It’s the moment of truth, the time to start thinking about booking your fl ight. Well remember, it’s unlikely you’ll spend more money on any other part of your entire trip, so make sure you do your research and choose wisely.

Prices can vary dramatically, but bear in mind that the cheaper the ticket, the rougher the journey is likely to be. Cheaper tickets may also offer you less flexibility, so check right from the start exactly what the fare involves, and how fl exible the ticket is in terms of changing fl ights. Also bear in mind that the common wisdom of waiting until the last minute to get the cheapest deal no longer holds true at all, well rarely at least. So your best bet is to buy your ticket as far in advance as possible (a year is the maximum) to secure a real bargain.

One-way tickets

The obvious pro of these is their fl exibility. But on the flipside, it means you have to be very disciplined with your money, not easy when you’re travelling, so that you keep some aside for your onward flight. The other downside is that you will almost certainly spend more money overall compared to if you’d bought all your fl ights in one go. Plus, don’t buy a one-way ticket until your application for a visa has been approved, as holders of Visitor Visas are only allowed into Australia with a return ticket.

Asian connection

Buy a cheap one-way ticket to Asia, travel for as long as you want, and then get cheap onward or return flights to Australia from there. Many airlines fly to Australia from the region, including budget carriers Jetstar, Tiger Airways and Virgin Australia.

Return tickets

These are by far the most popular option. There are two types – open jaw and closed jaw. Open jaw lets you fl y into one city and out of another while closed jaw means you have to fl y in and out of the same place. You can normally also build a stopover into the trip for a little extra cost. A return ticket is cheaper than buying two one-way tickets and most tickets will usually last a whole 12 months. Which brings us to the negative points. Should you find yourself staying in Australia longer, you will lose the return part of your ticket, or have to pay the airline to extend it for a few months. You are also committed to a route before you leave.

Round-the-world tickets

From Europe you will route through Asia or Africa, plus the Pacifi c (Fiji) and Americas (or vice versa). Different providers offer varying routes and number of stops. Be aware that going through Latin America or Africa is more expensive than the more common Asia route, and you generally pay more the more stop-offs you want. Most round-the-world tickets are only valid for 12 months.

Travel insurance

If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. Simple as that. Sorry. We don’t want to sound like your Mum, but if it seems expensive to begin with, wait until you crash your motorbike/ have your backpack nicked/come down with hepatitis in India, and see how much that costs you. A good travel policy can be a total lifesaver. Quite literally.

When you fi rst begin to check out policies, the choices can seem overwhelming so it’s definitely worth spending a little time checking what’s what. Check what geographical areas the policy covers and take note that policies may not cover more adventurous activities, like diving, while more expensive items, like laptops and SLR cameras, will probably need extra cover. Also be aware that policies covering the United States and/or Japan are often more expensive.

When to travel

The date of departure can dramatically affect the cost of your trip. Australia and NZ’s holiday seasons look something like this: Low: March-June Mid: July-November, February (NZ) High: December-January (particularly around the Christmas holidays and New Year) ❚