It may not be as difficult as you think. I’ve put together some ways to help you save money on every aspect of your trip to Australia, including info on cheap eats, discount cards, fun freebies and more.
How to save money whilst traveling is one of the most common questions I get asked.
Traveling to Australia is a pricey proposition — the airfare alone could bust your budget, and the sheer length of the flight encourages most visitors to stretch their visit for well over a week (it’ll take you that long just to get over the jet lag!). So how can you afford a two-week or longer journey to the Land Down Under?
It’s about making smart choices, think about your priorities and use strategies to save money as you go.
Travel at the cheapest times
The price of flights varies considerably depending on the month, day and even time of travel. I use Skyscanner, Kayak and Webjet to compare flight prices across a whole month with a graph view to see the cheapest days to fly, saving me a potential packet.
Avoiding the weekends can make a huge impact on the price of flights. I try to compare travel from a Wednesday to Wednesday rather than a Friday to Friday.
If you are thinking about travelling to Australia, keep in mind that the airfares are typically most expensive between December and February, which is Australia’s summer season and the most popular time to visit places like Sydney and Melbourne. You’ll likely find lower fares during the shoulder seasons: spring and fall.
Check the discount airlines
Thanks to Australia’s sheer size, the quickest way to get around the country is by air. Australia has a number of discount airlines that provide affordably priced domestic flights, including Jetstar, Regional Express (REX) and Tigerair.
Go Directly to the Airline Website
Once you have looked at all the flight search websites and found the cheapest price, I usually go straight to the airlines website to check if they offer lower fares.
The best airfare can go largely unannounced. Sign up for airlines e-Newsletters. Special promotion codes can save you money and you can also be notified of last minute deals in this way. Also, you should follow them on social media.
If you want to go on holiday but are sick of the usual hotel chains and expensive, soulless rooms then why not consider a home swap? It will cost you virtually nothing, as the name ‘swap’ suggests, and you get to visit a new country whilst enjoying all the comforts of home.
Make yourself at home with a spot of house-sitting. House sitters provide their pet and house sitting services for free in exchange for the privilege of accommodation in the owner’s home. What a great way to save money on travel!
Are you a last minute hotel booker or one who plans out trips months in advance? Hotel search engines can save you money!
Australia has some of the world’s most scenic and well-maintained campgrounds and national parks. Renting an RV, or a campervan gives you the freedom to drive yourself around the country, as well as a cozy and inexpensive place to sleep each night.
Eat like a local
Not only is tasting new cuisines part of the joy of travelling but you’re likely to eat far better as well as saving money, when you eat like a local. Skip the touristy restaurants and follow the locals to places where you can find great food at a great value. Think ethnic restaurants — Thai food is cheap, plentiful and popular in cities like Sydney and Melbourne, as is takeaway sushi.
Dinner is usually more expensive out than lunch would be too and you can always head back out on the town after you’ve eaten.
Tuesdays are the days you want to splash out as most restaurants, cinemas and cafes have special deals on. You’ll often find set meals for as little as $10 and movie tickets at half price. So if you’re looking for an evening out I’d highly recommend you make it a Tuesday!
Have Picnics and BBQ’s
Purchase food in a grocery store or a market and arrange a picnic in one of the city’s parks with great views. Or way not get the Aussie spirit an cook up a feat in one of the free BBQ’s there exist in any park/beach!
Skip the exchange counter.
You’ll get the best exchange rates by using your credit card or withdrawing money from an ATM; that’s because you’ll be exchanging money at interbank rates, which tend to be 2 to 5 percent better than the rates exchange bureaus charge. ATMs can be found just about everywhere in Australia except the most remote towns and villages, and credit cards are accepted in most restaurants/stores. But beware of fees, most banks will charge you to withdraw money at a foreign ATM or make a purchase in a foreign currency.
Get a refund
If you purchase $300 AUD or more in goods from a single retailer, you are eligible for a refund of the goods and services tax (GST) that you paid on those items. You must have the original tax invoice and present it when you leave Australia.
Keep your focus
Australia is enormous! nearly the size of the continental U.S. You wouldn’t try to see the entire U.S. in two weeks, so don’t attempt to do it in Australia either. If you have limited time for your trip, fix your sights on one or two regions and explore them thoroughly — you’ll have a more relaxing experience, and save both time and money on transportation.
In the era of technology and gadgets, your smart phone can be a handy money-saving travel buddy. There are apps on the market for everything including: travel guides, maps, phrasebooks, you name it!
Download these and you’ll save not only a wad of cash on paper travel guides, maps and phrasebooks but also a lot of space in your backpack meaning less chance of excess baggage charges.
Get travel insurance discount
You can save a lot of money in shopping around for travel insurance. Use Worldcare Travel Insurance Coupon Codes to lower your travel insurance cost. Worldcare is a reliable travel insurance, backed by Allianz, that offers comprehensive budget travel insurance options and you can always get a discounted coupon before you purchase the insurance.
Look for freebies
Australia has a wealth of museums and attractions that don’t charge admission fees — like Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art and Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens. A lot of the tourist sites can be visited for free in certain days or you can always use Coupon Codes for discount rates too, by using coupons. So do your research to find travel discounts and coupons for the areas you are visiting.
Travel for free
A number of Australian cities have made select public transportation routes free to the public. For example, Brisbane has free service on several bus routes in the city center, while Sydney also offers several free shuttles.
Travel at a discount
Keep an eye out for public transportation discount cards such as Sydney’s Opal card, which offers discounts and a cap on your maximum daily fare, no matter how many times you use the transit system.
When I book accommodation one of the first things I look for is free WiFi. In cities and towns seek out free wifi spots at cafes, libraries and hot spots.