New look and features for Govt's Smartraveller website

By John Walton, November 25 2011

There's a fresh new look and additional information on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Smartraveller website, which provides official advice on travel and dangerous situations.

New features include an easily-readable table of travel advice by country and by issue or event, which is remarkably useful. 

A "travel tips" section provides specific advice on certain situations -- international travel, consular services, missing people, natural disasters, and so on. 

You'll also find a more prominent link to register your travel plans with DFAT in case of emergency. The look and feel of the site has changed since we outlined the fastest way to register with Smartraveller but the process is exactly the same.

There's also an overdue mobile-optimised version of the site for smartphones and tablets, which is easier than navigating the regular site on a small screen.

Videos (mainly 30-second ads that really beg some parody) have also been included in the revamp.

Business travellers are well-advised to keep an eye on the Smartraveller site, and not just for safety and disruption reasons.

Travel insurance policies will often refuse to pay out if you make plans to travel after a "reasonable person" would have known about potential problems. And it could certainly be considered "reasonable" for a traveller to check the Smartraveller site before booking, especially if the problem was publicised in the news media.

To help you keep up, DFAT has an RSS feed, Twitter (@DFAT) and a YouTube account -- all of which are linked from the main page too.

John Walton
John Walton

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

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am

15 Apr 2011

Total posts 586

I wish that DFAT would create some sort of system or site that made it easy for very regular travellers to quickly register their plans rather than having to redo the whole thing every time.

Maybe a 'save profile' option or something (with a username, or passport number plus a password) so that business travellers can just login and add their upcoming flights. I know that you can add multiple destinations at once, but most business travellers don't know what they'll be doing far enough into the future to be able to do more than one or two at a time.

Personally I just don't register anymore, unless I'm going away with family or it's not a work trip. Takes too long, and the people I work with know where I'll be when, have multiple contacts etc anyway...

John Walton

John Walton

03 Jan 2011

Total posts 673

I agree. It seems ripe for integration with services like TripIt or Planely too. A simple email of hotel confirmations would increase uptake.

Or, better yet, language recognition. It would be great to register an email address and then be able to email Smartraveller with "I'm staying at the Hotel Swankonia in La Dangerosa from 14 Jan to 16 Jan".


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