When you're backpacking around Australia anything can happen and you'll need travel insurance to protect yourself in case of an emergency. No matter how much time you spend in Australia (or anywhere else abroad), travel insurance is a major priority when you're planning your trip.
It's important to learn a little bit about travel safety in Australia for you and the people you are travelling with. In this article we discuss travel safety ideas for backpackers in Australia and outline some helpful hints & tips for staying safe on holiday.
There are some really good visas available for backpacking in Australia. They vary in price and each visa has a set of criteria to meet before a visa is granted. The working holiday visa is very popular because you can travel and work in Australia for 12 months. In this article we share which visas are available, how to apply and how to extend the working holiday visa for an extra year.
A little bit of research about Australia's geography can go a long way when planning your trip. The weather patterns in Australia can make all the difference to your plans! The monsoon (wet season) for example, can make travel dangerous in the summer months up in northern Australia. In this section you can learn about the weather patterns, states and major cities of Australia.
When you go backpacking around Australia, it's important to have somebody you can trust at home to help you out when you need to get things done. This will be your appointed person and they will be helping you manage your trip when you're in Australia. Learn how to keep everything in order while your backpacking around Australia.
When you're backpacking around Australia on a budget the hostels are an ideal place to stay. Hostels cater for backpackers who are looking for a temporary base whilst exploring the awesomeness of Australia. Learn about hostel life in Australia and some great tips on where to stay.
In this article we'll see how to pack your backpack for your flight to Australia and share some ideas about other things to include that will be very useful for backpacking in Australia. We will also learn how to weigh your backpack for the airport baggage allowance limit and what to look for in a good backpack when you're buying one for your trip.
Also covered in this article is a small section on Australian voltage and plug adaptor types (for charging phones, cameras & other electrical gear). If you haven't read the first part of the packing guide, be sure to read Backpackers Packing Guide/Checklist for backpacking around Australia - PART 1.
To begin with, the backpack has to be comfortable, hard wearing, water proof, easy to manage and the best quality you can afford. When choosing your backpack take your time, compare every detail and don't compromise. Buy a pack that you're completely happy with and suites everything you need it for.
So a backpack with lots of easily accessible pockets and strong fastenings (zips & draw strings) is something to look for. Make sure it has a water proof base and hood to keep everthing dry (i.e, you put it down on a wet floor).
A backpack with well padded arm straps and hip belt is important. The belt will transfer a good portion of the weight onto your hips saving your back unnecessary stress and wider arm straps will spread the load across the shoulders for comfort.
Some backpacks have a frame inside them which can be of tremendous value when your out hiking on the trail (as long as it's not to heavy). It may be worth getting one with a removable frame so you can remove it if you don't want it.
The ideal size or load capacity of your backpack depends on your physical stature and what you intend to carry with you. Usually a 65 litre is about right for the ladies and 85 litre for the gents but again this has to be tailored to suit you. Even a 65 litre is too much for some people, if you can go smaller then do, a lot of backpackers get by with a more managable 45 litre pack.
When you're testing a backpack, really get a good look at everything it has to offer. Pick it up, try it out, consider what you might use each pocket for, see if the fastenings and straps are all fully adjustable, the fabric is it strong? water resistant? is there a place specifically for a sleeping bag if you need it? could you hang stuff on the outside of it if you wanted to?
Always go with a backpack you're happy with, don't make any compromises, if it doesn't completely satisfy you, walk away from it and find one that does.
A problem a lot of first time backpackers have is packing to much gear. They carry it around everywhere for the whole trip only to get to the end and find they didn't need half of it in the first place.
Another common mistake is to pack items which take up valuable weight allowance (more in a moment) that can be bought after they have arrived (i.e, toiletry products, camping gear etc...).
Think realistically about what you will need and what you can do without. Ladies it's not the catwalk do you really need 4 pairs of shoes? Gentlemen are you rambo or can you keep the survival gear down to a minimum?
One way you can whittle down your gear is to pack your backpack with what you think you will initially need, then weigh it (usually over) and unpack everything to remove what you don't need.
Repeat this process as many times as necessary until you have a responsible pack which suits your needs. Remembering also that you can always buy stuff when you get to Australia or at different stages of your trip when needed.
If you're finding it difficult to decide what you will and won't need, first take a look at the usual necessities that you know you just couldn't go without and pack them. Any clothes you pack should be enough to last you for a week including a lightweight jacket.
If you're planning on rambling (hiking and such) but don't have the gear (water proofs, gators, camel back, etc...) wait until you actually get round to doing it. This way you're not carring stuff around until you're actually ready to go hiking.
If you're going scuba diving you can hire diving equipment when you get there, shampoo and shower gel can all be bought when you arrive, same for food and drinks. If you're going to be camping out, all your cooking utensils (pots, pans, plates, cutlery, etc...) can be bought when you arrive in Australia, same for camping gear (tents, stoves, lamps, air beds, etc...).
Most airlines allow one item of hand luggage that you take on board and another item of luggage (i.e, your backpack) to be put into the 'holding bay' underneath the plane which is returned to you when you arrive.
Often, when you book your flight(s) the weight allowance and hand luggage sizes will be provided with your ticket as well as the types of contents you're allowed to take on board with you (if not call them and find out).
Always check before you start packing because it will affect what you pack for your trip. The last thing you need is to be throwing things away when you get to the airport because they are not allowed on board (i.e, liquids).
You can find the weight of a backpack using a set of 'stand on' scales in the following 3 stages...
1) Start by weighing just yourself and recording the result.
2) Then wear the backpack and check the combined weight of you and the pack for the total.
3) Finally subtract your own weight from the total to get the backpack weight.
If you're staying in places where you will be sharing the kitchen areas to prepare your food (i.e, hostels), you will usually be storing your supplies in with everyone elses. If everyone is keeping their food in the same bag (i.e, a carrier bag from the local supermarket) it can be difficult to find your own shopping.
Sometimes in these situations food can go missing for one reason or another, so to avoid any mistakes buy an easily identifiable bag (preferably one which can be tied up at the top) to store your food in.
The bag you choose should be as unique as you can find, it should be big enough for a few days worth of shopping and you should not be able to see what is inside it.
You may wish to do something similar for the fridge, it can be fairly confusing at times which stuff is yours because of the amount items other people have bought which are the same (a marker pen could be handy to label your things).
Zip lock bags are brilliant! Many a seasoned backpacker will use zip lock bags of different sizes to store gear individually in their backpack.
Using zip lock bags you can isolate any leaks from liquid products or food stuffs, you can see exactly what is in each bag without opening it, you can transport single groups of things like your laundry or personal ograniser and stationery, etc...
The voltage used for domestic appliances in Australia is 220-240 volts AC 50Hz. Tools used by professionals on building sites and in most commercial applications are the same voltage.
If you're from the United States or anywhere else in the world which uses 110 volts as standard, a transformer will be required to run any electrical goods you take with you. The plugs themselves are the same as many of those found in China. They are either 2 or 3 pins.
The pins are flat, thin and rectangular with the earth being central and the live and neutral pins set at 45 degree angles.
Adaptors (sometimes called travel adaptors or travel plugs) are available to convert your existing plug socket into the Australian standard, they are usually universal accepting many different types of plugs from around the world.
These adaptors can often be purchased in a supermarket or online, but it's just as easy to find them once you have arrived in Australia.
The Medicare system is for Australian citizens but if you're from a country which participates in the health care agreement you may well be eligible to join Medicare.
Budgeting for backpacking in Australia is all about getting the most out of your trip with the funds you have available. To do this you need to know where you want to go, what you want to do and roughly how much time you'll spend in each place. In this article we outline how to budget for backpacking around Australia including getting up to date prices for accommodation, transport, essential shopping items and day-to-day living expenses so you can budget your trip with confidence before you go.
Read our helpful backpacking checklist and get lots of hints/tips about what to pack before you go to Australia. Learn about choosing the right backpack, what essentials you will need and how to travel light.
When you're out on the trail anything can happen and it's advisable to take measures to protect yourself in case of an emergency. Learn about different types of backpacker insurance.
Knowing how to convert currencies will be a definite advantage to backpackers in Australia. This simple calculation is a very useful tool which will help you compare costs in Australia.
There is quite a lot of preparation you can do to maximise your chances of getting work when you need it. Work can be easy to find as long as you know where to look and take every opportunity you get.
Setting up an Australian bank account (A.B.A) is going to be an absolute necessity for spending time in Australia. Learn how to get setup before you go and which banks are best for backpacking in Australia.