I moved to Sydney, Australia in October 2017. There were a lot of odds and ends that I had to get in order before moving to Australia.
To make your life easier I created a checklist for you!
Bear in mind that some of the specifics are subject to change as I will not be going back and updating this post.
About a year before I moved I opened a credit card that had bonus points for spending a certain amount in the first month (Chase Sapphire Preferred). I saved up these points and used them on my flight from San Francisco to Sydney!
Phone (Old Number & New Number)
Old Number: I moved my US number to Google Voice. A piece of advice, make sure you do this before you leave the country. I wasn’t able to access this from Australia. My friend in the states was kind enough to move it for me. You will need a US forwarding number as well, this same friend is my forwarding number. I have learned that this is not a reliable form of communication. I have gotten a number of Facebook messages saying that texts to my US number aren’t going through. However, I would still recommend doing it so you don’t lose your old number!
New Number: I didn’t spend a ton of time looking into phone plans. From what I heard they were pretty similar for the most part. Vodafone offered a discount of $10 a month if you sign a year long contract with them the day you get to Australia. Honestly, they didn’t verify what day I arrived so when they ask just say yes no matter what day it is. The total cost is $50 a month and you get 18 gigs of data and 300 international minutes each month. If you have a US phone make sure it’s unlocked. Most phones are unlocked but it’s worth double checking before you leave.
I have a Bupa health insurance plan. It’s much cheaper than private health insurance plans in the states and it covers a lot more, including prescriptions and contact lenses.
There are four big banks in Australia: CBA, Westpac, NAB, and ANZ. I opened an account at CBA. There is a monthly fee of $4 a month but if you deposit more than $2,000 a month then the fee is waived. I opened this account on my first day in Sydney.
I didn’t end up moving the money in my US bank account over to my Australian bank account. Instead, I used a credit card that has no foreign transaction fees (Chase Sapphire Preferred) and paid it off using the US account. This worked great because the exchange rate was in my favor so everything was cheaper! I still use my US credit card for travel purchases so I can get the points. I use TransferWise to move money to the US account to pay it off. Their fees are super low and it’s easy to use.
Finding A Job
I wrote a separate post on this topic. Check out the post here!
This process can be quite competitive. My advice to you is to use multiple platforms and be ready to move quickly when you find one you like. Good places to start are Flatmate Finder and Gum Tree (Australia’s version of Craigslist). Most places ask for a bond (usually one month’s rent) right on the spot to reserve the apartment. Honestly, it’s so competitive that if you don’t pay the bond on the spot you’ll probably lose the place. Rent in Australia is by week. In Sydney you’ll likely have a rent of $300-$450 a week. Bear in mind that you get what you pay for. As always, when using the internet to interact with strangers, beware of scams!
Okay, that covers the big checklist items. Feel free to reach out with any questions that you have! I will be sure to add in answers to any questions that come my way that are not included in this post. Happy travels!
Love & light,