Traveling to Australia: Insurance Information & Travel Tips for the Experience of a Lifetime
Do you have dingos, koala bears, and kangaroos dancing in your head as you plan your Australian adventure of a lifetime? As you button up your plans, cross your T’s and dot your I’s, you may be forgetting one vital aspect to preparing for your adventure down under: travel insurance. With so much information in every corner of the internet, researching travel insurance can get overwhelming quickly.
That’s why we’re going to break down everything you need to know about travel insurance for Australia, including what it is, the cost, and whether or not you should invest in it for your trip to Australia. And as an added bonus, we’ll share some of our best travel tips for an exciting, stress-free trip!
Travel Insurance for a Trip to Australia
No matter how much time and effort you’ve put into planning your trip to Australia, there’s still a chance that you encounter unforeseen issues. Whether it’s an emergency that forces you to cancel all or part of your trip, delays, weather-related cancellations, or even if your luggage gets lost or stolen, travel insurance can provide you with a reliable backup plan. A travel insurance policy can also help you protect the money you’ve invested in your trip, as well as any unexpected costs that arise from problems while you’re abroad.
Do I Need Insurance to Travel to Australia?
No, you don’t need travel insurance to travel to Australia. However, it’s in your best interest to get covered in the case of an emergency.
When it comes to getting medical attention while you’re in Australia, travel insurance can cover costs that your main health insurance provider will not cover, since most domestic insurance will not cover you abroad. If you get sick or injured while you’re in Australia, know that Medicare doesn’t include any services provided outside the United States. If your illness or injury is severe enough that it requires you to be transported back home, neither your private insurance or Medicare will cover that cost–but travel insurance will if you buy a plan with emergency medical evacuation coverage.
If you encounter delays, cancellations, or even lose your luggage, you may be required to pay out of pocket to change your tickets, get last-minute hotel plans, or purchase items to replace your lost belongings. Travel insurance can cover these unforeseen expenses, and potentially save you thousands of dollars. And if you happen to lose your passport, many travel insurance providers have concierge services to help you get back home.
How Much Does Travel Insurance Cost for My Trip to Australia?
The cost of travel insurance for your Australia trip depends on your needs and the type of policy you choose. Basic coverage runs anywhere from 3-4% of your total trip costs, while you can get premium coverage for 10-12%. Variables that can impact the cost include your trip length, your age, the number of people in your party, and your trip costs to insure. The price also varies depending on the level of coverage you want.
There’s no standard pricing scheme from one travel insurance provider to the next, so comparing policies and pricing is key to getting the best policy for your penny.
You can even purchase your insurance directly through this tool, making it an easy one-stop-shop. It couldn’t be easier to get your coverage, and having a plan B in place will give you peace of mind.
Now that your travel insurance is in place, it’s time to make sure that your itinerary is squared away! From money to weather, to exploring the Outback and letting loose in Sydney, we’ve put together a list of tips to consider when traveling to Australia to help you out!
Money: Currency & Tipping
The official currency of Australia is the Australian dollar (AUD), and you can find exchange points at hotels, banks, and airports. You’ll also easily find international ATMs, and most places will accept credit cards–but it’s always a good idea to have a little cash in the local currency with you at all times. When you go to rural areas or the Outback, you’ll have a more difficult time finding ATMs, and many businesses may be cash only.
Australia has a “goods and services” tax of 10% on all purchases. However, if you spend more than AUD$300 at a single business, you are eligible for a refund of this tax within 60 days of purchase. You can claim your refund at the international terminal in the airport, and find out more information about the Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) here.
When it comes to tipping, you might be surprised to know that it is not a common practice in Australia. You’ll never have a gratuity added to your bill at hotels or restaurants. However, if you do go to an upmarket place, and you want to reward excellent service, a 10% tip is acceptable.
What to Pack for your Visit & Weather Conditions
Depending on when and where you’re visiting, the weather conditions in Australia can vary greatly. While you may think that it’s just hot and hotter, there are quite a few areas that get snow where you can enjoy winter sports.
If you’re visiting the Northern territory or even the tip of Queensland, the temperatures go from hot to hotter between winter and summer. Pack your best summer clothes, and you may also want to invest in a portable air conditioner. If you’re going during the winter, note that these areas don’t see snow, but it will be the rainy season. You’ll be best suited if you bring waterproof shoes and pants with you. You should also note that even if you’re planning on visiting the desert of Alice Springs and the Red Centre, while the days are sizzling, it does dip into freezing temperatures overnight, so be prepared with a variety of clothes to keep you warm!
Immerse Yourself in Aboriginal Culture
While you may not have the time (or stamina) to hike through the Australian Outback, there are a variety of cultural experiences that’ll give you an immersive cultural experience. Check out the aboriginal art at the National Gallery of Australia or the Umbarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre, where you can experience boomerang- and spear-throwing instruction, painting with natural ochers, and guided walking tours of Aboriginal sacred sites.
In Manyallaluk, seek out The Dreaming Place, which is an Aboriginal community near Katherine. It welcomes visitors and teaches them to paint, weave, throw boomerangs, and perform other tasks of the local daily life. They offer a low-key day and the chance to chat one-on-one with Aboriginal people in their bush home.
If you’re looking for a more leisurely experience, check out the Great Barrier Reef. Swim, snorkel, and dive in the world’s most extensive coral reef system and experience a once-in-a-lifetime living masterpiece. Or, dine overlooking Uluru and Kata Tjuta while listening to didgeridoos and take in the sunset. Then, wind down by listening to Dreamtime stories by the campfire, under a sea of stars.
Popular Destinations in Australia
While you’re still ironing out your itinerary for your big Aussie adventure, here are some of our favorite popular places to consider adding to your list. We’ve also thrown in a couple of unique ones that are stunning, but less touristy if you’re looking for something that’s less crowded and more immersive.
Top 10 Most Popular Places to Visit in Australia
- Great Barrier Reef
- Uluru-Kata Tjuta
Top 5 Unique Places to Visit in Australia
- Blue Lake
- Coober Pedy
- Wycliffe Well