Australian Travel Tips
40 of the Most Useful Travel Tips for Australia
1. Use a private browsing window when booking flights online so airfare search engines don’t remember you and bump up prices.
2. If you forget your adapter or plug, charge your devices through the USB on a television.
3. Use TripCase to consolidate your itineraries. It works offline so you can still access all your itinerary information when you are without internet.
4. GateGuru is an awesome app that gives information on airport facilities, security line wait lines and flight delays. It lacks Australian airports but is perfect for transiting on the way to Australia as it covers main global airports.
5. Download iPhone app WiFi Finder so you can search for thousands of Wifi hotspots globally.
6. TrailWallet is a useful app for budgeting help with your travel costs.
Wifi on the move
8. For locations of free Wifi in Sydney, Lauren of Sydney Moving Guide has been busy compiling this list for you. Click here to view!
9. Not keen on paying for expensive Wifi at airports? Get free Wifi at airports but adding /?.jpg or &.jpg to the end of any URL (it works for networks that allow images to download without redirecting).
10. Offline tips: Turn your phone to airplane mode and turn off data to use GPS without internet. Load up your Google map before leaving your accommodation and you can use it to navigate at your destination. To use Google maps offline, type ‘OK Maps’ and the visible area will save for future reference.
11. A location’s Wifi password may also be on FourSquare.
12. Forums and review sites such as Virtual Tourist, Lonely Planet, Trip Advisor and Fodors are helpful for destination advice. These sites will surely help you in deciding the best Australia adventure tours for you.
13. Travel agents and tourist boards have downloads of free maps, and best ideas for activities, accommodation and dining out.
14. Travel by Drone is a fun (and addictive!) website with drone videos at global locations so you can check out your destination before you get there. There are great drone videos of Australia including Ayers Rock (Uluru), and the coastal area with Twelve Apostles - two of the amazing destinations that Adventures Beyond takes you to on their tours.
Tourist Refund Scheme
15. Did you know that if you purchase AUD$300 or more in goods from a single retailer, you are eligible for a refund of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) that you paid on those items? You must get an original tax receipt from the store where you made the purchase and present it when you depart Australia. Conditions apply. For more information, visit www.customs.gov.au
16. Traditionally, the peak travel season in Australia (e.g. high airfares) is between December and February as this coincides with the Australian summer. If you have some flexibility with travel dates, search for airfares for spring, autumn and winter. Winter in Australia is not as harsh as Northern Hemisphere destinations.
17. Keep an eye on major travel brands that release regular airfare specials. Flight Centre Australia have annual travel expos in Australia with discounts for airfares, so you can capitalise on the savings when you book.
18. Another tip is to follow airlines and travel brands on social media, particularly Twitter, as many companies offer exclusive promotions or discounts to followers.
19. The Australian Government site has information about bank holiday dates and school term dates so you can factor these busy travel times into your travel plans. Visit their webpage now!
Consider an airpass
20. Australia is a big country and if you intend to cover many internal destinations, consider buying an airpass.
Qantas has the largest domestic network in Australia and sells a Qantas Walkabout Pass, and Singapore Airlines even have a Visit Australia airpass.
Make sure you check the conditions at time of purchase as most flights must be booked in conjunction with your international flight.
Be aware also that the domestic network has different conditions of carriage especially luggage allowances for weight, so while your big backpack may be fine for weight allowance on your international long-haul flights, it may be overweight for a plane on a smaller sector flight in Australia.
A typical fare comparison for an airpass to an individual sector purchase:
Zone 4 Sydney to Perth sector – airpass price AUD$190
Sydney to Perth stand-alone sector – price AUD$315
Airpasses are a value-packed option if you plan to base yourself in a major Australian city, such as Sydney, and use the airpass sectors to save time travelling to other destinations that Adventures Beyond tours depart from including Darwin, Adelaide and Perth.
Copy important travel documents
21. Make photocopies of your passport, itinerary, and any other important documents and store them in a different location than the originals in case the originals are lost or stolen.
22. Research a country’s prohibited items rules prior to travel, and take a copy of your doctor’s prescription if you travel with medications.
23. Always buy travel insurance – it can protect you against high costs of emergency medical and health care overseas. Look at benefits, and policy inclusions and exclusions, not just the initial cost.
Change of clothes and basic essentials
24. If you have ever experienced losing a large suitcase after an international flight, you will never travel again without a spare change of clothes and basic essentials (toothbrush & paste, deodorant) in your carry-on bag.
25. Be aware of customs regulations for food when entering different countries. Did you know you can’t bring fresh fruit, or raw unroasted nuts into Australia (without an Import Permit)?
Variety of payment methods
26. It pays (excuse the pun) to have a variety of options to pay for items when you travel.
Credit and debit cards, cash, travellers cheques, money cards.
Australia is considered a safe destination with low crime, however it is advisable to avoid wearing a visible money belt (fanny pack) when you travel – it’s a sure-fire advertisement for pick pockets.
You'll get better exchange rates by using your credit card or withdrawing money from an ATM; much cheaper than what you would receive at currency exchange offices. ATM's can be found just about everywhere in Australia except the most remote towns, and credit cards are widely accepted. But beware of your bank fees as most banks will charge you to withdraw money at a foreign ATM or make a purchases in a foreign currency.
Local traffic delays, and transport updates
27. If you are driving in Australia, check out these websites for road traffic delays:
- Northern Territory http://www.ntlis.nt.gov.au/roadreport
- Queensland http://131940.qld.gov.au/Home.aspx
- New South Wales www.livetraffic.com
- Victoria http://traffic.vicroads.vic.gov.au
- South Australia http://www.traffic.sa.gov.au
- Western Australia https://www.mainroads.wa.gov.au (then click on ‘Using Roads’ for road traffic updates)
28. For updates about buses, ferries, trains in South-East Queensland visit http://translink.com.au
29. Bus, train and tram information for Adelaide at https://www.adelaidemetro.com.au
30. Public transport updates for Melbourne and Victoria at http://ptv.vic.gov.au
31. Public transport updates for Sydney and New South Wales at http://www.transportnsw.info/en/transport-status/index.page
32. Public transport updates for Perth and surrounds at http://www.transperth.wa.gov.au/Service-Updates
33. Public transport updates for Darwin and surrounds at http://www.transport.nt.gov.au/public/about-us
Travelling with kids
34. Take advantage of family discounts on entry admissions for attractions, restaurant deals (buy one adult meal, get one kids meal free) and similar promotions. Surf and Sun (www.surfandsun.com.au) near Adelaide offer great prices for family ‘learn-to-surf’ packages, or bike hire.
Flying with kids
35. Make use of night-flights to Australia to capitalise on usual bedtimes, and burn off all their extra energy at airport playgrounds.
36. Kidspot Australia has concise information about facilities at Australian airports including details about baby change facilities, play areas etc. Visit their site here http://www.kidspot.com.au/Family-Travel-Travel-Advice-Australias-most-kid-friendly-airports+7346+81+article.htm
37. The last thing you want is to queue behind 500 people at security with an overtired child, so whoever thought of fast-track lines for families at airports is a genius. Sydney Airport is clearly a winner with their dedicated queue for families.
38. If you intend to travel with your own car seat, child restraint system or baby stroller, check each airline’s policy prior to arriving at the airport.
39. If you’re travelling with kids, carry extra food and diapers to allow for delays and a change of clothes for your kids and yourself. Parents need to be aware there may not be any options to heat food or baby bottles on delays.
40. Invest in a pair of child-friendly headphones for your kids for the inflight movies as the airplane headphones are generally too big (even when adjusted) or not padded enough for little ears.
What are your top travel tips for Australia? Share your comments with us.