We are fast approaching the end of the school year when our young people get together to celebrate. This could be at the Gold Coast, Byron Bay, the Whitsundays, Sunshine Coast, Victor Harbor, Lorne or Dunsborough. All familiar destinations, and generally well policed, and relatively safe.
Increasingly more young people are choosing overseas destinations for Schoolies. If so, they should be aware that local laws and penalties may be different, and much harsher than within Australia.
Smartraveller site is an excellent initiative of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, with many excellent tips and advice.
Research your destination. Check travel advice on security, safety, local laws and customs. Get travel insurance. If you can’t afford it, don’t go!
Register your destination and travel plans with DFAT. This can be invaluable in a natural disaster. Keep in touch with family. Give them a copy of your itinerary.
Mind your mates! Stay in a group, look after each other.
Make yourself aware of the local laws, particularly in regard to drugs and alcohol.
The Australian consular officers can give you help in an emergency, but be aware that if you break local laws, the help will be limited.
A list of increasingly popular Schoolies destinations, and things to consider:
Indonesia ( including Bali )
- You must carry I.D. at all times ( Passport )
- Drug offenses are severe.
- Some crimes attract the death penalty.
- Gambling is illegal.
- An international drivers license is required, even for scooters, or motor bikes.
- The threat of terrorist attack is high.
- Reports of drink spiking are frequent.
- Insulting the monarchy, or defacing the image of the monarch, can lead to lengthy prison sentences. Simple things like touching the top of someones head, or showing the soles of your feet, can cause grave offense.
- Cyclone season is November to April. Violent crime is not uncommon in Suva.
- It is illegal for passengers to be intoxicated at an airport, or on a plane.
- Fiji is a conservative society, unseemly dress, or public displays of affection, could offend.
- These islands are subject to a range of natural disasters The crime rate is low, but theft is on the increase. Obscene publications are illegal. Conservative standards of dress and behavior, should be respected.
- Always obey the laws of the country you are in. Don’t expect to be treated differently because you are Australian.
Parents Guide to Safer Schoolies, can be downloaded free of charge here