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.
Primarily the Medicare system (similar to N.H.S in the U.K) is for Australian citizens, but if you're from a country which participates in the reciprocal health care agreement you may be eligible to join Medicare and gain 'immediate access' to the services they provide. If you're eligble, this is well worth the effort and can be of considerable value if you're backpacking in Australia for longer periods.
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 to take with you and how to travel light when you need to.
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.
The insurance policy you choose should be the best you can afford and include every type of cover you will need for the entire duration of your trip. Loss or theft of your personal items should be included as well as health cover and any other personal requirements.
With the vast amount of companies out there selling insurance, spending some time researching and comparing various policies could be the difference between a happy holiday or disaster.
The idea is to get as many quotes as you can and read through them to see exactly what is INCLUDED and what is EXCLUDED in the policy. Then gradually narrowing down your results, you can make the final decision in confidence that you have chosen the best insurance you can find.
First things first, an insurance company should be an insurance company. This means choosing a reliable, long standing firm who has supplied insurance for many years and has adequate experience.
Sometimes people are offered insurance by travel companies as a part of a package or an optional extra in a bid to maximise their own profits. All offers or policies should be checked out thoroughly before any money exchanges hands. It could be over priced, it could be lacking on certain cover aspects, it could have high excess fees, etc...
Another problem with this kind of offer is the company itself. It could be a small or inexperienced company which could cause unnecessary delays or worse go bust and not honour your policy at all.
So the idea is to use a well founded, reputable firm who is going to be able to deal with any situation quickly and efficiently.
Whichever company you choose, good communications between all parties involved is going to be a key element to the smoothness and efficiency of the claim process. If you decide to give your Appointed Person the power of attorney (authorisation to correspond on your behalf), it's probably best that you choose a firm which is based in your own country that operates within your countries usual business hours.
Good communications also means the ability to contact all parties involved during the process without any hassle or delay. The insurance company should have a number of ways to be contacted where they will be readily available to provide support and have a 24 hour medical emergency line they can be reached on at all times.
You and your appointed person should also be easily contacted by the insurance company to allow for an efficient, cooperative correspondence until the matter is resolved.
When you travel, it's advisable to keep a copy of your reference details and policy terms in your personal organiser (read the Keeping A Personal Organiser While Backpacking Around Australia article) so that you can refer to them at any time. With it should be the full contact details of the insurance company (especially any emergency phone numbers they may provide).
If you apply online, a lot of companies let you access your policy with login details. If you apply elsewhere, make sure you create hard copies (print them out) and store them safely. Either way it's good to back them up and where possible leave the 'backup set' with your appointed person.
Only after you have done all the research and know all the facts can you make an educated decision about which insurance policy to choose. Your choice must be tailored to your specific circumstances and the best results are always found by comparing a number of different policies that each company has to offer.
Usually travel insurance policies are presented in different packages (i.e, single-trip, annual multi-trip, backpackers insurance, etc...) in an effort to provide (what they believe is) the most effective cover for each set of circumstances. However it's still advisable to research all options because it's quite possible that regardless of the name, one may still suit you better than the other.
For example, not every backpacker is going to want to do sky diving or bungee jumping but this still may come under the 'backpackers insurance' banner and so could be a waste of money. There are advantages and disadvantages to all policies and it's up to you to find the best cover available for you.
Ideally the insurance company you purchase your policy from should at least pay medical expenses straight away if something happens. It's worth finding out about this before you commit to anything because some companies expect you to pay for your medical treatment first (to be reimbursed later) which in some cases is utterly useless.
You may also wish to choose a policy with a 'cooling off' period so you can cancel (within the specified time) if you find that a particular policy doesn't suit your needs. Some of the recommended assets to include in a policy are...
Medical expenses - Especially if you're from a country which is not included in the reciprocal health agreement with Australia or you intend to visit developing countries with differing levels of health care services.
Repatriation - Passage back to your home country in the event of serious injury or illness.
Money and valuables - Cover incase of loss or theft. Never carry more than this limit will allow.
Baggage - Should your baggage or personal effects be lost, damaged or stolen.
Low or nil excess - This is important because you may be asked to pay more towards a minor claim than the claim is actually worth. Make sure you do the maths!
24 hour emergency contact - A representative of the insurance company who can be contacted at any time for help and support if needed.
Curtailment and cancellation - Just in case your holiday is cancelled or stopped and incurs unrecoverable loss.
Personal liability - Cover against legal liability (i.e, you injure someone, or damage, or loose their property).
One of the best ways to get work while backpacking in Australia is using the recruitment agencies. A recruitment agency is a company that specialises in finding jobs for backpackers in Australia either on a permanent or temporary basis. There are loads of recruitment agencies that can help you get work all over Australia.
Instant messaging (IM) is a very good means of communication for a backpacker. It enables two or more people to meet and chat live online either by typing messages or speaking into a microphone.
Anything can happen when you're backpacking around Australia and if something goes wrong, having a contingency fund will enable you to act quickly when you need to get things sorted out. In the case of an emergency (i.e, your money gets lost or stolen) or even if you simply over spend and just wind up broke, you will need access to money, accommodation, food, transport & identification documents to get everything back on track.
Read Part 2 of the helpful backpacking guide and get lots of hints/tips about what to pack before you go to Australia. Learn what to take and compare ideas with the backpacker checklist.
Read part 2 of our travel insurance, lots of helpful tips to point you in the right direction and get you one step closer to your backpacking Australia adventure.
If you have a driving license and you intend to drive during your trip you will need to take it with you. If you won't be driving in Australia remember it's still a good solid form of identification to take for proof.
As far as a backpacker travelling around Australia is concerned, a superannuation fund is like a savings account you can claim back when you leave Australia.
Unless you have booked your flights months in advance the dates you choose will make all the difference to the cost of your flight. Pack weight is also something to consider for your journey.