Why we’ve Chosen Domestic Travel

As we look forward to our year long trip around Australia I thought we’d share some of the reasons we decided to travel domestically. Domestic travel can seem unappealing for a host of reasons. People often travel to experience other cultures, and we can understand why so many people choose to avoid domestic travel. But we really believe everyone should do some domestic travel at some point in their lives! There’s a whole beautiful world out there and we want to see it all, but there’s a number of reasons for why we decided to stay in Australia.

 

No expensive flights

On most international trips your biggest singular  expense will be your international flights! Our flights from Perth to Dublin cost us $1600AUD each, and our flights to America cost even more. When you travel domestically any flights you take will be much cheaper, and you don’t necessarily need to fly at all. We’ll be doing our trip around Australia in our four wheel drive. This cost us $3,500 and will be our transportation and our accommodation for our entire trip! That’s a pretty big saving!

Domestic Travel

Jerry the Four Wheel Drive!

We’ve also got the added bonus of not having to worry about the weight of our luggage, extra airline fees, or any liquid or food restrictions. We want to travel lightly but we have a lot more room for any extra things we might need.

 

No visas

Visa applications can get complicated, costly, and stressful. I’m lucky to have a  European passport which gives me greater access to other countries, but not everyone is as lucky. If you’ve got a passport that restricts your travel in foreign countries then domestic travel is a great option! You’ll save yourself time and money.

 

No travel insurance

Travel insurance is one of those costs that people often overlook when planning a trip. Paying for something that you hope you never need can suck, but it would be awful to be in a bad situation and regret not buying it. Many countries now require you to have travel insurance upon entering. The great thing about travelling domestically is that you don’t need to get travel insurance! Your regular health insurance should cover you for any potential accidents. In Australia we have good public health care and we know that if any problems do arise we won’t find ourselves paying an insane medical bill, like we would have in America.

 

No roaming charges

Another thing you can cross off your to-do list- roaming plans. You won’t need to pay extra for a roaming plan, unlock your phone, or buy a cheap phone at your destination; because your current plan will work just fine! Now you’re obviously not going to plan your holiday around your phone plan (or maybe you do, I’m not judging!) but it’s a nice bonus that saves you money and takes one less stress off your plate.

 

Environmentally friendly

Unfortunately flying to the other side of the world has a big impact on the environment. All those miles in the air equal lots of burning fuel, and lots of burning fuel equals lots of carbon emissions! By opting to travel closer to home your travels can be that little bit greener!

 

No foreign languages

It’s great to be able to visit new countries, pick up parts of other languages and muddle your way through interacting with others. But sometimes it can be exhausting! If you’re bilingually challenged like myself the idea of learning a new language is not only daunting but potentially impossible. When you travel your own country it’s a nice break from struggling to read menus and trying to remember if “sortie” means entrance or exit!

 

 

No currency exchange/bank card issues

This is a cool one because it’s one less thing to put on your pre-travel to do list! When travelling internally you won’t need to exchange currency, get a travel card, or organise anything extra with your bank. And when you arrive at your destination you won’t spend an embarrassingly long time trying to count your cash out at the check out!

Domestic Travel

Australia is so beautiful!

See your own backyard!

We have been in Australia for a fair chunk of our lives now and we’ve still seen the tiniest portion of it! How many times have you met someone while traveling who’s seen more of your native country than you have? How many times has someone asked you for recommendations on what to see and you’ve been clueless? It’s a great thing to be able to experience and explore your own country. It can enrich your understanding of your own culture and your own environment, and it helps you to appreciate your own unique place in the world. That’s why we’ve chosen to experience domestic travel together before we add any new countries to our list!

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Making the most of your Travels

There are so many travel experiences I look back on and wish I had appreciated more. Sometimes in the moment it can be difficult to look beyond whatever stress you’re under. In hindsight I can see how silly it is to not appreciate how cool it is for the most stressful thing in your life to be getting lost in a new city, or missing a bus back to your hostel, or not being able to read your menu.

Making the most of your travels

We loved Venice, but we didn’t always make the most of our time there


Sometimes when you travel for a long time (and a long time doesn’t have to be that long. It only takes a few weeks to forget about the responsibilities of every day life) you start to take things for granted. You see so many beautiful things every day that you start to compare them. To put them on a scale. You think’ “this beach is not as pretty as the beach we saw last week” and forget to appreciate that moment, that destination, that experience for how unique and exciting and beautiful it is.

You’re not necessarily going to fall in love with every place you visit. Not every destination is going to be at the top of your list. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it and appreciate it and take a moment to be thankful for where you are. I didn’t like Vienna as much as Budapest, I didn’t like Sequoia and much as Death Valley, I didn’t like Vegas as much as San Francisco. But I’d choose any of those places in a heart beat over 9-5 days at the office.

Travel Vegas

Vegas wasn’t our favourite city but we still enjoyed it!


I always look back at the day we got lost in the back streets of Venice and wish I had taken a moment to step back and think about the situation I was in. Here we were wandering the beautiful cobble stoned streets of this historical city. We had wandered out of the tourist filled centre and now we were walking through empty, almost haunted laneways. It was pretty and peaceful and we should have savoured every minute of it. But we didn’t. Because instead of looking at how lucky we were we just felt hot and tired and we were lost. They aren’t really any signposts in Venice and they wasn’t anyone around to ask. We were fed up and worried that we wouldn’t find our way back in time to get the bus. We got angry at each other.

Making the most of your travels

It’s hard to believe we were grumpy somewhere so pretty!


When I look back now I wish we’d just relaxed, enjoyed the moment, appreciated how lovely it was. When you travel there are always going to be stressful moments. You’re always going to get lost or miss your bus. But sometimes those situations can turn into your best travel moments. They can become the crazy stories that you’ll tell forever. You just have to make the best of your circumstances first. And I’d certainly rather get lost in Venice then be sitting in an office!

How to Pick your Travel DestinationĀ 

Picking your travel destination can be really hard! The world is full of dream destinations and when you’ve only got a few weeks of travel time a year and when you spend all year saving for it, you definitely don’t want to regret your choice! Here are a few factors to consider when making that all important decision.

Budget

When it comes to budget travel not all countries are created equal. Work out what the budget for your trip will be and then ask yourself these questions.

How much will it cost to get there?

If your destination is on the other side of the world it will cost more to get there than it would to visit somewhere a train ride away. I could fly to Bali for a third of the cost of flying to Europe, or I could take a bus down South for even less. For most trips the cost of getting to your travel destination will be your biggest singular expense and it’s important to factor that in when researching destinations.

How much to stay there?

The cost of accommodation can vary greatly from country to country, and even from city to city. Switzerland and Germany border each other but it’s still infinitely cheaper to stay in Germany. Look at the available accommodation options in each location. Will you stay in a hostel? Are there highly rated hostels available? Will you have the option of staying in an Air BnB? If you’re the kind of traveler that leaves their accommodation first thing in the morning and doesn’t return until that night you don’t want to visit somewhere where expensive resorts are your only option.

What’s the cost of living?

If you’re on a budget you probably don’t want to visit somewhere where a glass of wine is going to make a dent in your retirement fund. Look at the cost of eating out, the cost of alcohol, the cost of attractions like museums and theme parks. You don’t want to arrive at your travel destination and find that you can’t afford to do anything!

Interests

Obviously you want to visit somewhere with activities that interest you!

What does your dream holiday involve?

Do you want a city break or would you rather explore the great outdoors? Do you like hiking mountains or would you rather relax on the beach? Does a day looking at old architecture sound fascinating or boring to you? The fact is my dream destination might be completely different to yours, and just because trip advisor highly recommends somewhere doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy it! Ask yourself what it is you want from a holiday, whether it’s a relaxing retreat or a challenging adventure trip.

Mobility

How will you get around?

This is another one that will affect your budget! Some areas have better public transport than others, in some hitchhiking is the norm, and in others it’s impossible to get around without your own vehicle. Check the minimum age for renting a car, look at rail pass options, and research the rules of the road in your potential holiday location. If you’re staying in a city check if parking will be an issue, or if you’re doing a road trip look at hiring a camper to combine the cost of travel and accommodation. You could even rent a bike and cycle around, particularly in European countries!

Safety

What are the risks?

We’ve mentioned our thoughts on the dangers of traveling before. We really believe that travelling is generally safe if you’re prepared, but be aware of safety conditions is your chosen destination. For example, I would probably avoid visiting somewhere like Syria for the time being. Even in “safer” countries it’s important to be aware of potential dangers. If you’re in a city known for being a pick pocketing area you need to prepare and be aware of your belongings always. Travel insurance is also an important factor here, make sure you’re adequately covered for whatever activities you’ll be participating in, particularly if it’s a more extreme sport like skiing.

 

If you consider these factors you’re sure to pick a travel destination that best suits you!

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Travel Apps to help you along the way!

Our favourite travel apps

Technology can make life so much easier when you’re travelling! We use lots of apps to help us plan, get around, and safe money while we’re on the road. Here are some of our favourites! 

Gas Buddy-find the cheapest fuel in your area-this is great for road trips and saved us lots of $$$s in California!

Hostel world-this apps got a huge database of hostels around the world. It’s a great tool for backpacking on a budget! 

Rome to Rio-this is a really handy tool for finding different options for getting from A to B! It tells you the time and cost for using plane, train or car!



Rail Planner
-this is the eurail timetable app. It is one of the most useful apps you can have while travelling in Europe and we relied on it heavily! It’s a collaboration of each country’s rail timetable put together in a really functional easy to use app. 

Booking.com– a great way to find the best value deals at your destination! What I love about this app is that they have tonnes of reviews for each hotel so you can find out what kind of place you’re booking!

Air BnB-everyone’s heard about Air BnB! This app has brought the traditional bed and breakfast into the contemporary travel world with great results. Living with locals is a great way to get to know your destination, and usually you can get some bargain prices too!

Trip Advisor– I am an unashamed trip advisor addict. I love to search my dream destinations and find out about all the activities there. Trip advisor allows you to see the highest rated accommodation, eateries and activities in your destination of choice! It doesn’t get much more comprehensive than that. 

Apple Maps– I know Apple maps has been the subject of some criticism,particularly when compared to the more well established Google maps. But I find that often when travelling Apple maps can be the better option. The main reason for this is that Apple maps has a better public transport feature, with detailed directions between stations. And I’m all for not getting lost on my way to the airport!



Pinterest
– I only found out recently that Pinterest is such a hub for travel bloggers. I’ve learned so many new travel tips and found lots of great travel blogs to read by perusing the travel sections of this useful app! It’s definitely worth checking out when planning your next trip. 

Walpole- Giants, long drives and not so mountainous mountains

As part of our resolution to see more of beautiful Western Australia we decided to spend Easter Monday discovering some of Walpole. I have never been before and Alex has only seen a small part of it. Walpole is part of the Great Southern region of WA and is home to many forests, national parks and a beautiful coastline (though most of the coast is accessible only via four wheel drive). The drive to Walpole from Bunbury is 3-3.5 hours and passes through several small towns, many of which seemed like they’d be worth visiting on a more leisurely weekend trip. But this was a day trip and we had lots of things to see! We were unusually prepared and had a picnic packed the night before and were able to leave the house by 7 am! My little sister Molly joined us on this trip too. 
 

Walpole’s beautiful forests

 

Our first stop on the drive was Diamond tree between Manjimup and Walpole off the South western highway. It’s well sign posted so it’s hard to miss. This is part of a network of trees which were historically used to spot bushfires in the area. The Diamond tree is 52 metres high and you can climb to the cabin on the top via metal spikes inserted in the tree trunk. Neither me or Alex were quite able to reach the top but fortunately Molly could be our Guinea pig and she got there and took some photos for us! Upon reaching the bottom she asked “can I go again?” 

 

Molly and Alex ascending the Diamond Tree

 
The diamond tree also has a short 400 metre loop trail that points out some local flora and has some more little trees to climb. There are also flush toilets, so it’s a really luxurious spot! šŸ˜‰

 

The view from the top

 
After the Diamond Tree we went directly to Walpole’s Tree Top walk in the Valley of the Giants. This is a 40 metre high walkway among a forest of giant tingle trees. There is a fee for entrance-$19 per adult and $9.50 per child. (Families can avail of the family pass for $47.50) The walk is wheel chair friendly and is 600 metres round trip. Walking through the canopy of trees from this height was very cool and offered a different perspective on the Forrest. Afterwards you can do a ground walk called the Ancient Empire walk and the different view the two walks provided was a cool comparison. It is worth noting that the walk way does shake and wobble and one lady had to get off as it made her feel dizzy. Over all the treetop walk was pretty cool and definitely worth visiting but I personally felt it was a tad overpriced for such a short walk. 

 

Walking amongst the giants

 
From the Valley of the Giants we made our way to Mount Frankland. This granite peak is located in amount Frankland national park. The parks has many entrances so it can be confusing to figure out the way to go, but the best access point isn’t via the park at all- it’s down North Walpole road off the South Westen highway. The last section of this road is unsealed but is accessible to two wheel drives-though I probably wouldn’t drive it in a Porsche! 

 

The Ancient Empire walk

 The hike to the top of Mount Frankland is relatively short at just 600 metres each way, but it contains over 300 steep steps and a ladder. The steps were a bit exhausting especially in the warm weather, but I would think that most people with a moderate level of fitness could do this hike in under an hour. The view from the top is beautiful- miles of forest and bush land , the ocean in the distance, and the surrounding mountains such as bluff knoll and mount Roe. As usual the hike was insignificant to Molly and her boundless energy. “That wasn’t a real mountain.” I think she was expecting ice picks and a 90 degree drop! I really enjoyed this hike and I think it’s definitely worth doing if you’re in the area. I found it more enjoyable than the treetop walk. 

 

The view from Mt Frankland

 
I was seriously impressed with all that Walpole had to offer. There are so many national parks and reserves in the area. I really hope that next time we visit we can take the whole weekend, and maybe even rent a four wheel drive to explore the beautiful coast line. 

We made it!