Before You Go
There are many things to consider before you go on your travels, from booking your flights and arranging visas to organising ways of keeping in contact with friends and family. Here we have provided you with an invaluable list of things to consider, and links to sites which can help you with this.
Take this advice from someone who's been through it all before and knows exactly what is needed and what should be sorted before you go. If you take this advice you will have a much easier and hassle free trip.
If we have left out anything which made your trip easier, please let us know via the form at the bottom of the page.
Once you've decided where you want to go, booking your flights is usually the next thing to do. You can either buy a return flight to Australia or round the world tickets if youíre planning to stop at several countries. It might be a good idea to compare prices from several agents, so go along to your local travel agent and also visit specialist online travel agents like STA Travel
Once you know when youíre going you should apply for the appropriate visa(s). This should be done as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
Most countries issue visas on arrival at the airport, however it's best to check well before leaving if this is the case. Most country and government websites
will share visa information on them.
Prepare your CV and general covering letter to be sent out to employers / agencies.
If youíre planning to work, get a list of agency contacts ready so you can send out emails as soon as you arrive in the country. It might be a good idea to take copies of your degree and/or gcse qualifications jsut incase anyone asks for proof.
Get good health insurance cover, especially if you are planning on going skiing or doing dangerous activities.
More info on backpacker travel Insurance »
Itís always a good idea to be organised so if youíre entering Australia on a Working Holiday Visa you should remember to get a bank statement as proof of funds. They may or may not ask you to produce it, but itís definitely worth taking a copy just incase! As a safety measure you should also photocopy your passport and email the copy to yourself, if you loose your passport this could make the process of getting a new one much easier.
From experience, it can sometimes be very hard to keep track of funds in your home bank account, so make sure you signup for online banking before you go. It is also a good idea to take some money out with you in the form of travellers cheques. This way you'll have some cash while you are waiting for funds to transfer from your home account into a local account (if you are in that situation).
Make sure you get all the right jabs for the countries youíre visiting.
Organise with your doctor an adequate supply of medications to cover your journey. You may find it harder to get the same medications while abroad plus it could cost you more money.
Make a journey plan:
Make a general plan of your journey especially if you will only be in the country for a little while and want to make the most of it. Select what you really want to see and do. No doubt you will meet people whoíll suggest places and things but itís good to be prepared in case you donít.
It might be a good idea to pre-book your first few nights accommodation. This way you won't be traipsing the streets late at night trying to find a room, plus a lot
of hostels can arrange to pick you up from the airport or bus depot saving you some money on transport.
More info on accommodation »
Staying in Contact
It is important to stay in contact with friends and family while youíre away. There are lots of social networking sites and blogging networks where you can type up your adventures along the way, allowing your friends to follow your journey. Here are some links to the most popular sites.
Social networking sites:
Buy a decent camera:
This may sound obvious but youíll be taking loads of pictures on your travels, and youíll want them to come out well in all situations. It is a once in your lifetime adventure so make sure your camera can live up to the job of capturing the best moments.
If you donít buy an mp3 player with flash drive, or a separate USB flash drive, there are other ways of storing your photos. You could purchase a large memory card and once it is full burn the photos onto a cd-rom in one of the many internet cafes around Australia. Or you can upload your pictures to an online photo storage website. Here are some that we recommend:
There will long journeys and situations where you just want to shut yourself off from the world, so donít forget to buy a decent mp3 player. If you can get one that doubles up as a flash drive and has a large memory then it can be used to store your photos as well.
Buy a day to day diary:
Itís a good idea to buy a diary of sorts to store addresses of friends and family in as well as adding important dates / flights etc.
Buy a decent Backpack:
Again, this sounds obvious, but the better the backpack Ė the less backache youíll have from lugging it around everywhere! Some you can actually buy with wheels too, plus itís also worth looking out for one with a detachable day pack.
It's a good idea to make sure youíve made a list of clothes and items to take with you, and then tick off when you have everything you need. We have created a comprehensive packing list to help you.
Take some spare passport photos, you never know when you might need them.
Have we missed anything off this list?Help other backpackers like yourself by sharing information with us that you found helpful when you were planning your journey.
This is a non-profit site built by backpackers for backpackers. We hope you find this a valuable resource!
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