Every time you go out in the surf you are managing risk – how big is it today?, what are the conditions?, is there a rip?, are there other people in the water?, is there a reef? Unfortunately a lot of people don’t take the same approach to planning their travel. It’s easy to charge out the door focused only on the good times, but things can and do go wrong for Kiwis travelling overseas. It might seem romantic to chuck your stuff in a bag and take off, but the sort of preparation that makes for a safe surf can save time, money, or even your life, if you run into trouble overseas. Before heading to the beach, you check out the surf report online - if you are planning an overseas trip, you should check out www.safetravel.govt.nz. This is New Zealand’s official source of travel advice, with detailed advice about specific countries. Having the latest information will help you make informed decisions. It’s worth keeping an eye on travel advice up until departure, as we regularly update it in response to developments. Laws and customs can be very different in different countries and being from New Zealand will not get you any special treatment. You are expected to obey all local laws and there are no “get out of jail free” cards. Taking the time to read up on the place you are going to will help avoid any misunderstandings and it will make for a more rewarding trip if you know a bit about the people and place you are visiting. When you go out in big surf or to an isolated spot, it’s good to let someone know where you are going in case you get into trouble. The same applies for heading out of New Zealand. At www.safetravel.govt. nz, you can also register your travel plans with us. Registering your details means that we can find you in an emergency, check on your well-being and send you important information. It also means we can alert you to other developments like an approaching cyclone or growing civil unrest. If you are registered with us, we will look for you to make sure you are ok in the event of a natural disaster. Travel details that are registered with us are kept absolutely confidential and only used in an emergency. We strongly recommend that you get appropriate travel insurance that covers all the activities you’re planning to do. Check that water sports are specifically covered, as some cover exempts risky activities. Travel insurance protects you and your family against unexpected costs. For example, overseas hospital bills can quickly run into six figures. If the worst happens and you lose your life, the cost of bringing your body home will fall to your family and this too can be hugely expensive. Basically if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. Surfing is a great way to see the world. If you take the same approach to traveling that you take to being safe in the water, you give yourself the best chance of having a great trip and coming home safe.