Top Essentials for Traveling in Australia

kangaroos down under

Australia is on most people’s dream “must-visit” list. And every person has their own packing list for this trip of a lifetime, but there are a few essentials you should be aware of before making the trip Down Under.

Money

While the exchange rate between the Australian and American dollars is almost equal (at the time of writing*), it costs a lot more of those American dollars to buy the same products. For example, a pint of beer can cost around $7 in most major cities and domestic flights are as expensive as you will find to get from one coast in the US to the other. If on a working holiday in Australia, make sure you save up to get you through at least two months of travel until you can find a job or in case you have an emergency.

Bug and sun protection

Thanks to a hole in the ozone layer, the sun in Australia is vicious. Follow the government ads and remember to “slip, slap, slop” on sunscreen and a hat that covers your ears.

>> See what to pack for beach sun protection

The “mozzies” or mosquitoes and sand gnats are another nuisance that can be prevented by bug spray with DEET and a handy mosquito net. If you visit the Outback, the latter is a must-have, even if you feel silly wearing it!

Outback Australia Gear

>> Buy a mosquito head net on Amazon

Aussie Lingo Dictionary

Mozzies, sunnies, arvo, cuppa, ambo, schooner. If you have no idea what these words mean, it might not be a bad idea to invest in an Australian language dictionary. You don’t want to embarrass yourself by not knowing how to order a beer. Lonely Planet makes one.

Aussie lingo

>> Get your Aussie lingo guide on Amazon

Travel Insurance

Australia is trying to kill you. But really. There are more species of lethal creatures in Oz than anywhere else in the world, namely the box jellyfish, the blue ring octopus, the funnel web spider, and who could forget the crocs? And then there’s all the extreme sports, like bungy jumping, sky diving, scuba diving and rafting.

A travel insurance policy is a must-have for all travelers, but especially those visiting Australia. It’s also important to make sure all your gear is covered, like that fancy digital camera you document your trip with!

For those looking at an extended stay in Australia, make sure you have a look at travel health insurance to make sure you’re covered.

A sense of adventure

Every day is an adventure in Australia. One day you could be exploring the Daintree Rainforest and the next you could be sleeping underground in an Outback town. You really have to be prepared for anything.

>>Check out the ultimate female packing list for Australia in summer.

What would you recommend packing for a trip to Australia?!

Written by Caroline

Caroline Eubanks is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, but has also called Charleston, South Carolina and Sydney, Australia home. After college graduation and a series of useless part-time jobs, she went to Australia for a working holiday. In that time, she worked as a bartender, bungee jumped, scuba dived, pet kangaroos, held koalas and drank hundreds of cups of tea. You can find Caroline at Caroline in the City.

Add your voice & leave a comment!

Gear We Use

Organization

Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.


Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.


Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Clothing

Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Accommodation

Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking!

Booking.com – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Becca says

    Depending on where you are planning to go, weather in Australia can be unpredictable. Although you can bet on it not snowing, rain is often in occurrence. A rain jacket would be a nice addition to anyone’s bag.

    • Steff says

      Umm… actually it snows where I live (on the snowy- hint in the name- mountains). Australia has all weather… tropical rain, snow, dry heat, dry cold, EVERYTHING… be prepared, and good point about expenses, I’ve lived between Australia and the UK my whole life and I’m always complaining about how expensive it is here 😛

    • Brooke says

      Hi Kelly – this is supposed to be a slightly humorous post. If you’d like to create a packing list for something like a weekend in Melbourne, I’d be happy to have your insight 🙂

    • esther says

      actually, you do 😉 i lived there 4 years and i know all the above words 😛 hahaha on my first day i bought a paper and it said fair dinkum, try translating that… geez 😛

  2. Rachel says

    As someone who lives in far North Queensland (mossman to be precise) I use most of those words and my Dad uses all of them! I am the first to admit it is extremely bogan but often travellers do find it hard to understand our slang. I also suggest travellers understand the distances between places. I have met many people who expected FNQ to be close to Brisbane without realising it is a 15 hour drive.

    • Brooke says

      Distances are HUGE in Australia! I had a blogger friend arrive and think they were going to drive from Sydney to Cairns in 5 days in a campervan. When we said they need to start in Brisbane for that, they were shocked. Big place!

  3. Barb says

    As a Canadian living and working in North Queensland you aren’t kidding about the sun. It is incredibly hot here from October to March. The language may not be used in the cities but it sure is here. It is what makes it special I think. Sometimes I look at my co-workers and wonder what the heck they just said. Australia is an amazing experience, where else in the world do you have to watch out for kangaroos running out in front of you when driving? If you get the chance come!

  4. Cristie says

    Potential Australia packing list:

    3 Basic Tank Tops
    3 Basic T-Shirts
    2 Nice Shirts/blouses
    3 Dresses
    2 Pairs of skinny jeans
    1 Shorts
    1 Heavy jacket – for winter, autumn & spring
    1 Medium/lightweight jacket/cardi – autumn, spring & summer
    2 Sweaters/jumpers – winter, autumn & spring
    5 Socks – for winter, autumn & spring
    7 Pairs of underwear
    2 Yoga/sweat pants – sleeping & sports
    2 Swimsuits -summer, spring, autumn
    1 Scarf
    1 Sarong

    1 Flip flops
    1 Walking shoes/sneakers
    1 Nice/going out sandals/heels/flats

    Sunglasses
    30+ SPF sunscreen
    Sun protection hat
    Applicator tampons
    Mosquito repellant

  5. Denise says

    Don’t forget to bring a translation of your driver’s license/International Driver’s License if you’re not from an English speaking country.

    Australia is a great place to go diving!! So if you’re certified already make sure you take your card with you. If you lost it: don’t worry, the dive shop should be able to look you up online, it’s just faster if you hand them the card.

    If you’re not certified: make sure you get certified while in Australia!
    If you’re travelling around and planning to do your course in Cairns, think about doing the course in one of the cities you spend some time in before going to Cairns instead. Diving in Australia is very diverse and you can spot different marine life in any place you go to.

    There are many good deals available (just ask the dive center to make you a good deal!) and this way you can enjoy all your time in Cairns doing FUNdives instead of having to practice skills etc. underwater. Enjoy!!

  6. Bella says

    This article is not very useful since there so many areas of Australia that have different wether such as in Darwin the temps usually hot and humid but in Glen Innes the temps usually cold also this article is not a list it is a what’s the difference between Australia and America I didn’t find it helpful

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