Australian Adventures

Before You Go: Australia/Fiji Need-to-Knows

I have been preparing for my Aussie excursion for months. Not only had I developed a close relationship with Marvin at Qantas airlines, but I’d read up on the latest attractions, e-mailed locals for tips, and practiced my Aussie slang. I had diligently watched Crocodile Dundee, Crocodile Dundee II, and Finding Nemo. I had reread Mutant Message Down Under by Marlo Morgan and only used Aussie hair products for the past month. I had some roo in my do and was ready to schlep the 8,000 miles Down Under.

Or so I thought…

I kept hitting snags in the final days of preparation. And while I was hoping that the bank debacle would be the last of it, there was no such luck.

It started when one of my readers e-mailed me her anecdotal story about how she didn’t realize she needed a visa to travel to Australia before she got there. I found the story very entertaining and sympathized for her situation, but was pretty confident it didn’t apply to me. I haven’t needed a visa to go anywhere I’ve traveled thus far and Australia would have been the last place I suspected. But then I realized that even though she had come to OZ from Beijing, she was an American citizen.

Hoping this was some sort of practical joke, I started Googling. To my dismay, I did in fact need to apply for a visa. I sent a mental thank-you to this reader. Then I panicked.

As it would turn out, applying for a visa wasn’t as strenuous of a process as I had imagined, but it was something I hadn’t considered. I applied online, paid the fee, and received my e-mail confirmation shortly afterward. And even though I skated through this obstacle, I made a mental note to never again assume I would get access into a country with only my American passport in hand.

Then came the outlet adapter issue. I am well aware that I need adapters for each country I travel to with my American electronics. I purchased an Australian friendly adapter and called it a day. But when I read the instruction booklet, I realized I also needed a transformer. Apparently American electronics run on 110-120 volts of electricity. Most of the rest of the world runs on 220-240 volts.

Seriously, who knows this kind of stuff?

Without a transformer to convert the power to a lower voltage, I risk blowing up my cell phone and iPod every time I plug them into an international outlet. This also explained why my phone acted so funky when I was traveling through Europe. I raced out to pick up a transformer.

But then came another moment of panic. I use AT&T and have the World Traveler’s plan so I can call or text friends and family back home with little or no cost to me. When I called AT&T International Care to inform them I would be going to Australia and Fiji, the representative told me they do not support data packages in Fiji. Therefore, if I was planning on texting or calling anyone from my device while in Suva City, I would be paying a pretty penny. So it goes, I guess.

There wasn’t much that I could do about this situation except start devising alternative methods of interaction. So far I’m looking into smoke signals and carrier pigeons.

I think what I’ve realized is that regardless of how prepared I feel I am for my next nomadic adventure, there are always going to be challenges to overcome and lessons I need to learn. Each challenge is a chance to improve the next journey. And in all reality, I’m happy to be the guinea pig so you can learn from my mistakes. Learn on, my fellow vagabonds! This one I’m calling…

Before You Go: Australia/Fiji Need-to-Knows

1. If you are not from Australia or New Zealand, you will need to apply for a visa before landing in OZ. Depending on what country you are from and what kind of visa you are applying for will depend on how difficult it is to obtain one. You can apply for a visa on the internet and in most cases have one approved the same day. To apply for your visa to Australia click here.

2. Make sure you not only have an appropriate adapter for your electronics but also have a voltage transformer if necessary. This applies only to travelers using electronics that run off of 110-120 volts. If you are from the US you will need one. If you’re unsure or need help determining what transformer or adapter to get, click here.

3. Check with your phone provider to see if they offer data packages for your destination. AT&T’s messaging and data packages are not applicable once you reach Fiji. If you’d rather just not deal with your provider at all, plan on picking up an international phone once you land. Or you can resolve to use internet cafes instead. Or, if you’re really brave, you can go without all forms of communication and truly enjoy the moment. As impossible as this may seem, people have done it before. ;)

I hope you can learn from my oversights!

And here’s hoping for smooth sailing here on out. Only a few more hours before I get on that A380… I mean, what else could go wrong? Or is that question better left unasked?

See you on the other side! Happy Adventuring!

115 Comments

  • Reply

    larkycanuck

    April 24, 2012

    Some great tips here. Learnt something. I also just published my post on 7 ridiculously easy ways how I saved $$$$$$$ and time on Adventure Travel here http://bit.ly/JDLbLh

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 24, 2012

      Thanks so much! So glad it could be helpful.

      And what a great post idea! I’ll be sure to check it out. =)

      Happy adventuring!

  • Reply

    barbaraelka

    April 24, 2012

    I love Australia…. I want to go back.

  • Reply

    youngjeninspats

    April 24, 2012

    Tell me you don’t feel a triumphant pride at having kicked those problems’ asses. It just makes your inevitable success that much sweeter :-) ! Good luck and safe flying!

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 29, 2012

      I definitely feel a relief for not having to have dealt with them on this side. =) I am grateful for that! Thanks so much!

  • Reply

    stevenwwatkins

    April 24, 2012

    Good tips. Reminds me I need to check on a few things. Headed on a great adventure to Ecuador on Saturday!

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 24, 2012

      Thanks so much! And whoohoo, Ecuador! Take lots of pictures!

      Can’t wait to swap adventure stories when you get back!

  • Reply

    ceraggio01

    April 24, 2012

    I love love love Australia. I lived in Sydney when I was 20. Sigh.

    I learned about the transformers last month when I was in Bali and got a nice little shock everytime I touched my ipod. Nice.

    I always travel sans-phone, but then I’m not ever gone (yet) for as long as you are… I hit up the internet cafes. But sometimes I’d like to post a picture to Facebook or something, so maybe I’ll have to go that route in the future.

    Sounds like an amazing trip. Can’t wait to read about your adventures!

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 24, 2012

      Wow, how fun! What were you doing in Sydney?

      And how funny about Bali! I couldn’t figure out why I was getting shocked in Austria. Now it makes sense. =)

      Thanks so much for the well-wishes! Looking forward to sharing my adventures with you!

      • Reply

        ceraggio01

        April 25, 2012

        I studied abroad for a semester in college. Holy fun! The best decision I ever made! I didn’t really go to class much… but got lots of “life” experiences!

        Aussie boys are cute. Really, really cute. They are very distracting!

        Looking forward to reading about your adventures!!

        • Reply

          Hilary Billings

          May 2, 2012

          Wow! That must have been exciting! What were you studying?

          And I agree; there seems to be an overabundance of good looks and well-mannered men running abouts here. I’m certainly not complaining ;)

          Thank you for your support! Looking forward to sharing!

          • ceraggio01

            May 5, 2012

            I was studying “Aussie culture” – drinking lots of beer! Just kidding. I took classes in communications & women’s studies (which I got my BA in here in the States) and a great class in Aboriginal studies at Macquarie University outside of Sydney.
            Make sure you spend some time in the Blue Mountains. They’re unlike anything else on earth, and Byron Bay, north of Sydney on the coast, is probably one of my favorite places!

          • Hilary Billings

            May 5, 2012

            Wow, what a great experience! I’ve been hearing about this Aussie culture… haha.

            And thanks so much for the tips! Having such a blast!

  • Reply

    lynnschriner

    April 24, 2012

    Girlfriend you crack me up! Your life is as delicious as Vanilla Ice Cream on a summers day! So have you left yet??? Will the pigeon visit the Farm?

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 24, 2012

      Haha, yes I agree! I have a great life =).

      And nope! I leave in a few hours. Which means I need to finish packing. Ack!

      • Reply

        lynnschriner

        April 27, 2012

        Blessings on your travels!

        • Reply

          Hilary Billings

          April 28, 2012

          Thank you, Lynn. It’s been a little challenging so far, but I’m hoping things will continue moving forward. Can’t wait to talk when I get back. =)

          • lynnschriner

            April 30, 2012

            Big hugs new girlfriend…in my thoughts and prayers!

          • Hilary Billings

            May 5, 2012

            Thank you so much, Lynn! I hope I can continue to grow and learn and stay safe on this experience.

            You’re in my thoughts and prayers too. Thank you for looking after me!

  • Reply

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  • Reply

    willyptravel

    April 24, 2012

    I really enjoy reading about your life and adventures as a young world traveler. I wanted to share the fact that I recently shared this article on the study/travel blog that I run for William Penn University. http://williampennuniversitystudyabroad.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/a-fellow-blogger-and-traveler-shout-out/

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 24, 2012

      Wow, thank you so much! I am so happy to hear that you enjoy the blog!

      And thanks so much for sharing. I hope I can continue to provide some insight for the students!

      What kinds of adventures do you have?

      • Reply

        willyptravel

        April 25, 2012

        My adventures have taken me to Japan when I was 16 for 3 weeks, South Africa for five and a half months right before turning 21, and most recently leading a group of students, our college president, and her husband on a trip to Rwanda and Tanzania as the GA for International Programs. We are currently in the middle of determining what our focus should be for the next school year – with so many options and choices out there, it can be a rather difficult decision! But I also know that once I am done with this position, that I would love to continue to travel around the world personally and professionally.

        • Reply

          Hilary Billings

          May 2, 2012

          It certainly sounds like you have had a fulfilling and adventurous life! I can’t wait to hear more about your previous experiences or where your future travels will take you!

          I hope you will stay in touch! And let me know if you ever make it out to Vegas.

  • Reply

    Anita Mac

    April 24, 2012

    That is awesome that you got all your problems out of the way before you left! All that is left is to have an amazing time, share your adventures and remember to look the other way first when crossing the street! Can’t wait to hear more and see some pics! It has been a couple of years since I was back in Oz – getting homesick!

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 24, 2012

      Thank you so much, Anita! I am always so grateful to have your support and encouragement.

      And I’ll be sure to say hello to Oz for you! Do you have a favorite city?

  • Reply

    Igor Ristić

    April 24, 2012

    I’m jealous of the fact that you’ll be riding in an A380. Being an airline nerd, I can’t wait for my chance to ride on that baby. Have a good trip!

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 24, 2012

      Haha, it took some planning to make sure I could, but I will be sure to share with you the experience! I hope you get to ride on it soon!

      And thanks for the well wishes! I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes!

  • Reply

    haileyjw

    April 24, 2012

    Whew! Close call there with the visa. What sorts bothers me is why they don’t tell you that you need the visa the second you buy your plane ticket, that would make logical sense, would it not? Oh well, I’m sure the mental thanks were much appreciated. Have a fantastic trip! :)

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      May 2, 2012

      Hi Hailey! Yes, that would make sense… maybe we could create a consulting company for air travel to provide such a service =).

      Thank you so much! I can’t wait to share more adventures with you!

  • Reply

    Tracie Louise

    April 24, 2012

    I am Australian… born and bred. Been living here for my entire 46 years. My American born husband… LOVES… Australia. We wouldn’t live anywhere else. If you have any questions, feel free to email me. And if you are looking for great things to see when you get here, check out my photography (if you haven’t already). It’s a beautiful country. Best place on Earth IMHO. Have a great trip :)

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 28, 2012

      Hi Tracie!

      Thank you so much! I have been enjoying the beautiful scenery! I will be sure to check it out when I can! My internet is a little inconsistent, but I’ll try to do it soon. And I greatly appreciate your help and support. I may be e-mailing you =).

      Please keep in touch!

  • Reply

    Hailey

    April 24, 2012

    I loved the pigeon cartoon and I am so excited for you! We just watched a special on the airplane you will be flying on … Awesome! I can’t wait to hear all about it! Brad says just turn your phone off in Fiji so you won’t have to worry about getting texts ;) Have an amazing trip!!!!

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 28, 2012

      Thank you so much, Hailey! I can’t wait to share more with you and Brad and Angela. Love and miss you lots!

  • Reply

    kaylabug311

    April 24, 2012

    Loved Australia! I studied abroad there a year ago.
    PS You don’t actually need a transformer. On your chargers where all the text is, if it says 100V-240V under INPUT then the transformer is already built to handle the difference in the voltages.

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 28, 2012

      Oh wow, what great advice! I will have to check that! Thank you so much for the tip!

  • Reply

    teaancrumpets

    April 24, 2012

    I really enjoy your blog (want to get over to the USA someday as a grown up) and i’m glad to hear you have averted potential electronic disaster! I don’t know if you have been on an A380 yet but they are soooo cold, hope you have something warm for the plane. Well I hope you have a blast here in Oz and some warmish clothes too as it’s starting to get a little cool, Have fun :)

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 28, 2012

      Hi ithere! Thank you so much for your kind words! I am so thankful for your advice and will be sure to bring a sweater.

      I hope you’ll stay in touch! Let me know if/when you decide to make it Stateside =).

      Happy Adventuring!

  • Reply

    teaancrumpets

    April 24, 2012

    I really enjoy reading your blog and hearing about your adventures (hope to get myself to the USA someday as a grown up) and I’m glad to hear you have avoided potential electronic disaster! I found the A380 to be pretty cold, colder than a regular plane so hope you have something warm. Well I hope you have a blast here in Oz and some warmish clothes as it’s getting cool here now :)

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 28, 2012

      Oops, looks like you may have sent this twice, but I’m happy to respond =).

      Thanks again for the great tips and your encouragement! I look forward to sharing my adventures with you!

      Take care!

  • Reply

    I’m glad you found out about the transformer… One of the girls I went to Australia with refused to acknowledge it’s importance and her blow drier started sparking and scorched her hair. Grossest smell ever.

    Best piece of advice I got before I went? Sydney does not follow American “pedestrians have the right of way” rules. It’s Frogger, and you will get squished. Run across quickly.

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 28, 2012

      I am so glad to hear that I found out about it too!

      And what great advice to have! I’ve been learning it on the go. Frogger is the perfect way to describe it =).

  • Reply

    andreasherrodd

    April 24, 2012

    Good thing you found out about the visa before going! I tend to assume I won’t need a visa unless I’m staying more than a month somewhere, but that’s not always true…so it is totally a good practice to check up on that before booking flights!

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 28, 2012

      I know, I didn’t think it would be a problem for such a short stay either. But you’re absolutely right! Practice makes perfect! =)

  • Reply

    travellingbag

    April 24, 2012

    I hope you’re coming to Perth!

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 28, 2012

      Unfortunately, not this time. I’m just going up the Western coast before I head to Fiji. But I have heard so many wonderful things about Perth, I will need to plan a visit there soon!

  • Reply

    ghummakkad

    April 24, 2012

    The pigeon cartoon is too funny. Well, have a great Australian adventure…it already has been while preparing for it. As an Indian, I always need to visa to travel anywhere, unless it a few countries that have visa on arrival…so already used to that. As for the phones….I will try the pigeon carriers next time. I just hope that they are multi lingual!

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 28, 2012

      I’m glad you liked it! And thank you so much. It has been awhile in the making. And I hope the pigeons work out for you ;)

  • Reply

    amandaraybould

    April 24, 2012

    I love love LOVE your blog!!!! By the time you see this you’ll be in Australia but I lived in NZ for 3 years and visited Aus many a time! You are going to have so much fun.. I really look forward to hearing about your travels and swapping stories!

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 28, 2012

      Thank you so much! I am so happy to hear you enjoye it! And wow, what an experience! What brought you to NZ?

      Thanks so much for the kind words! I hope it’s a great trip and I look forward to sharing adventures with you! Please stay in touch! =)

  • Reply

    Roly

    April 25, 2012

    Reblogged this on Sarchasm2 and commented:
    If you travel learn from this post and you won’t get caught out

  • Reply

    John the Aussie

    April 25, 2012

    Shoot me an email if your wondering where to go and what to see. Ive travelled the backyard many of times and could offer some insight. My email will be in your comments page dashboard.. If you’ve got an itinerary planned I can possibly help out with cheaper alternatives not found on the net.

    Safe travels mate.

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 28, 2012

      Hi John! Thank you so much for the offer! I may take you up on that. My internet is pretty slow, but I will try to e-mail you when I can!

  • Reply

    coconutsforcookery

    April 25, 2012

    Travel agents rarely tell you about visas for some odd reason. My friend went through hell and back because she didnt realize she needed one to get to Dubai. Wound up canceling that leg of her trip when she was checking in at the airport unfortunately :(. Safe travels and see you soon!

    Deedee

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 28, 2012

      Oh no! What an experience! I’m happy I got it resolved.

      Thanks so much! I’m looking forward to meeting you soon!

  • Reply

    housewifedownunder

    April 25, 2012

    If you do a lot of international traveling, you can solve your phone problem by buying a non-carrier specific phone that uses a SIM card. American phones not only don’t use SIM cards, but almost all of them operate on a different frequency than the rest of the world. Most non-American phones use SIM cards and you can then simply buy and insert a new SIM card into the phone each country. Most SIM cards already come with some credit on them, but you can easily buy top-up credit anywhere. This is a great way to make your calls cheaply when traveling. I have a very simple phone that I use for traveling and I have whole ton of SIM cards, one for each country I go to. I’ve got a Lebara SIM for the UK, a Proximus SIM for Belgium, a Play SIM for Poland, a Crazy John’s SIM for Australia and so on. The only place my little travel phone does not work is in America. :-p And since I don’t spend much time in America anymore, I just keep a prepaid American phone so that I have one when I go back over there.

    And as for the visa, you should always check before you go. You might not need to have one, but not every country has a reciprocal agreement with the US and not every country will grant you a visa within 48 hours of asking for one. And even if you don’t need one, each country has different rules on the length of your stay and the conditions of your stay. You should be checking about visa requirements before you even think of putting money towards the trip.

    A transformer is also a good idea, but not always necessary. You can always buy phone chargers locally. And I’ve been running my laptop in numerous foreign countries for the past four years, using only a plug adapter and not a transformer. The only time it gives me fits is if I have to plug it directly into a wall socket. As long as I plug it into a surge protector, it’s fine. The only thing you absolutely should not attempt to use are devices that generate heat, like hair dryers and curling irons. It’s never happened to me, but I have known people who tried to do that and started serious electrical fires. If you travel internationally a lot, there are certain things you should just buy overseas and keep them with you for your travels. I have a curling iron from the UK that I have been using overseas for years now. Saves a lot of hassle!

    Anyway, I hope you enjoy Australia! You don’t say where you intend to visit, but I’m sure wherever you go, it will be lovely and you’ll have a great time. :-)

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 29, 2012

      Wow, thank you so much for the great advice! All good things that i can learn and apply for next time =)

      I’ll be going to Syndey, Cairns and Brisbane on my Australian leg before heading to Fiji. I’m looking forward to sharing more adventures with you (and hopefully gaining some of your sage advice)!

      • Reply

        housewifedownunder

        April 30, 2012

        All three cities I’ve never been to! I look forward to your posts about your visits there.

        Another note on the phone: you don’t have to get a crappy basic phone. You can get pretty nice smart phones that are pay as you go. In Australia, some of the best deals for pay as you go phones would be at Crazy John’s. You can then swap the SIM card in Fiji (it will change your phone number) with whichever company there offers good pay as you go deals. But you are not limited to just calling and texting. You can get good data plans with pay as you go, too. Especially helpful if you will be relying on the phone for GPS and such. And with Android, you just sync it up to your Google account and it will automatically download all your apps to your new phone. I think that would be a really good option for you, considering the kind of travel you want to do.

        • Reply

          Hilary Billings

          May 2, 2012

          You are such a lifesaver! Thank you so much for the great tipes! I really appreciate all of your help and support.

          Can’t wait to share more adventures with you and hopefully be able to bring some insight of my own to the places I’m going!

    • Reply

      Erica

      May 2, 2012

      Not being able to just swap SIM cards applies to Japan as well, unfortunately. fyi. :)

  • Reply

    Barbara

    April 25, 2012

    It’s on the bucket list. Thanks for the tips. No, I wouldn’t have thought about the transformer, either.

    Hope you have a great trip! I look forward to your post-adventure blog. :)

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 29, 2012

      Thanks so much for reading! I hope I have a great trip, too. Looking forward to sharing more when I can!

  • Reply

    Great travel tips and lucky you sorted out the visa before you left for the airport.

  • Reply

    A Gracious Life

    April 25, 2012

    Hilarious but thrilling, learning experience too! I like the pigeon cartoon, too.

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      May 2, 2012

      Haha, it is kind of funny how comedic our lives can be, isn’t it?

      I’m glad you liked the cartoon. =) I hope to share more learning experiences with you on this next adventure!

      Hope you’re well!

  • Reply

    myownprivatemind

    April 26, 2012

    Hilary…just got back from Paris and your recommendations were fabulous! Powered up the laptop to see that you are headed to Australia…one of my favorite places!!! This is where my husband and I honeymooned. We started in Sydney, went up the coast through the wine country for a couple of days, spent a night in Surfer’s Paradise and landed finally in Brisbane (but then we had to go back to Sydney for two more days…just loved it too much). I am going to dig up some good suggestions for you from my notes, but I know 3 things that you MUST do in Sydney: See an opera if you can and eat dinner beforehand at Guillaume at Bennelong; Absolutely go to Doyles on the beach at Watson’s Bay for a lunch of fish and chips (go on a clear day where you can climb the hill behind the restaurant for the most magnificent view of the harbour and all the sailboats); lastly…you should do the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb (we didn’t do it, but I wish we had). I’ll send more suggestions from some of my other notes. So jealous…have an Aussie time! – Amanda

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      May 5, 2012

      Hi Amanda!

      Oh I am so happy to hear that my suggestions and recommendations worked out! Do you have any favorite memories from your trip to Paris? What did you love? What did you hate?

      Thank you so so much for the recommendations for Sydney! I wish I would have read this sooner. I am no longer in Sydney, but I too loved it so much. I have a feeling I will be back sooner rather than later and can’t wait to do the things I didn’t get a chance to previously.

      Can’t wait to share all my adventures with you and hear about yours!!

      • Reply

        myownprivatemind

        May 9, 2012

        Glad to hear you are having a fabulous time! What did I love about Paris…everything. What did I hate about Paris…nothing! Seriously, there is no shortage of things to do in Paris, the food was amazing, and the people were great. The only complaint I ever had was when the wind caught my umbrella just so and broke it. My husband and I definitely want to go back again.

        • Reply

          Hilary Billings

          May 9, 2012

          Boo broken umbrellas, but I’m so happy to hear that the rest of the trip went so well! Can’t wait to hear more details =).

  • Reply

    AnonymousBurn

    April 26, 2012

    Don’t taunt the cosmos like that. That bitch can be nasty sometimes! Safe travels.

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      May 5, 2012

      Haha! I try my best not to… sometimes I feel like I have to go through certain things though, in order to learn and continue to better align myself. Next time I’ll be more prepared! And thank you so much!

      How are you doing?

      • Reply

        Anonymous Burn

        May 5, 2012

        That is so very true. Obstacles are character building I hear.

        Oh you know, the usual…birth mother finding you on Facebook after giving you up for adoption 29 years ago. Boring stuff, really. Hah!

        • Reply

          Hilary Billings

          May 5, 2012

          Oh my gosh… what?!?! I need to hear more about this!!!

          How are you doing? Are you okay? Are you happy?

          • Anonymous Burn

            May 7, 2012

            I’m doing surprisingly well considering I never thought I would if this day ever came. There is a lot of stuff going on – emotions and family politics – but I’m happy with where I am and what I’m doing with it all.

            How is OZ?

          • Hilary Billings

            May 7, 2012

            Oh man… what an exciting and tumultuous time for you! I know you will be grow and learn so much about yourself through this experience.

            Oz is good; been having my share of highs and lows. Lots of learning experiences! Hoping I can continue to get the most out of this experience. Sorry for being vague, but there’s too much to explain in a comment.

            Please keep me updated on how things go with your mother!

  • Reply

    lespetitspasdejuls

    April 26, 2012

    I can only comment by saying : “Just ENJOY Oz!” it’s an amazing country, you’ll be taken breathless form one adventure to another one and people are just… Great! So much for spending time there though, as I understood you were only staying 2 weeks, but take the most of it. and… yes… transformers and adaptaters are a common lot when you travel to and from the US… you guys just made it sooooo complicated on some easy stuff! :-P just kidding! ENJOY!

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      May 5, 2012

      Thank you so so much! I’ve been loving Australia! And I know. Between that and the different measuring system I’m a little lost, but that’s okay. It’s all a learning experience!

  • Reply

    Grandpa and Grandma

    April 26, 2012

    Grandpa and I are so excited for you. Have a wonderful time. Love, Grandpa and Grandma

  • Reply

    Kristine Perry

    April 27, 2012

    I’m sorry you ran into those snags! Wish I would’ve known you were going to Oz, I could have helped you avoid the panic :-) For 2 years I’ve been planning to move there. I’m going to finally check the country out in August. Let me know how you like it.

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 28, 2012

      Hi Kristine!

      WOW, that’s amazing! I had no idea. =) That would have been nice. Next time I’ll be sure to ask. We really need to stay in touch more!

      And I will be sure to do so. Talk soon!

  • Reply

    Laptop logo

    April 28, 2012

    Great tips!

  • Reply

    Brittany

    April 30, 2012

    Heey girl close call but I’m glad you’re ok!! I’ll be reading your blogs!!

  • Reply

    ernestwhile

    April 30, 2012

    These are exactly the kind of things I foresee happening with underplanned travel. The GF is one of those happy-go-lucky “let’s not book any shelter we’ll deal with it later” types. I am very patiently not.

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      May 5, 2012

      Haha! Yeah, I’d like to say that I’m a free spirit and easy going, but I tend to fall somewhere in the middle. It also depends on where I’m going, how familiar it is and if I am traveling with someone. I’m glad you guys can find a happy medium!

      Do you have any underplanned travel tales for me?

      • Reply

        ernestwhile

        May 5, 2012

        I can remember being four or five with my Mom and creeping through Portland streets in the station wagon looking for a “vacancy” sign. It was scary but an easy early lesson. Now I plan out the major deets, and leave room for flexibility.

        • Reply

          Hilary Billings

          May 5, 2012

          Haha, what an experience! I had a similar one in Reno with my family many years ago. =)

  • Reply

    lynn

    May 2, 2012

    hello hilary! it was nice meeting you in yoga class at the YHA in sydney (such a perfect place for AM yoga)! hope you had a good trip to carins. thanks for the insight into the office/desk job thing – I do think the 9-5/house/kid thing is emphasized a bit too much. anyways, good luck with the travelling and take care! i’ll be adding your blog to my rss feed :o)

    -lynn from FL

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      May 5, 2012

      Hi Lynn!

      I agree! What a fun place do yoga! I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to see you again before I left, but I’m so glad I could provide some insight. I know you’ll find the right thing for you.

      Whereabouts are you now? I hope you’ll stay in touch!

      • Reply

        lynn

        May 11, 2012

        yeah, thanks! back home in orlando now looking for a new 9-5 but might end up going back to boston or trying a new city all together. who knows, I may be tempted to hit the road again sometime soon – australia was great! safe travels!

        • Reply

          Hilary Billings

          May 15, 2012

          Whoohoo! Best of luck to you in your search! Please keep in touch and let me know how it goes!!

  • Reply

    Erica

    May 2, 2012

    ahahaha was the visa me? or do you have a lot of readers who fly from Tokyo via Beijing to Australia ;)

    I totally killed my sonicare in England, but most electronics now days have transformers built in. Just check the tiny print on the plug. :)

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      May 3, 2012

      No, it was you! I almost tagged you in the post, but I didn’t know if you would mind. Really, thank you so much for your advice!

      And how crazy! I was suggested to check the plug. Glad to hear that times are changing =).

      • Reply

        Erica

        May 3, 2012

        Haha I’m glad my ridiculousness was useful for once!
        I don’t mind, in fact, I encourage it! Most people already know I’m a hot mess anyway ;)

        I know, right? As travelers, we have to carry so much as it is!

        • Reply

          Hilary Billings

          May 5, 2012

          Haha, do you think so? You seem to have it all figured out to me. I feel like a hot mess when I start traveling to a new place, so maybe it’s not as unusual as I thought, haha.

          Thanks again for your sage wisdom!

  • Reply

    flaymzofice

    May 5, 2012

    Can’t believe with all your globe trotting you’ve just encountered these little conundrums! Lucky! I first discovered the small problem of voltages when my beloved hair straighteners from the UK wouldn’t turn on in Canada (better than blowing up I suppose!) I’ve always worked wherever I’ve gone so I’ve always had to get a visa – such a pain so I’m glad yours was a painless process. As far as communication goes, I’m sure you’re already on the Skype train? Hope you’re loving the Land Down Under so far!

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      May 5, 2012

      Yeah, I guess I have been lucky so far in my travels. Every trip is a learning experience!!

      And yes, I am learning the wonders of Skype. Thank you so much! Down Under is awesome. =)

  • Reply

    Say Gudday

    May 19, 2012

    Here are the things you HAVE to try while in OZ.
    1) Successfully throw a boomerang.
    2) Eat a Cherry Ripe (I don’t have a sweet tooth but this is the greatest candy bar on earth).
    3) Eat These cookies (http://www.australiashopping.co.uk/images/teddy_arnotts200.jpg). I am a HUGE cookie fan and these are the cookies that will make you change religion and strangle a nun, they are that good, I promise you.

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      May 19, 2012

      =) Thank you so much for the tips! I will have to save these for next time as I am already in Fiji at the moment. But I greatly appreciate the suggestions!

  • Reply

    Say Gudday

    May 19, 2012

    Reblogged this on Say Gudday.

  • Reply

    Peggy K.

    June 3, 2012

    Here is another book tip (also good for after travel reading): In a Sunsburnt Country, by Bill Bryson. (He wrote books about several countries and he is one of my favourite authors.) Very funny!!! :)

  • Reply

    Financial Freedom

    June 12, 2012

    I want to know about the Australian culture. How is the life style over their! are the local people friendly to the tourist? Heard that Australians are pretty professional and serious kinda people!

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      September 13, 2012

      Hey there! My apologies for never getting back to you. For some reason I’m just seeing this now.

      So far I’ve met nothing but amazingly friendly and helpful Australian locals. The people from the West coast tend to be a little rougher around the edges but will warm up if you’re amicable. The East coasters are friendly from the get go. Since I’ve been staying in hostels and in popular backpacker hangouts, I tend to run across the more free spirited and easy going type of people. I can say for sure they’re serious about their fun!

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About Me

About Me

Hey fellow adventurers, my name is Hilary! After being rejected from grad school, I took off on a solo journey around the world. Now I constantly challenge myself to take on new experiences. This blog documents my journeys from Europe to Fiji, swimming with sharks and living with tribes, to becoming an accidental beauty queen and working for one of the top national media outlets. If you like what you're reading, please subscribe! Here's to the next great adventure!

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