Planning a Working Holiday Down Under? Here are a few mistakes I made during my time in Australia. Read on if you don’t want to make them either….
Two years ago I embarked on a working holiday in Australia. But despite doing years of research, there were still many things that I didn’t know or consider.
The things listed below are based on my own personal experience(s) and those of others that I met along the way. They include a few ‘regret’ moments and most importantly – money saving ones too! Here is what I would do differently if I had my time again…
1. Booking a ‘Starter Package’ with a travel company.
Boy oh boy, this has got to be one of my biggest regrets, and most importantly the one I wasted a lot of money on. I decided to book with a company which I won’t name publicly. I started the tour with them two days after I landed in Sydney, as I was afraid of having jet lag. By the time the tour started, I had already made friends and had explored Sydney central and opera house 5 minutes after I checked into my hostel (yes, literally). I made friends the second I walked in and they invited me to explore Sydney with them, so of course I said yes! When I did join the group, I did a few activities including a boat ride; but I didn’t make any friends as such, most the people on the tour lived just down the road from me back home and I just wasn’t feeling the vibes that I had always imagined. Anyway, basically I left the tour after a couple of days (it was a week long) because there was other places I wanted to be. I’m not saying of course that this happens to everyone, I know a lot of people that have booked these types of packages and enjoyed them, but I feel personally that a lot of people book them because they are afraid of being on foreign land and think that making friends will be difficult for them. Well, it’s not in Australia for sure! You make friends so easy and you don’t need a company to help you do that.
2. Booking too far in advance.
Booking flights, hotels, hostels and trips too far in advance may make you feel more organised, but actually you may find that plans change. You may decide that you would like to extend your stay somewhere but having already booked further accommodation or flights that you cannot cancel without losing money, you end up leaving. I did this way too many times. I am the sort of person that does like to know where I’ll rest my head next week, but plans can change in just a matter of days (or even hours if you’re like me!), you could meet someone who you would not like to leave yet, or you might find an activity that you want to participate in but are unable to because you have already made plans to move on. My advice? Only book the important dates in advance. The date your flight lands, important days like Christmas, New Year, Australia Day – especially, as hotels and hostels get booked up very quickly.
3. Packing too much.
We all do this, even when we think we haven’t over packed chances are we probably have. I over packed on my first trip to Australia. I opted for a suitcase and even though I thought I had packed very little, I had packed stuff that I didn’t even wear. On my second trip to Australia, I decided to take a 90L backpack and stuff that I knew I would wear. And you know what? I reckon I could of got away with even less. If you’re going on a long trip, don’t pack 30 items of clothing. The rule I go by now is only packing for a week. Even if I’m going to be away for a month. That’s all I pack…why? I stayed in hostels and used the washing machine every few days, as I didn’t like carrying around dirty washing from place to place. Wash as you go, it’s the easiest option!
4. Eating out everyday, brunchin’ in Sydney.
When I first landed in Sydney, for over a month I ate out 3 times a day. I can’t even begin to tell you how much money I think I spent. But put it this way. It was a lot. As much as I loved my eggs benedict everyday, I could have saved so much money if I had of cooked for myself in my accommodation. To be honest? I chose not to cook in the hostel because I was a bit afraid to. The kitchen can get ridiculously busy during peak times and I always felt awkward getting in every strangers way. But you know what? It wasn’t until my friend Amy said to me “Soph, you have the right to be there just like everyone else!” After hearing that comment I made it my mission to force myself in the hostel kitchen and cook. If I had only of done it sooner I could of stretched my time in Australia to at least another couple of months, I reckon.
5. Purchasing a Working Holiday visa.
I went to Australia on a one way ticket, unsure when I would return. All I wanted to do was travel – so why did I buy a working holiday visa? I worked a couple of jobs, but my heart just wasn’t in it. I wanted an adventure and nothing more. I wish I never bought my working holiday visa because then I could of come back a year later to work. Now I’ll never get that chance again. Damn!
Have you been to Australia? What would you do differently if you had the chance to do it all over again?
Let me know in the comment box below!
A 23 year old from the Midlands, always looking to escape her hometown for an adventure.