Whilst Smartraveller’s advice is to exercise normal safety precautions in South Korea, relations between South Korea and North Korea remain tense. Recently North Korea conducted underground nuclear and ballistic missile tests aggravating the situation on the Korean Peninsula and the region.
And although the Australian government has not advised travellers to avoid South Korea, with North Korea's continued hostilities towards surrounding nations, DFAT is not ruling out the possibility of a provocation.
Kate Smith, Marketing Manager, of Zoom warns, despite the current advice, heading overseas to any destination without some forward planning and adequate cover can be risky.
“Stuff going wrong on holiday shouldn’t be your foremost concern when planning your trip. After all you’ve got an exciting itinerary to navigate! But like it or lump it, without safeguarding your travels, all the fun stuff could be wrecked.”
“Considering the current conflicts in the region, it’s just smart planning to take out cover before you depart for your trip. A comprehensive policy will ensure you’re covered for civil unrest, riots, strikes, unforeseen accidents or illness, travel disruptions, lost luggage or theft and trip cancellation.”
A little bit of forward planning can ensure your trip isn’t skating on thin ice.
Tips to help you stay safe when travelling to the Winter Games
1. Plan your travel arrangements as early as possible:
Accommodation and tickets for public transport are selling out quickly, so make your plans well in advance to avoid having to take any unnecessary risks to get you to a game.
2. Avoid unofficial taxis
: There are a host of safe transportation options available this winter games. Spectator shuttle buses from PyeongChang, Bokwang, Jeongseon, and Gangneung to the venues will be available to ticket holders free of charge on the same day of the event. Or high-speed trains (KTX) and park-and-ride facilities will be linked to the spectator shuttle bus network.
3. Beware of dodgy ticket sellers:
The Organising Committee has placed strict rules on the purchase and exchange of tickets. However, fraudulent ticket sellers are still plentiful and should be avoided. Only purchase your tickets through authorised sellers, as your travel insurance wouldn’t cover you for any out-of-pocket expenses you incur should you find yourself with a fake ticket.
4. Avoid problematic areas:
Keep up to date with the local news of the area you are travelling to. If there has been reports of disruptive behaviour, don’t go there. Be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police as soon as possible.
5. Sign up to updates from Smartraveller:
Smartraveller is the official travel advice site for Australians covering all destinations. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) encourages you to register your plans
before you leave Australia.
6. Know where the embassy is
: The Australian Embassy will have a consular team in PyeongChang during the Games to provide consular assistance. Also, the Embassy in Seoul will also be able to assist with emergency passports throughout the games period.
7. Get comprehensive travel insurance:
Putting aside the current political situation, the possibility that you will fall ill or require emergency assistance shouldn't be ignored. Healthcare costs overseas can be frighteningly expensive and without travel insurance, you run the risk of accumulating massive debts, in a foreign and unsupported environment. Travelling without a policy in place is not just irresponsible, it can be downright dangerous.
8. Read the Product Disclosure Statement: Travel insurance
is a must have for any holiday, but like any type of insurance, it’s important to realise there are cases where you will not be covered. Because holidays don’t always go to plan, it’s a good idea to understand your policy before you head off. You’ll find a full list of general exclusions within your chosen insurers Product Disclosure Statement.