When travelling Australia, you really need to consider a few key points. And these range from visa requirements – to what clothing you should wear. The intention of this blog, is to make your Australia Travel Checklist an easy process to get through. Bear in mind though, that your requirements may be quite different to those of other travellers. So let’s focus on the Top 10 points you need to tick off in your checklist.
Top 10 – Important Travel Checklist
1. Check travel dates and climate
Australia is a massive continent with different climate zones, temperatures and seasons. For example, the southern regions such as Kangaroo Island, Great Ocean Road and Melbourne, are perfect for travel between October and March. However, the same cannot be said for the northern regions. And this is because it is the rainy season for these parts. Read more about Australia climate, weather conditions and travel seasons.
2. Research your travel options
Try to do some general research on Australia before you travel. Think of locations, distances and your must-see highlights. Then match your interests to your planning list. This ‘how to travel’ blog will help you further. Of course, there are some travellers that prefer to do all the planning themselves. But others, will reach out to a travel agent who can guide them in the right direction, so to speak. Whatever way works best for you, the crucial point, is to do the general research first – before you start planning. You won’t have any time to do this once you are on the road!
3. Visa, Passport and Driving licence
Travelling does seem to be pretty easy these days. But try not to fall into the trap of leaving everything to the minute. Just because you have booked your flight, it doesn’t mean that everything else will fall into place so quickly. For example, the last thing you want to have to deal with, is an expired passport or driving licence. So, make sure your passports are all valid at least 6 months from your departure date to Australia. Nearly all passport holders will need an entry certificate for Australia, called an ETA, check online here. You can do this online, but make sure you have plenty of time before you depart – count on at least 4-6 weeks. This is very important on your Australia travel checklist!
4. Medical Checks and Precautions
For your travel to Australia, you will not be required to undertake any special medical precautions. And there is no need to worry about infectious diseases. Yes, there are snakes in Australia, but very few of them are poisonous. The chances of you coming across any of these are pretty slim – luckily, they are very shy. But the real ‘biggie’ here, is getting solid travel insurance! If you have to visit a hospital or even be repatriated back home, this will cost you dearly. Get travel insurance.
5. How best to organise reservations
Okay, now you have done all your ‘homework’ and have a pretty clear idea of how to structure your itinerary. The next stage is making all the reservations. Most key reservations are achieved with documentation such as emails and text messages. So just before heading off, gather all these together. That way, they are within easy reach while you are on the road.
When organising your travel, most travellers will either use the ‘good old spreadsheet’ or put everything into a Word documents or on Google Docs. But there are other more efficient ways. And these are in the form of travel apps such as Tripit, TripCase, Google Travel or Booking.com. Some of those apps will be great when on a business trip, but a little less handy when you are travelling with children.
We use a very efficient app called a TravelKey. And in fact, it is connected to our reservation system. For travellers who prefer to self-plan, we would suggest either going for TripCase or Google Docs – those are easily accessible while on the road.
6. Packing, Luggage & Washing
As a general rule on your Australia travel checklist; the longer you are travelling the less luggage you’ll need. Try to pack with layering in mind – ‘peel on and peel off’ as the weather dictates (the reliable ‘onion system). A ‘must have’ is always a good rain jacket – this helps with the wind chill as well. An absolute must is to have a pair of good sunglasses – you will definitely need these if you are going on a Great Barrier Reef or Outback tour. A sun or fly-hat can be bought at location and often serves as a souvenir to take back home. Read more.
Washing facilities are available at a lot of accommodations. What you will usually get, is a laundry room with washing powder and a dryer. Just a few dollars are charged for those. Otherwise most hotels offer a full laundry service at extra charge. Apartments often have full facilities included in the actual unit – this is great for families.
7. Mobile phone and data plans
These days, most travellers will use their smart phone while on their holiday. The easiest way to avoid nasty telecom bills, is to check with your local mobile provider to see if they are offering ‘roaming’ options for Australia. If they are, the charges are usually quite moderate. We recommend that you take this option. But if you don’t have a roaming option, then think about purchasing an Australia SIM card – use an Australian data & phone plan while in Australia. By the way, they are easy to purchase on arrival at international airports.
8. Bringing foods into Australia
Sometimes it is very tempting to bring your own foods, especially if you have specific dietary requirements. Australia and New Zealand are very strict about food bringing food into their country. Therefore, you cannot bring in any dried meats, fish or honey products. If you do bring something in, whatever you do, declare them to the customs officers. That way, you will avoid a hefty fine and time-consuming delays. Here is a link to the offical website.
9. Arrival, transfers and check in
After a long-haul flight, the last thing you want is to wait for a transfer. But with transfers, you do have a number options – you can use an Airport Train, a Shuttle Coache, taxi or get a private driver. To avoid any inconvenience on your arrival, make sure you pre-book your preferred transfer.
Check-in time for most accommodations is from 2pm onwards. So if your flight has an early arrival, such as 6am, you will be at the hotel at 8am. However, if you have not booked the night prior, there is no guarantee that you are able to check-in at 8am. Most accommodation providers are very happy for you to move into your room if it was not occupied the night before. But you will probably be travelling in peak seasons, so don’t count on getting access to your room before check-in time. The good thing is, you are able to leave your luggage at the hotel’s storage area and in the meantime, go sightseeing.
10. Communication and tipping
After a long tiring flight with early morning arrivals it’s a good idea to stay awake as long as you can. Talk to your hotel or local host about easy walks in the area. Also, get some tips on where to eat.
Generally, tipping is not expected in Australia. As a rule, hotels and restaurants do not add service charges to your bill, so tipping is your choice. In upmarket restaurants tipping for outstanding service is a nice gesture and can be added to your bill.
Happy Travelling with your Australia travel checklist!