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Australia: Expensive? You’re kidding, right!!

by on Feb.28, 2013, under Travel

Who told you Australia was expensive? Someone that didn’t do it on the cheap like me…

I’ve heard from loads of people that have gone backpacking in the land down under that it is a dear or expensive place to travel. These people really must be living a luxury lifestyle if that’s their impression of the land down under. Australia has to have been one of the cheapest places I have ever travelled and worked in, I earned tons of money when I was living there, enough to take four months off work. Young and inexperienced backpackers must be doing things wrong if they find it expensive. Maybe they are perhaps ill-informed, badly prepared or just spending their cash in the wrong way. I’ve concocted 12 sure fire reasons, all from personal experience on how to live cheaply in Australia.

1. Sleeping – OK, yes, hostels are great, but you have to take a break from them. Don’t be spending your entire time in hostels getting drunk! Camping is by far the best option for living and travelling cheaply in the land down under. You can find a cheap tent for $15 – 20 and in some places you will be able to camp out for free. Make your cheap tent your home for the next few months as you “backpack” and camp your way round Australia. Lots of campsites have toilets and showers too, and some of them are even close to places where you can get part time and temporary seasonal or harvest jobs.

2. Eating – If you insist on eating out – then head to pubs that do $10 steaks and such offers. They often throw in a beer or a soft drink for this. One of the tricks I used while in Australia is monitoring pubs that did cheap big meals and the times they apply. I found that most of them are lunchtime specials. In which case, it’s hardly a big deal to transfer your main meal of the day from dinner to lunch. Eat cereals and toast for breakfast. Don’t be afraid to venture into Hungry Jacks or McDonalds for a cheap breakfast either. Hungry Jacks also offer unlimited refills – take your flask in. They’re not going to chase out paying customers. And McDonalds has free wi-fi. If all else fails stick to vegemite sandwiches! Top notch!

3. Transport – Don’t be getting flights around Australia! I lived there for a couple of years and I never used an internal flight. Use the bus company Greyhound and book them early, even better idea is to hook up with others, get a car and off you go on a road trip – you have a car now which you should equip for sleeping in and stay on or near campsites with it. Cut your costs by sharing petrol and sharing lifts to work. Also if you are getting a Greyhound bus get it at night so that you save money on accommodation. These are simple and obvious things by the way but often neglected by travellers. Other good places to look are hostel notice boards and local travel websites. Gumtree and Facebook can also be useful.

4. Get some kind of a Working Visa – I don’t understand travellers that are able to get a working holiday visa for Australia but yet they don’t buy it. The number of travellers I met in the land down under that say things like “we only plan to stay for a few months so we’re not planning to work” and then they follow it with “this place is expensive”, so why didn’t you get some kind of a working visa then?! Do it – even by working for a week or two in Australia can earn you over 1000 Australian Dollars.

5. Entrance Fees – Again it sounds obvious but don’t be paying entry into places – there are loads of FREE things to see and do in Australia. Hiking for one, some amazing landscapes to see, beaches (completely free), fancy dress parties (make your own costumes for free), museums are often also free entry (including the amazing War Memorial in Canberra), as is walking across Sydney Harbour Bridge. If you want to see Koalas and Kangaroos – these can all be done for free. Kennet River on the Great Ocean Road is a decent spot for Koala watching at sunrise. Kangaroos and wallabies are hard to miss.

6. Money saving coupons, tokens and vouchers – Seriously these types of coupons are everywhere and most travellers miss them. Try picking up leaflets and magazines in bars, travel agents, bus stations, airports etc and you will be extremely surprised to hear that they often contain money off and free entry vouchers. Sometimes you even get a free beer – head to the bar to get your free beer then leave!

7. Woolworths and Coles value brands – i remember meeting a couple of English girls moaning about the price of everything in Australia while drinking Del Monte orange juice for breakfast along with Kellogg’s Cornflakes! If you can’t take yourself down a rung or two for a few weeks or months by buying the value brands, then you honestly have no ground to stand on moaning about the price of things!

8. Nightclubs after 10pm – did you really go to Australia just to attend expensive nightclubs? I certainly didn’t! You’ll notice that after 9 or 10 pm (especially on weekends) the prices of drinks go up. Seriously to all those backpackers in Australia – get yourself a carryout, a box of goon and some tinnies and sit with your new found friends.

9. Don’t Spend Too Much Time On the Internet – Facebook is great and all that but seriously you didn’t go to Australia just to tell other people where you are and what you’re doing. So stop moaning about the price of the internet – yes it costs a lot so don’t pay it – simple. Here’s a few alternatives (if you have brought a laptop with you) – eat at McDonalds and use their free wi-fi, buy a coffee in an internet cafe that has wi-fi (at least you have a coffee for your money), stay in a hostel that has free wi-fi. If you don’t have a laptop – borrow from travel buddies if you really need to get online. And a long term cheaper option is to buy a USB stick which acts as a wireless internet modem – this is only recommended if you plan on staying in Australia for a while.

10. Hold back on booking things early. Plans in Australia always change so don’t be booking tours or hostels in other towns or cities that you expect to be in in a few weeks time. You might change your plans and have already paid a deposit. Go with a free spirit and enjoy it!

11. Washing Clothes – Wear the same clothes again and again and hand wash them in sinks. I did this often in Australia. If you desperately need to use a washing machine – get a few cotton buds on sticks and place them into the coin slots in the laundry machines to get free laundry. Most of you reading will probably know this trick. A well known “secret” of travellers.

12. Fake student ID – Again things become cheaper when you pull out a student card. Nobody really cares if its fake or not. Give it a risk and save some dollars.

Honestly, folks this might sound like a bit of a rant and in many ways it is, BUT I just really want to let people know that Australia is a magnificent country and a great place to go. And it’s cheap if you know what you’re doing!! Those are just a few of my tips – there are tons more ways to save money.

Get out there and see Australia – what are you waiting for?

For more resourceful advice on doing Australia on the cheap check out Jonny Blair’s resourceful travel, work and lifestyle website Dont Stop Living.. Free reprint available from: Australia: Expensive? You’re kidding, right!!.

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    The Easy Way to get a Visa for China

    by on Jan.21, 2013, under China

    China is a must see country and I have become aware that a few travellers have found it difficult to obtain a visa, so I’m stepping in to tell you an easy way to get it – get yourself to Hong Kong. I will be heading to China again very soon and have recently had no problems getting my Chinese visas in Hong Kong. It borders China for a start!

    In terms of defining a country, as far as I’m concerned Hong Kong is one. It has it’s own currency, flag, visa regulations and national football team. It was also British for a while, and that ended back in 1997. These days, lots of nationalities can get to Hong Kong without a Visa. You will get a stamp on arrival at the airport. If you arrive on a UK passport you can stay for 180 days no problem! A lot of nationalities also get a 90 day entry stamp – check with your embassy.

    Hong Kong borders China, and there are about 5-6 different border entry points. I have passed through 4 of them in the last 12 months. But before you get there you will need a valid China Visa, unless you are Chinese or a nationality that doesn’t require one (possibly Cuba or other ‘Communist’ countries – check with your embassy).

    Seriously in Hong Kong there are lots of places to get a Chinese Visa. This has to be the easiest and best place to get a China visa in the world. You’re next door to the beast for a start! I did once get a Chinese visa in London (2007) but these days as a nomad, Hong Kong is the best place to do it!

    In Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong there are countless guys on the streets who can all sort you out with a visa but while they may be legitimate, be careful. My advice is head to an agency and sort it out – there are loads of agencies and they will take you through the process.

    These days, I get double or multiple entry visas for China. But my first ever China Visa was a single entry, so do that for starters unless you are planning two trips. So where should I get the Visa done? Well as I mentioned there are countless agencies that do them in Hong Kong (and although it might be cheaper to go to the Embassy – DON’T). Use an agency. You’ll get your Visa easily, no problem, on time and can collect even after normal closing hours. They will even help you fill in the form and if you don’t have the things you need they will tell you what to do. These agencies often open all day Saturday, weekday nights and some even a half or part day Sunday. Yes, I know agencies charge a bit more and I’m a budget traveller but I also believe that “time is money” and these agencies are fast and helpful so they save you time. An agency I have used recently is China Travel Service (Hong Kong).

    There’s a host of these China Travel Services branches everywhere so you can’t miss them!

    The application for a China Visa is very straight forward and the process is a fast one in Hong Kong

    I’ll shorten it for you here to make it easy, these are the things you need:

    1. A passport, valid for at least another 6 months and with space for 2 pages in it

    2. A recent passport photo

    3. A completed Application Form, the key points are:

    – entry point to China – put Shenzhen as then they know you are crossing a land border HK to China. 1000s of tourists do this route every day.

    – They will ask for for expected date of travel – just make this up if you don’t know when you are heading – you will have three months (I think) from the date printed on the visa to enter. No big deal this question.

    – There is a section for hotel/where you are staying. I normally just write a hotel name in the city I’m visiting on that trip, or write – staying with friends. On none of my 4 recent trips have I actually stayed in the place I wrote on the form. They never check. If they do then you will need to book a hostel or hotel online and print it to show them (I’ve never heard of this actually happening though).

    – Have you got medical insurance? Always write no, believe me!

    – what type of visa are you getting – most likely a single entry but if you want more just take your pick! you won’t always guarantee to get your visa mind you.

    4. Payment (this varies depending on nationality – a single entry can be between 350 – 500 Hong Kong Dollars (less than 40 or $50 US).

    5. Hand the application in yourself.

    You also have the option of collecting it in a rush in ONE working day (for an extra cost), 2-3 working days (extra cost) or just what I do – regular 4 – 7 working days (the normal price).

    SO there you have it folks! It’s easy to get a China Visa in Hong Kong. What are you waiting for? Get out there and see it!! China is an amazing country and to be honest it’s one you should never neglect. I’ve been 6 times and counting! Here’s 3 top photo highlights so far to get you in the mood to do China!!

    A separate post will detail the border itself – not too tricky

    Have a great time doing China and enjoying a lifestyle of travel!

    Jonny Blair

    To read other articles like How to get a Chinese Visa in Hong Kong head to Jonny Blair’s insightful site a lifestyle of travel for more travel advice and stories.. Unique version for reprint here: The Easy Way to get a Visa for China.

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      Immigration Canada Not Revealing Risks To Immigrants Wanting Citizenship

      by on Aug.10, 2011, under Uncategorized

      What Immigration Canada is not telling you about: Canada’s Family Laws are not the same as laws in other places. After you read this, ask your family lawyer to clarify this, not your immigration barrister (England) or immigration agent. They may not always tell you all of the bad with all the good about citizenship and immigration to Canada.

      In their present form, the laws are set against reasonable treatment of families struck by the unfortunate yet natural occurrence of separation or divorce. Family Laws in Canada are so antagonistic to those family members snared by the court system that these laws could be in part responsible for a serious decline in immigrants seeking permanent residence in Canada.

      In 1997, the Federal Liberal Government made major changes to Family Law in Canada. The Federal Liberal Administration convinced the Provinces to instantly adopt the same laws.

      Families are crushed by Canada’s Family Laws. Children, previous spouses, and other family members suffer under the force of the family courts, including, grandparents, aunts and uncles, sisters and brothers of men over child visitation limitations.

      Kids became increasingly invoked as “pawns” in planned conflicts. The conflicts are set up by the laws and then irritated by enterprises (legal practises, paralegals, counsels). Some fathers are ordered by the court to never see their kids or limit visits to two (2) times per month. Some youngsters suffer lifetime psychoses and drift into lives of substance abuse or crime.

      Fathers who divorce are relegated to a second tier class. These men are mistreated by courts similar to Black Americans of the 1960’s were treated by what was called “Southern Justice.” Absent fathers are hunted down and prosecuted as if they are significant and deadly criminals.

      Since 1998, many specialists have presented positive reforms to the Governments of the Day. These are experts in sociology, child psychology, family therapy and pro-family legal experts, and have included a Special Parliamentary Joint Council.

      To date, all the significant reforms presented to all governments of the day have been ignored. After ample time (more than a decade) to benefit from the blunders that were made at the outset, the Canadian and Provincial governments accept the status quo to remain.

      Martin Wong has studied Canada’s Family Laws and Provincial family laws introduced by the Federal Liberal Government in May 1997. How these laws and court rulings impact real families is exposed here. See a specific number from Statistics Canada showing an example of a measurable decline in immigrants seeking permanent residence in Canada.

      categories: canada immigration,citizenship,jobs,work,visa,permit,living in,canada,family law

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        Behind HJDS Travel Group Blog

        My name is Harry Delgado and I am a full time Internet and Small Business developer and marketer. Over 30 years in the Computer systems development, programming, hardware installations and support. Currently making a living from blogs like HJDS Computer Services , HJDS Investment Group and HJDS BlogBiz. You can connect with me via social media sites at Facebook - LinkedIn - Twitter - YouTube.