Australian Dollar - Travel Money Saving Tips
Travel tips for Australia.
The classic error first-time visitors make is trying to 'do' Australia in two or three weeks, forgetting that it's a continent as well as a country. It's far better to pick two or three areas to tackle well than attempt to tick off the highlights in one visit. Otherwise, most of the visit is spent in transit. Not only are the gaps between major cities bigger than they are in Europe or the US – there are generally far fewer small towns between them. This delineation between urban and bush is massively to Australia's credit. Once out of the city, it feels like you're in the wild.
Australia has a Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 10 per cent. You may be able to claim a refund for the GST paid on goods if you have spent AUD$300 or more with a single business, no more than 60 days before departing Australia. Tourist Refund Scheme facilities are located in the departure area of international terminals.
There are no limits on the amount of currency that can be brought in or out of Australia, but travellers must declare hard currency equivalent to AUD10,000 or higher. Australia is not usually considered a budget destination, in fact Sydney and Melbourne are consistently ranked as two of the world’s most expensive cities but if you're careful with your spending it’s still possible to make your money go a long way, especially when the Australian Dollar is weaker.
Hotels and restaurants do not add service charges to your bill, and tipping is always your choice. In upmarket restaurants, it is common to tip waiters 10 percent of the bill for good service. Americans, in particular, struggle to grasp the absolutely impeccable Australian tipping system. Basically, you tip if you want to, but nobody particularly expects you to or pressures you to.
Do I need a Visa for Australia?
Most nationalities will need to get a visa before you travel. Beware of scam adverts claiming to help you extend a working holiday visa. Several British nationals have had their visas cancelled as a result. If you're a Singaporean national, there's good news in relation to visas which is that from January 2018 a new, long-term, multiple entry visa will be available. This will allow Singaporeans to stay for up to three months at a time over a six year period.
Also see our full Foreign Exchange Guide to Australia for more money saving tools and information on Australian Dollar Transfers and Travel Money.