Things to know before traveling to Australia

Updated: Dec 26, 2020

Australia is an amazing country filled with diverse landscapes and climates. It's usually a top bucket list item for most people- including me! Here are some things to know before you decide to book that awesome trip down undaaaaa:

You need a visa

You can easily apply for your Electronic Travel Authority (or ETA) online here for only $20 AUD. You are usually given the ETA within a couple minutes of applying, but allow up to 12 hours for processing. The ETA will allow you to come and go as much as you want for 1 year- the longest period you can stay at once is 90 days.

Best time to travel

Obviously this is subjective, because who knows what the best time is for YOU as the traveler. But I definitely recommend either Spring (September-November) or Autumn (May-March) because of better weather and fewer crowds. For more details about the best time of year to travel to Australia, click here.

The best way to see it all: Road Trip

You can rent a car for a short trip or buy a cheap car on Gumtree and sell it when you're done. Gumtree is basically the website every Australian and backpacker uses in Australia. It’s similar to eBay or Craigslist. Many backpackers are getting rid of their cars before leaving the country, so they will accept great offers to make a quick sale. This means you won’t have to pay too much for a good car. I've seen cars sold for as little as 200-600 AUD (About $130-400 USD). You can get a bigger car to sleep in (cheaper than getting a camper van), or just buy a tent and keep it in the car.

The amount of time you have to travel in Australia (and money) will determine which route you take! Here are 2 common road trip routes to give you your first introductory taste of Australia.

Sydney-Melbourne-Great Ocean Road-Adelaide (or vice versa)

Sydney-Byron Bay-Brisbane-Cairns (or vice versa)

Where to stay

In order to keep it cheap you have 2 options: hostels or camping. Camping will also be determined on the time of the year you visit Australia because it might be too hot or too cold to do so. But, if you're there at a good time it could help save you a lot of money. You can even download the app: Wiki Camps to find free campsites (some are paid, but still cheap). They even show if the campsite has showers, BBQs, and phone signal, and you can read reviews just like a hotel or hostel.

Otherwise, it's important to find good deals on cheap hostels to save money! Use Booking or Hostelworld to find the best deals.

Make sure you budget

Australia is EXPENSIVE- especially when you're used to backpacking SE Asia. Here are some tips to help you save money (besides camping and renting a car as mentioned before):

- Cook your own food: if you're staying in a hostel, make sure it has a kitchen. If you're staying at a campsite, look for a BBQ pit. Cooking your own food instead of eating out will save you SO much money.

- Plan your itinerary: If you know what route you plan on driving, this can help you save money. Why? Because if you don't have a set plan, you could do a lot of back and forth driving to see things you might have missed. And petrol is NOT cheap in Australia. So make the most out of your travel route.

- Volunteering: there are lots of companies or farms that will offer you free food and accommodations if you volunteer for a specific amount of time (usually minimum 2 weeks). You can find these volunteer jobs in various Facebook groups or Workaway

Average daily spending

You should plan to spend about $100 AUD per day. BUT, if you buy a car and are staying in free campsites, obviously it will be much lower than this. Here are some averages:

- Hostel per night: $15-30 AUD

- Meal in a restaurant per person: $15-25 AUD

- Petrol prices (obviously will vary): $1.40 AUD per liter

Key Takeaways

1) Get your visa

2) Make a budget AND stick to it

3) Make a thorough itinerary/plan

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