cold.

Visa or mc are fine. Your eftpos card will also be fine to withdraw cash while you are there. You could get a few hundred $ from any currency exchange before you go or at the airport. Otherwise it is easy to get it when you arrive from an atm. Macau accepts HK currency.  

Have fun!

#5 Fairey

Posted 18 January 2013 - 03:28 PM

How exciting!
As said, check the cathay pacific site for luggage limits (probably around 20kg)
Travel insurance direct is quite good and its all done online (although if its a work trip your employer may be covering that. Worth finding out about it!)
Money - look up Australia post to see if they deal with H.K dollars. Aus post don't charge for money conversion, where as travelex at the airport usually give you a lower rate and charge fees. You could also order your currency from the travelex website and collect it at the airport (its a better rate that way) my pick would be aus post first though. Or you can just withdraw money as you need it in H.K.
Carry on is your friend if you're worried about bringing back lots of things!

Enjoy your trip - I'm sure it'll be fantastic!

#6 starsg

Posted 18 January 2013 - 04:25 PM


don't forget to notify your bank that you'll be going overseas if you're planning to use your c/c, sometimes if they see overseas transactions they will suspect fraud and suspend your card, so definitely give them a call before you go original.gif

#7 PrincessPeach

Posted 18 January 2013 - 04:31 PM

Just a heads up, we flew cathay in April 2011 & their seats are very uncomfortable - other than that i have no complaints about them, the meals were nice.

HK is great. It's also easy to access funds from ATM's over there, but if you want to take some cash i found the best exchange rates were with the banks.

March in Hong Kong will be warm (we were there in April), however take a light jacket/cardigan as the air-conditioning in places is freezing.


Also try & buy an octopus card - it will make taking public transport very easy & you get a full refund on whatever you don't spend when you leave.

I highly recomend a visit to HK Disney though - it's a full day, but DH & I loved it.

#8 Colleer

Posted 19 January 2013 - 09:49 AM

Thanks so much for all your help and advice, it has given me a lot more confidence and calmed my nerves somewhat.

I had no idea you could just use your regular ATM card overseas - how easy does that make things??!!  I think I will get an amount of HK $ to have on me in  cash when I go over, and get money out of the ATM when I am over there. Phew - one less thing to panic about  original.gif   Though I will definitely contact the bank to tell them I am heading overseas so they don't think my activity is suspicious.  I am going to hop on the Aus Post website now and check out the exchange rate there.

I do have to get the travel insurance myself,  though work has given us a link to the travel agent doing all their bookings etc if we wish to buy the insurance through them.  Will get onto that ASAP.

I am trying to plan my outfits down to a fine art before I go so I am  not taking too much.  I have a tendency to throw everything in and decide on the day what to wear, but then that works when you don't have a kg luggage limit!

As for carry on bags - what can you usually on board?  I have my hand bag which is a decent size and will hold my ipad, kobo, wallet, phone and a multitude of other necessities (!) can I also take a small backpack ?  Do I have to put my handbag in the luggage compartment above my head when we fly or can I keep it at my feet?  Just curious as I tend to swap between my ipad and kobo quite a bit and didn't want to be forever getting my bag down.  I thought also if I can take a small backpack or something on board with me that will give me a bit of extra luggage room on the way back as well.

You can't half tell I am a newbie can you??!!

#9 Isolabella

Posted 19 January 2013 - 09:57 AM

Bags can go under the seat in front. The only time you have to put bags in overhead lockers is for take off and landing if you have a bulk head or exit row without a ow of seats in front of you.

Handbag plus backpack or wheelie bag are fine. How about not taking extra hand luggage and buy bag only if needed? We usually have our suitcases as ones which can expand (note luggage limits though).

1cover is good for travel insurance. I have found any insurance underwritten by Allianz great. We have had to claim medical expenses a few times in past travels.



#10 Colleer

Posted 19 January 2013 - 10:15 AM

Oooh I like the idea of buying a bag over there is I need it.  I can just hear my DH saying "Another bag??? Noooooooo!!"

Great idea Isolabella  wink.gif

It may seem silly me asking all these really basic mundane questions, but it makes me a bit less nervous which is good!

#11 starsg

Posted 19 January 2013 - 10:23 AM


Another quick tip re the bank card-when you call the bank, check how much they charge to withdraw funds overseas, some banks charge a percentage of the sum withdrawn or a flat fee but they're generally outrageous-think $10-15 per transaction. Cash passport is a good way around that as you can pre pay it, or ask the bank what options they have for travel original.gif.

Have fun!

#12 elmo_mum

Posted 19 January 2013 - 10:33 AM

if you go to the post office, or most banks
you can get a debit/visa card pre loaded with foreign currency

#13 little lion

Posted 19 January 2013 - 10:38 AM

If your MasterCard doesn't have a PIN on it, make sure you organise one at your bank before you leave.

HK is a fantastic place, easy to get around for tourists. Enjoy!

#14 secret~sammy

Posted 19 January 2013 - 11:29 AM

QUOTE
Another quick tip re the bank card-when you call the bank, check how much they charge to withdraw funds overseas, some banks charge a percentage of the sum withdrawn or a flat fee but they're generally outrageous-think $10-15 per transaction. Cash passport is a good way around that as you can pre pay it, or ask the bank what options they have for travel .


While this is 100% true, for a 5 day trip *I* would only need to go to an ATM once or twice. Before you spend hours running around town trying to find the absolute best exchange rate and fee combo just make sure it's worth your time and effort to do so. As much as I hate the $10 international ATM fee in the grand scale of things it's not worth my time to do any better to save myself less than I'm likely to spend on a coffee and sandwich at the airport.

#15 Mellie Kate

Posted 19 January 2013 - 12:19 PM

check out this page Baggage for baggage allowance

and this one carry on for carry on

and this place for exchanging money to HK,if you have one of these near you i total recommend it,they have the best rates and no fees travel money oz

Edited by Mellie Kate, 19 January 2013 - 12:21 PM.


#16 SeaPrincess

Posted 19 January 2013 - 12:31 PM

My friend who works in travel recommends Covermore, but in your case, I would probably go with the one your company has provided. Will they reimburse the cost?

Mastercard should be fine for purchases, but don't withdraw cash from it.  If you withdraw cash from your Aust bank account, take out larger sums to avoid the costs, even if you then put it in the hotel safe - most big hotels have small safes in the rooms, so you program your own code and can leave valuables, passport, etc locked away.  I usually get minimal currency to take with me, then withdraw the maximum amount I can at the first ATM I see, but use my credit card whenever possible.

I always put my hand luggage under the seat in front.  Remember that there are limits on how much liquid you can take in the cabin, and it has to be packaged in a clear zip-lock bag to go through customs.  I think the maximum size is 150ml, and liquids includes things like toothpaste, deodorant and hand cream.


#17 Colleer

Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:58 AM

I think I might even need to print this thread out as I keep coming back to look at it  happy.gif

QUOTE
I think the maximum size is 150ml, and liquids includes things like toothpaste, deodorant and hand cream.


Silly question no:782 - does that mean I can't take a bottle of water on the plane with me?  I tend to always have a bottle of water in my handbag.  Not important in the scheme of things - just pondering I guess.

My anxiety / excitement level must be pretty high as last night I dreamt that I had a car crash 2 weeks before my trip and broke both my legs and couldn't go!

#18 PrincessPeach

Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:08 AM

QUOTE (Tyrantasaurus @ 21/01/2013, 08:58 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think I might even need to print this thread out as I keep coming back to look at it  happy.gif



Silly question no:782 - does that mean I can't take a bottle of water on the plane with me?  I tend to always have a bottle of water in my handbag.  Not important in the scheme of things - just pondering I guess.

My anxiety / excitement level must be pretty high as last night I dreamt that I had a car crash 2 weeks before my trip and broke both my legs and couldn't go!


Correct.

Also I bought a bottle of water in HK airport after going through customs & it was taken from me at the gate. I then had to bug the flight attendants all the trip home for a glass of water every so often - so just be careful about that one.

#19 SeaPrincess

Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:35 PM

QUOTE (PrincessPeach @ 21/01/2013, 07:08 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Correct.

Also I bought a bottle of water in HK airport after going through customs & it was taken from me at the gate. I then had to bug the flight attendants all the trip home for a glass of water every so often - so just be careful about that one.

We had the same in Singapore. I just made sure that every time they came past and offered water on the plane, I got a bottle (or 5, since we were 5), even if the last one wasn't empty.

#20 Bart.

Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:45 PM

You can re-fill your water bottle on the other side of customs on your way in.  Just be sure it's empty when they're checking.

I travel with a travel wallet.  It's a large zip wallet big enough to lay my tickets and customs forms flat in, along with some cash, only one card and passport.  It's awesome having it all in one place.  My day-to-day wallet goes into luggage and I use it once I've landed. My travel wallet is bright red, very funky and has a strap which goes over my wrist so it's always on me.

This is a travel wallet along with some really great advice:

http://www.gobankingrates.com/banking/what...hile-traveling/

The thing that hasn't been mentioned is a warning.  Once you start travelling internationally, it's really hard to stop.  The travel bug bites very hard and there is no antidote.   happy.gif

(Edited to fix image)

Edited by Bart., 21 January 2013 - 08:49 PM.


#21 jezebeljoygirl

Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:52 PM

bahaha at the warning above. SO true!!

Of course some nerves are totally normal. But you'll work it all out, and Hong Kong is easy and awesome.


You will have a great time. I'm jealous!!




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