Here are 10 things that will help you plan your perfect trip in Australia.
1) Your Visa
Australia has strict border controls in place so the first thing you need to do is check what visa you require and apply for it well before you plan to travel. Visitor visas can take several weeks to process so don’t leave it until the last minute. You can apply online or ask your travel agent to help you.
2) Travel Card/Money
Most major credit and debit cards are accepted Australia wide, so having a pre-loaded travel money card is a great idea if you want to avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
3) Get Travel Insurance
Don’t forget to get adequate travel insurance before you set off. No-one wants to think about things going wrong but it’s always good to be prepared.
4) Declare It At Customs
When arriving in Australia, you’ll need to declare if you have any food or medication. If you’re carrying personal medication, make sure you have a script/doctor’s letter for it and you’ll have no problems. Avoid bringing in food if at all possible –fresh food, dairy and meat products are a complete no-no but sweets and chocolates are normally OK as long as they are commercially packaged.
5) No Need To Tip
It is not standard to tip in hotels or restaurants in Australia so don’t be anxious about it as it won’t be expected at all. However it will be appreciated if you do feel like rewarding exceptional service.
6) Public Holidays Can Cost Extra
Be aware though, that if you eat out on a public holiday, many restaurants add a surcharge of around 15% to your bill to cover increased staff costs. If you aren’t expecting it, it can be a shock! If you want to avoid this, take a picnic to a park or the beach instead and enjoy the outdoors for free on public holidays (which also vary from state to state!).
7) Dress For The Weather
Depending on what time of year you’re visiting and where you’re going in Australia, the weather can vary wildly. Make sure you bring appropriate clothing, whether it’s for a 40+ degree summer fling or a wintery stay in the Outback.
8) Obey The Road Rules
Always stick to the speed limits when driving in Australia as they are strictly enforced. Some of the limits may even be lower than where you are from, so it might feel like you’re going slower than you’re used to, but it’s better than getting a nasty fine. Pay particular attention to ‘school zones’ which have special lower speeds enforced during school hours.
9) Slip, Slop, Slap
Be prepared for the famously searing Aussie sun, even during winter months. Stock up on your factor 50 sunscreen (yes, you’ll need factor 50!) and follow the Aussie motto of ‘slip, slop, slap’ – slip on a shirt, slop on the sunscreen, and slap on a hat! Sunburn is the last thing you want on your holiday!
10) Get A Tax Refund At The End
When heading back home, if you’ve purchased items from a store and spent over $300 in a single transaction, keep these items in your hand luggage and have the reciepts handy. You can claim your GST (that’s the Australian version of VAT) back on these purchases.
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