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STA Travel Blog

Hello Australia!

Meet Pippa. Former STA Travel Customer Service Manager, European travel addict, and the manager of our new Working Holiday Heroes in Australia. (Essentially, the nice people in our Backpacker by STA Travel stores who help you find your feet, hug you if you’re homesick, and help explain what-the-hell-a-tax-file-number is). Having just migrated permanently Down Under from the UK, we figured who better to talk us through the whole Australia working holiday thing.

The whole visa thing. Is it as complicated as it sounds and when should people be applying?

Unlike the scramble for Canadian work visas each year, Australian working holiday visas aren’t limited to a certain number, so you can apply at any point. But really, the sooner the better to avoid a last-minute meltdown! From the date you get your visa accepted (and remember, you have to be outside of Australia at this point, so you can’t go into Oz on a tourist visa and then change your mind), you have 12 months to enter the country.

The process can be as quick as one week, but can take up to a few months if you need to provide more information to the embassy. The guys at STA Travel in the UK can help you get everything set up.

What’s the oldest you can be to get a working holiday visa?

Currently, it’s 18 to 30 years old. As in, you have to get your visa accepted before your 31st birthday. However, there has been talk about the Australian government changing this to 35 years old, so watch this space…

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72 hours in hidden china – Guangzhou

China Southern Airlines have long been loved by travellers for their great value fares to Australia/New Zealand and Asia. Now there’s an extra reason to fly with them; the new 72-hour Visa-Free scheme means passengers can break their journey in Guangzhou without the need to obtain a visa and explore part of China less visited by western tourists for three whole days.

So now you know you CAN (it’s an airport code joke. Sorry.) the question is, should you? What’s in Guangzhou that’s worth visiting? Well quite a lot actually…


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Which Machu Picchu Trek should I do?

The Inca Trail is an iconic trek through a spectacular landscape ending at one of the most beautiful historical sights in the world; in short it’s popular for a reason. This acclaim has led to the Peruvian government taking extra measures to protect the ancient route and there is a limit of 500 people a day allowed on the trail (including trekkers, porters and guides) and in February it’s closed all together.
Though this is great for the local environment it can mean that the permits for the trail are like gold dust during busy months and many people are unable to secure them for their visit. The fame of the route and the ensuing crowds have also led to some visitors seeking out alternative routes (we call them Inca hipsters). But which trek should you choose? Here’s our run-down of the 4 most popular to help you decide:

Inca Trail routes

The routes

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6 Travel mistakes the Inbetweeners made in Oz, and how to avoid them!

We admit there are some obvious mistakes from the epic Inbetweeners 2 movie that we’ve missed out – after all everyone hates spoilers. For the benefit of those who’ve seen it let’s just say they included fire-side singing, sunburn and EVERYTHING that happened at the water park. Everything.

But believe it or not there are lessons from the lads that all travellers to Oz and beyond can learn from, whether we plan on being total idiots or not…

 Really. Everything.

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Your Time is Now – 13 budgeting tips for big trips

As part of our series on Gap Years, sabbaticals, big trips and everything in between, today’s blog comes from online marketing exec and spreadsheet geek Sarah Verrall

 
Back in 2011, my boyfriend and I made the now-not-so-crazy decision to take a career break and travel the world for 8 long, glorious months. We had worked hard to save up but we didn’t quite manage to save as much as we would’ve liked, so travelling on a tight budget was something we had to get good at pretty quick.

When I arrived back in London in summer 2012, I had done the unthinkable; I had come back with nearly £1000.

“How on Earth did you manage that?” I hear you ask.

Okay, I’m a massive geek. I admit it. We kept an expenses spreadsheet when we were travelling, tracking every penny we spent. Now, I totally understand keeping a spreadsheet is not everyone’s cup of tea and some of you may think I’m a total nut job (although anyone who loves to channel their inner geek or is interested in how much we spent in each country can download my spreadsheet here). For those that shudder at the thought of it, there are plenty of other great ways you can keep your spending habits in check whilst travelling. Here are my top tips for travelling on a budget:

travel money
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