Living

10 Reasons To Pack Your Bags and Head Down Under

There are about a million reasons to jump on a plane and see a new part of the world, but why Australia? Well, here’s a few reasons:

  1. There are so many faces to Australia you never know what you’re going to see next. One day you can be sunning yourself on the second best beach in the world (Whitehaven – The Whitsunday Islands), and the next you could be riding a camel or skiing down a mountain! If that doesn’t leave you spoilt for choice, I don’t know what will.
  2. It can be a good move financially. Many people believe that when they go away on their travels they will come home with a great tan and empty pockets. But why not save as you go? With the average backpacker’s annual wage at around AU$30,000 for casual jobs, you can afford to enjoy the lifestyle whilst getting together the money for your next trip! I’ve even known people to save up for a deposit on a house for when they returned home, so the possibilities really are endless
  3. Tim Minchin. Enough said. 
  4. You can finally do something you’ve always dreamed about. Be it diving on the Great Barrier Reef, learning to surf, exploring the bush or just travelling in general, there are so many opportunities to do new things you’ll be guaranteed to go home with at least a few ticks off the old bucket list.
  5. Lose your solo travel virginity. If you’re thinking of going travelling alone for the first time, this is a great place to start. It’s an English speaking country and one of the safest countries I have ever travelled in. You’ll find it so easy to settle in, and you can even drink the tap water (bonus for those with sensitive tummies).
  6. You will make some of the best friends you’ll ever have. Nothing brings people together like being stuck in a smelly hostel room with no money and just a bag of goon (look it up). There’s nothing like a few kindred spirits on the road, and when you look back on those memories you’ll be glad they were there to make it the trip of a lifetime.
  7. The Aussies have a great sense of humour and they really know how to laugh at themselves. It’s good to remember not to take yourself so seriously sometimes! 
  8. The Great Barrier Reef. Now Australia has countless amazing places to see, but the GBR has to top all of these. One of the 7 natural wonders of the world, this coral reef spans along 1,600 miles of ocean, and is home to some of the most stunning aquatic life you will ever see. And the best bit is whether you’re a diver, a snorkeler, or you prefer to view it in a glass bottom boat, everyone now has the opportunity to visit it.
  9. Whether you’re a sun, sea, sand or snow bunny there really is something for everyone – so why choose? You’re in a country with some of the most versatile climates in the world, making Oz a destination like no other. Grab hold of the opportunity to go wherever you like and see whatever you want all in the one place. Not many countries compare.
  10. Pack your bags because it’s Australia. And it’s freaking awesome. I’ve never met a person who regretted travelling to Oz, myself included, and it’s hardly a hard sell. Go see what all the fuss is about. 

For loads of information on working and travelling in Australia, get Work Anywhere: Australia the guide today!

Couch Surfing – What’s it all about?

With hostels costing more and budgets getting tighter these days, more and more travellers are looking for alternatives for short term accommodation. Luckily there is a brilliant solution, and it’s 100% FREE.

Couch surfing is now one of the biggest online traveller networks in the world, growing dramatically in popularity over the last few years. But what exactly is it?

What is it?

It’s a huge online network of people offering beds/sofas for you to stay on for free, with stays generally ranging from one night to a week.

Why would they do it?

Many of these people have ‘couch surfed’ themselves and so they offer beds to others in a way of paying the good deed forward. Pretty charitable really!

How does it work?

You go to the website (details below) and register your details. Then you browse the hosts’ profiles until you find someone you like – or someone in an area you’d like to stay in. You contact them in good time before the date you want to stay and request their bed/sofa. If they accept you can organise all the details and keep in touch with them through the site until you finally meet. Then all you need to do is practice those charming conversational skills of yours and the job’s a good’un.

Is it safe?

Yes. Hosts need to verify their address with the site before they have a profile and all reviews of each host from their surfers (be it good or bad) cannot be deleted so what you see is what you get. As with any online meeting site it is always best to trust your instincts, so if something or someone seems to good to be true just be wary, and any abuse can be reported straight back to the Couch Surfing Trust and Safety team. More information about keeping yourself safe whilst couch surfing can be found here.

What do I do about food?

As you’re getting free accommodation, you’re expected to buy (and cook) your own food. Depending on how well you get along with your host you’ll no doubt be organising some joint meals but always make sure you’re prepared on the solo food front!

How do I know if it’s for me?

Couch surfing isn’t for everyone. As you’re getting a free bed you will be expected to bring some wit, charm and sparkle along with your bags to your host’s house, so if you’re not the conversational type or you’re just not into meeting new people, this might not be for you. Don’t be put off if you’re a bit shy or nervous about losing your couch surfing flower though – plan it well with the right host and you’re guaranteed to keep coming back for more.

Find out more about couch surfing and where you can do it here.

For loads of handy information like this and to find out how to make the most of your Australian year abroad, check out ‘Work Anywhere: Australia’ the book.

Work Anywhere: Australia

 

How To Get The Best Hostel Accommodation For Less

Hostels are known worldwide as being the ‘cheap’ alternative to hotels – share a room with  complete strangers and you won’t have to pay half as much as you would in luxury accommodation! Because of this, it often comes as a shock to those straight off the plane into Oz the prices of hostels in the major cities. Hostels in Sydney and Melbourne range from around AU$27-39 a night and with that adding up to a weekly cost of AU$189-273 it can really eat away at your budget.

Fear not though, there are ways to get accommodation at affordable prices, you just need to know how to go about it! Here are some handy tips for getting a bed at the price you want:

  • Book weekly instead of nightly – In most places you stay you’ll more than likely be stopping for a week at least, so it’s always worth looking around for hostels that offer ‘weekly’ discounts. You won’t really find many of these deals online, they’re normally advertised inside the hostels once you’ve originally paid the pricier single night rate, so check around before you book anything. If you want to stick around for a while longer in the area have a look to see if any hostels do ‘the longer you stay the more you save’ deals, as these can really save you a lot in the long run!
  • Work for the hostel – Hostels are always looking to take on a bit of free labour in exchange for a bed, especially in low season when they’re finding it hard to fill rooms. Cleaning, kitchen hand and hostel reception jobs are hugely popular among backpackers in hostels, and if you’re lucky, some of them even pay (a bit) in addition to offering free accommodation. Ask hostels directly for more information.
  • Live outside the central area – As much fun as it can be to live in a city centre, it’s often the location that causes prices to be so high (especially in high season). Have a look at hostels in the surrounding suburbs of the city, most of the time there’s great transport links into the city and you’ll find the prices can be dramatically lower too.
  • Book well in advance – There’s nothing worse than rocking up at a hostel a week before Christmas to be told that if you want to stay there you’re going to have to pay big bucks. Avoid getting ripped off by booking well in advance – if hostels haven’t locked their prices for that week yet you can often get them to give you a great rate, you’ll just need to pay a deposit when you book so you’re guaranteed a bed
  • Get a hostel discount card – Hostels love a bit of loyalty, so the big chains tend to offer membership cards offering great discounts on rooms to keep you coming back for more. Discounts range from 5-20% off normal room prices and often these companies will team up with travel companies to get you tour discounts too. The top companies currently doing this are VIP, YHA and Nomads. Show them how much you love them and you might get an extra night thrown in for free!

So do your research, see what’s out there and if you follow these steps you’re guaranteed to save a bit of money along the way. The only question now is what to spend it on…

For loads of handy information like this and to find out how to make the most of your Australian year abroad, check out ‘Work Anywhere: Australia’ the book here.

Work Anywhere: Australia