money

Picking a backpacking destination? Make your money go further!

It’s getting cold and dreary here in the UK and it’s no surprise that many of us are getting itchy feet and planning our next travel spot. But where can you head these days that’s not going to leave you out of pocket within a couple of weeks?

Well I’ve been searching around and found a great list on a website called Student Universe, who have complied a list of the 10 cheapest spots to backpack in – meaning more travel for your moneys!!

Who’s up for an extended vaycay??

Check it out here: Top Ten Cheapest Countries to Backpack

There’s some real gems in there, and some countries that I haven’t even thought about travelling to yet so it’s worth a look!

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More Travel For Your Dollar – Why 2014 Is The Year To Go Down Under

For many of us, there’s a stage in our lives when we feel like we’re stuck in a bit of a rut. Whether it be in a current job, at school or university, or even if you’re in that inbetweeny stage – sometimes you just need a change.

It’s not a secret that Australia’s a popular destination for young travellers – last year over 432,000 Working Holiday Visas were issued in the UK alone – but why is 2014 the year to go?

Well, aside from it being an incredible country to travel, financially it could be one of the best moves of your life.

Firstly there’s the current exchange rate. At the beginning of January this year, the Australian Dollar (AUD) to Great British Pound (GBP) exchange rate was at its lowest since 2009 at AU$0.53 to £1. So what does that mean to you? Well, it means that when you’re converting your money into dollars you’ll be nearly doubling your cash. Not great for those Aussies coming over to the UK, but great news for you! Think of it as free money (that you worked your ass off for).

Next? Well, you’ve got to love their wages. Ok, so this isn’t a point that’s restricted to this year, but it’s always worth a mention that Australian wages are a great deal higher than the pittance we’re used to in the UK. For example, if you work at a bar, wages tend to start at around $20 p/h. Raise that to $25 on a Saturday, $30 on a Sunday and $45 on a public holiday, and you start to see that you could be making some serious money. Not bad for casual employment!

That not enough money for you? Have some more then! If you’ve been researching working in Australia at all (or you fancy finding out all your need to know in my all-encompassing guide *cough* plug *cough*), you might have heard of Superannuation. Your Superannuation is basically a pension fund that your employer pays into on top of your wages. “But what has this got to do with travelling Down Under in 2014??” you may (or may not) cry. Well, the previous rate of payment was 9% of what you earned, but in July this year it went up to 9.5%. Now that may not sound like a lot, but with the previous rate on a $32,000 wage (very possible in full-time employment) you would receive $2880, but with the 0.5% rise that would take it to $3040. And the best bit? This percentage will be increasing every year until 2022 when it will cap at 12%.

If you haven’t currently got dollar signs in your eyes after reading that I strongly recommend you get your sight tested.

So, three great reasons why 2014 is the year to move Down Under. Need I say any more??

 

I hope you have found this post helpful, and if you have any burning questions or posts you would like me to do, please email me at workanywhereoz@gmail.com

And, as always, there’s the book. So without further ado…

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

 

How To Claim Back Your Superannuation

I’ve had a few people asking me recently about claiming your Superannuation funds back when you leave Australia, so I thought I’d just give a quick rundown of what you need to do to sort it all out when you’re back home.

For those that don’t know, your Superannuation, or ‘Super’ as it’s more commonly known, is basically just a pension fund that every person working in Oz gets set up with when they begin employment. When you’re working, whatever you earn your employer will pay an additional 9% (will be raised to 12.5% by 2015)  of your wages into a separate account that you cannot access until you permanently cease employment. The 2 most common ways to prove that you have ceased employment so you can claim this money back is either to retire in Australia, or when you leave the country permanently (when your visa expires).

So, for example, if you work full time and earn around AU$30,000 (on average) during your year in Oz, you can expect to have around AU$2700 in your Super account to claim back when your return home – not bad!

So let’s get down to it.

How To Claim Back Your Super

A Few Tips To Make Your Rebate a Bit Simpler: 

  1. If you haven’t yet left Australia and you have more than one Super fund, it’s a good idea to contact your main fund and work out consolidating your other funds into that one account. That way you will only need to process one refund.
  2. Make sure you contact your Super fund and get all of your fund details (e.g. member number) from them before you leave the country. It costs a lot less to call them from Oz than it does from home!
  3. If you leave the country before your visa expires and you want to claim back your Super, make sure you cancel your visa first. Until Australian Immigration can verify your visa has been expired you will not be able to make any claims.

Details You Will Need To Claim:

  • Your name, date of birth and other personal details.
  • Your e-mail address.
  • Your passport country.
  • Your passport number.
  • Your Australian Tax File Number (optional).
  • Your superannuation account details – including your superannuation provider’s Australian Business Number (ABN). You may use the system to conduct a search for the ABN based on the fund’s name.

Details of Your Super Account Required: 

  • Product Name (name of the actual account e.g. BT Saver For Life)
  • Superannuation fund number (SFN)
  • Member/account number
  • Date joined fund
  • Super product identification number (SPIN)
  • Client ID
  • Employer name
  • Employer Address
  • Employment dates (from/too)

 

If you have all of these details to hand, claiming back your Super will be a breeze, so make sure you contact your account providers before you leave Australia!

If your Super account has more than AU$5000 in it (unlikely for a backpacker) you will need to personally contact your account provider to organise a rebate. If it is less than AU$5000 you need to claim through the Australian Immigration website.

Steps To Claim Back Your Super:

  1. Cancel your visa if it has not yet expired. To do this you will need to fill out Form 1194 from the Australian Immigration website for ‘Certification of Immigration Status and/or request to cancel a Temporary Resident Visa‘. You can find the form here.
  2. Once your visa has been cancelled you can apply for a Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP) online. You can access this here.
  3. You will be asked to fill in your personal details including your Tax File Number (TFN).
  4. Using your TFN, the site will automatically do a search for any Super accounts you have had during your time in Australia. It will then list them all for you and for each one you will be asked if you wan to claim back from that account and then you will need to fill in your Super account details for each one.
  5. After you have filled in these details you can send your application off.
  6. You may be contacted by your Super provider after this asking for basic personal details just to verify it is you claiming back the payment.
  7. After all your details have been verified you will be notified and you should receive your cheque/payment within 28 working days!

 

So that’s how easy it is to claim back your Superannuation without going through a taxback company who can end up taking a large chunk of your Super repayment for themselves for sorting it out for you!

Also as I only recently discovered, your repayment will be taxed (as everything is), so don’t expect to receive the whole amount to be refunded to you, but you will still be getting the majority of it back.

 

Hope this info helps and enjoy spending that money!

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

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!

Cars and Campervans – The Rent vs Buy Debate

So you’ve finally managed to scrape all your hard-earned cents together to put towards that road trip you’ve been dreaming of, now it’s time to start planning!

You know where you want to go, but have you thought about how you’re going to get there?

Cars and campervans are a great way to get around in Oz, especially if you want to see more of the country between destinations instead of flying. You’ve got the freedom to travel your own way, choose your travel buddies, and most importantly, call shotgun.

But there’s one question on the lips of every backpacker when it comes to getting their wheels:

“Should I rent or buy?”

Over the 2 years I spent Down Under I was lucky enough to experience both renting and buying a car, so hopefully this knowledge will be able to help you out a bit! There are obviously pros and cons to both, so let’s start there.

Renting

Pros:

  • It’s cheaper if just for a short trip
  • Break down? Most companies offer 24/7 roadside assistance to get you back on your travels.
  • You’ll probably end up driving a car you could never afford to buy anyway – no more scraping the mould off the windscreen first thing in the morning, this is luxury driving.
  • Hassle free – forget the tonnes of paperwork and checks needed to buy a car, sort out a few details in the rental office and you’re ready to hit the road!
  • You don’t have to sleep crouched in the gap between the back seat and the front – get a few friends together and you can afford a house on wheels – double bed anyone?

Cons:

  • You’ve got the freedom to travel, but only as far as you can afford – rentals can get very expensive over a longer period of time.
  • Not going back to your original starting point? Be prepared to pay a (sometimes hefty) new drop off location fee. Oh yeah, and make sure your rental company has an office there, or you’re going to have to turn around and head back home to give it back.
  • You’d better be a careful driver. And I mean more careful than my Grandma. The company will thoroughly check the car upon its return for scratches and rents, and if there are any new ones you’ll be covering the cost personally.
  • The money you spend to rent a car is money you’ll never get back, buying a car can sometimes be seen as a better investment option as you can always sell it and get (some of) your money back.
  • Some people argue that a rental car doesn’t provide a ‘real’ road trip experience – you haven’t really done it unless you wake up in a damp tin can with cramp from sleeping in a ball…

Buying

Pros:

  • You’ve got the car. It’s yours. Do what you will with it.
  • You’ve got the freedom (engine permitting) to travel wherever you want, whenever you want – what could be greater than that?
  • Works out much cheaper than renting would over a longer period of time, your only costs will be gas and the occasional check ups at the garage.
  • Unlike renting, you can sell the car when you’ve got your use out of it, and some people who have work done on the car can end up selling it for more than they paid for it – think of it as more of an investment than just a purchase.
  • You’ll be everyone’s new best mate. Who doesn’t love a mate with a car?

Cons:

  • You’ll more than likely be buying a used car. On a backpacker’s budget. Just make sure you get it checked first so it doesn’t break down on you within the first 10 minutes of the drive.
  • It’s your car so it’s your problem – any break downs, leaks or general car faults will be down to you to fix, and these aren’t always cheap. Another reason to make sure the car you’re buying is in a reasonable condition when you hand the money over.
  • Who doesn’t love paperwork? Oh yeah, everyone. Unfortunately there’s a good bit of it involved if you’re looking to buy/sell a car, so get that pen out. And don’t forget about those pesky MOTs –  they can be costly if the car hasn’t been loved by it’s previous owner.
  • On your budget I’m guessing you won’t be able to afford that mansion on wheels on offer at the rental office. Be prepared to spend the next few weeks getting a lot closer to your travel buddies in awkward sleeping positions. And weeing in the bush. Don’t forget about that.
  • If you’re only going to be travelling for a month or so, sometimes it can work out cheaper to rent than buy. Take into consideration the cost of used car insurance, break down cover, getting that tune-up at the garage and more, and suddenly that brand spanking new car isn’t looking so bad after all…

So there you have the top pros and cons when it comes to renting or buying a car/campervan, hope this helps with the decision process! Now all that’s left is to enjoy your trip – it’s a tough life ‘ey? 😉

For loads of information on working and travelling in Australia, check out Work Anywhere: Australia the book today!