Top 10 Things to do Before You Arrive in  Australia

So you’ve decided you want to go to Australia, but you’re not sure where to start? Maybe you have started, but you’re afraid you’ve forgotten something?

It’s only natural to feel a bit nervous or anxious about your big adventure ahead, but you don’t need to worry too much because we’ve got you covered. This page features the most important things you need to do before you arrive as well some other essential things you can do to make your stay in Australia hassle free and just more awesome!

Top Ten Things to do Before You Arrive

1. Get a Visa

2. Start Saving

3. Start Looking at Flights

4. Get Travel Insurance

5. Have Your Resume Aussie-ready

6. Open an Australian Bank Account

7. International Sim Card

8. Book Your Accommodation

9. Buy a Backpack

10. Get Excited!


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1. Get a Visa

Obviously the first thing you need to do is get an Australian working holiday visa. It’s relatively easy to get, but there are some requirements you must meet. The visa is valid for one year, which doesn’t begin until you actually enter Australia.

For more information on how to go about getting an Australian working holiday visa, check out our Working Holiday Visa page

2. Start Saving

Australia is expensive and you will need money to keep you going until you find a job and a place to live. You also want to have fun in Australia, so bringing enough money really is essential. Once you enter Australia, one of the requirements of your working holiday visa is that you must be able to show that you have proof of funds – usually with a bank statement no more than a week old. Generally, AUD5,000 is the least amount of money you should have when entering Australia. If you don’t have a return ticket, then you will also need to have the price of a ticket home in your bank account along with the AUD5,000.

3. Start Looking for Flights

Once your visa application has been approved, start looking flights straight away so you can get a good deal. Skyscanner and Kayak are probably the best flight comparison sites out there, so get on them straight away and find the best deal.

4. Get Travel Insurance

Getting travel insurance is always important when travelling to a new country but may also be required as part of your visa application. For example, Question 33 of the 417 visa asks if you have it. Also, Australia can be expensive; if you are involved in any kind of an accident the medical bill could be well beyond your budget. Also check out our review of World Nomads to see what happened when one backpacker claimed while in Australia.

5. Have Your Resume Aussie-Ready

Having your resume (Tip: Australian’s don’t call them CVs!) “Aussie Ready” before you leave Australia will help you find a job much faster, as there are certain things Australian will employers look for in a resume. Many backpackers head off to Australia with an ill-prepared resume and it can cost them their dream job. For example, Australian employers would rather you emphasise the experience you have for the type of work you want to do, rather than your most recent experience. 

6. Open an Australian Bank Account

You will need to have an Australian bank account in order to get paid once you find a job – plus, you don’t want to be paying ridiculous overseas banking fees! You can open a bank account in person once you get to Australia, but you may want to start transferring money before you leave, in this case you can open an Australian bank account through a travellers company. To learn more about opening an Australian bank account click here.

7. Get an International Sim Card

You can buy a sim card once you get to Australia, but if you would like to start making calls straight away you can also buy an international sim card with lower roaming charges.

8. Book Your Accommodation

Have at least a few nights booked in a hostel (guesthouse, couch surfing, short-term room - whatever you prefer) before you arrive in Australia. The last thing you want to do is to look for a place to stay while your jet-lagged and carrying a backpack!

9. Buy Your Backpack

Buy your backpack as soon as your visa has been approved. The sooner you buy it the easier it will be to prioritise what to bring and what not to bring – so you don’t over-buy in preparation for your trip.

10. Get Excited!

Going to Australia on a working holiday visa will be one of the best experiences of your life, so start getting excited. Perhaps you want to blog about your adventures which can be a terrific way to keep in touch with everyone but also has the potential to becoming you main income and a way of life. Being in Australia will also be one of the fastest years of your life, so you need to make the most of it. Going to Australia with a positive attitude is essential to finding work, having fun and making the most out your stay in Australia.


Travellers Companies

There are travellers companies who can help you out with a lot of the stuff mentioned above, such as applying for a visa; getting a tax file number and opening a bank account before you arrive.

Travellers companies are getting for making for journey to Australia hassle free, but going with a travellers company will cost a bit more than if you did it all yourself. 

Looking for Work Before You Leave

You can start looking for work in Australia before you leave, though it might be more difficult than if you actually there. You can start looking on website like SEEK and Gumtree or you can start contacting agencies if there is a particular job you want. If you already have friends in Australia, ask them to keep an eye on what jobs are opening.


Understanding Aussie Culture

Having some understanding of Aussie culture before you leave can be very beneficial. Australia is growing more and more multi-cultural, so an open mind and acceptance of other cultures is essential. Generally, Australians are known for being quite laid-back, but they are also very direct and will let you know exactly what they think – this is something you may not be used to.

In a work environment, doing rather than saying is key to being successful. Qualities that Australian employers value most of all are honesty, reliability and hard-work. Rather than trying to “sell yourself” to a potential employer, give them examples of what you have done, without needlessly exaggerating.



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