Travel agents might consider passing on the following advice issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for Leaving Certificate students planning to celebrate their results by travelling abroad:
Students planning a holiday after their hard work should heed travel advice issued by the Department on its website www.dfa.ie. The key piece of advice is to behave sensibly and avoid taking risks.
· Comprehensive travel insurance is essential.
· In addition to travel insurance, obtain a European Health Insurance Card (formerly E111 form) that allows the holder to access health care services when travelling to other EU or EEA countries. This service is provided free by the HSE. www.ehic.ie/
· Check passports and other travel documents now and keep them in a safe place when abroad and have photocopies. Email copies of travel documents to yourself before departure in case they are lost or stolen while travelling.
· Make a note of the contact details of the nearest Irish Embassy or Consulate in case you need to contact them urgently.
· Have some knowledge of local laws and customs. Remember, what may be regarded as a minor offence at home can lead to arrest and large fines in other states.
· Do not drink to excess and do not use drugs. Remember, in many countries being drunk or being found in possession of drugs can carry heavy penalties. Also remember that your insurance will not cover you if you are injured while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Download a free Holiday Survival Guide prepared in consultation with the Department from www.drinkaware.ie
· Do not rent or use motorbikes or quads that do not meet normal safety standards or come with safety gear – remember, if an accident happens and you did not follow the rules your insurance is void.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has had a busy year so far with 861 serious incidents requiring consular assistance, including 125 deaths. Thousands of Irish people travel safely every day of the year. By taking care and using commonsense and following the simple steps outlined above, students can help ensure their own well-deserved break is remembered for all the right reasons.