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10 tips for backpacking Australia on a budget

Australia is not a cheap country. But with this insider ten 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 it comes to the time to take a tour on a beautiful island, but you are out of money. Uhm too bad!

Koala Philipp Island - Victoria
Koala in Philipp Island – Victoria #iamabackpacker

But, here is a list of 10 great tips to keep your money in your pocket.

  1. Accommodation: book a cheap hostel or shared accommodation. You don’t want to spend half of your income on rent. Cheap doesn’t mean bad. I staid three months in a hostel in Perth for only 120$ a week (in a six beds dorm), and my salary was about 800$ a week. So I saved a lot! A cheap hostel doesn’t always mean a bad hostel. For example, the one I lived in Northbridge was super clean, quiet when needed, and everyone was like a family.
  2. Free accommodation: many hostels propose to backpackers an excellent 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. I saved up more than 1000$.
  3. Food: avoid eating out. Check if your hostel has breakfast included and cook as much as you can. If you decide to eat out, there are some cheap places like Pubs, or in Asian neighbourhoods, for other areas, it could cost you around 15/20$. Also, some supermarkets, such as Coles, will offer some very great discounts at night for some products due to date (bread and vegetables, for example).
  4. Free Food: If you work in a café or restaurant, you will probably get free food over 5 hours’ work. I saved up 10$ to 30$ a day.
  5. Party: a pint of beer in Australia costs about 4$/5$, and if you fancy real alcohol, 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 litres box that costs 10/12$. Have a look at the ingredients, and you will realize Goone is everything but wine but, it tastes like it. Good luck with your hangover then.
  6. Travel: Car sharing is the best; you will only need to pay the cost of fuel. Also, check Facebook groups to find a lift. Another point, if you travel by bus, make sure to travel at night so you will be saving money on night’s accommodation.
  7. Cheap Tours: take the time to compare tours and try to make packages; it will be easier to negotiate. For example, I spent an entire afternoon in Cairns, going from one agency to another, checking prices, and talk with people. I finally get the cheapest tour on the great barrier reef for less than 80$, and we were only 15 people on the boat. I saved up about 50$
  8. 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 enjoyed my experience like any other person who paid for it. I saved up 350$
  9. 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 also have free Wifi Spot in the streets, so check it out.
  10. Budget your week: I recommend planning 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!
The Great Ocean Road in Victoria #iamabackpacker
The Great Ocean Road in Victoria #iamabackpacker

I struggled a little bit with managing my money when I arrived in Australia and I would have been happy to know this list of ten tips for backpacking Australia on budget. Indeed, I started with 3,000euros (about 5,000AUD) and spent 700$ the first week. I got a job in a café only a week after I arrived, which kept me financially on board for the next six 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 travelling? Your tips will help others on their journey too.

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