Nathaniel and I have only hit two out of eleven-ish destinations so far and already have a list of DO's & DON'Ts for flying. 

*When airlines say a MAXIMUM of 10 kilos, they actually mean 10 kilos. Not an extra 7 that we tried to carry on. If you're as unlucky as us, they'll weigh your carry-ons and they WILL make you get rid of the extra weight. We ran into this problem when flying Tiger Airways from Melbs to Gold Coast (our very first flight ha). We "got rid" of our extra weight and proceeded to the terminal with multiple shirts/jumpers on & loaded pockets. Do what ya gotta do. 

*What we learned from this mishap was to obviously pack lighter, and if you get caught in a situation like this, wear as much of the weight as possible. Hey, if 250 pound people can fly, then I should be allowed to wear half the wardrobe I brought.
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I made this chart for the carry-on requirements for the airlines we're using
*We had this supposedly brilliant plan to sleep at airports when we have an early flight the next day. Because who wants to pay $100+ for a hotel you're barely utilizing. So check out of your hotel, drop your stuff off at the airport & store it in a locker and bam! You have the entire day to do what you want, a place to keep your stuff and a (possibly uncomfortable) place to sleep without any accommodation costs!

*What you should make sure before this brilliant plan kicks you in the ass: is the airport open all night, enabling me to sleep indoors? At Gold Coast, the answer is NO. As in, we slept on the beach, again wearing multiple layers of clothes. Of course, if you also have a whiny boyfriend complaining about his legs going numb at 130am, you will not do much sleeping on the beach and will instead wait outside the airport until they open at 4am

*When flying budget airlines, YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. So we booked all of our flights well in advance and got great deals. We paid about $65 a person to fly from Bali to Phuket via AirAsia. Unfortunately, flying budget airlines means they can change or cancel your flight and not do a damn thing to help you figure out what you should do about it. So goodbye $65 direct flight and hellooo $200 flight with a layover, causing us to lose half a day. And no, AirAsia (nor either of our travel insurances) did not pay the difference or give any kind of compensation whatsoever. They didn't even refund us so we're instead, having to dispute the charge via our credit card. 

*Budget airlines might cancel the entire service of flights from one city to another, like they did with AirAsia. Sometimes they'll just move your flight up 3.5 hours and completely mess up your schedule and cause you to miss the tour bus that you were planning on taking in the Philippines. Again, airlines like Tiger Airways, will NOT do anything to help you - such as changing to a different flight or giving you a refund. 

*If at all possible, fly more legitimate airlines. Unless you're bargain (aka broke) travelers like us and need to get the cheap flights. If you're like us, then my advice is to be very flexible with flights because they can always change. As in, don't book too many transfer flights where missing one where cause you to miss the other. Also, maybe spend more time in each place you're visiting to ensure you have sufficient time there in case situations like these happen. 

Summary of Dos & Don'ts:

*Don't check luggage - this will save you literally HUNDREDS of dollars
*Pack as light as possible! Weigh your carry-ons before you go to the airport. They don't always check but it's better to be safe than sorry!
*Sleep at airports when possible if you want to save money but always make sure they're going to be open. A lot of smaller airports will not stay open all night for domestic flyers (most airports will for all international flights). 
*Be flexible if you're shitty budget airline decides to screw you over. 
*Read your travel insurance coverage carefully. They may or may not help you get money back from cancelled/delayed flights. May as well try to make a claim regardless.
*Make an adventure out of every mishap because they'll never stop anyway and they make for good stories later:)

Now we're off to New Zealand, hopefully we don't hit any more bumps along the road!
 
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Click HERE to be redirected to "Scuba Diving the Great Barrier Reef" on my new site, First For Everything.
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Nate holding a giant sea cucumber!
 
After packing up our lives in Melbourne, we were off to our first stop of our 5 week holiday.

The 2 hour flight landed us in the beautiful, warm weather of Gold Coast. Our first stop was buying "Go Cards" at the airport, which are public transport cards that give you about a 20-30% discount off the regular rate (buying tickets up front on the buses) because we are excellent researchers and bargain travelers:) This made our 45 minute ride to Surfer's Paradise (where our hotel was) only $4.35, saving us a $75 cab.

We checked into our room at Vibe Hotel, which was a bit more than we wanted to budget at $120/night but it was worth it to be so close to the beach, shops & bars. And it also didn't hurt that it was a pretty nice hotel as well.

A two minute walk took us to the strip where everything was. We relaxed on the beach and got food before going out. There are always promoters out everywhere selling tickets to "Club Crawls", so we figured it would be a good way to check out all the nightlife.

The Club Crawl was worth the $25 we paid each, getting us admission to 5 "clubs" (which were more just fancy, small bars), a drink at each and food. Pretty sure I was the oldest one there (besides Nate) but it was still a good time, even though they slightly resembled frat parties.

Day two in Gold Coast was rainy the entire day so it consisted of a lot of relaxing, card playing (we're avid Rummy-players) and going to the bars again.

The next day was probably one of the best of my life because I finallyyyyy got to fulfill my dream of holding a koala!! We went to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary which was easily the best zoo I've ever been to in my life. We started with the "Koala Cuddling" and paid $45 to get three pics with Yani, the three year old koala girl. She was extremely friendly and surprisingly not heavy at all. She's not the smallest thing in the world and you would just expect them to be heavy but she was actually super light. The trainer let us pet her and hold her for a bit and we got some good pics with her. I've heard their fur is very coarse but she was really soft! This experience definitely solidified my goal of having a pet koala eventually. And I'm being completely serious.

After that, we did the Green Challenge. This was a fun little ropes course that they had set up in the middle of this rainforest setting. They unfortunately had the harder adult course shut down because it was too windy but the kids course was entertaining as well.

They have a huge area with about 40-50 kangas just hanging out where you can go in and feed them. They sell "roo food" for $2 so all the kangas come and surround you to eat. They also had a Lorikeet feeding and would give you a plate of milk and so the birds would come swoop down and sit on you and drink.

Overall, best zoo ever! And Gold Coast was a great and relaxing start to our trip:)
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Me & Yani:)
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View from our room!