Planning your Gap Year in Australia
BEFORE YOU GET THERE
1. For those who need a Working Holiday Visa
Make sure you apply for working holiday visa, if you are planning to go on a working holiday of course. You can only get a working visa between the ages of 18-30. Be aware that this is a once in a life time opportunity and your clock is ticking, as this can only be done till the age of 30. A working visa is given for a year with the possibility of extending, if working in particular industries like agricultural work (fruit picking). Some work places also offer to sponsor their employees which would allow them to remain in Australia. I do not have all the details since I am lucky enough to have an Australian passport so check out the following website for more information http://www.australia.gov.au/information-and-services/immigration-and-visas/work-visas
2. Cheap Flights
The cheapest way to get to Australia is to travel to Kuala Lumpur using Turkish airlines which should cost around 500 euro for one way or around 650-800 euro for return trip. Then getting a low cost airline like Air Asia or Virgin for as little as 250-350 euro (return) to any part of Australia.
Do not forget to get yourself insured, you never know; lost baggage, delayed flight, stolen camera, i have been there trust me! So investing in a good insurance is wise.
4. Apply for the International Driving Licence
Not all states in Australia require an International Licence, some only require your foreign licence in English, but some do. Check out this site for more information http://www.australia.gov.au/content/driving-with-an-overseas-licence
5. For those who need the cash
All you need to start your journey in Australia is a booked flight and only a few extra cash. Do not make the mistake I made, and most people do! If you live in a country that has low paying jobs when compared to other countries, do not spend 18 months working non-stop with one full time and three part time jobs only to save up 11k like I did, which was spent easily in 3 months once in Australia! Work in Australia! The jobs there are so well paid, 11K would have been easily be save up in a third of the time I spent working in my country, Malta. So if you believe you do not have sufficient funds to start your backpacking journey in Australia, start off with three months working, and believe me you can find some fun jobs! If you live in a country with high paying jobs or equivalent to Australia's level then this will not be a problem.
6. Full Dentist check up
A check up at the dentist is a must before going to Australia. I had three wisdom teeth pulled out before going I did not want to take the risk of them aching while in the land of down under. Keep in mind that this might save you loads of money. A simple filling at an Australian dentist may cost approximately around $400, let alone how much it would cost to pull a tooth out!
7. For the ladies
Make sure you get a good hair cut and dye your hair before heading on your journey. To colour your hair it can cost you as much as $200. If you are a backpacker in Australia, say bye to the hair dresser. You will end up going old school, buying dye from a store and asking your non-experienced travelling buddy to get it done for you! It might be a whole year till you visit the hair dresser so make sure you do make an appointment for a cut, colour and blow dry.
Hair and body products are so much more expensive, stock up! You are not travelling to South East Asia, stocking up on shampoo, conditioner, body wash and body lotion might help you save so much money.
8. For smokers only
Cigarettes are so expensive in Australia, you are better off quitting. One pack of 20 cigarettes can cost $17-25 and a pack of tobacco around $45, definitely not the expense a backpacker can afford. I am hooked and it was very hard for me to quit, so instead? I started rolling! I started rolling tobacco a month or two before I left; by the time I got there I was a pro. Rolling not only helps you save money, you smoke less and they last longer. Buying two gross cigarettes from duty free, they should last you approximately 5-6 months that is at least half way there. I timed my trip to New Zealand just in time to get them duty free again, not as cheap, but still cheaper.
Great so you are all checked up, groomed, prepped and ready to go. Just wear your back pack and head to the airport. Now all you need is to plan your trip. Here is my blog about travelling up the East coast of Australia in 25 days.
WHEN YOU GET THERE
9. Mobile service
Throw away your sim card and get an Australian one with Optus. For just $30 I used to get a great amount of unlimited calls and internet data, I never consumed them all even though I called my family in Malta around 4 times a month! It’s a bargain. I suggest Optus, which is the middle range, it is the second best mobile provider, it is good value of money and you get reception from most areas in Australia.
10. Enrol for necessary medical treatment in Australia
No one wants to think about needing to go to hospital for any kind of treatment, but better safe than sorry. Maltese travelling to Australia on a working visa get 6 months worth of Medicare if enrolled for it. Medicare covers treatment to patients that are considered medically necessary. Check out their website for other nationalities and to enrol for more details http://www.travellers.com.au/planyourtrip/medicare/tabid/201/default.aspx
You sorted out the errands in the first two or three days, now let’s see how to have fun while in Australia. Here is a list to tick off your bucket list.