Australia, a country rich with adventure waiting to unleash itself for those open and willing.
Backpacking this country is a realistic dream for many made possible with the availability of the Youth Working Holiday Visa, and the option of a second year visa. Let me just say, it’s a large country and expensive to travel.
In my last Australia blog post, I talked about why the Working Holiday Visa is the best choice if you are thinking about hopping on a plane and staying down under for an extended period of time – or better yet maybe you don’t even have a time frame! That was how my friend Ana and I began our Australia adventure, open-ended!
I’m all about working hard and playing hard, saving your money for the next adventure that awaits you and loving every minute of spending that hard earned money on memories that last forever. That being said, sometimes this involves planning and being thrifty at times.
As I mentioned Australia is extremely expensive to travel, worth every penny though. Learning to plan and travel on a budget is essential.
1. Start off by staying in a hostel
Hostels are the cheapest accommodation, and you will meet like-minded backpackers who can give you tips and recommendations. Often times you will even end up travelling with a few of them when you decide to move on.
Tips for choosing a hostel: compares reviews and prices and make sure it’s in an area that’s centrally located and has public transportation nearby, or is walking distance to key places. ALSO, look for deals. Typically hostels offer incentives such as ‘Stay 6 nights and get your 7th free,’ meal deals, and include free breakfast.
***Lots of hostels offer ‘Work for Accommodation.’ This pretty much means that if you work at the hostel the agreed upon amount of hours, you can live there for free. Ana and I did this in Cairns for our first couple months, it was a great way to figure out our next stop.
2. Watch your spending on alcohol
This is probably the most important way to save money while traveling here. Unlike many top backpacking destinations, alcohol in Australia is very expensive. VERY. If cutting out alcohol isn’t your thing, I would recommend drinking in your hostel, sharing travel stories, and splitting the costs with other fellow backpackers. Or look for bars that have ‘Backpacker Deals’ as well, usually offering drink specials.
3. Groceries instead of Restaurants
This was the next biggest shock upon arrival, how expensive the food was. Chances are your accommodation will have a fridge/cupboard space that you can utilize, do it. Buying your groceries for the week instead of eating out/getting takeaway saves tons of $$$ and allows you to eat healthier.
4. Make backpacker friends
If your travels are flexible, a great way to explore is by making friends and splitting costs. Road trips, activities, and food costs are much more reasonable with a group. Plus, half the fun of travelling is meeting people and hearing their story! Chances are you will meet some lifelong friends along the way.
5. Find a job
Hospitality jobs and farm work are the easiest jobs to get if you are on a Working Holiday Visa, and employers understand that you are looking for short-term employment. Also, working in a remote area typically has a higher wage, free accommodation, and allows for ‘off the beaten path’ travels. I did this and it was the best decision of my life.
6. Look for free activities
Australia has endless amounts outdoor activities to offer that involve spending no money, indulge in this! Experience the beauty nature has to offer here through hiking, beach-hopping, waterfall chasing; there’s just so much. You don’t need to spend money to have fun!
There is lots of ways to get around. Flying and taking the bus is the most expensive way, and least fun. Lots of backpackers buy a car with a few friends and road trip down the coast while camping or staying in hostels, and sell the car to other backpackers once finished. Others rent camper vans. There are lots of deals for relocating camper vans if your timeframe and route is flexible for as little as $1 a day.
What I did: A friend I met in a hostel had already purchased a car, and a few of us piled in and camped our way down the East Coast, splitting costs and making memories. An amazing way to see this area that is majorly budget friendly!
8. Decide where you want to travel
It’s a large country with very different adventures depending on the region you are in. Decide what’s important to you and spend your time dedicated to exploring that area.
If you have any thoughts/questions/comments about Backpacking Australia I would LOVE to hear them!
Thinking of packing your bags and heading to Australia, check out our other Australia posts so far: