Discover traveling Australia on a budget.
Australia is vast, wide, and relatively easy to experience in a
budget. If you’re looking to see as much of it as possible, you’re
probably worried about how far your jar of saved vacation money can take
you. If you think like a local, you might be surprised how long you can
stay without worrying about your funds running dry.
1. Book Flights Early
If your trip starts with a flight, either into Australia from a different country or from one part of Australia to another, book it early. The worst mistake you can make would be to wait until the last minute. The closer the departure, the more expensive the ticket. For the best rate try to grab an airline seat a few months ahead.
When I was organizing my trip to Australia, I made sure to book my ticket at least two months before. The trick is to find the right time – I monitored flight prices and saw how they rise some four to five months before the date only to fall later on and then rise again. Be smart and book early - but not too early!
2. Find Cheap Accommodations
Hotels will bury your budget in the blink of an eye. Instead, try finding accommodations for cheap on a community-sharing site like Spacer.com.
You’ll be able to find garages, basements, and empty rooms where people have extra space. It’s better than camping outdoors. This is especially helpful if you’re moving around a lot.
Some hotels have extended stay rates, but you won’t be able to cash in on them if you don’t want to stay in one place for too long. You can talk to people renting rooms for the short term.
Older women, for example, may feel a little more comfortable staying with another older woman. This is particularly helpful if you need senior amenities – finding someone renting out a room who already has those amenities will make your life easier.
For my trip, I decided to book a place through Airbnb and had a great experience.
It’s smart to choose locations away from the city center - even if you’re going for a shared room or a private room in a shared flat, the city center can end up being costly.
3. Go Grocery Shopping
They have grocery stores everywhere in the world. One of the biggest missteps that travelers often make is avoiding the grocery store.
Even if you want to go out for dinner every night, you can easily get breakfast and lunch from the grocery store. Get some fresh fruit and things to make sandwiches. It’s so much cheaper!
During my time in Australia, I made almost all my lunches and dinners from scratch. Sure, an occasional outing with friends wouldn’t hurt my pocket, but it was much nicer to explore the country with a nice lunch sandwich in my backpack and relax with my Airbnb hosts over a delicious evening meal.
4. Enjoy Australia’s Nature
You don’t really know the soul of a place until you’ve experienced its nature. The best thing about those experiences is that they’re usually free. Roam the beach. Explore the national parks. Go for a hike and spot the beautiful Australian plants and animals. It probably won’t cost you a dime, and you’ll be able to enjoy what makes the country so unique.
I’m not a big trekker, but I love to bike. And Australia is a paradise for bikers! I felt really safe biking around the cities, but also exploring the countryside. Whether it’s biking or surfing, you can be sure to find many opportunities to enjoy Australia’s breathtaking nature.
5. Bundle Your Events
Popular tourist attractions often advertise together. They know that people will want to do everything, and they’ll release coupons or discounted admission when you purchase them all at once. See if you can bundle those touristy things you just cannot resist the urge to do.
Always check for senior discounts.
Australia is generally pretty good about senior discounts – citizens can even apply for a senior card that guarantees them discounts anywhere that utilizes public funding, like transport or museums.
Travelers who can produce an ID card from their home country that shows their date of birth can be eligible for discounts at many attractions that charge an admission fee.
I enjoyed fantastic offers at museums and galleries. Public transportation is cheaper too. I never had the opportunity to go to the movies while in Australia, but I’ve heard seniors can snatch some great offers there, as well.
6. Spot the Freebies
There are a lot of indoor things to do for free. A lot of performance art venues and galleries don’t charge admission, instead operating on voluntary donations.
There are a lot of festivals and activities in Australia during the busy season, and they won’t cost you a penny unless you buy something. There are plenty of ways to hang out without dropping cash.
During my travels, I saw street festivals in practically every city I visited. Perhaps it was the Australian festival season, but I can assure you that despite the crowds on the streets I felt safe and got to admire some truly spectacular artists.
7. Don’t Fear the Familiar
Of course you want to experience new things in Australia, but not everything needs to be new. Boutique coffee from a great roaster in Adelaide is delicious – in fact, the area is immensely prideful of the coffee they produce. But that doesn’t mean you need to sample it every day.
If you see a familiar gas station chain and you know their hot coffee is really cheap, save the money where and when you can.
I even found it enjoyable to purchase something I know from time to time. Saving money during travels is a hard nut to crack, but if you stick to the familiar from time to time, you can make it work.
Keep in mind that the thriftier you are, the longer you can travel Australia. If you’re really having a great time, that’s the best incentive to keep a close watch on your budget and avoid those impulse purchases that fun vacations tend to inspire.
-- Rachel Jackson
Rachel Jackson is a mother of two beautiful boys. She loves to hike and write about travelling, education and business. She is a Senior Content Manager at Bizset.com - an online resource of relevant business information.
CLICK HERE TO READ Rachel’s advice on how best to plan an Australian vacation with family.
CLICK HERE TO READ how Rachel enjoyed the Australian Islands.