If you’re planning a first-time vacation to Australia, there are a few pointers you should know before exploring the dramatic land down under.

And there’s a reason the country and its landscape is called dramatic. From ocean to desert, to tropical rainforest and even snowy landscapes, Australia is a land of great diversity.

It’s also a country with one of the world’s best economies, historical landmarks, cuisine, wine, and culture. If this isn’t reason enough to visit- we don’t know what is!

Here are a few tips to help you prepare when traveling to Australia…

Traveling to Australia: 7 Tips to Help You Prepare

Whatever you’ve heard about the beauty of Australia, multiply that by 100 when you see and experience it first-hand, for yourself.

If you’re feeling a mixture of anxiety or fear before a trip to a country as vast as Australia, there is no need. All you need is a little preparation and planning to enjoy this extraordinary country.

These preparation tips should help:

1. Don’t Underestimate the Size of Australia

First thing’s first, Australia is massive. What other nation on the world map doubles as both a country and continent? Enough said.

One common misconception is that Australia is easy to traverse in its entirety in a matter of two weeks. This is simply not true. In order to explore Australia in-depth, you’ll need at least 6 months.

Australia is the sixth-largest country in the world – its landmass equates to the size of all European countries combined, and then some. That’s a lot of lands to squeeze into a two-week vacation!

But, if that’s all the time you have, our top tip is to select a few key destinations and spend time in each area accordingly. Tick off the highlights you’d like to see at each spot, then move onto the next. Otherwise, you’ll spend most of your vacation in-transit!

2. Plan Your Budget Carefully

Another misconception is that Australia is inexpensive. This is not true either. The truth is, Australia is fairly expensive, depending on where you travel. If possible, you should budget at least $100-$200 U.S. a day in order to manage accommodation, dining out, travel, and other activities.

Choose Budget Airlines for Internal Travel

As we mentioned, Australia is huge and sometimes the best way to travel from one destination to the next is with an internal flight. Make sure you go for local budget airlines such as Jetstar or Scoot Airways.

Don’t fall into the trap of booking full-service airlines such as Virgin or Qantas- this will eat away at your budget! Unlike the U.S., one-way flights are affordable and highly recommended for internal travel.

3. Choose B&B Type Accommodation

Whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple or even as a family, B&B style accommodation is your budget-friendly go-to when exploring Australia.

There are plenty of Airbnb options throughout most cities across Australia, otherwise smaller family-run B&Bs are highly affordable.

Most high-end, franchised hotels will cost you an average of $100 per night. If you’re looking for something more corporate-friendly, check out Corporate Keys Australia.

4. Prepare Your Own Meals

Yes, Australia is well-known for its incredible food and wine and this makes it tempting to eat out at every meal. But if you’re traveling on a budget, this is simply unachievable.

Australian cuisine and alcohol served in restaurants can be expensive, so it’s important to choose perhaps one meal where you dine out.

A great way to manage your budget is by preparing your own meals- especially if you’re staying in B&B accommodation. Otherwise, the country is littered with public barbeque spaces in most parks throughout most cities.

To add to this, Australia prides itself on offering some of the best fresh produce which is affordable at most supermarkets and farmers’ markets.

5. Understand Tipping Culture

Unlike the U.S. and some European nations, tipping is not common practice in Australia, so it’s important to mind your generosity. This is actually common-place in most hotels, restaurants, bars, and even in taxis.

Australian minimum wage allows for all its workers to earn a decent living, so many of them aren’t relying on tips to make an income!

6. Slip, Slap, Slop

This is a phrase you may hear all over Australia – ”slip, slap, slop” simply refers to applying sunscreen! Sun protection is somewhat of a religion in Australia, and for very good reason.

The sun is extremely harsh in this country, so make sure you lather up whenever you head outdoors- even if you’re visiting in winter. You tend to burn much faster under the Australian sun than any other nation.

In fact, the state of Queensland has the highest rate of skin cancer cases in the world, so make sure you never leave your accommodation without adequate SPF.

7. Australian Weather is Unpredictable

Finally, you’ll need to prepare yourself for rather unpredictable weather patterns on your visit to Australia.

A word of warning: the Australian summer is hot, and not always in a pleasant way. And along with this, rainfall is usually at its highest during this time. The summer months fall over December-March.

In other parts of the country, it becomes extremely dry which increases the risk of deadly bushfires. The peak of summer is not recommended if you live in a relatively cold climate and cannot handle warm weather too well.

If you plan on visiting during the colder months (June-August), there are parts of Australia that experience snow and plenty of rainfall.

This is why it’s best to plan your visit during the shoulder seasons which run from October-November or April-May. During this time, the weather tends to be a little more steady, less humid and a little drier.

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