I have put together this Australia Trip Planning Guide is to provide independent travellers with practical tools to help you plan a trip to Australia in an easy and fast way. This way you can save hours of searching on the internet thus maximising your time and money.
The list below is an easy step-by-step trip planner starting from rough ideas to a definite plan going through all necessary arrangements, like booking flights, accommodation, tours and more. To begin with go through these golden rules which are the cornerstones of any Australia Travel Guide.
Things to know before planning a trip to Australia
Australia is a big country and you may feel overwhelmed at the beginning. So go through these questions first to learn all the important things about travelling to Australia.
- Why Do You Want To Visit Australia?
Before you start jotting down locations and destinations to visit in Australia, you must have a clear vision of what motivates you to visit Australia. This will help streamline the whole approach to planning your trip.
- What is the time frame for your trip to Australia?
Set up a time frame for your entire travel. Make a list of what you want to see. Be realistic, don’t overdo and get a feeling why distances in Australia matter.
- How to start your research find access to the best Australian sites and tools by reducing to the minimum your time on the internet. On this page, you will find them all.
- Search, compare, book And try to make at least 80% of all travel arrangements before leaving home. Don’t waste your time further planning your trip, when in Australia.
- How will you travel to Australia? Solo or with companions? This will also have an impact on your trip, especially on how to get around the country and where to stay in Australia.
Planning a trip to Australia can be time-consuming, you can either follow these simple steps that will save you time and a lengthy online search, or you can ask me to help you set up your itinerary and plan your trip. Check the bottom of this page for more information.
Australia Trip Planning in 7 Easy Steps
This easy step-by-step trip planning guide that helps you quickly go through all those crucial things that you need to know about Australia and also shows you how to get ready for your trip.
1. Set a time frame and estimate of the cost
How much time do you have? How much do you want to spend? The two most important things at this early stage of planning are to define your time frame, and also make a rough estimate of the cost of travel in Australia. A visit to Australia must be planned an at least three months in advance. I would recommend starting six months ahead. When you know the dates of your travels, then begin working on your plan. Set a time frame and start drawing your trip around this time frame. You can learn more about how much time you need to travel around Australia.
2. Make a rough itinerary plan
Have you already thought about where you want to go and what you want to see in Australia? What are your reasons for travelling to Australia? Make a list of all the things that you would like to do and see. Out of this list make a rough Itinerary Plan, this shall include an outline of the regions, cities, attractions you would like to see during your visit. If you need a bit more inspiration about which places to visit in Australia check out our picks for the best travel destinations in Australia.
Our Australia Travel Destination Guide covers information almost every destination you can visit in Australia, covering all the major cities such as:
Brisbane, and mores tropical destinations such as the Great Barrier Reef with Cairns.
Darwin and its national parks in Northern Australia.
All Outback destinations in Central Australia such as The Uluru (Ayers Rock) and the Red Centre.
Broome and more destinations in the Kimberly in North-Western Australia
the Flinders Ranges in South Australia.
3. Drill down and refine your trip plan
When you have a blueprint for your Australia travel itinerary select 4-5 regions from your list. You should have at least ten destinations on this list to review. By narrowing down the list of places, please keep in mind your time frame and what the climate and season for the selected destinations in Australia. For more help check this page to choose what time of the year to travel to Australia.
4. Make a Final Travel Plan for Australia
Now your plan is slowly taking shape, and you have a clear picture of how your next trip will be looking like. I used to print out a colourful map of Australia and draw my itinerary on it, starting from my arrival destination, drawing lines to connect all other places where I planned to stop. This helped me chopping and dicing my trip itinerary into single detail I felt it was vital for me. If you wish to follow this, take notes next to it for your records.
5. Make 80% of travel arrangements from home
Review your final Australia trip planner, and move on to the next stage of the trip preparation, i.e. do not make any further changes for little details, leave a daily plan for spontaneous decisions. You don’t need an over-detailed travel plan. What you need now is making the necessary travel arrangements, here is the list of what you need to arrange from home.
- Get your Travel Visa for Australia
You need a visa to enter Australia, check on this page to apply for an ETA Visa; this is the quickest way of getting your Australia tourist visa online. Check the validity of your passport; this should be at least six months valid after your departure deadline. For EU citizen the Australian tourist visa is free, for US citizens the travel visa costs around 20 AUD.
- Research, compare, find the best flight deals to Australia
Shop around at least three months before the planned dates; if you can even six months before departure, this will increase your chances to get good flight deals for Australia.
- Find the right accommodation in Australia
According to your final travel itinerary, make a list of transportation you will use: whether you will need a car or use trains or bus travel, as well as what kind of accommodation you are looking for. Here you have access to our Accommodation Tips for Australia.
6. Book all Domestic Flights in Australia
What bookings do you need to do before leaving for Australia?
Only book domestic flights or make car rental bookings for all road trips and leave some of your accommodation and other arrangements open till you have reached your destination. If you travel off-season, you don’t need to book hotels for the entire time. However, it is wise to search for accommodation deals and secure as many as you can.
Golden Tips for Planning a Trip to Australia
Follow these tips to plan any trip and learn how to travel to Australia.
- Flights to Australia and Domestic Flights
You need a return flight unless you plan to head somewhere else from Australia, book a return flight, from the same city or with different arrival and departure airports. If you leave from Europe and USA, you can also consider an overnight stopover in the Middle East or Asia. Here you can learn more about cheap flights to Australia. For cheap Australian flights check out this useful travel resource for comparing the best flight deals in Australia.
- Accommodation in Australia
Book your accommodation for the first few days; this will help you recover quickly from jet lag, especially if did not have a stopover. A few days at your arrival will allow you to fill up with fresh energy and gain orientation in the southern hemisphere. For booking your accommodation in Australia, I have created a page as a travel planning resource. I have been using them for a while and are the best you can find on the market.
- Australia Travel Formalities
What do you need to arrange from home before leaving for Australia? Do you need travel insurance? Well, I would say yes, but this is a personal matter. However, it is recommendable to have travel insurance which covers you in case of flight cancellation due to sickness or accident. It is vital you check out carefully and make up your mind about what kind of travel insurance you need. To learn more check out my tips for purchasing good Travel Insurance for Australia.
- International driving license
If you plan to drive and rent a car in Australia, you need a driving license in English. If your driving license is not in English, then you need a translation that you can provide from the local transport authority in your home country.
- Exchange Money for Australia
How do you want to take your money with you? Credit Cards, Debit Cards or Cash? Or maybe a combination of all these? Read on these useful tips about exchanging money for Australia.
7. Packing Tips for Australia
When it comes to packing for your Australia Trip the first that comes to mind is what to pack for Australia, I have put together detailed blog posts about each of these topics. On this page, you can read about my packing tips for Australia.
If you plan Outdoor Adventures here you can find some useful packing tips for the perfect trip planner checklist:
- Pack as light as you can, the ideal weight is 10-15 kg per bag.
- Pack your luggage. I recommend a soft duffle bag for Australia.
- Pack your clothes with a focus on activities. Learn more about what to wear in Australia.
- Leave at home all this: jewellery, high heels, stuff you will not use.
- Buy things of general use like toiletries locally.
- Leave room and weight for purchasing Australian souvenirs.
- Beware of luggage regulations, always check the baggage allowance of all your flight airlines before packing.
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