When I decided to finally make the move I had SO MANY QUESTIONS!! Many that a simple google could answer, but since moving here I have learned so much that I wish I knew before......
I have officially been living in Australia for 4 months now! Does that make me a local now? Any Australians want to adopt me please? Anyway's lets rewind back to when I was still in rainy England and my head was filled to the brim with questions regarding the big move to the other side of the world. After much research in getting myself prepared for the move, I still had this unsettling feeling that I didn't have all the information I needed, and just like most things in life you learn though trail and error, in other words I knew I could any answer some of these questions once I had moved. Everything I talk about in this post is based on my personal experience, so a little background on why I'm out here, I'm here on a working holiday Visa and so far have only lived in Sydney, I saved up roughly $6,000 AUD and am working about 40 hours a week whilst planning on travelling around Australia and other countries close by. Okay! Let the answering of questions begin........
If your planning to stay in Australia for a long time then you should be getting yourself a bank account as transfer fee's can rack up to be a lot! I found it super easy to set it all up and I was able to do it all whilst still living in the UK. I signed up with the bank CommonWealth, it took me no longer than 15 minutes to enter my details, they also have an app so online banking is accessible, and since I'm in the generation off having everything on my phone this suited me perfectly! Upon arrival to Australia I was able to pick up my card straight away from the store I had previously selected, it was very comforting for me to know that I had easy access to my money straight form the get go. Onto your TFN (Tax File Number) Now if your wanting to work whilst travelling, you won't be able to get employed without a TFN which again is very easy to get, but you have to be in Australia to apply, and you can apply on the Australian government website. Your TFN will take roughly 2 weeks to arrive, however you can still apply for jobs whilst waiting, just simply let your employer know that your currently waiting for your TFN and as soon as you get it let them know.
Coming from a small countryside town and growing up with London public transport, I've found Australian transport so much better! I love how the train's on Sunday cost no more than $3 ALL DAY, no matter where you go, this makes exploring so much more affordable. I strongly advise getting an Opal card (a Australian version of an Oyster card) the second in you land in Sydney, they are super easy to get from any train station/corner store, plus fares get cheaper the more times you use your Opal card. And there's air-con on the underground train's, AMAZING! This is something the UK are really far behind on. Buses and trains run fairly regularly throughout the day and night and even on the weekends, which means your not having to constantly worry about what time you have to leave places, it makes spontaneous exploring a lot more fun.
Finding a job
If you have/or have had a job that is part of a well known trade like: Chef, Hospitality, Hairdresser, Banker, Construction worker, Retail, etc. Then it is super easy to find work, I found the best results on website's like Gumtree and Indeed. However I do also recommend having a couple CV's printed off for when you arrive. most job's 'backpackers' tend to lean towards are bar/barista work or traffic patrol work, both jobs are good pay but require selected courses to be completed before starting the work, so if that's something you want to do defiantly research what courses you need to apply for. Another job that I found myself doing for a while along with many other 'backpackers' was street fundraising/door to door sales, a job that was very easy to find, the pay was good enough but the work could be stressful along with being on your feet for long hours, it's a very 50/50 job, some people love it and others hate it.
Balancing work with Travel
Once you've found your job and have a bit more of a routine I recommend creating a list of places you want to visit in that area. Start figuring out which activities are furthest away, which one's you'd want to spend all day at, and places you can go for a quick visit, this way you can start prioritising your time wisely. For example places that you'd spend all day at are best saved for your day's off, whereas places that are close by can be visited before or after a work shift. There is so much exploring you can do in a day, something I use to find myself doing was sitting around waiting for my shift to start or going straight to sleep after a shift, and dedicating whole day's to simply working, when in reality places tend to open early and depending on the day can close quite late. By doing this you can very easily explore and city whilst working a full-time job. Please don't think just because your working your exploring has to suffer, 24 hours is a lot of time! Use it wisely!!
Meeting new people
I came out to Australia by myself and had always planned to travel alone whilst meeting people along the way. Making friends is something you can't plan, but let me tell you EVERYONE IS DOING THE SAME THING!! It is extremely common these days for people to travel solo, looking for people to socialise with. Facebook groups are a really good people to get in connect with people that may be in the same area as you, it's super easy to join groups and there's always really friendly people that are looking for a good time, that's actually how I made my friends that I went on my Byron Bay road trip with. But do be safe with who your talking to online, even though most of these groups don't let just anyone join you can sometimes come across the wrong people. Another great way to meet people is staying at hostels and just by going out! Hanging out at 'backpacker bars', going to events, joining the gym or a class, the best advice is to just put yourself out there and know that everyone's in the same boat as yourself. I've also found people out here to be very friendly so just go for it!
Getting a Visa
There are many different Visa's you can get, so once you've found the one that best fits you this should be the first thing you apply for, even before booking your flight. Like most 'backpacker's' I went for a Working Holiday Visa which allows me to stay in Australia for 1 year with a chance of extending my stay, it also allows me to work and the Visa doesn't actually start until you land in Australia. I got my Visa through 'Visabureau' I paid roughly £300 and the process took no longer than 20 minutes, around 2 weeks later my visa arrived in the post along with a travel booklet about Australia and all the information I needed to know about my Visa. I found the process very quick and easy, however every process does vary depending on the person's answer. But if your a youngish person, with no kids, no property and zero criminal record then you should also find the process very quick and easy.
The money side
Most of my questions about moving where related to money, how much do I need to save? What's my daily budget? How much is accommodation? it's something that can be incredibly overwhelming, especially if your leaving a well paid job back home like myself. Being completely honest Sydney is a very expensive! If your planning on just travelling without work I'd recommend saving about $10,000 AUD, I've spoken to many other solo travellers who plan on staying in Sydney for a good amount of time without work and know that's roughly the amount they saved up. But if your like me and are happy to experience some work out here then saving up $6,000 AUD is the recommended amount and will allow you to live stress free about money, which is the most comforting thing to me! It is also a good idea to keep some back up money in your home bank account, just in case. Accommodation it something what varies spending on the location and amount of people you live with, but a fairy cheap accommodation matched with work does make it possible for you to save up a nice amount of money for more adventures. Living in a big city like Sydney does mean the jobs pay a very nice wage. And something you'll learn once moving out here is that there are many cheap solutions to have fun, it's just about making the right decision, like living anywhere there are always cheaper options to certain things.
I really hope this has helped for of you feel more prepared for the big move! Just remember to have fun and try not to get too stressed out about certain things. When I was 19 I wanted to travel to Australia, with little money and not a lot of experience in the real world, I felt like I had to quickly do everything, like it was a race, my Mum then told me there was no rush and Australia wasn't going to suddenly disappear. I'm so grateful I waited until I was 21, with a decent income and SOOOO much more experience, so please don't rush, if it doesn't feel like the right time now then don't force it, and when it is the right time for you, you'll end up having the best time and the most unforgettable experience! I'm happy to answer any more questions or go into more detail about something I've touched on, feel free to DM me on Twitter @IzzyDriscoll or comment down below. Thank you for reading and remember to never stop exploring!