Half of a year. It took us that long to actually sit down, plan what to write, when to write and start writing again since our last post. You would think that the coronavirus situation should technically help because you are at home, you cannot go anywhere basically and you have all the time in the world. Time? Yes. Ideas? Yes. Motivation to write? Not at all.
BUT, we are back. This time for good, we promise. We have bunch of topics prepared for the next posts so you will definitely have something to read. Hopefully the situation will improve sometime soon and our advice on travelling will actually prove helpful 🙂
For us, planning the next adventure is always something super positive and we cannot wait when we will be doing it again. Australia was our first big adventure, not counting the US because that was a completely different experience. And because of that we had to prepare accordingly.
Plan the dates
The whole planning started with Josip checking the ticket prices 2 years before we planned to go to Australia. Why so early? We wanted to figure out when it would be the cheapest and the best time to fly. Prices change throughout the year and some months are cheaper than the others. It’s also cheaper to book your flight a few months earlier but not too early. That’s what we were trying to figure out. Once we knew that the best time to fly is the end of December and the best time to buy the tickets is about 6-4 months earlier, we could mark that part as “checked” on our list.
We are looking for our tickets on different websites but the two we are using the most are kayak.com and skyscanner.com.
Think about the accomodation
When you’re planning a big trip, it’s always good to think earlier about where you’re going to spend the nights. We didn’t have to look for hotels as we were planning to camp most of the time. The only nights we spent in the hotel were the night after flying into Australia and the night before flying back home.
We had to do the research on campsites though and we want to reduce improvisation to a minimum. In a place like this, you want to make sure you have everything checked, booked and you will not be left without a plan (by the way, it’s good to not only have plan A but also plan B!). Additionally, we were traveling to Australia in early January 2020 (and I am sure you all remember what was the biggest news during that time of year).
We were sleeping mostly in the tent, sometimes in the car so we were looking for campsites suitable for that. We used an app called “WikiCamps”, it gives you all the information about the place, the price, facilities, everything you need. For most nights, we booked a place with literally nothing in there. It was just a place where we could put up the tent. But for one or two nights we looked for a place with showers, toilets and other additional facilities because we knew it might be hard to find that on the road.
Make a list of places you want to visit
Again, during a trip like that, we wanted to be ready. We sat together and made a list of places we wanted to see. We put them into a few categories: those that were a must-see, those that were less of a priority but we still wanted to visit, and those that “if we have time we want to see”. Based on that, we narrowed the list to those places that we were actually able to fit during our 3-week travelling.
Josip was the brain of the whole operation. He wrote everything down in the excel sheet, divided it into places and dates when we were going to be in Australia and used colors to mark where we should be on what day. It took him 2 months to put everything together but thanks to that we had a whole, clear plan for the whole trip.
And yes, we had to change our plans a bit because of the fires. Basically first three days from our list were cancelled because we had planned mostly national parks and they were all closed. That’s why I said earlier that it’s good to have plan A AND plan B. You never know what will happen. We just pushed the places on our list three days earlier and prolonged our stay in some of them.
Think about packing
Packing? A year or half of a year before the actual flight? Yes. We have never been in a place like Australia so there were some things that we had to buy. And before you buy anything, you have to do the research, check different websites and order it. We needed lighter sleeping bags because we only had winters ones. We had to order better headlamps, sleeping mats, lamps for tent, stuff like that. It takes time to find good products without spending too much money and of course, they need to be delivered. So it’s always good to think about the place where you’re going and what you might need to have with you.
How do you want to explore the place you’re going to? It all depends for how long you’re planning to travel and how far. In our case it was obvious for us that we will rent a car. We were going to Australia for 3 weeks and our plan was to divide it into two parts.
First, we traveled for 2 weeks in the Sydney and Melbourne area in a car we rented right after we flew in. Then, we flew to Perth, rented another car there and traveled for 5 days. There was no other way for us than to have a car. Places we were visiting were so far away from each other and some of them were located in so remote areas that it would be just impossible to get there in any other way. Even with the car sometimes we were losing hope because of all the fires.
We booked the car a few months earlier as well. For that we always use rentalcars.com as they have various companies and options you can compare and choose the one that fits you. Usually, all the bookings have a free cancellation option up to even a week before the pick-up date so there is no fear of losing money in case you need to change your plans.
Make sure you will have access to the Internet connection. Wherever you’re going, it’s always good to have it as not only your family and friends will want to know what’s going on with you but you will also have to contact the hotel, car rental or any other place. We bought a sim card at the airport right away but we already knew (more or less) which one we need. Different networks are available in different places so it’s important to check which one will work in the area you’re planning to visit.
We had a 80GB plan that lasted us the entire trip, and we used a hotspot option in our phones to share it with everyone.
There is a lot of planning involved in big travels but that’s one of the best parts of it! I love doing the research, checking what we need to have, where to go, how to get there because it makes me feel like I’m one step closer to being there 🙂