Every year, millions of visitors visit the great land down under – Australia! The sixth largest country in the world, with 23 million residents, and six states and two territories, coming to Australia can be overwhelming. Here are 10 golden rules to follow when traveling to Australia!
1. Plan ahead
Even after jumping on some cheap flight deals, you can still expect to pay upwards of $1,500AUD depending on when you fly. If you’re looking at saving money on flights book during Australia’s shoulder season October/November and April May and booking at least six months in advance. There is not a whole lot to see and do in the winter, and without a lot of snow it isn’t exactly a snowy winter wonderland like Whistler.
2. Things WILL be pricey
Whether you’re looking at accommodation, food, things to do, or flights, you will definitely be spending a fair bit more than what you’re used to. Australia is often voted one of the most expensive countries to live, so I would recommend budgeting around $100 to $200 for everything.
3. Be prepared to travel
In Australia, 85% of the population lives within 50km of the coast, so around the coast there’s a fair bit to see and do, but in the middle it’s a vast sea of nothing. Even on the coast, cities are far and wide apart, and although the views and scenes of road tripping can be fun, you might get bored on the 41 hour drive from Sydney to Perth. If you’re low on time, Australia has 6 domestic airlines so finding cheap domestic flights are a breeze (and a timesaver!).
4. Don’t just stay in the city
There is so much more to Australia than its main cities of Sydney and Melbourne. If you have the time, hire yourself a car and get out and about exploring! Don’t just be stuck in the city centres, get out and about see the natural landscape of Australia. Explore the outback, the vineyards, the small towns, and lesser known beaches.
5. Lather up in sunscreen
Australia has the highest incidence of melanoma (skin cancer) in the world due to its beaming sun rays. In order to protect yourself from sun burn avoid prolonged exposure to the sun, lather up on sunscreen, and wear clothing that protects your face and shoulders especially. P.S. Bondi Beach is overrated there’s so much more to Australian beaches!
6. Tourist Refund Scheme
Goods in Australia incur a Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 10% on all items. However, not many people know that with the Australian Tourist Refund Scheme, tourists (and residents) that spend over $300AUD at any given store can re-claim that tax back! Just remember to bring the items with you in your carry on, keep your receipts, and fill out the form online to avoid the long queues at the airport.
7. Head on to pubs for cheap dinners
If you’re looking for budget meal options, head on down to pubs (a.k.a “hotels”). A majority of hotels and venues do daily lunch/dinner specials, where you can find meals goings for $10-$15. These meals include steaks, chicken parmigiana, chicken schnitzels, and burgers.
8. Do not approach wild life
You’ve probably seen plenty of pictures of cute koalas, cuddly kangaroos, and chilled out wombats. But, unless you want to be chased down the street, or attacked by our native life don’t approach them. This is especially important with kangaroos as they’re known for being extremely territorial, and will attack if provoked.
9. You don’t need to tip
Unlike many other countries, hospitality and service workers are compensated fairly for their work. So tipping is not an essential like in the States, and you definitely won’t get treated differently if you choose not to tip. However, you can tip if you’d like. In Australia, a tip of 10% is usually standard but only if the service is exceptionally outstanding.
10. Be prepared for Aussie slang
Australians love to shorten words, and have what sounds like their own English dialect. Here are few of the more common slang:
- Arvo = afternoon
- Bev = beverage (usually alcoholic)
- Servo = service station
- Ueey = U-turn
- Bottle-O = bottle shop
- Maccas = McDonald’s
- Thongs = flip flops
- She’ll be right = it will be okay