Register your overseas travel and/or residential details here.
Despite current political tensions with North Korea there is no specific information to suggest an imminent threat to the safety of New Zealanders in South Korea. It remains possible that tensions could escalate with little warning. Should the security situation change, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will review our current Travel Advisory and email those registered on safetravel.
South Korea has a modern, well developed emergency response infrastructure and plans in place for many contingency situations. In any emergency situation New Zealanders should always monitor developments closely and follow instructions issued by local authorities. While the New Zealand Government will do what it can to assist New Zealanders in emergency situations, and the Embassy in Seoul prepares accordingly, New Zealanders living and visiting South Korea must make their own preparations and decisions regarding their safety based on individual circumstances.
As we recommend for New Zealanders in all countries, it is important that you and accompanying family members are prepared for an emergency situation. Some of the measures you may wish to consider include:
If you require consular advice and/or assistance please contact the New Zealand Embassy in South Korea - firstname.lastname@example.org or Consular Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Wellington - email@example.com.
For the latest information on avian flu, measles, meningococcal disease, dengue and typhoid fever please refer to our Health page.
Recently a number of New Zealanders have been manipulated and defrauded by persons abroad professing romantic interest and marriage intentions over the internet. Awareness is the key. If you have not met someone personally, you should not respond to their requests for money (regardless of how desperate their circumstances appear). See more information here.
Many countries require a passport to be valid for at least six months beyond your intended departure from the country. If you do not have 6 months validity on your passport, you may be stranded overseas as a result of being refused entry to a country, or offloaded at a transit point, and you will need to apply for an Emergency Travel Document or replacement passport in order to continue your travels.
You should check with the Embassy of any country you are visiting or transiting through for passport validity requirements, visa requirements and any other requirements for entry. Make sure you have at least one clear page in your passport for immigration stamps.
Take a copy of the personal details page of your passport with you and leave a copy at home with a trusted friend or family member.
Information on obtaining a New Zealand passport may be found at the Department of Internal Affairs [external link].
If you have had an Emergency Travel Document (ETD) issued by one of our embassies overseas, you should check with the Embassy of any country you are visiting or transiting through for entry requirements when travelling on an ETD.
Several countries require travellers using an ETD or any other type of travel document that does not fall under the category of a standard passport to obtain a valid entry visa before travel. If you do not have a valid visa in your emergency travel document, you may be stranded overseas as a result of being refused entry to a country, or offloaded at a transit point, and you will need to apply for visa.
A critical illness in China, an attack in Fiji, and a snowboarding accident, triple heart bypass and cancer diagnosis - all in the United States - led to some of the most expensive travel insurance claims New Zealanders made last year.
Claims for medical expenses are by far the greatest for claims made by travellers and the costliest place to fall ill or be injured is the United States, where doctors will conduct $20,000 worth of checks before you can even blink, Southern Cross Travel Insurance chief executive Craig Morrison says.
Some of the most expensive payouts last year included $100,000 State Travel Insurance paid in medical bills and an air ambulance for a man who was injured in a snowboarding accident in the US and $100,000 The Warehouse Travel Insurance paid in expenses after a man was attacked in Fiji and suffered major head trauma.
He had to be evacuated back to New Zealand via air ambulance at low altitude, a spokeswoman said.
Flight Centre Travel Insurance's most expensive claim was for $421,000 after a customer became critically ill in the US and had to be returned to New Zealand via private air ambulance.
Its second-most expensive claim was $200,000 for a person who fell ill in China.
Tower spent $143,000 after a client caught pneumonia on a cruise ship and $150,000 when another client required a triple bypass in the United States.
Southern Cross' highest claim for 2012 was for $208,000 after a New Zealander was diagnosed and treated for cancer in the United States.
The most common claims are to do with gastroenteritis, which could result in a visit to a local clinic and medication - easily worth $500, Mr Morrison said.
Medical costs rise quickly in the US, because the doctors check for everything as they are petrified of being sued if they misdiagnose a patient, he said.
"The fact is these agreements do not cover all costs that arise when an accident or emergency medical situation occurs - such as ambulance travel, medical support and flight costs for repatriation to New Zealand, or bringing a family member out to support you, " Mr Morrison said.
"For example, if you broke your arm in Australia and the break required a cast, you would also require a nurse to accompany you on the flight home in case of swelling that necessitated cast removal. This service alone would cost thousands of dollars for an uninsured traveller."
Providers warn that people should read their policies in detail, because a failure to note existing medical conditions could cripple bank accounts.
Though insurance can be pricey, most travellers can't afford not to have it if something goes wrong. "Don't wait for something to happen, " Mr Morrison says.
"It will be too late.".
- © Fairfax NZ News
Motorbikes and scooters are a great way to get around when you’re overseas, however accidents do happen and New Zealanders should ensure they have adequate travel insurance for all eventualities.
If you intend to hire cars, motorbikes, jet skis or any other motorised vehicle while overseas, talk to your travel insurer to check your insurance policy covers this and seek advice on any restrictions that may apply - such as whether you will be covered if you are not licensed to drive a motorbike in New Zealand.
Travellers should be as safety conscious when on holiday as they would be in New Zealand, even when local laws appear to be more relaxed – so don’t forget wearing a helmet goes hand in hand with riding your hire bike or scooter.
Recent cases of severe illness (including permanent blindness) and death have been reported in Indonesia following consumption of alcohol drinks adulterated with toxic chemicals, particularly methanol. These recent cases of poisoning were reported to have been as a result of the consumption of local spirits such as Arak (a rice-based spirit), and spirit-based drinks/cocktails, adulterated with or contaminated by toxic chemicals such as methanol.
Travellers to Bali, Lombok and other parts of southeast Asia need to be cautious about consuming alcoholic beverages, particularly cocktails and drinks made with spirits that may have been adulterated with harmful substances, particularly methanol. Labelling on bottles may not be accurate and substitution of contents can occur.
Symptoms of methanol poisoning can include fatigue, headaches and nausea, and are associated with increasing vision problems such as heightened sensitivity to light and blurred or reduced vision. If travellers suspect they have been affected by methanol or other poisoning, it is imperative they seek immediate medical attention.
Ciguatera, or fish poisoning, is an illness caused by eating fish containing certain toxins. These toxins come from a type of algae, and get into the fish either through it eating the algae, or eating fish which have eaten the algae.
It can cause symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and tingling fingers or toes. It can also make cold things feel hot and hot things feel cold. It has no cure. Symptoms usually go away in days or weeks but can last for longer.
Ciguatera can be found in many areas of the tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean regions and the Caribbean. There is no way to tell whether fish has been contaminated, so if you are visiting a tropical island in these parts of the world and want to avoid ciguatera, avoid eating reef fish. Deep water fish like tuna are a better option.
Page last updated: Wednesday, 01 May 2013, 13:45 NZST