Travelling from London to Australia: all you need to know on visas, travel insurance, flights and travel money.
Travelling from the UK to Australia
Organising travel to Australia from the UK can seem like a major undertaking, but it’s a lot simpler than you might think. I finally made the trip myself last November and loved every minute. However, applying for a visa, deciding on travel insurance, dealing with customs and sorting out your finances can feel daunting.
Australia was such an incredible travel experience, one dear to my heart, and so I would like to share it with you through an Australia travel series on my blog.
For Part One, I have broken down what is currently required for entry into the country for British citizens looking to travel for a holiday. Below, I’ve listed some travel tips to help you understand the process and get you on your way!
First things first, apply for a visa suited to the purpose of your trip. I recommend visiting the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs website for more information on visa options. They provide checklists for each visa to help you find out if you meet the criteria. As the purpose of my visit was travelling for leisure as a tourist visitor, I applied for the eVisitor visa, which falls under the “visit and tourism” category. It’s completely free and allows you to stay in the country for up to 3 months at a time within a 12 month period. You complete the application online and it automatically syncs with your passport. Please note that the eVisitor visa applies to British citizens and that certain visa applications have fees applied.
I decided to get travel insurance due to the length of my stay in Australia and opted for AXA International. Their Silver package covered emergency medical cover, personal accident cover, disruption or delay to travel plans, personal belongings cover and legal expenses up to a certain value.
Declaration of Goods
Next up – the declaration of goods process. Australia’s Customs and Border Protection Services control what is permitted to enter into the country. Australian rules serve to protect their agriculture, so you can’t really argue with that! There’s a long list of declarable items which mainly refers to food, plant material and animal products. Note that medication is included and will need to be declared. Just to be safe, I listed everything from an apple I was carrying to a bar of chocolate. You’re handed a declaration card on the flight taking you directly to Australia. You must complete the declaration form and hand it over to customs at the airport upon arrival.
For more information on what you need to declare and how, check out the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website and the Australian Border Force website.
Flying with Emirates
As you can imagine, the travel from London to Melbourne is hardcore. Spending a day on aeroplanes, enduring long-haul uncomfortable flights (unless you’re in business class) can feel like both physical and mental torture. My sister and I did our best to keep ourselves comfortable and hydrated, wearing cozy clothing with spares packed, as well as travel pillows, face masks, healthy snacks and water bottles.
Following our cousin’s advice, who’s flown back and forth between Melbourne and London many times, we booked our flights with travel company STA Travel. We flew with Emirates as it was highly recommended by friends and family. With Emirates Economy Class, the baggage allowance is a generous 30kg, over and above what was offered by other airlines. The travel was as comfortable as can be expected. Fortunately, Emirates provide plenty of on-screen entertainment to distract you from the fact you’re stuck in a metal container with nowhere else to go!
My sister and I indulged in our own little spa time in the sky, having packed some beauty travel essentials. We used Yes to Cucumbers Soothing Hypoallergenic Facial Wipes to cleanse our faces, Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Smoothing Eye Mask to keep our eyes refreshed and Yes to Coconuts Moisturizing Sleeping Mask to keep our skin hydrated.
I should note that as we flew with Emirates, our stop-over was in Dubai Airport, which does not allow liquids (like bottled water) to be carried onto the plane with you when boarding your connecting flight.
Planning Your Domestic Trips
Before departing for Melbourne, we had put together a long list of places we wished to visit. Of course, after budgeting and researching travel routes, we narrowed down our list to a select few. We decided we would stick to the east coast, in a bid to reduce the travel distances between each destination. We wanted to spend most of our time in Melbourne, which is located in Australia’s southeastern state, Victoria. We planned to visit the Whitsundays, which is based towards the northeast coast of Queensland and then head down to Brisbane, in southeast Queensland. We decided to leave Sydney until last, which is located on Australia’s east coast in New South Wales.
The airlines we chose to travel with for our inland flights were Jetstar and Virgin Australia as they were the most cost effective. Bare in mind that every airline has it’s own baggage policies so be sure to read the fine print! We booked all of our accommodation with Airbnb.
Travel Card & Money
I highly recommend investing in a travel card like Revolut. Operable by mobile app, you have the ability to spend in over 150 currencies, including Australian Dollars. You simply transfer money from your UK bank account to your Revolut account in Pound Sterling (GBP) for free, and then convert your Revolut credit into the currency of your choice, which is valued by the interbank exchange rate. It’s really that easy!
Now that we’ve been over the essentials, you have an Australia travel checklist you can work with, so why not get started on your own travel plans!
Still to come – Melbourne, Sydney and Queensland travel guides! As part of my Australia travel journal, I’ll be taking you through the highlights of each journey here on my blog. Watch this space 😊