Heading down under for the first time? Here are our top tips for travelling Australia on a budget. Food, accommodation, we’ve got you covered.
Food and Drink
Shopping at Aldi
When food shopping in Australia you have three options, Woolworths, Coles and Aldi. Although some items may be cheaper at Coles or ‘Woolies’, generally speaking, Aldi is the best value supermarket in Australia. However, Aldi supermarkets are not found all throughout Ozz. If you are living in the North, you may struggle to come across an Aldi store so bear that in mind.
It’s no secret that alcohol is expensive in Australia. Somewhat of a problem for a lot of backpackers that appreciate a boozy night of fun. But fear not. Box wine, otherwise known as ‘goon’ is a budget-friendly option to save the day. At most supermarkets or bottle shops you can buy a four-litre bag of wine for as little as $9.00 AUD. (£4.95 / $6 US).
Dominoes pizza in the UK is definitely not a cheap dinner option. But in Australia, the chain offers great value deals. Perfect for peckish backpackers fed up of eating chicken noodles. If you are willing to pick up your own food you can find deals such as “1 pizza, garlic bread, and a 1.25L drink for $14.95 AUD (£8.22 / $10 US). This is really great value compared to most restaurants when travelling Australia on a budget.
McDonald’s or Macca’s as they call it in Ozz can be a cheap option when the money is drying up and you can’t cook or don’t have the facilities to do so. A cheeseburger on its own is just $3.30 AUD (£1.80/ $2.20 US)! So why not order 5? Fill your boots.
Happiest Hour app
The happiest hour is a fantastic application that should be taken advantage of by every backpacker heading to Australia. The app will show you what venues have different happy hour deals and at what time. Making sure you don’t miss money off deals at your favourite venues and helping you find great new spots too.
Work for your food
If you really find yourself needing to save money on food whilst you are saving in Australia, why not try your hand working in a restaurant! Most places will make sure they keep their staff fed, and the better the establishment you work for the better the food will be. No more splashing out on money for food. Get all your meals cooked for you by real chefs and get paid!
Cheap hostels/working hostels
An obvious tip for people on a budget – don’t stay in fancy hotels! There are lots of backpacker hostels throughout the country that offer beds for cheap. There are also many working hostels you can find that will help you look for regional work to extend your VISA if that is something you are interested in. (For more info on VISA’s read Finding a Job in Australia on a Working Holiday Visa).
If you find somewhere that you like and you choose to stay for a long period of time, a house share is a great option to save money. You can live a more comfortable lifestyle than staying at a hostel and pay for a room in a house with other travellers.
A good way to find house shares is on Facebook. In Melbourne, we used fairy floss real estate to find a place with other travellers.
Camping / free camps
Australia is full of camping sites. Around the major cities, most of these sites will cost you a few dollars, but there are also loads of free camps to be found. Using apps such as “camper mate” and “wikicamps” you can find free sites and what facilities they have to use. Ideal when you are travelling Australia on a budget or planning a long journey across the country.
The couch surfing app is a handy way to find a bed (or couch) to sleep on for a night or two if you’re on a tight budget. It may be a little daunting to some to bunk down with a complete stranger, but you can view hosts profiles to find out their back story before you commit.
Working at hostels
Lots of hostels in Australia means lots of potential jobs. Many of the hostels we stayed at on our travels offer a free bed in exchange for a few shifts of work. Some may even pay you a small wage on top of your accommodation! It can be quite competitive though so try and make a good first impression with the staff.
If you are planning a trip, maybe up the coast to the next big city, or the great ocean road, we can assure you there are other people that will be wanting to do the exact same thing as you. If you can find other people, preferably one with a car you can split costs for the journey. This is a neat way to save a few bucks on petrol, meet new people and share the driving duties. The best way to find car shares is to look at backpacker groups on Facebook. On these groups, you can usually find like-minded travellers looking for companions for their next adventure.
One of the best parts of Australia is, of course, the sunshine. With such amazing weather, there is no excuse to not be out enjoying it. So scrap the cars, the busses and trams. Grab yourself a cheap bicycle and you’ll never have to pay for an Uber again!
Bits and Bobs
OP shops are essentially charity shops that can be found all around the cities and suburbs. They are usually stacked full of great items for super low prices. If you have moved into a house share and are missing a few kitchen items, look no further than your local OP shop. A fantastic way to save money, rather than buying brand new bits, as well as giving to charitable causes while you are at it.
Another great place to find things you might need. Facebook Marketplace is packed with people selling second-hand goods. You can localise your searches too so you don’t have to go too far to pick things up. Think eBay but without the fees and technicalities. It’s a great place to look for a bicycle or campervan as many backpackers use it as a place to sell before they move on or leave the country. For more information on how to buy a vehicle read A step by step guide to buying a campervan in Australia.
Similar to Facebook Marketplace, you can scour the local area for cheap goods people are trying to get rid of, or do not need any more. It’s also a great place to look for work if you need some extra cash to help replenish the budget.
Hit us up
If there is anything else you would love to know about travelling Australia on a budget, ask us in the comments section and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
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