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It's the time of year to get your suitcase out. Jordan Drummond speaks to travel experts about making overseas trips safe and enjoyable.

As university wraps up for another year, students are beginning to think about the possibilities presented in their three months off.

While some students focus on summer internships or jobs, others choose to leave Australian shores and embark on overseas adventures.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 20 to 29-year-olds accounted for 15 per cent of Australians who travelled internationally last year.

Webjet conducted research on the top 11 countries that are trending in 2015.

Europe seems to be the first port of call, with visits to Greece up by 162 per cent and to Spain up by 107 per cent on last year.

The Australian dollar may not be at its highest, however, backpacking is making travel more accessible for young people on a budget.

Senior web editor at Rough Guides, Ellie Aldridge, tells upstart that many places are “opening up further to backpackers”.

“This year we’re really excited about new travel opportunities in Colombia, Myanmar and Vietnam,” Aldridge says.

She suggests researching destinations before deciding where to travel.

“Working out where you want to go and if you have time to get the necessary visas and inoculations is really important,” she says.

“Next you should book flights and insurance as soon as possible, then plan out the details – leaving plenty of room for spontaneity.”

Knowing how much you can afford to spend is another consideration backpackers need to think about.

“Planning out a budget in advance is really helpful, but once abroad, it’s important to focus on embracing the destination and culture.”

Packing your backpack to the brim causes avoidable headaches for young travellers.

“Over-packing is the biggest mistake most people make on their first big trip,” Aldridge says.

“It’s also tempting to try and see too much in a short time.”

But her top three travel essentials should be included somewhere in your bag or suitcase.

“You must get earplugs for hostel dorms, a power-pack to keep your devices charged, and a guidebook of course,” she says.

“Young travellers shouldn’t worry about making a few mistakes, it’s just part of the learning curve.

“We passionately believe travel helps us understand the world we live in and the people we share it with.”

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With any sort of travel comes risk.

Backpackers need to be especially careful when visiting developing countries.

Sarah Abdullah from Student Flights stressed to upstart the importance of purchasing travel insurance.

“An ex-team leader here at Student Flights was overseas in Bali when she broke her leg quite severely and she had to spend a fair bit of time in hospital over there,” Abdullah says.

“Her claim came up to around $20,000 and she still felt the repercussions for a long time when she got home.”

The Richmond branch of Student Flights has posted this story on the walls of their store so clients fully understand the importance of travel insurance.

“We obviously get a lot of backpackers at Student Flights and it’s the number one thing I tell them they need to have when travelling,” Abdullah says.

“I’ve heard of people having to pay hundreds of dollars to stay in hospitals with no one even helping them.”

Travel insurance can also cover loss of luggage, stolen items and cancelled bookings.

“People think it’s just for medical reasons but it covers so many other things. If a cheap airline loses your bag it’s going to affect your trip, especially when you’re a backpacker,” she says.

“Travel insurance can cover the cost of you having to buy the day-to-day essentials when that happens.”

Knowing very well the horror stories that can occur, Abdullah warns young travellers to ensure the memories they are making overseas are happy ones.

“Just have your wits about you and look after each other.”


Jordan DrummondJordan Drummond is a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts (majoring in Journalism) student at La Trobe University. Follow her novice Twitter musings: @jordanmdrummond.

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