National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

10 October 2014

I am Luke Wing, I spent 6 months working on cattle station on a 21 month trip to Australia in 2009.

I am now in New Zealand working on a 1250 cow dairy farm and really enjoying it. I still use my top 10 tips as they are really important in keeping me safe and well. If you follow them, you will too. 

Without a doubt, travelling has its ups and downs but what a fantastic thing to do. It is the experience of all experiences but do you really know what it's like to live away from home, out of a backpack, and not always being certain of where you will end up? Here are my top 10 tips for the travelling young farmer community for their travels in 2015.

1.       To travel alone or with a friend?  If this is your first ever trip abroad, you may feel safer travelling with a friend. The question is how well do you know your friend? My first ever experience abroad to Australia was with a friend I thought I knew well. It was not until I got out there that I realised we couldn't be more different. He wanted to go clubbing a lot and I wanted to travel and see sights. Too much partying I found was a good way to blow your money fast. Know who you are travelling with well, and make sure you can communicate with each other and that you are good at coming to a compromise. Don't be afraid of going off on your own, it will really help you being independent.

2.       To plan or not to plan? That is the question. Having a plan is great if you're doing a round the world trip. If your going to just one country or several in the same continent over a long period, a plan maybe more trouble than it's worth. For example, if the sights you had planned to see are shut, or just are not as good as you thought, or are simply overcrowded, you may want to come another time and move on to see a different attraction. You will find plenty of them. Your plan may become awkward and it can be easier to think for yourself on the spot. However, planning a small step in your trip is handy. For example the first night or week's accommodation.

3.        Get updated medically.  Countries in continents such as South America, Asia and Africa do not have as higher standards of medical welfare as some first world countries. The last thing you need in a foreign country is to come down with a disease such as rabies, hepatitis or any other life threatening disease. If you have all your jabs up to date you have the best chance of keeping healthy in an environment which might not be so hygienic. It might be costly to get these jabs but you can't put a price on life. I found myself in Alice Springs hospital once when in Australia when working on a farm. I got an infection in my leg and I was in hospital for several days. It wasn't a great experience.

4.       Keep your belongings safe. The amount of times my mother used to tell me to keep my belongings safe and to not carry anyone else's luggage, especially through customs, used to leave me eye-rolling. However, it could not be more true and being caught out with an illicit substance, whether it be drugs, plants or food, can be quite scary. Asia is a continent with unforgiving laws on illicit substances and the last place you want to end up is in the hands of the authorities regardless of which country you are in.

5.       Keep yourself safe. Making friends when travelling is great. You have fun and you make memories that will last a lifetime, but don't put yourself in a dangerous position. You are far away from people who love and care for you. Put their mind at ease and if you're leaving a location or part of the country to another location, make sure someone knows, and get back in touch with them to let them know you have arrived safely.

6.       Pack light! It is very easy to assume what you will need to pack, but don't be hasty. There will be plenty of places to buy clothes along the way, so just pack the bare essentials. Remember you have to carry all this weight to your new home and you might not be living there for very long, so pack smart. When I was packing for New Zealand I planned to take all these James Patterson novels, when I could really only afford to take one book.

7.       Buy a really good bag! If your going to be living out of a backpack for the next few months, get the best one. Berghaus do really good backpacks and try and find the largest available. My bag is a 70 litre with a small 15 litre day sack. It's really convenient and the backpack has wheels which is really handy too. It also opens right out like a crocodiles mouth, so you can see exactly where everything is, it has lots of compartments too which is great! If you are going to be carrying your bag a lot, think about your back. You need comfort and convenience and not to spend your first couple of days in bed recovering from back ache.   

8.       Keep a secret back up bank card! I had a friend who recently lost her bank card abroad and was completely lost without it. She announced it on Facebook which really made her friends worry. If you have a back up card with money already loaded on there, you are safe and this will really pay off when you are in an emergency.

9.       Get a trusted friend or relative (preferably a parent) to look after your bank accounts. There is nothing better than the feeling of financial security when travelling. My mother looks after my hard earned pennies and will keep feeding my bank accounts with my money instead of me having to do it. If they are legally in control of your money, you are less likely to spend it all so soon. It's good to have money in other account in which your trusted person can transfer to you as and when.

10.    Don't let first impressions decide your travelling fate. If this is your first ever backpacking adventure it may come as quite a shock, from the floods of tears leaving your family at the terminal to settling into your new home. Be patient. It may be scary at first, why wouldn't it? When I first arrived in Western Australia, I couldn't sleep from the night time street cleaners and the big change which kept running through my head. It does take some getting used to but give it a chance and you will never want to leave.


I hope these top 10 tips will keep you safe and happy when all you young farmers are travelling on YFC trips this year. 

I wish you all the best on your travels, I know you will have a great time wherever you are in the world.


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