Join the Burgess Traveller’s community:
What NOT to do
My first attempt at an OE was a dismal failure. A late night session with a mate bitching about our bosses ended with us handing in our notices and stepping onto a plane to Aussie barely three weeks later (on Christmas Day – cheap flights!). By the time we disembarked in Sydney we had discovered not so glamorously that alcohol is stronger at altitude.
We didn’t really have much of a plan – just a few days booked in with distant relatives before we hit the road, bussing all 12 hours to Melbourne in one hit. By about week two we were already running out of funds and had to start looking for work. By week three I was home in New Zealand – jobless, broke, and with my tail tucked firmly between my legs.
Being the impulsive sort that I am, my next attempt was no better funded but at least I had a pre-arranged job to go to – and they paid for my flights! Bonus!.
However and whenever you opt to begin YOUR journey there are the two golden rules that I believe are key to a stress-free trip.
Always pre-book your first night’s accommodation
This one you may be tempted to bypass. Don’t.
Because things don’t always go as planned. Maybe your flight gets delayed until late and there are no hostels with 24-hour check-in. Or the ones that do have 24-hour check-in are full. Then you’re stuck out in the cold with a heavy backpack and an increasingly uncomfortable feeling that you’re going to have no option but to test out that park bench.
Even the best intentions and the most thorough research can let us down, so it’s really just smarter to have that first base covered. Survival 101: Shelter.
Pick somewhere either close to the airport or in the centre of the city. If you opt for the city option, seriously consider booking an airport transfer as well – especially if their main language isn’t English and it’s your first visit. It may seem like a waste of money, but at least you’ll know what you’re in for and won’t get ripped off by an enterprising taxi driver.
At the end of the day, it’s only ONE night – you can start being adventurous and impulsive the next day, when you’re rested, fed, and have gained your bearings a bit. Trust me, it’s worth it.
ALWAYS have a plan for getting home (no matter how long you intend to be travelling).
Whether it’s funds tucked away in an account you don’t touch, a return ticket home (preferably changeable), or an emergency credit card – please, PLEASE make sure you have a back-up plan. No matter how much research you have done or how ready you think you are, things happen.
I’ve known people who have dreamed about travelling through a certain region for years, only to get there and hate it the minute they step out of the airport. Or people who think they have a job lined up only to find out they don’t. Or, like me, you could be three months into your trip when you get called home for your sister’s wedding.
Plus, a lot of countries won’t grant you tourist entry unless you can prove you’re leaving in the required amount of time.
It’s never a bad idea to plan for the worst case scenario.
Do you have any hard and fast rules for when you travel? Leave a comment below and let me know. and for more help planning your trip download a free printable pre-travel checklist here!
Anita | Burgess Travellers
Anita Burgess is in the business of making memorable family moments. Soccer mum, travel broker & writer, she’s happiest with a camera in her hand and the sand between her toes. Find insider travel tips and inspiration for your memorable moments on her blog, Burgess Travellers, or get in touch if you’re ready to make your holiday happen.