While Overseas

Student travelling overseas personal safety and risk assessment guide while overseas:

Monitor DFAT advice

  1. Stay up to date with the travel status of places you plan to visit. Register with your nearest government representative, keep your contact details on myUNSW up to date and register with your host university.
  2. Monitor International SOS and DFAT website for updates and travel advice on www.internationalsos.com and www.smartraveller.gov.au.
  3. Incidents such as being robbed or mugged should be reported to local police and also the Australian Diplomatic Mission who will be able to provide information and expedite a replacement passport.

Arriving in a new country

  1. Try to arrive in an unfamiliar city during daylight rather than at night.
  2. Catch reliable public transport that can be ticketed at official airport counters, or book taxis from official airport representatives or join managed queues. Avoid touts at airports.
  3. It is wise to obtain a small amount of local currency from Sydney airport, and on arrival at the airport of destination larger amounts of currency can be accessed. Most major airports now have ATMs that are easy to access where the local currency can be acquired.
  4. Take your money overseas using a combination of methods including travellers cheques, debit/ credit cards and cash. It is never advisable to carry large amounts of cash.
  5. Never ever leave personal luggage unaccompanied or unlocked.

Keep your family updated on your travel plans

Keep your family updated on your travel plans and let them know you are safe. Contact family from each new destination so that you ‘check-in’ after arrival.

Safety tips

  1. Be aware that the customs and culture of the country(s) you are visiting may differ to Australia.
  2. Violent and petty crimes occur in many countries. Put measures in place to protect your personal safety and familiarise yourself with the types of crime and locations where you may be particularly at risk. If you are not sure seek local advice.
  3. Keep valuables out of sight, avoid displays of wealth and be vigilant to your personal safety in public places.
  4. Take care when travelling after dark, especially if you are alone. Take a taxi and avoid areas known for criminal activity or that are isolated.
  5. Keep your passport, credit cards and important documents safe. Scamming and identity fraud are major problems in some countries. Do not use any ATMs that are not being used by locals or that are not in a secure area and under surveillance.
  6. Food hygiene can be problematic. In many countries it is not wise to eat raw fruit and vegetables or drink beverages that contain ice cubes. It is advisable to carry bottled water.
  7. Dress standards vary. Consider and observe dress codes when traveling overseas. It is always better to observe local customs rather than cause unnecessary offence.
  8. Always work within the legal framework of the host country even if these laws are not observed in Australia.
  9. Remove yourself from any situations as quickly as possible. Give up any valuables, they can be replaced!
  10. Don’t forget to find out the local emergency phone number (e.g. 000) from the hotel or university on arrival. Note that the international emergency number is 112 and this works in most countries.


  1. Check the door for your accommodation is secure and avoid rooms with easy access from the outside.
  2. Become familiar with fire exits.

You should also:

  • Check that smoke alarms are installed and work. Test the batteries every month
  • Make a note of the emergency number for the country you are in.
  • Purchase your own portable fire escape ladder if your residence does not one
  • Learn at least two exits for every room and know the location of alarms and extinguishers
  • Be aware of what to do in the event of a fire
  • Have a plan for fire prevention
  • Read more about fire safety planning - http://www.passporttofiresafety.org