Moving to Australia, or any different country is difficult and if you have commitments at home then it can be pretty stressful as well. As my boyfriend will tell you the easiest way to avoid the hassle is to just get your girlfriend to do the work for you, ha! The hardest part is deciding to move and committing to the decision, close second is telling your family, although it’s a lot easier when you’ve been speaking about wanting to do it for a long time and your family is used to your travel exploits already.
After the emotional part there’s the visa’s, booking flights, finding somewhere to live when you arrive, saving money, resigning from your job, ending the lease on your house or apartment, selling your car and packing up your stuff… the list goes on! Hopefully the below will help you get your head around the most important stuff, you can also check out some of my first posts here, here, here and here to see how I got everything sorted before we left.
Firstly, when should you go? It’s up to you, when do you want to go? In a years time? When you’ve saved enough money? After Christmas? All I knew was that I’d promised myself that by the end of 2014 I would no longer be living in Yorkshire, granted I actually meant I’d have moved down to London by then, but that suddenly didn’t seem exotic enough for me, and in the summer I decided I would definitely move to Australia before the end of the year. I’d considered America briefly but the visa’s are difficult to get, Canada I’d missed that years ballot and I couldn’t wait another year, plus I’d always wanted to go to Australia, and the weather is great so that helped confirm the decision! Next was exactly when, I thought October initially but then Sammy said too early, so we decided December. Christmas is my favourite time of the year, I absolutely love everything about it and knew I couldn’t miss it, we settled for sometime between Christmas and New Years Eve, NYE bores me and I always seem to be working so it didn’t matter to me if I missed out on that, as long as I was with my family at Christmas!
Telling friends and family is the next big one, either they’ll be really supportive and happy for you, or take it as you abandoning them, hopefully the former, which my family did, of course my mum was pretty upset and still has moments, but she knows I’m doing something that’s important to me and that I’ll be home one day, right mum? Whatspp, skype, viber, facebook, they all make it so easy to stay in touch with everyone back home and it really does help with any homesick moments, that or just get yourself to the beach and relax in the sun, remembering why you wanted to move out here in the first place!
Then there’s your visa, working holiday visa, subclass 417, apply for it, wait a couple of days to get it approved, then that’s it, you are good to go! That was some of the most exciting few days of my life waiting to hear back, unless you’ve committed a crime or already been barred from the country I think you’re basically guaranteed entry which is awesome, yay australia! The cost is £230 so that’s the first bit of money you are definitely going to need to save.
I would recommend setting up a bank before you leave your home country because then it’s ready when you arrive so you don’t have to waste time sorting it out, you can just pick your bank card up and off you go, more time at the beach! I’d recommend Commonwealth or Nab as I know both are widely used by travellers, your first year with Commonwealth is free as well, after that I think it’s about $5 per month which is cheaper than banking in England, bonus.
Typically the most expensive part of travelling is the initial flight out, obviously you’ll never find anything that cheap to the other side of the world, but looking around at sta travel, skyscanner etc. can usually get you a pretty good deal. We looked one week and found a one way flight with Singapore airlines at £500, then the next week it had gone up to £640! If you think you’ve found a good deal on a flight you probably have, so book it!
Unless you know where you want to start off I’d recommend a bit of research into various places, we were considering Brisbane and Melbourne, after a bit of a look into flights, weather, potential jobs and then asking what friends that had been to Australia thought, it really helped us to decide which would suit us better. One of the great things about Australia is that domestic flights are all fairly cheap so if you head to one place and don’t like it, you can easily just jump on a plane somewhere else. We looked on hostelbookers for a place to stay when we arrived, I’d say just book a week at first so you know you have somewhere to stay, but then if you don’t like it, it’s not in an area you like or you find somewhere you like more, you can easily just move on! We were lucky that we booked a place that turned out to be nice enough and we met a great group of people, plus it was right in the city centre which was really handy. We chose Melbourne because everyone who’d been said they loved it and there were good job opportunities, when we arrived it turned out to be just as good as everyone had said. Obviously we got a bit bored of it eventually and were looking forward to moving on, but that’s all part of the itchy feet that come with travelling! The city is great, loads of restaurants, cafes, bars and shops, there are lovely suburbs all with a different vibe, the beaches are a quick tram ride away, there are tons of sporting events on all the time, and the riverside is just beautiful.
The biggest thing to consider before moving somewhere else is how much money you need to save before you leave. I feel like I spend my life saving up to go to awesome places and scrimping on luxuries to be able to afford to travel, so to me saving up once again was no drama. By the time I’d paid mum back the money for the flight I only had a couple of months worth of saving to do before we left and with my outgoing expenses I didn’t get much done. Luckily I got my last pay cheque the day after we flew out, with no rent, no food, no car and no fuel to pay for it meant I could use all that money to come to Australia with. So with my savings and money I got for Christmas, I didn’t do too badly at all, a few thousand pounds equals nearly double that in dollars and money does seem to last a bit longer out here so I was pretty set. The beauty of a working holiday visa is that you can work and travel at the same time, so you don’t need thousands or tens of thousand of dollars before you leave home, you can just spend what you’ve got, then earn more, really as long as you can support yourself for the first month (if you’re looking to work straight away) then you’ll get by just fine.
The final thing to consider before you book your flight and quit your job, the thing that so many people said to me, ‘what if you don’t like it?’. I’m moving to a beautiful country to meet new people, see new sights, experience a different culture, make new memories, what about that will I not like?! But that’s just me, maybe you won’t like it, maybe you will discover you’re a home bird at heart and holidays from now on are the way forward for you, maybe you’ll realise that sunshine all year round isn’t actually that great, beaches with shark infested waters aren’t your favourite place to relax, the fear of lethal snakes and spiders is too much to handle, maybe you just don’t want to throw another shrimp on the barbie, that’s fine, guess what? You can leave at any time. If you don’t like Australia, or wherever in the world you are, you can just book a flight and go home, no one will judge because you didn’t like it or think you couldn’t hack it, let’s be honest everyone would just be happy to have you home, at least you tried, you made it out of your town and gave it a go, props to you! Don’t let people who don’t understand your passion for travel put doubt in your mind before you’ve given it a go, haters gonna hate.
Travelling and working in a different country opens your eyes to a different world and makes you completely re-evaluate what’s important in life, so forget the who, what, where, why, when, how and just go for it, then you too can start a blog and write hopefully inspiring articles for other travellers with the same interests as you!