1. Book flights and get insurance
Early bird gets the worm here. As more airlines have started code sharing, the deals come to those who are vigilant. Make sites like Skyscanner, Kayak and Expedia your best friend. Don’t skimp on the insurance either – your savings are better spent exploring Australia than paying for missed flights, lost luggage and other hazards of the road. If your country doesn’t have a reciprocal healthcare agreement with Australia, we strongly suggest that you sign up for private health insurance as well.
2. Apply for your visa
It normally takes around two weeks to have your Working Holiday Visa approved, but make sure you apply in good time to save yourself from unnecessary stress. You can read more and apply for a visa online here.
3. Open an Australian bank account
Don’t go frantic trying to sort everything out when you arrive. Many banks let you apply for your bank account from overseas and pick up your card once you arrive in Australia. The four major banks in Australia are Commonwealth, Westpac, ANZ and NAB. Pick your favourite and you’re good to go.
4. Apply for a tax file number (TFN)
All workers in Australia need to apply for a tax file number from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). This little number is crucial to get taxed a reasonable amount and usually ensures you a bit of pocket money back once you complete your final tax return before you leave. Get one here.
5. Unlock your phone
You would be surprised how many people miss this part. While this is a no-brainer for most, make sure you visit your local phone shop to have your phone unlocked before you go. Once you get here, grab a prepaid SIM at the airport and remember to call mum before you hit the clubs. That’s right, get on the phone E.T.
6. Find a hostel
It’s a bit of a rite of passage among backpackers to get off the plane and spend the next 3-4 hours trying to find a bed. The only downside is, if you’ve spent the last 36 hours on planes and in transit lounges there are other things you’d rather do. Like sleep.
7. Start looking for a job
Whether you’re a qualified professional, seasoned fruit picker or a nightclub cocktail slinger, getting in early means getting ahead of the competition. A year is a short time and you want to make the most of it.
Fruit picking and backpacker jobs
Cover photo by Al MacKinnon Photography