Skip to content

Know Before You Go: Australia Edition

At the end of 2022, I moved from Boston to Melbourne and have spent the last year and a half living and traveling Australia. I have tried city living in Melbourne, Perth and Geelong and explored the east coast of Australia while living in a van and I have loved absolutely every second of it! I have had the most incredible experiences while living here and I will forever be grateful that I was crazy enough to move. I have learned a lot while living and traveling Australia and these are just a few things I wish I knew before my first trip!

When you’re filling out your customs forms on the plane, read each question carefully and answer them accurately. Before you land everyone gets a customs form and if you don’t check off what you’re bringing into the country correctly, you can get a massive fine. Even if you bring something as small as headache medicine you have to declare it! The very first time I entered Australia one of the customs agents went through every single pocket of my bag to make sure I filled out my form correctly and I think that experience has scared me for life. They randomly decide who has to do extra screening so you could be there for half an hour or you might breeze right through!

Pack in layers! You can never fully trust the weather app while you’re in Australia so you need to be prepared for whatever the weather turns out to be. I have been sitting by the beach in a tank top in the middle of the winter and I have been grabbing a jacket in the middle of the summer. I highly recommend a good pair of walking shoes and a waterproof jacket, the Melbourne rain is relentless! If you’re planning on traveling the whole east coast the temperature will be very different from Cairns to Melbourne so you’ll want to be prepared for summer and winter.

Australia is expensive; know your budget! The first time I came to Australia was right after backpacking Asia for a few months and it was definitely a bit shocking after staying in a cheap hostel in Bali. You can make your trip more affordable by staying in hostels, doing some grocery shopping and taking public transit. I have used public transit in Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Brisbane and was able to get around without any problems. Australia has a high tax on alcohol so you will spend a lot of money if you’re going for a night out. If you’re looking to have a couple drinks I would recommend finding a bar with a long happy hour or booking a bottomless brunch!

Depending on how long you’re going to stay, you’re definitely not going to see everything! I have been here for a year and a half and there’s still a lot I want to see. Australia is very spread apart and it’s expensive to quickly go from place to place. I recommend picking a couple things to prioritize and plan your trip around those so you don’t leave disappointed. I see plenty of things on Instagram that say they’re near Sydney or near Melbourne but when you actually look into going you have to drive an hour and a half outside the city. Before you know it, this one thing “near the city” is taking up a big chunk of your day and you haven’t done the things most important to you!

If you’re flying with Jetstar, they are going to weigh your bags, personal item and carryon included, and if they’re overweight you will have to pay for it. In all my years of traveling I’ve never met an airline as strict as Jetstar! Every bag gets weighed and tagged and if it’s too heavy you’ll have to pay to upgrade your baggage. From my experience it’s never cheap, the first time I didn’t weigh my bags I had to pay $50 and I guess I haven’t learned my lesson because it’s happened a couple more times since!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *