Australia WHV - Preparation Tips - Flights

As it's a rainy one today in Perth, I thought I'd write a bit about the practicalities of preparing for and starting out in your Australian Working Holiday. Even though everyone from your country will use the same visa, be in Australia for a similar length of time, have pretty standard insurance needs and maybe even book outward journeys with the same airlines, there are many different ways of tackling each step as it comes. Most WHV travellers will be concerned about cost above all, so I'll try and give a few tips on how to save money when sorting out the essentials. Today, we'll be starting with...


Here, it shouldn't come as a surprise that booking earlier means you spend less money. I sorted my flights just over two months before setting off, and even then I feel like I was close to the point where truly cheap tickets were getting hard to find. Every week of leeway will help, so as soon as you're granted your visa you should start planning your arrival date!

There are many ways to look for flights, with the most obvious being the big search engines like Skyscanner, Kayak and Momondo. Skyscanner normally has the most choice, but the obvious routes with major airlines will appear on all of them at a similar price.

My initial search on these sites was as vague as 'UK to Australia in August', and after trying a bunch of different dates, departure points and arrival cities the cheapest decent option was about £450 (one way). This was far more expensive than I'd hoped for, especially as I'd been looking casually at prices for a month or two beforehand and I remembered there being a lot more choice. Although I did actually end up booking the £450 route, the final price I paid for the tickets was a much more agreeable £260. So how did I manage to knock it down so far?

I started by scrolling past the first page of Google results, and trying some of the sites on the second, third and fourth pages. There were still decent-looking search engines popping up this far down, and it didn't take more than ten seconds to type my details into them one after another. Eventually I came across a reference to embedded in the results of a totally different site, and it was showing a price from London to Perth for just over £300. I went to the homepage of the new site, re-entered my route details and checked the search results once more. Sure enough, was offering the same trip which cost £450 on Skyscanner for over a hundred pounds less. Great - better grab it before it goes! I was ready to confirm the booking when I had one more idea; what if I check on the official websites of the airlines flying the route?

Again, I went through the same drill of entering places and dates into the search tools of Norwegian and Scoot, who were listed as the airlines for each leg of the one-stop trip. Each quoted a price, albeit in their own local currencies. It wasn't too hard to convert the numbers and add them together, which gave me a really nice surprise. The bottom line was this: If I booked the two sections of the flight independently of each other, and if I did it direct with the airlines, I could get from London to Perth for £260 one-way.

The super cheap price did have its drawbacks. I was able to take hand luggage only, and I'd have little protection if I missed the second flight due to the first being late. On balance though, I thought it was still a great deal. The gap between the flights was over seven hours which would allow for a pretty major disruption to the first one without causing a problem for the second. Airline cabin baggage allowances are also pretty generous, with most allowing two separate items whose dimensions are large enough to cram in a week's clothes, a laptop, some toiletries, a book, and all your personal documents. Plus, if you can't fit everything in on the way out, it's easy to stock up on the luxuries at a supermarket when you land.

In summary - always try and book your flights many months in advance to avoid the disappointment of the limited choice you'll have if you leave it too late. Also dedicate a morning or even a whole day to some serious shopping around, and don't forget that it's possible to book flights direct with the airlines themselves! You never know - they might offer more options when choosing what on-board services to accept, and which ones you're happy to sacrifice to save money.