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5 Budgeting Tips for Traveling in Australia

Valerie Taylor April 26, 2017 - in Money, Travel&Life

One of the things that you may pride yourself in is being thrifty as you travel the world. Everyone loves spending less than their vacation budget, especially when you are a student or a digital nomad. But when it comes to traveling through Australia, you are going to find yourself pinching more pennies than usual. I mean, even Australians complain about the price of some things, and they are one of the happiest countries in the world!

So how do you get through Australia without giving up food and drink for the final leg of the journey? Here are some useful budgeting tips to get you through a month of Australian travel.

1. Research the AUD conversion

Depending on where you are from and how your bills stack up against the Australian dollar, you may wind up spending more to cover the conversion. I was lucky. The USD was actually worth more than AUD when I went, so I ended spending less than what I planned.

But do not let that make you lax with your money. A lot of product here cost more than what they did in the States or in Europe, meaning that even if your bucks are stronger, you still wind up paying more than anticipated.

I budgeted $800 for 3 and half weeks in Australia (but I will admit I did not do any tours). Had I not been prepared, that would have easily doubled. If you eat out and drink often, you can easily spend over $100 a day. You do not want to do that, obviously, if you want to get all the way across the continent.

2. Stay at a hostel or guesthouse

I would say go the Airbnb route, but even that is expensive (around $30-40 a night for shared or private rooms), and you are not guaranteed much. Instead, if you are traveling alone or in a group and need to have a shower and kitchen, opt for a hostel or guesthouse.

I stayed at two that ran the average for a bed but one was $16 a night and the other was $28 a night. In Melbourne, expect that cost to be around $30 a night. The difference was that the cheaper hostel was dirtier, noisier, and located right over a dance club. Imagine trying to get to sleep when the music was loud.

Unfortunately, you either deal with grimy hostels or pay a bit more for a clean bed and shared kitchen space. Otherwise, a hotel is going to cost you big time, like $80 to over a hundred bucks a night. Couchsurfing, though, is kind of a location custom. If you are cool with snoozing on a couch for a few nights, there is no better place to do it than Australia.

Read also – 5 Secret Places to Hide Money in Your Hotel Room

3. Cook when you can

This is how I saved so much money. When you eat out and drink, you can expect to spend a good $30-60 per person. If you knock back a couple of beers or some wine, expect that average price to double.

Groceries are not very expensive here. I would say my weekly cost was around $60, and that was me buying organic and health food on top of fresh produce. Simply look for “reduced price” items or what is on sale, and you will save quite a bit.

4. Freebies

Do free walking tours and visit the free museums when you get the chance. That way, you can see and learn about the city without having to spend anything on learning navigation or about the history. There are loads of wonderful historical attractions with free Wi-Fi, too.

In Perth, there is the free CAT bus system that takes you around the city. Melbourne has a free tram zone in the CBD. Take advantage of systems like this, as they are reliable and have a decent timetable.

5. Pave your own way

A lot of people recommend tour packages. I say choose the one that you cannot go without doing and put all else aside. For example, if you want to dive with whale sharks and find a decent tour package including that, do it. Then, decide what you can do for cheap around the area. Choose one package in each region that is most comprehensive then minimize your spending until you move on. Avoid repeats, like multiple zoos or art galleries.

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Australia is expensive, there is no doubt about that. Even if you try to be as thrifty as possible, you are also going to want to have fun. In short, expect to pay at least $100 a day unless you are just living like a local. Plan accordingly and be ready for endless fun and discovery in the land down under.

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