Australia is not a cheap country. But with this insider 10 tips for backpacking Australia on budget, you will be right.
First things first, get yourself a job and don’t throw all your money on partying. You may regret it when comes the time to take a tour on a beautiful island but you are out of money. Uhm too bad!
But, here is a list of 10 great tips to keep your money in your pocket.
- accommodation: get a cheap hostel or shared accommodation. You definitely don’t want to spend half of your income on rent. Cheap doesn’t mean bad, I staid 3 months in a hostel in Perth for only 120$ a week (in a 6 beds dorm) and my salary was about 800$ a week. So I saved a lot! A cheap hostel doesn’t mean always a bad hostel. For example, the one I lived in Northbridge was super clean, quiet when needed and everyone was like a family.
- Free accommodation: many hostels propose to backpackers a good deal to have free accommodation. Indeed, You can work a few hours a day in exchange for a free bed to sleep. However, hostels will ask you a minimum stay of 1, 2 or 3 weeks depending on the place and will ask for cleaning, managing bookings, and other little works. Couchsurfing, Wwoofing, and helpX are also three other great alternatives. Of course, camping will be the best for you while road tripping.
- Food: avoid eating out. Check if your hostel has breakfast included and cook as much as you can. If you decide to eat out, there are some cheap places like Pubs or in Asian neighborhoods, for other places, it could cost you around 15/20$. Also, some supermarkets as Coles will propose some very great discounts at night for some products due to date (bread and vegetables for example).
- Free Food: If you work in a café or restaurant, you will probably get free food over 5 hours’ work.
- Party: a pint in Australia costs about 4$/5$ and if you fancy real alcohol, then you will need to get on time for happy hours. Also, some clubs/bars will ask for entrance fees, about 10$/15$. Another option is to start drinking cheap bad wine called ‘Goon’, a 4 liters box costs 10/12$. Actually, have a look at the ingredients and you will realize Goone is everything but wine but, it tastes like it. Good luck with your hangover then.
- Travel: Car sharing is the best, you will only need to pay the cost of fuel. Also, check Facebook groups to find a lift. Another point, if you travel by bus, make sure to travel at night so you will be saving money on night’s accommodation.
- Cheap Tours: take the time to compare tours and try to make packages, it will be easier to negotiate. For example, I spent the afternoon in Cairns, going from one agency to another, checking prices, and talk with people. I finally get the cheapest tour on the great barrier reef for less than 90$ and we were only 15 people on the boat.
- Free Tours: For the Whitsundays Islands, I went directly to the port and talk to people if they needed help on their boat. I got my tour for free in exchange for preparing meals for everyone and cleaning the boat. But, I really enjoyed my experience like any other person who paid for it.
- Wifi: you want to post your last picture on Facebook or Instagram but you are running out of data? Get a free spot at libraries, malls, tourist information centers or at McDonald’s. Some cities in Australia have also free Wifi Spot in the streets so check it out.
- Budget your week: I recommend to plan a balance between your earning and your spending. It will help you to see exactly how much money you can save in a week. For example, I budget to save 400$/500$ (based on a salary of 800$ a week). So, it’s 1600$/2000$ saved per month. Save up now to enjoy later on the road!
To be honest, I struggled a little bit with managing my money when I arrived in Australia. I started with 3,000euros (about 5,000AUD) and spent 700$ the first week. I got a job only a week after my arrival in a café which kept me financially on board for the next 6 months and I think it helps me with the rest of my time in Australia.
Tell me in the comment section, how do you save money in Australia while traveling? Your tips will help others on their journey too.