plan, prep and prioritise

Hello we are Ash & Sean, a couple from Birmingham, UK. We have decided to embark on a trip of a lifetime and this blog will include a collection of photographs and information of where we visit, what we have done as well as reviews to help anyone who is thinking of taking a year out to travel Australia.

The longest we have both been away is 2 weeks, so a year away on the other side of the world is a little daunting to say the least. It’s so easy to keep saying you want to do something, we have both been saying we want to travel for years. But 2013 was the year we both decided to pull our finger out and actually ‘do’ rather than ‘dream’.

We plan on working for 6 months in Perth, flying over to Melbourne and heading up north to Cairns possibly by car hire.

At this point it’s always good to make a check list. First things first we needed to check our passports were still valid as they needed to be valid 6 months after we were planning on coming back to the UK. Next we looked into getting a VISA. We decided a 12 month working holiday VISA would be best suited for our needs. It allows us to stay in Australia for 12 months from 1st day of entry. Also with this particular VISA it allows us to work to help fund our travel expenses. We checked the ins and outs of doing our visa online but as we left it a bit late and didn’t want to make any mistakes we decided to do it through STA travel for an extra £30.

When it came to flights we had a look around and went from agent to agent getting better quotes, as they will all want your custom and will endeavour to beat other quotes. We found Flight Center didn’t offer much in terms of flexibility with flight changes and STA didn’t seem to beat the price but met it by giving us a flexible pass option. We were quoted about £1000. We still didn’t think this was great so we decided to see how much flights were on the QANTAS website and the price was surprising both for the fact it was cheap but also because instead of us opting  for a return from BIRMINGHAM to PERTH we had added another internal flight to MELBOURNE. With this knowledge we headed straight back to STA Travel and showed them our quote from QANTAS which was £950. STA Travel said they couldn’t officially beat our quote, as they only price match other travel agents not airlines. Eventually they met the price and added our flexible pass on top so instead of paying the initial £1000 Bham-Perth we payed £950 Bham-Perth-Melbourne-Bham with a flexi pass on top. So big saving tip: shop around, check airline websites and haggle!

For travel insurance we left this till the last few weeks of leaving but we think you should sort it earlier as our last couple of weeks were madness mixed with stress as we had everybody trying to meet up with us, last things to sort and packing. Time really did go fast. Make sure when looking for travel insurance that if you are going away for over 6 months a lot of insurance companies don’t cater for longer trips, shop around. We went with Alpha 100 who had a great deal for just over £100 each, compared to STA travels £500!!! (Cue heart failure)

Useful sites:

Australian working holiday info  http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/working-holiday/

QANTAS flights  http://www.qantas.com

STA travel – flights,insurance,tours, etc   http://www.statravel.com/worldwide.htm

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