If you love travelling, Australia is likely to be on your bucket list. For some people, a trip to Australia is the trip of a lifetime, and for others it is a recurrent travel destination.
As many things work different in Oz than in other parts of the world a well thought-out itinerary and good organization is key to make the most of your travels in this huge and diverse country.
To plan a successful trip to Australia there are 3 key elements that you must have under control: Timing, Destinations and Transportation. In a few words you need to choose the right destinations to suit your time frame, allocate the right time to each place by using the best suited transportation. While it may seem banal, it’s where most people make mistakes when it comes to planning a trip to Australia.
Here are 5 tips on how to effectively plan your trip to Australia:
- Set up a time frame with the period of the year you want to travel in Australia. Australia is a BIG country – twice the size of Europe – with different climate ant time zones, so depending on when you want to travel, your trip will have a completely different focus. It’s the time of the year and the length of your trip that will determine your itinerary. If in doubt when to plan a trip, here you can learn more about when is the best time to travel in Australia.
- Choose wisely destinations and create your itinerary. While most travelers have 2-3 weeks, the ideal time for the first trip to Australia is 4 weeks. Any additional week that you can add to it the better to maximize time and money. With so many places and attractions Australia has to offer, it’s really hard to make a choice. Don’t tend to cram too much into your itinerary, you will end up spending more time travelling from A to B then on the place. Pick an area of Australia and take a good look at it: Eastern or Western Australia, no crossing of the country with a limited time frame. Craft your itinerary around your interests rather than around touristy attractions.If you can, prefer travelling in the low season to save money and avoid the crowds. The Australian Autumn: March-May and the Australian Spring: Sept-November is a great time with milder temperatures of the year to explore Australia and the chances to strike a good flight deal are higher too.
- Timing is key, no matter if you have 3 weeks or 3 months. Allocating the right time to each destination is a key element. It’s important to evaluate and know how much time you need to invest in remote locations for instance. While you don’t want to miss out on things worth seeing, you can’t afford to waste too much time in one place that can be used for something else. Optimizing your time is very important in Australia. Plan at least 75-80% of your time before leaving home and only leave room for spontaneous planning for the day-to-day activities (20%). By doing so you save precious time for visiting rather than planning on the spot. In Australia you cannot afford to make changes to your travel plan and take last-minute decisions, as this would mean adding high costs to your trip budget.
- Choosing the right type of transportation. Once you have set up a good itinerary based on your time frame and budget, the next step is to choose cost-effective ways to travel around the country. It’s difficult to estimate travel distances in Australia. What looks like a short distance, often turns out to be a several-day trip. For long distances over 600 km it is advisable to fly whereas for shorter distances a road trip or bus travel is more appropriate. Australia is a fantastic country for road trips and there is no Australia travel without a road trip experience. However it’s essential to know what you are getting into before planning a road trip. Remote Outback areas can be very challenging even for the expert four-wheel-drive. You need to assess well your level of expertise and challenge to understand what you can and can’t do in Australia .This is a list of easy road trips for the first time traveler.
- Planning too much in advance may not be a good idea, as you may miss out on good travel deals. Booking your flight to Australia 4-6 months ahead is good enough and for domestic flights within the country 2 months is usually the perfect timing. The same for booking cars rentals and making more travel arrangements
Balancing your time frame with the places you want to see and the distances you have to travel is definitely the hardest part every first-time travelers will face when planning a trip to Australia.
I know it’s easy to make mistakes with such a big country that has so many peculiarities and one important thing that allows you to plan wisely is to know how things work in Australia. The more you know about the country the less mistakes you are going to make.
Featured image: Australia on atlas world map (Janaka Dharmasena / Shutterstock.com)