Packing may be the ONLY annoying part of travelling long term. It is such a process to try to prepare what you are going to need for the next few months. I always end up overpacking so for my trip to Australia I was determined to do it right. I spent days making lists, packing and unpacking my bags, and triple-checking I had everything I needed. Somehow that still didn't work and I ended up forgetting some essentials which were annoying for my bank account. I've learned from my mistakes and now I want to share that knowledge with all of you. Packing is a task and it would be great to get it right the first time.
Travel lightly (Or as light as possible)
When packing for a trip that requires multiple trips to the airport it's definitely smart to try to ONLY bring a carry-on. There is nothing more annoying than arriving in a new place, excited to start exploring, and be delayed by the baggage carousel. I made the mistake of checking a bag but looking back I could have easily fit everything I needed into a carry-on and a personal bag. So make it fit. Whatever doesn't fit, you won't need. Trust me. I got rid of so many items while I was travelling and I didn't end up missing them at all.
Can You Enter The Country?
The first thing you need to make sure you pack for Australia is your travel visa. You NEED a visa to get into Australia and there are a few different types of visas you can get if you're visiting Australia. If you're travelling to Australia and not planning to work you can enter the country for three months at a time with an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). This is the visa that I had and it cost me $20 AUD. You can't work while you are there on this visa so make sure you look at your options before applying! When you get approved, print your paperwork and keep it with your passport – the second most important item you'll need when travelling.
Protect Your Skin
The sun in Australia is STRONG and the sunscreen in most places I visited was really expensive. I brought a travel size bottle and had to buy more when we got there so bring a few smaller bottles if you can and save your skin (and your bank account). I also recommend bringing a hat. Your scalp needs protection on those days spent in the sun. While you're picking up your sunscreen, pick up all of your travel sizes toiletries too. Sitting on an airplane leaves your skin feeling pretty dry so make sure to put some cream and lip chap in your carry-on. You'll be thankful you did.
What To Wear
Do your research to find out what the climate will be like in Australia when you plan to visit. If you're going to be visiting a few different parts of the country, check the weather in all of them because it's likely it will be different. I visited Australia in the summer so I packed mostly shorts, bathing suits and athletic wear. I ended up wearing the same three or four outfits over and over again but I was prepared for all types of weather.
Spend some time thinking about the activities you are going to be doing in Australia. Are you going to be spending the majority of your time exploring nature and hiking? Or will you likely be lounging by the beach and taking in all of the sunny days? I packed four bathing suits for three months in Australia and I really only needed one or two. To properly explore Australia you really need to spend some time hiking so bring an appropriate amount of shorts, pants, shirts and socks. I would also recommend packing a rain jacket just in case. I should have packed mostly activewear so I wasn't constantly trying to find a laundromat to wash my clothes.
Make sure you have some nicer outfits. Australia is a beautiful place and when you aren't exploring nature, you may want to head out on the town. There are also so many amazing events that happen in the cities throughout the year and some really delicious restaurants so pack something nice just in case.
Footwear For All Occasions
As much as I wish I could just live in running shoes while I was travelling, sometimes you're going to want a simple pair of flip-flops or sandals. I really think that sandals are a must. It is HOT in Australia and there were some days I just could not wear socks and runners in that heat. If you're staying in hostels, you are going to want to be wearing flip flops in those showers. I packed a pair of flip-flops that broke after a week so make sure you are buying a good quality pair that will last the duration of your trip. You'll be doing a lot of walking so make sure you have some comfortable shoes. I suggest a really durable pair of running shoes. Bonus if they are waterproof.
Document Your Trip
If you aren't very into photography your cell phone will probably do the trick but know that Australia is a VERY photogenic country and there will be photo opportunities around every corner. I brought my cell phone and my camera so that I could document my trip with photos and videos. I also brought a notebook so I could take notes about certain things we were doing while travelling. I would suggest packing your cell phone, chargers, camera, camera charger, a travel notebook and pen. You're going to making some really amazing memories and documenting them is a lot of fun.
Some Other Suggestions
Bring a reusable water bottle. This is perfect for the plane because you can fill it up at the airport and be hydrated during the flight but will also come in handy on your Australian excursions in the heat.
I would suggest getting a phone plan when you get to Australia so make sure your phone is unlocked before you travel. When you get there, check out Vodafone or Telstra and find the best plan. Australia has some really cheap plans with a lot of data. Bonus: You can pay month by month!
Pick up some Australian money before you leave for your trip. If you wait until you're at the airport you're going to pay much higher fees for your currency. Although pretty much everywhere in Australia accepts credit, I found it was nice to have some cash to avoid those bank fees.
Australia is an amazing place and I am so fortunate to have spent three months travelling around the beautiful country. I'm already looking forward to getting back and next time I will definitely make sure I am better prepared! Travelling is amazing and packing doesn't have to be the hard part. If you prepare yourself well enough in advance, you'll be able to successfully pack a carry on bag for your three month trip to Australia.