Travel noob: Should I use a travel agent to help organise my work holiday?
Replies: 22 - Last Post: Oct 30, 2012 7:19 PM Last Post By: Cosmicool
Oct 9, 2012 2:37 PM
Travel noob: Should I use a travel agent to help organise my work holiday?Hi. For ages I've been thinking of doing an Australian Working Holiday, and I really think I'd like to do it within the next few months. I haven't booked anything yet, but I know I should do soon, as I'm looking to possibly go in January 2013.
I'm 21, female, British citizen, don't have any experience of travelling anywhere abroad on my own (always been with family or school trips, etc), and so the thought of doing such a trip, although sounds very exciting, also seems very daunting with all the things that need to be organised, such as visa, plane tickets, travel insurance, Oz bank account, Oz tax number, accomodation, international sim card, etc etc.
I thought about taking a bit of the burden of all this organising off me a little by using a travel agent, but I'm not sure which one would be best. I've thought about using STA Travel to help me organise it all, but now I'm having second thoughts after it's taken them over 2 months to send me a gift card that I'd won in a competition of theirs, and plenty of bad reviews I've seen online and people saying they're a rip-off is a bit off-putting too. I'll probably still use STA Travel to at least book my flight though (probably a one-way ticket as I'm not sure if I'll hate Oz and return within weeks, or love it and stay the whole 12 months or even 24 months), since they're giving me a £1000 gift card so my own money won't really be on the line anyway. But for everything else, would I be better of going to a different travel agent to organise things, or should I just man up and do all the admin myself?
The official Australia website has a http://www.australia.com/campaigns/nothinglikeaustralia/uk/youth/check-list.html of things you need, which I assume is for someone organising it all themselves, so is this a sufficient enough guide to follow?
Anyone who's done an Oz working holiday before, or is planning to, did you use a travel agent or not, and if so which one and why? Would love some good opinions and advice before I jump in, thanks! :)
Edited by: Cosmicool
Oct 9, 2012 3:01 PM
1Break it down into steps, it'snot that daunting:
all the things that need to be organised, such as
visa - do it online yourself, takes minutes
plane tickets - you can use an agent for this if you wish or buy direct online
travel insurance - easy peasy online
Oz bank account - get it when you arrive. The banks can't wait to sign you up and will help you.
Oz tax number - no need to get until you have a job or are clos eto it
accomodation - book a hostel for the first week until you get your bearings. Don't forget the extra M.
international sim card - get a local prepaid SIM when you arrive. I recommend taking a cheap old unlocked Nokia for that purpose
Oct 9, 2012 6:57 PM
2If you are daring, you could try Jet Airways from the UK to India, and then by them again to Singapore, go up to Malaysia by road, and then fly with Air Asia from Kuala Lumpur to either, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney or the Gold Coast.
Australia is a great place, 99% of the time, you are left alone, I mean, not as hassled as in the UK.
We don't have Gypsies, and while we do have crime here too, its not as bad as in parts of Europe.
If you don't want to pass India at this stage, you can pay a bit more, and go from the UK direct to Singapore with Singapore Airlines, or over to Kuala Lumpur with MAS, or Emirates/Etihad via the UAE.
You will have to stop over somewhere, OR if you want to, you could pay a lot more, and go from the UK over to the US, and then come that way around to Australia.
Oct 9, 2012 7:07 PM
3One way, which avoids Asia and the US, (if you want), is to fly Air New Zealand from London to Hong Kong with a transit of 2 hours or so, then on to Auckland, then over to Sydney.
As a UK citizen, you could also do a 23 months WHV in NZ (straight through in one application) as well as the Aust WHV. 2 are separate so there is nothing stopping you from doing both.
Thats nearly 4 years if you do work in regional Aust, to get the 2 years WHV, and then do the 23 months WHV.
OR do the Aust one, go back to the UK to start uni, finish that and then before 30, go and also do the NZ WHV.
Oct 10, 2012 4:49 AM
4OK, thanks a lot for your answer RayCCroc. Is it recommended to use an old cheap phone for backpacking, rather than a smartphone? Or could I use my smartphone and also have the cheap phone with me as backup?
Thanks for your reply too, daycat. I've already looked into flights and I'm aware that I'd have to stopover, which I don't mind at all - sounds better than a straight 24-hour flight from UK to Australia (which I can't even seem to find anyway)! The India-Singapore-Malaysia idea sounds nice, I could look into that. Going via USA also sounds nice, as I've always wanted to visit that country too, though I don't want to be using up all my money before I enter Oz so I'd have to think about that.
Oct 10, 2012 4:56 AM
The local phone companies will give you a local prepaid SIM ("pay as you go" as it's called in the UK) for about $10 which includes $10 credit, so it's free. Vodafone, Telstra, Optus etc all have numerous high st shops
Oct 10, 2012 6:18 AM
6I agree about the cheap phone.
What if you loose the thing?
I have lost one phone, slipped out of my pocket on the bus. Pocket was on trouser, not button down of trousers.
Rang up the bus company, couldnt be found. It was an elcheapo Samsung 1150.
Now all my trousers are button down camo trousers, true yob style!
In the news today, the boss of the ATO said people should not pass on their tax file number till they have started work. Also the same for bank account number. This should be a kesson for all newbies.
I personally dont know whats the rush reason people (newbies) want their tax file even before tgey arrive into Aust!!!
Oct 10, 2012 6:22 AM
7Aust and NZ allow you ypto apply for WHVs on the internet.
If you have no commitments, silly idea to some maybe, how about getting a years work visa allowance to the US.
Oct 12, 2012 3:50 PM
Oct 12, 2012 6:17 PM
Oct 13, 2012 1:08 PM
10Also, I was asking about taking a smartphone cos I thought it'd be nice to be able to take photos on my phone and send them, and also have internet access wherever I go. I know there's a chance of losing it, but then again there's that same chance whether I'm at home or abroad anyway. I'll have to think about that.
Oct 13, 2012 1:12 PM
11Sure, take your Smartphone, and use it when you have internet access, but keep a cheap phone with local SIM for receiving calls from the UK and making/receiving local calls. For one thing, it's much more attractive (cheaper) for employers, or social contacts for that matter, to call a local Aus number than to have to dial the UK number of your smartphone.
Oct 13, 2012 4:23 PM
12Internet access on your smart phone, unless you buy an Aussie SIM for it, will entail you paying a tonne of money, esp for international data roaming.
If your smart phone is unlocked, I can rocommend the Woolworths Prepaid mobile phone sim, just have tp provide passport as id, it has a whopping 5gb of data allowance on the phone, for Aud$29 lasting 45 days.
Optus itself has a $30 prepaid sim, lasting a short 28 days, with 500gb, or $40 lasting a short 28 days, giving 1gb of data.
Virgin & Vodafone also have sims, they have long life plans, I think Vodafone has a $20 sim that can last a year, when the balance runs out, just recharge. Only problem with the cheaper sims, is that you have to add on a data bank to it, so/thus paying extra.
If you do use a lot of data, and will not be carrying a laptop with you, look into the Woolworths sim. 5gb on my mobile for data last me a lot.
Oct 13, 2012 4:26 PM
13Unless you REALLY need to have a post paid billing system, best to go prepaid.
Postpaid can see you having to go through a credit assessment, and also, you tend to pay more, ie, have to pay a monthly fee, which may or may not have included calls.
People who run their own businesses might need post paid, to claim for tax epxenses, but prepaid is best.
Ultimately, up to you though.
Oct 13, 2012 4:33 PM
14Though, if you wan to get a 6 months sim, just for employers to contact you, Virgin has one sim even cheaper than Optus, $15 lasting 6 months, but no data included.
And the mobile phone credit balance rolls over, its down the line in this link. Maybe you already know of it.
(4 star Hotel)
From US$255.15 per night
Las VegasBook now
(3 star Hotel)
From US$82.00 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$169.00 per night