Risky behaviour during ‘schoolies’ is nothing new. But when you take on dangerous behaviour overseas, in places where the laws are little more lax, the risks become even greater. Especially when you consider that much of that dangerous behaviour renders void any travel insurance young adventurers may take out.
According to a new study undertaken by the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA), together with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT) Smartraveller, a worrying three in four schoolies heading abroad are undertaking risky behaviour whilst there.
The study looks only at school leaver travel to Southeast Asia, as according to ICA spokesman Campbell Fuller, “it is one of the prime destinations where consular staff are continually having to help Australians in trouble”.
“... and that includes many Australians who either travel without travel insurance or get themselves into difficulties where travel insurance can’t help them,” he told ABC Radio.
Mr Fuller said that “about one in five schoolies are likely to be going to Southeast Asia without travel insurance - and three quarters of those who travel are likely to engage in the risky behaviours that are unlikely to be covered even if they do have insurance”.
According to the study, around a quarter of those studied across all ages rode a motorcycle or scooter overseas.
Highlighting adventure sport and riding motorcycles and scooters, Fuller said three in five travellers didn’t know if such activities were covered by their insurance.
Very few insurers cover riding motorcycles or scooters as a standard inclusion, he added, “and that is because it is such a dangerous thing to do overseas”.
Speaking to the ABC, Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) CEO Jayson Westbury said, “we love the fact that Aussies want to get out and have an experience upfront. We just want them to do it safely”.
“Probably a message for mums and dads ... the one thing you should buy your kids is travel insurance,” said Westbury.
“Because we do find that sometimes it’s the last thing that gets on the list,” he added, after flights, accommodation and drinking/party money.
“And then sometimes my budget doesn’t extend myself to having proper and correctly constructed travel insurance.
“If something does go wrong, that leaves the family in the predicament of having to potentially deal with a situation that could be medically related. It could be worse than that.”
Westbury said “Bali is and always will be a big attraction” for schoolies, as well as Thailand, but also highlighted emerging destinations like Vietnam and Cambodia.
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