If your best buddy ever approached you with an opening such as: "There is something you should know", there was probably a tingle of horror down your spine – but, fear not, because at least this once in your life, you’re about to feel relieved and elated to cover the best tips and tricks of the trade for exploring the wonderful Land of Down Under.
It’s a life-changing experience, but one that can be much more comfortable, financially manageable, and richer with a few local-worthy pieces of advice to guide you. Australia is a diverse continent with unparalleled natural wealth, beachy culture the rest of the world is jealous of, and an authentic urban spirit worth tasting during your travels. So, pack well, and make the most of your strenuous journey, because it will completely shift your mindset and give you a whole new perspective of the world!
Plan and book ahead
Perhaps some countries are easy to budget for even on the go and find your accommodation and railway packages when you get there, but Australia is anything but cheap. With that in mind, you should always think ahead when it comes to finding affordable places to spend a few nights, whether that’s in a hostel (pro tip: save extra with a YHA membership), or a flat, because prices can go up in an instant.
The same goes for your transportation of choice. There are various discounts to look for, shared rides, and hop-on hop-off busses that can let you have a glimpse at more places than you’d be able to visit on your own.
Do your foodie homework
Visiting Australia without stopping by some of their famous food courts, barbies, and having brunch would be tantamount to sacrilege. They are hedonists by nature, and they know how to make their visitors happy with a wide range of locally-inspired tastes (vegemite and Tim Tams come to mind), as well as a splash of international to keep things interesting in their culinary world.
This will be a test for your taste-buds: from emu, crocodile, and kangaroo meat, delicious lamingtons, and legendary barbecue by the beach, you’ll be tempted to stay for good.
Keep your wallet happy
Once again, and we cannot stress this enough, Australia can rarely be done on the cheap, but you can definitely make sure that you are on the safe side when it comes to your expenses. First of all, preparing in advance will allow you to snag numerous local discounts. However, consider small loans as your safety net in case you break your budget.
You may be able to pay for a cab when there’s no other option, but you certainly cannot afford finding yourself penniless and stranded on a different continent. You never know what sudden expense may arise, so it’s best to have an emergency fund to rely on.
Yes, animals are everywhere
No matter the region of your choice, there will be a whole slew of wildlife just waiting around every corner, curious and cute as ever, some of them scary, others more on the “I’m adopting you” side. If you plan to drive your way from one destination to another, mind the roos and koalas on the road. Wallabies will be somewhere near, too.
Snakes and spiders are almost a staple of the country, so get acquainted with the species to know which ones are safe to poke, and which ones you should leave be. Additionally, don’t forget to snorkel with their sharks and get to know the beautiful Great Barrier Reef – it will be one of those unforgettable moments to change your life.
Live concerts, marketplaces, free museum passes, city bus rides, beach and other guided walks, Aussies have thought of it all. Whale-watching, penguin-spotting, their national parks and available bushwalking tours can be found either for free or extremely affordable off-season, so it’s essential to keep your eyes peeled for an opportunity to save up and experience something new.
Another way to cut costs would be to work on the go, and Australia makes for a perfect candidate to work and travel. They have the most incredible farms and fruit picking deals that will provide you with accommodation and food in exchange for good old manual labor.
You WILL need sun protection
Even if you come from a sunny country such as California, most people underestimate the weather Down Under. Smudging a dab of sunscreen will also not cut it, and in order to enjoy your travels to the fullest, you’ll need a hat, a pair of shades, and comfortable clothes (nothing black, please) to keep the sun away.
Another disaster waiting to happen are their beloved insects which are practically everywhere, so always bring a pack of insect repellant with you. After all, double-checking your packing list will be a lifesaver for making the most of your adventure in the Land of Oz!