It’s that time of the year again when thousands of school leavers are about to flock to the Queensland coast for an event many have been anticipating for the whole year: Schoolies.

Areas around the Gold Coast and Byron Bay have long been known for their wild, alcohol fuelled parties. In a survey conducted by National Schoolies Week in 2010, it was revealed that more than 50 per cent of boys and a third of girls get drunk every day of Schoolies week in the Gold Coast.

However, teenagers are increasingly seeking a different experience, with many going overseas with friends to holiday or volunteer.

Whether you’re taking the traditional route or opting for a more adventurous trip overseas, here are some simple actions you can take to make your holiday more safe and enjoyable.

Know your destination
Whether it’s the Gold Coast, Fiji, or Bali, always do your research before going somewhere you haven’t been before. Let your family know the address and type of accommodation you’ll be staying in. That way, if something goes wrong, someone will know your location.

Remember travel insurance
Students should always be equipped with travel insurance when they’re travelling, regardless of how far they’ll be travelling. If an unexpected event occurs while you’re away holidaying, such as
transport strikes, accidents, or missing luggage, travel insurance can compensate for your losses and hefty medical bills if they arise. Remember to check the policy first and make sure it comprehensively covers the criteria you’re looking for.

Safety in numbers
Always stay with a group of friends who you feel comfortable and who you trust. Have at least one friend who can look out for you and vice versa, especially concerning your drinks, as a designated driver, and as a companion at night. Don’t hang out with anyone who you think will peer pressure you into doing something you don’t want to do. Remember that if one person in your group is under 18, there are legal issues to consider regarding the supply of alcohol.

Respect local laws and customs
Increasingly, more and more school leavers are choosing to forgo the traditional schoolies route in favour of exotic overseas locations. If so, know and respect local laws and customs, especially concerning liquor and drugs. You should be aware that local laws and penalties may be different from Australia, and often much harsher.

Register your trip
Registering your travel plans with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.before travelling overseas ensures that the Australian government can contact you or find you in an emergency or pass on crucial information wherever you are. It’s quick, free and easy to do and guarantees you extra security.

By Amelia Zhou