I use the term “needed to know” very loosely. These are things I should have known a long time ago, but never did because they were always taken care of by someone else. Remember how I told you about my sheltered life? Well you’re about to find out just how sheltered I was/am.
Here’s an example, if you asked me to come to your house (approx. 10 km away from my own), using public transport, I’d struggle. I would sooner walk or get an Uber because I wouldn’t have the slightest idea about how to go about finding the correct bus stop, then actually getting on the right bus, and finally getting off at the right destination.
Don’t get me wrong, if I had no other choice, I’d be able to do it.
They say that necessity is the mother of all invention, but in my case, it’s the mother of motivation.
Here are some things I’ve learnt recently that may be helpful to you, no matter what your experience with travel is;
It’s pretty obvious, it’s usually wise to be prepared way ahead of time. You’re able to secure some really good deals by booking early. If you’re as disorganised as I am though, there are still some good deals hanging about for you to snag just before your trip. I definitely wouldn’t recommend this though – it causes far too much stress.
I am incredibly lucky to have an Australian passport. There are few places that I’m not granted a visa on arrival. Most other places, allow for visas to be organised online a few weeks before your intended departure date.
Europe and the UK has some interesting rules when it comes to Aussies travelling around their parts though. There’s the Schengen region, and then there’s the non-Schengen region. Both allow an Australian travelling with a ‘Tourist Visa’ to remain in their territories no more than 90 days, within a six-month’s period. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that you can extend your time by hopping between the two regions. You’ll have to wait for the whole 180 days to elapse before you’re able to get a fresh 90 day total again.
The Schengen region includes most of the “touristy” European countries such as Spain, Italy, Greece, Germany, France, Switzerland, Amsterdam and loads more.
You’re allowed 90 days in each of the other countries on their own. The UK, Croatia, Montenegro, Bulgaria are all examples of non-Schengen countries.
Cash, dollar, money yo! So what’s the best way to get the most bang for your buck? Well I had to do a bit of research about this. I’m not a very financially minded individual but I need whatever savings I have to last me the entire 5 months I’m away, so I had to get a little savvy.
The first thing I did was apply for a credit card. I know, sounds ridiculous, right? How could you possibly save money by using a credit card? The particular card I got, from 28 degrees, is a travel card that doesn’t charge me any conversion or annual fees, and it’s also 55 days interest free on purchases. So I’m able to use it ANYWHERE, with no pesky international fees or charges. I simply make the purchases on my credit card and transfer money from my savings account online. BADA-BING-BADA-BOOM baby.
I also have some travel cards from ANZ with preloaded funds. They’re a little more complicated because beyond the first month, you’re charged a surcharge of 1% every time you load funds to your card. You also have to nominate the currency you would like to be listed as your first preference when making purchases. For example, if I’ve left my first preference as British pounds and then I try and make a purchase in Spain (where they use Euros), instead of using the preloaded Euros I have on my card, my purchase will be deducted from my Pounds which would have been converted to Euros. Confusing and inconvenient, right? I think I’ll stick to using my credit card.
I have also carried some physical currency with me, in case I need it when card is not accepted. Many people have recommended I do this. Apparently you’re charged to use most public toilets in Europe, so I’m sure having a few Euros lying about will come in handy!
I’ll be living it up in hostels mostly, but I’ve also been recently introduced to couch surfing. Couch Surfing is the equivalent of Air Bnb, without the exchange of money. Random strangers who just want to meet new people offer their spare bedroom or couch to travellers. Let’s hope mum and dad skip passed this section of this post because I know they won’t be thrilled about the prospect of me doing this. I have my reservations about such a service too but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious about the experience. Could people really be that good? This can be my emergency relief accommodation option if I’m running short of funds. #watchthisspace #sozmum