WE ARRIVED IN AUSTRALIA
After a few weeks of moving out, packing, visiting family in both England and the Czech Republic, we have made it to Australia. Let the adventure begin!
Right now, I’m sitting here on a balcony overlooking the Yarra Valley Mountains in Victoria. It’s around 25°C, the sun is shining and a cute poodle puppy is sleeping on my lap. Sounds dreamy right?
Let me start from the beginning and tell you the whole process of how we got here. My blog from our year in Australia is going to be about everything the way it is. Not just the perfect highlights, but all the necessary things that need to be done along the way as well as the bad days.
Packing for this trip was much easier than 3 years when we went to travel the world. It was easier for two reasons. One, because we’ve done a year-long trip before and knew roughly what we were going to need. Two, because this time our aim of the trip was different.
Our list did not include any camping stuff. Personally, I had so much empty space in my bag even though I packed a lot more clothes and at least 5 books. Plus, what we packed, was mostly summer clothes, it doesn’t take up much space.
Other essential things we had to sort out:
To be able to work in Australia, we applied for the Working Holiday Visa. It is a type of visa that allows you to travel as well as work in Australia for a year. Only certain countries have the agreement with Australia for this type of visa so if you’re thinking about doing something like this, I recommend checking if you are eligible first.
Another thing to keep in mind is an age limit. It might change in the future but at the moment it is 31 years old. If you want to get the WH Visa, you have to be under 31 when applying.
If you’d like to extend this visa for a second year, you can do that but the age limit is also 31. Plus you are required to do 88 days of farm work to be eligible for this extension.
Travel insurance is one thing that some rebels venture out without, but I personally would not do it. If you are a healthy and careful person, you are likely not going to have to claim anything, but when things go wrong, you can get in a lot of trouble and debt. The decision is yours.
I have to say, I thought that travel insurance would be much easier this time round as we were planning to go only to Australia, but I was wrong. Normally travel insurance works on a single country or a whole world (with or without North America) basis.
The first issue was the fact that we are going to work. If you only plan to work in the office or hospitality, you’d do with basic insurance. If you want to get involved in jobs like farm work where there is a possibility of working with machinery and animals, you need to get the more expensive upgrade.
You are likely to be covered by your employer but if something more serious happened and you needed to be transported back to your home country, that’s where it the biggest cost comes. And something like this would not be covered by your Australian employer.
The second issue with travel insurance for us was the fact that we planned to visit my family in the Czech Republic before going to Australia. Any travel insurance will give you some compensation if you miss or cancel your planned flight from the UK and back. This meant that we would only get compensation for our 2 hour Ryanair flight to the Czech Republic as opposed to the long flight to Australia because for that one departed from Berlin. We were unlikely to cancel or miss the flight so it wasn’t that much of an issue in the end.
The second issue with travel insurance for us was the fact that we planned to visit my family in the Czech Republic before going to Australia. Any travel insurance will give you some compensation if you miss or cancel your return flight from the UK. This meant that our flight from the UK to the Czech Republic would be covered, but our flight from Berlin to Australia would not. We decided we were unlikely to cancel or miss the Australia flight, so it ended up not being much of an issue.
INTERNATIONAL DRIVING LICENCE
My driving licence is Czech so as an extra thing, I had to get an International driving licence. It is a piece of paper, you need to have with you when driving in countries outside of Europe.
It doesn’t work instead of your normal driving licence, but as an addition. Important: If you lose your normal driving licence, the international one is not valid.
We purchased our flight tickets 3-4 months before traveling. Basically, the earlier you know you’re going somewhere, the better to start looking for your flights, or other types of transport. In our case, we wanted the cheapest flights. We were quite flexible with the date and length of the flight, which made it easier.
The best way to start with your search is comparison websites like skyscanner.com where it combines various other websites and airlines. That will give you a rough estimate for the price, length, and possible stopovers.
Depending on the destination, you might book it straight through the agency, such as Skyscanner, or go straight to the airline’s website. Sometimes you can find a better way if you use your common sense. Like I did this time.
I was searching for flights from Prague to Melbourne. As a comparison, I also tried to look at flights from London because it is a bigger city and flights there can be very cheap if you book it a long time ahead. Flights from both Prague and London seemed to be very expensive and had at least 3 stopovers. When I went deeper to see where the stopovers were, I found out that one of them was Berlin.
I knew that Berlin is only an easy 4-hour bus journey from Prague so I checked flights to Melbourne from Berlin. And bingooo. Suddenly, that little change made the flight tickets about £100 cheaper for each person. And, there was only one stopover in Singapore. However, it was a morning flight, which meant that we would have to travel to Berlin at night, adding another sleepless night to an already 24-hour journey.
In the end, with bus tickets to Berlin the day before costing £13 each and hotel for the night, we saved a lot of money and added an extra adventure to it.
Thinking outside the box, when buying flight tickets, comes with practice and a little knowledge of the world. Otherwise, it is just common sense.
I hope you enjoyed this post and that you found some useful information in it. Next week, I will be covering what we needed to do when we arrived and an update on our working situation.
If you have any questions or would like to know about anything I mentioned in more detail, feel free to contact me on Instagram or Facebook @makeityouradventure.
Make sure you don’t miss out on blog posts from our year-long adventure in Australia, all posts are here or keep an eye on my Instagram. I’m aiming to post every Saturday.