Australia is one of the most stunning holiday destinations globally, and everyone wants to travel to Australia. I have written and re-written it hundreds of times in different ways. On Rocky Travel, you can find tons of articles packed with top destinations, from travel planning tips to what to see and do in Australia and why travel to Australia.
Not many sites tell you about those important things not to do when visiting Australia, though. Although the cost of travelling to Australia has unarguably impacted your itinerary, these cost-effective tips will help you travel to Australia on a budget, stay on track and save lots of money on your trip.
All things NOT to DO When Visiting Australia
Why sacrifice adventures, tours and activities that were on your Australian bucket list for a long time? Check out how this list of don’ts for Australia will help you not make the common mistakes and avoid pitfalls, thus maximising your overall travel experience in Australia.
Do not travel without travel insurance in Australia.
International travellers often underestimate it. It does not matter what plans you have when you travel to Australia. First, you must ensure you have covered unexpected expenses like medical coverage and cancellations of bookings.A good travel insurance policy will cover this expense if you ever need to interrupt your trip for an important reason like illness or family issues. Medical coverage can cost thousands of dollars in Australia if you travel without insurance. I always get travel insurance. I recommend the one from Travel Medical Insurance from Safety Wings.
Do not travel to Australia without an accurate trip plan.
Travelling without a fixed plan may sound tempting, I know. But if you travel to Oz without planning your trip, it is a huge mistake you must avoid. The country’s high costs of getting around, coupled with the lack of availability, will finally end up costing you 2-3 times the average travel cost to Australia. I have created an Australian guidebook to help you make the perfect Australia Itinerary.
Do not book your flight to Australia too early.
Most people tend to believe that the earlier you book, the better. This travel rule applies when you plan to travel to Australia during peak season only. You need to book at least six months ahead at Christmas or Easter, but you do not need to book so early for the low season. 3 to 4 months are enough; sometimes, eight weeks may be just the perfect time for a cheap flight to Australia.
Do not rent a car with a different drop-off location.
As long as you can plan road trips in Australia in a loop, back to your destination, this will save you at least 100-300 AUD each time you rent a car in Oz. Usually, it’s about 150-300 AUD when you travel interstate and return the vehicle to a different location.
It happens in remote locations, like on a road trip to Uluru. However, it is becoming common to have this extra expense added on top of the rental car booking. The drop-off differs from the pickup location, even within the same Australian state. Read these tips on car hire in Australia.
Do not stay in expensive hotels in Australia.
It’s not easy to find good value accommodation in Australia. If you want to try something different, why not consider other options like a private stay with Airbnb, and why not stay in YHA hostels? They are all great ways of staying on a budget trip to Australia without sacrificing comfort. For the long-term traveller, you can try out housesitting: free accommodation vs house and pet-sitting.
Do not drive at night.
It may sound unusual, but this is another good thing to know before travelling to Australia. It indeed is essential for your safety not to drive at dawn or dusk because of wildlife crossing the roads in rural and Outback areas. Moreover, bad weather and road conditions can be an issue too.
While driving in Australia is good fun, you must know all the dos and don’ts. I went for 70 km one night in North-Western Australia, which taught me not to do it again.
Do not fly too much within Australia.
Domestic flights in Australia are not expensive, provided you book early and make the most of flight sales and deals. For shorter trips than 800 kilometres, I would go on a road trip or a train journey. If planning a two-week trip to Australia, do not schedule too many flights. Consider hiring a car to experience real Australia. Nothing is more rewarding than an Australian road trip and exploring the country at your own pace.
Do not use your mobile phone Sim card in Australia.
It is going to cost you a fortune. Instead, buy for 2 dollars an Australian Sim Card that allows you to call landline and mobile numbers in Oz at reasonable rates. Plans start from 30 AUD for 250 minutes. For international calls, you can use Skype for free. Or any international phone card for 10 AUD is used that you can use for any landline calls for 6-8 hours. Telstra is the only provider in Oz that can guarantee decent coverage in rural areas of Australia.
Don’t change money before your trip to Australia.
Do not exchange money at the airport either. While in the past, travellers used travellers’ cheques to save money on commissions. Nowadays, high commissions are hidden when exchanging in any bank. So the best thing to do is withdraw cash from ATMs at the airport and possibly use a credit or debit card with low commissions or credit cards with zero commissions. In Europe, getting a zero-commission credit card is almost impossible. But in the US, you can get many of these credit cards.
Furthermore, do not rely on just one pre-paid or debit card. Take at least two of them, as debit cards are not accepted everywhere in Australia. You will need a credit card for online payments and car hire; most companies prefer credit cards. Debit cards with your name on them will be accepted, though.
Do not use your internet if free wifi is available.
From public places, libraries or a friend’s flat internet connection! The Internet is pricey in Australia. Tourist Information offices will tell you about free-wifi places in town and give you a map with hot-wifi spots. Some apps can identify the next free wifi near your location. Always ensure privacy when using the internet and public wifi on the go.
Do not buy any electronics in Australia.
Everything is costly, like digital cards and memory cards for your camera. Pack all your electronic devices and extra spare memory cards with you, as these can cost up to 40 AUD. Make sure you have a spare compact camera in case something happens to your good camera.
Do not take fruits and vegetables with you.
Be prepared when you cross internal borders within Australia. The Quarantine law is strict in Australia when arriving in Australia from abroad and within Australian states and/or from New Zealand. When travelling by car from Northern Territory into Western Australia and Victoria into South Australia, do not take food with you; you will have to place it into disposal bins along your way.
The fine for getting caught with fruits & vegetables is about 2.500 AUD. So please beware and not pack any fresh food when crossing Australian states. You can get more info about the Quarantine Law in Australia and what you can and cannot bring in.
Do not eat in restaurants every day.
Restaurants in Australia are expensive. Instead, eat natural local food at the street market or buy it at major fresh markets halls for a real Aussie food experience. I prefer cooking meals when I can and shopping at the local farmers’ markets. You will be amazed at the excellent popular food in Australia.
Do not underestimate the Australian sun.
Get your skin sun smart and hydrated all the time. Drink plenty of water and try to maintain healthy eating habits when travelling. Do not buy water from the convenient local shop around the corner; it will cost you at least 3-3,50 AUD/bottle.
Buy a 10-litre water canister from supermarkets like Woolworth or Coles or discount chains like Aldi. This way, you can save at least 2 dollars a day on a bottle of water. Also, get a refill bottle and fill it up at your destination to help the environment.
Do not disregard the safety rules in Australia.
Australia is not a dangerous country as they like to depict it. However, you need to use common sense and follow simple safety rules. If you come from overseas, I highly encourage you to stick to the safety rules, even if they may sound exaggerated to you, that you come across at the beach, on the roads, in the Outback and national parks and everywhere else in the outdoors.
I can tell you the warning signs are there for a reason, and they help you get familiar with the country and stay safe when driving in Australia.
More dos and don’ts when travelling to Australia
The above gives you an overview of what not to do in Australia. Knowing how to plan a trip to Australia will help you better plan and put money into your daily budget, resulting in hundreds of dollars, if not a thousand.
For more help planning your trip, check out this page with the best travel sites and resources.
If there is anything you would add to this list of things to know before visiting Australia, please leave your contribution to this by leaving a comment in the section below.
And finally, here are some things you should do when planning your trip to Australia. First, I recommend getting my book. I’m biased, but it’s the best guidebook to plan your Australian Adventures. Moreover, check out my list with a few great resources to plan your trip that I always use for my travels.
Do not skimp on planning your trip to Australia efficiently
If you want help planning your trip to Australia, download a copy of Your Australia Itinerary in a PDF file. Click to learn more about our Australia guide book. Or click the image to purchase your copy.
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First published in 2015, last updated in August 2023
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