Hellooooo December! It’s the season for holidays and travelling. If you’re backpacking around Australia this summer, here are some of our top tips to make sure you have a fuss-free, stress-free experience travelling.
1. Use a travel card for your expenses.
Consider using a fee-free credit card for some purchases. If you prefer to go cash-free, Australia Post, Mastercard, and ANZ all offer fee-free travel cards, so you can avoid transfer and debit fees or ATM withdrawal surcharges. If in doubt, check with your bank to see what your best options are.
2. Talk to people. Get to know other travellers.
The great part about travelling is the opportunity to meet new people, especially other like-minded travellers. Sometimes it's as simple as saying hello to other travellers living in your hostel! Ask around if other people are planning to do the same activities you are. Travelling with someone always makes things more affordable, and some places offer great discounts when you book as a group with 2 or more people! #Win-win for everyone!
3. Talk to the locals.
So you've talked to other travellers... Now what? Start a conversation with the locals. They're a priceless source of information and your best source for finding secret locations that top tourist spots won’t be able to open your eyes to. They're the ones who will be able to tell you where the great (and less crowded!) bars are, especially on a packed Friday night.
If you're roaming around the city, explore it by foot. For the ultimate experience though, rent a car and journey around the coastal routes or into the winding roads that open up to expansive fields. Think vast, open areas and never-ending coast lines. It’s one of the best ways to discover a new city.
5. Wear sunscreen.
There’s a reason why Australia is known for its advertisements on sunscreen and protection against the sun, and this is because the UV rays here are ridiculously high. Be sure to pack a bottle of sunscreen with you so you don't have to sit through the rest of your trip with an awful sunburn!
6. Bring flip-flops.
Flip-flops, otherwise known by us here as ‘thongs’ in Australia, will become your new best friend. It’s what all locals wear around here in the Summer. Pack a pair with you (or grab one when you arrive!) and you'll fit right in, in no time. Just be careful – some bars won’t let you in with flip-flops. But to get around in the day, let this be your go-to footwear.
7. Go out for lunch, not dinner.
Most places have special lunch menus, and you will quickly find that it's easier on your wallet to go out for lunch instead of dinner. Another way to save up is by picking up groceries from the supermarket - the cost of an average dinner out easily equals the cost of three-meals' worth of food from the supermarket! A little saving goes a looong way...
8. Learn to surf.
If you're in Australia in the summer, one of the things on your list is to go surfing - don't even try to lie! 😜 There’s nothing more Aussie than surfing at Manly or Bondi… And with the number of surfing lessons available that you can easily take up, you'll be cruising over the waves in no time!
9. Take risks.
Be open to new experiences, trust new-found friends, and don't be afraid to explore places that aren't your typical 'must-dos'. Some of the most breathtaking locations I've stumbled upon have stemmed from spur-of-the-moment decisions, choosing to follow the guidance of a local or opting to take the right turn instead of a left. Myall Lakes, the Central Coast, Royal National Park, and Ku-ring-gai Chase are all gorgeous places that are as worth seeing as the Great Ocean Road or the Blue Mountains. If you're one who's all up for taking the path less travelled, stay tuned for our blog on the best hidden spots to visit in Sydney!
10. Be spontaneous.
As a backpacker, you've probably got a pretty solid plan of where to go and what to do. My best experiences, though, have been spontaneous ones. So sometimes, all you need to do is have a rough guide of the places you want to go, and leave the rest up to spontaneity. Make a mental note of the things you want to tick off, but give yourself the opportunity to let wanderlust take over.
After you've had all that fun, don't forget to document your memories!