Wearing: Tee - Topshop
Since starting my new blog, I have been trying to think of a way to combine my love of travel and writing. I have decided on writing Travel Tips; 5 tips that I have picked up along the way that I think other backpackers will find useful. I realise it may not be to everyone's cup of tea, but hopefully it'll help a few on their adventure.
I have been in Australia for 5 months now, but I thought I'd start from the very beginning. Here are 5 things to do before you make your journey to Australia.
- Visa - for a backpacker, there are two main types of visa; a tourist visa and a working holiday visa. You can apply for both visa's on the Australian Government website, which is much cheaper then doing it through a Travel Agent. With a tourist visa [link here] you can be in Australia for up to three months but you are unable to work, just travel. This visa is free of charge and you can apply for this as many times as you like. A working holiday visa [link here] is slightly different. You can only apply for this visa once, and you must enter Australia within a year of applying for it. There is a charge of $365 (roughly £247) and, once awarded, you are able to work and travel in Australia for up to a year.
- Plane Ticket - finding the best priced flight has been made easy with websites like TravelSupermarket.com, but sometimes it's not as easy as booking a return ticket. If you want to stop in a few countries or have an open ended return, I'd suggest using STA Travel to book your flight. You can make an appointment through their website, also receiving £30 off, and they'll find the best deal and book it for you.
- Travel Insurance - I bought my travel insurance from STA Travel but, to be honest, I think it was a big mistake. STA Travel are helpful for giving advice so it may be worth asking them what to include in the insurance you buy, but I would advise shopping around, using websites like TravelSupermarket.com, as you will be able to find a much cheaper deal.
- Bank Account - figuring out how to transfer my money to Australia caused me a lot of stress. The friends I'd asked had transferred their money from their English bank accounts, which meant high bank charges and terrible exchange rates. Hoping to keep as much of my money as possible, I though about taking my savings over in cash but was put off at the thought of being searched at the airport or losing it along the way. I am pleased to say, I found a much simpler solution. Commonwealth Bank is an Australian bank, that also have offices in London. If you make an appointment, they will open a London Transfer and Australian bank account for you. You transfer your money from your English account to your London Transfer account, at a charge of £10, and they will then transfer your money, with the best possible exchange rate, to your Australian account in only 2 days.
- Accommodation - before you arrive in Australia, I'd suggest booking accommodation for at least your first two weeks. When you're backpacking, the places you go and the things you see can depend on the people you meet, but at least this way you know you'll have a roof over your head whilst you're struggling to beat jet lag. I have found both TripAdviser.com and HostelWorld.com great websites for honest reviews on accommodation. If in doubt, I'd book in to a Base. I have stayed in Base all over Australia and they have always been clean and comfy.
[Fore more Travel Tips; click here]