A trip to Australia is a pretty big deal. Not only is it on the other side of the world but it takes an entire day to get there, and everything is upside down. Madness.
Just kidding, whereas everything isn’t actually upside down, there’s a lot of actual things to consider when travelling to Australia, and all the wonderful and weird things that come with it. Whereas planning the fun parts is the best bit, the ‘boring’ and important parts also need to be considered – which is where this post comes into place.
Before I begin I have to apologies as this post is mainly aimed at Brits regarding travel time and visas, so sorry if you’re from outside the UK but I hope the below can help regardless. I wanted to pull together all the tips I’ve been giving to friends who are planning a holiday to Oz, as there’s a lot involved that might not seem to necessary at the beginning.
So without further-ado, let’s get cracking….
Plan How You Want To Get There
This may seem pretty obvious, but there are actually a lot of ways you can get to Australia. I’m mainly referring about air travel here, but if you fancy a cruise then you do you.
The air trip from England usually takes between 22-33 hours, depending on where about in Australia you’re travelling to, and where you stop on the way. Also that travel time takes into account is how long the ‘layover’ is when you stop off, and if it involves having to get off the plane you’re already on or going to get on another one – which can even be with another airline.
My first experience flying to Sydney was via British Airways and included a stop-over in Singapore on the way there, and via Hong Kong on the way back.
What I will say from my experiences are this:
1.Singapore airport is incredible. I already had seen from Girl Tweets World all the fun you could have at Singapore airport, but I didn’t get to experience it all when I was there (thanks to not having enough time and there being a tropical storm outside…). If you get to layover in Singapore then definitely try and explore – I mean, it has a Butterfly Garden!
2.Your overall journey time will depend on how long your layover is. Whereas you might not want to be travelling for too long, a short layover time could screw you over if your first flight is delayed. My first flight home leaving from Sydney was delayed by half an hour due to thunder and lightening, which means the 1.5 hour layover in Hong Kong was pretty tight.
3.Further to point 2, luckily I managed to catch my second flight leaving Hong Kong for London as they were two connecting flights by the same airline that I had booked together in one transaction. If you book your flights separately – so two different airlines that require two separate bookings, or booking through third party websites – you might be required to collect your luggage and check it back in again for the next flight.
If you’re doing it this way it might be better to leave a longer layover time in case of delays. It’s also worth noting that if you do this in America you could be required to go through immigration before you check back in again which will also hold you up. So please bear this in mind before you book – third party sites may offer incredible deals, but you have to consider what this might involve…
One memory both my fiance and I always recall for jokes is roughly 12 hours before he headed off on a holiday to Mexico. I casually asked “Do you need a Visa to go to Mexico?”. He didn’t know and he didn’t have one. What ensued was 10 minutes of ‘OH MY GOD, SH*T, BLOODY HELL’ as we scrambled to the UK Foreign office website to find out that you didn’t need one after all.
The message of that anecdote? Check if you need a visa!! The Foreign Office website is updated all the time regarding security threat levels, vaccination recommendations and visa requirements. Check as soon as you know you’re going to see if you need one.
If you’re a Brit then you will require a visa – but a free one at least! Contrary to the top 20 results on Google you can actually do it yourself through the Australian visa their Government website. It doesn’t take too long to do it just requires a bit of brain power to work out which visa you need depending on why you’re going to Australia and for how long.
Have you checked your passport?
Whereas a standard British passport lasts 10 years, travelling on the last 6 months of your passport can be sketchy for certain countries. For Australia it’s advised that you travel with more than 6 months until expiry on your passport.
For me this has turned out to be a bit of a pain for my next trip, as our travel date fell exactly 6 months before my passport expiry. But the two silver linings is I could renew my passport I’ve had with a God-awful picture since i was 17, and also I applied at such a lull in the passport office’s time my passport was renewed, confirmed and sent back to me within a week.
So, if your passport needs renewing soon, get it out the way as soon as you can and with enough time before travelling – just in case you get caught in a busy period!
Which Part Do You Want To Go to?
This may win ‘most obvious statement of the year’ but Australia is big, very very big. Not only is there a lot of ground to cover, but you have to consider what you wan to see. Do you want to travel along the Great Ocean Road? Or do you want to visit The Great Barrier Reef? Do you want to spend your time in Australia’s cities, or chilling and surfing at the beach?
Before you go tot up the amount of time you actually have when you’re there, travel days excluded. Then work out how you want to travel around – can you fit it all in a car journey? Or would it be easier to fly? Each time I’ve been it’s been for shorted periods of time, so flying in between cities has been the most time and cost effective way, but if you have more time then it’s worth checking if you can do a road trip!
On my first trip I went for two weeks and visited Sydney, Brisbane, Byron Bay and Cairns. Looking back I think that was slightly too much to fit in to a two week holiday, as you already have the jet lag and the heat to battle through let alone trying to do that whilst trying to see as much of the spot you’re in before you leave.
If you’re lucky enough to spend 6 months to a year in Australia then I really envy you, when I visit in February 2019 I will be there for 3 weeks and that’s just enough time to scratch the surface.
No matter how long you’re planning to visit Australia, or even if you’re not and you’re just here for fun, I hope you enjoyed this post and that it has helped in any way. If I’ve missed anything important feel free to let me know in the comments!
More posts on Australia will be coming to the blog, but in the meantime check out my Instagram @GrundyTravels for the latest updates!
Thanks for reading x