Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Tips on Travelling Alone to Melbourne + How to Apply for a Visa



I was never into the idea of travelling alone before because I'm a little bit of a scaredy cat. I always think of all the ways that things could go wrong instead of being positive. It isn't that I'm a pessimist, I've just heard a lot of horror stories and I grew up with a very paranoid mother. 

However during the first half of the year, I was single and I felt lost. Travelling alone seemed to be the answer. I wasn't soul searching but looking to get to know myself again. I had gotten so used to being part of a "We" after being in a relationship for a long time that I forgot about what it was like to to just me Kally. I decided to go on a solo trip to Melbourne in Australia. I have a couple of friends who live there so at least I wouldn't be lonely. I booked my ticket in March for my scheduled trip in October. That gave me seven months to prepare for it. It definitely ranked in my top five best trips but I'll save more of that for another entry. In the mean time, I've answered questions that most people commonly ask below. If you have any others, feel free to type it down on the comment section.


1. How do I get to Melbourne from the Philippines?
I took Philippine Airlines because it flies directly to Melbourne. It takes around 8 hours. You can also take Air Asia. The other airlines have stop overs.

2. Why Melbourne over other parts of Australia? Over another country?
I chose Melbourne simply because I had two close friends there--- My childhood friend Mandee and my best friend Mika. I've already visited Sydney and Gold Coast. Melbourne was the next big city in Australia on my bucketlist.

2. Do you need a visa?
Yes, you do. All you need to do is fill up a form online here. I applied for a Visitor Visa (Subclass 600). There's a check list of all the documents you need to attach. You will need your bank statement to prove you can financially pay for it. If someone else is sponsoring your trip (i.e. Your parents) you will need them to write a letter vouching for you and their bank statements. If you're visiting a friend/ relative, you should ask them to write a letter of intent inviting you. 

You will settle the payment of Php6,000+  online via credit card. They emailed me after two weeks that my visa was approved but sometimes it can take up to one month. 

You also have the option of going to the Australian Embassy. You will need to print out the same documents as the ones needed online. Be sure to book in advance so you have a slot. 

3. Is it safe? 
Yes, Melbourne was ranked as the World's #1 Liveable city. I'm a girl and I was able to tour by myself. I never felt like I was in harm's way. Although there are some people that may come off aggressive just mind your own business and look the other way. I wouldn't encourage you to walk around in the middle of the night all alone though. 

4. How much pocket money should I bring?
Melbourne isn't a cheap country. My meals cost times three more than a regular meal here in Manila so if I were you bring extra. 

5. What's the weather like?
The weather is really bipolar. One day it can be around 26 degrees then the next day it will drop down to 13 degrees. October is supposed to be Spring already but the weather felt more like Autumn. 

6. How do I dress?
Since I was staying in the suburbs area, people dressed very fashionably but you will be doing a lot of walking so don't sacrifice comfort for style. I would typically wear jeans with either boots or sneakers. 

6. Where should I stay?
I'm really happy that I chose to stay in the suburbs over the city. It was more laid-back. Honestly, if you are a millennial or a 20 something year old stay in the suburbs because there are so many cafes and graffiti walls for your perfect Instagram photo.

7. How do I get around?
What I love about Melbourne's transportation system is that their bus, train, and tram system all uses just one card called the Myki. It's so convenient to use. You just go to a convenience store to load it up then you tap it on the machine before getting on either the bus/train/tram. The card costs around $4. The one way fare depends on where you're going but if you use it the whole day, it'll charge you a flat fare of $8 per day. Also, I suggest you download the PTV app for your phone so you see the schedule of the trams.

8. Suggestions on places to eat?
I have way to many! Melbourne is known for their abundance of cafes. Everywhere you look there is one and they are always adorable. My top three are: Au79, Rogue District and Light Years.

9. What can I do there?
If you're into history, there's an Immigration Museum that I found really fascinating. They also have the National Gallery of Victoria where you can see exhibitions. They also have a couple of tours that I insist you do. The Yarra Valley Winery Tour and the Great Ocean Tour were my favorites. I booked them online through Viator here














Photos by Joey Mangaser of Shoot My Travel

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