Fun things to do when you’re poor and travelling

I’m now based in one area for the next two months. All my money is tied up in future ventures, and because of where I am nearly all of my earnings are going on rent.

In this predicament it’s easy to feel like I can’t go out and do anything touristy, so I’m now going to try coming up with a list of free things to see and do, to help me cope with the next two months but also help anyone else out there in the same situation.

Let’s start simple – walking. Walking is free and healthy and so a great way to pass the time if you find the right routes to take. I’ve already mentioned my walk around Shelly beach to North Head in Manly, and there’s another walk to Spit Head which I plan on going on fairly soon. Other than that, one short and rather cheap bus journey can get me into the heart of Sydney city where I can venture as far as my legs will carry me. I may even try the Bondi to Coogee walk.

Free entry to Sydney sights:

  • The Rocks
  • Botanical Gardens & other parks
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge
  • Luna Park (rides are $10 though!)
  • Australian National Maritime Museum
  • Museum of Contemporary Art & Art Gallery of NSW
  • Bondi beach
  • Markets & shopping centres (window shopping)

Every city will have the same situation of offering free entry into certain museums or sights. I used to love spending my lunch times in London walking around the British History Museum. Chilling out for an hour of culture during my hectic day made the afternoon of work so much more manageable.

After giving all of the above a go I’ve also found Free Events in and around Sydney. Centennial Park hold free events during the summer months and there’s always a book launch or guided tour I could jump in on.

The larger cities of the world usually have a Time Out guide which will keep you updated on what’s going on that week. A simple web search usually brings up everything free for that week – but look a little deeper – you could find some cheeky free launches or gigs that aren’t being shouted about. These will likely be the best experiences to try and get to.

Other than touristy things to do, there’s always the classic ways to fill my time for free – reading, watching TV, sleeping – I enjoy all these things very much!

If you have any other suggestions or ideas of things to do while I’m poor in Sydney, let me know!


Three Days to go!

N.B. This post has been delayed by two weeks!

22nd June 2015

Today was the only time this week where I had the whole day to myself to lay all my worldly possessions across a bed and whittle them down until I could fit them into one backpack.

The backpack I chose was this one – I believe it’s now been discontinued, which is a shame because it’s really handy for short women as a backpack with wheels. I searched for a while, checking all reviews, and trying other backpacks on in the shops, but I was sold on this one from the start.

One of it’s bonuses is that it has a detachable day bag on the front. The day bag itself could have been made with more compartments and zips but it’s good enough. I easily packed my on board bag with the following items:

Hand luggage

  • Travel pillow – 2 in 1
  • ASUS netbook
  • iPhone
  • USB Stick & 1TB HDD – good supply of films, music and important documents
  • Pebble on the go charger
  • Passport
  • Wallet
  • Pocket Diary
  • Book
  • Sunglasses
  • Flight socks
  • 1 litre water bag – this brilliant bag comes with a carabiner attached so it can attach to my bag as well as be rolled up when not in use. It also stands up on it’s own when full! What a water holder!
  • 1 change of clothes – you never know if your checked in luggage will make it with you!
  • iPod nano
  • Toiletries – lip balm, moisturiser, anti bac, minimal makeup.
  • Tissues – For the tears at the airport!
  • Eyemask
  • Extra set of shoes

Then came the outfit decisions. These started off slightly excessive, then got cut by one jumper, dress, a few tops, shoes, and a pair of jeans. In the end I managed to pack:

  • 3x jackets – waterproof, warm, light
  • 1x light blue jeans (I plan on buying a black pair over there)
  • 1x dark blue cutoffs
  • 3x shorts
  • 4x dresses – 2x smart, 2x casual
  • 3x long sleeved tops – 1x jumper, 1x cardi, 1x light top
  • 4x smart tops
  • 7x casual tops
  • Shoes – 1x trainers, 3x Toms, 2x sandals, 1x flip flops (thongs!)

I think a lot of people will say that I’ve packed too many clothes, but as I’m heading to Oz at the beginning of their Winter, I’ll need more layers, and I also need the mix of smart and casual for the different things I’ll be doing whilst out there.

After getting the clothes right, I could finally ensure that all the other items I’d collated over the months would all fit in ok. Here’s where you’ll REALLY tell me I’ve packed too much!


All in all it still comes in at under 20kg which means I’m ok flying on any internal flights whilst I’m over there too.

Other Preparations

Banking – I’ve already set myself up with a Commonwealth Bank account and have organised to pick up my card at one of their Brisbane branches as that’s my first destination. All they ask is that you print off their Welcome letter, and take that along with your passport as proof of identity.

Even though I’m yet to set foot in Oz, I’ve already arranged for some of my savings to go across into my new account. I researched into Transferwise, HiFX, and Currencies Direct for transferring my money without the extra bank charges, and after going back and forth on who to use, I ended up going with Transferwise for my first transaction.

Transferwise were estimating that they’d give me more than the others once converted, but this will always be an estimate as it fluctuates with the current rate. All I had to do was give them my Aussie bank account number and code, tell them how much I wanted transferring, then arranged through my bank to send the funds to their UK bank account. Once they received my money, which was fairly quickly, they could then continue the process of moving their money around and getting me my converted dollars. By the time I reach Brisbane, I should have a healthy amount of money sitting in my account to keep me going hopefully for a few months.

Work – I don’t intend to work straight away as I’ll be helping out at a relative’s for a few weeks, but I have already put feelers out for volunteer work, and found that the local animal sanctuary would like video editors to make some short films on their wildlife. I contacted them the other day and they’ve already replied saying that they’ll see what I could film when in the coming weeks, so that’s exciting!

House Sitting – Over the last few months I’ve been going back and forth as to what to do for accommodation and how long to spend where. As I had no real plans until around Sept-Oct, I finally made the decision to apply to be a house sitter. I looked into all the sites online and seems to have the most activity on it and, if I get enough house sits, it’ll be the cheapest accommodation out there! You have to sign up for either 3 months or a year, and it’s used all over the world. I’ve gone for the yearly signup and am now trying to get my profile top notch so that people will be willing to use me to look after their home and pets. It would be awesome if I could be staying at someone’s place, walking their dog each day, and getting to know different areas along the coast line whilst I do it!

Other than that, I’m saying my goodbyes, hugging my boyfriend as much as possible, and slightly dreading that Thursday morning flight.

The Ever Evolving Pack List

The Pack List

Getting your pack list prepared well in advance of setting off is probably one of the best things you can do right from the off. I made my decision to leave the country back in January, and since February I’ve been updating a pack list and purchasing items from the list as I go.

So far I’ve come up with the below. I’m yet to decide on clothing, so that will come into it closer to the date.

  • Clothes and Shoes
  • First Aid & Prescriptions – Make sure you stock up on any prescriptions you may need before leaving as the county you’re going to might not have the same kind of cost/service as your own. Australia’s healthcare is notoriously expensive so I’m hoarding whatever I can before I go.
  • eReader & books – I’ve got hundreds of ebooks already stored on my eReader, and currently plan to take one or two paperbacks with me for the beach
  • Phone
  • Chargers – Mostly usb cables to fit into my plug charger
  • Netbook
  • Passport, vaccination book, I.D.
  • Insurance and Visa Documents
  • Travel Pillow – I looked into the best one to choose and decided that a 2 in 1 would be good, with a loop to attach it to my bag. In the end I went with this one –
  • Ziploc bags – Great for keeping belongings dry and away from creepy spiders!
  • Microfibre Towel – Light and dries quickly. I chose this two pack so my boyfriend had one –
  • Number padlock – I chose this one for a colour to stand out from the crowd, and ALWAYS chose a number one ‘cause it’s no good have a key padlock then losing the key for it…
  • Ipod – My phone doesn’t have enough space for music (it’s kinda old!), so I decided to buy a 2nd hand ipod nano. That way I have music on the go, but can also change it every so often with my external hard drive of music and my netbook. I went for a 7th generation nano from ebay. I found that if it’s an auction finishing midweek you’re more likely to get a slight price reduction to the auctions finishing on the weekend. I managed to get mine for £65.
  • Make up & Remover
  • Nail Clippers
  • Hairbrush
  • Adapters – 2 should be suffice
  • Toothbrush & Paste
  • Shaver
  • Travel Guides – I’ve read through the guides already so might just write up notes from these/take pictures, and leave them behind.
  • Notebook & Pen – Always good to have a pen handy, but I might leave the notebook.
  • Moisturiser
  • Camera & SD Card
  • Travel Money – Just to start me off. I should have a bank card soon after getting there.
  • Sewing Kit – Something many people have said would be useful to have but I might just leave.

What’s missing? I’ll be revising the list again at the end of May.