10 Ways To Save Money While You Travel Australia

10 Ways To Save Money While You Travel Australia Image | East Coast Tours Australia

Travelling Australia doesn't have to break the bank, however, it can if you don't know the easy ways to save your dollars along the way. From little things like paying too much for a beer at the *not-so* local to bigger mistakes like travelling during peak season, spending too much and feeling tourist-trapped can ruin a trip wherever you are! So avoid the rookie errors and do Australia as the locals do, without actually feeling like you're on a tight budget. For the money-conscious backpacker, here are the 10 best ways to save money while travelling Australia.

1. Travel off-peak

During the Christmas holidays (December and January), even the locals avoid holidaying in popular locations like the Noosa Heads, Byron Bay and Airlie Beach unless they've pre-booked earlier in the year. It's always crazy busy and you will face peak season prices for accommodation, tours and even fuel. Not to mention, these are the hottest summer months, and doing huge day trips during 35-degree days can really knock you out, especially if you're not used to the temperatures. Beat the heat, crowds and price tag by travelling between August and November, or between February and May. 

Check out our ultimate guide to the best time to backpack Australia to help you out with your planning.

A man on an inflatable ibis in clear waters

2. Travel by campervan or bus

Australia is a huge country, so it's no surprise that driving is a really common aspect of everyday Aussie life. However, that doesn't mean that renting a car to do the East Coast is the most cost-efficient way to explore. In fact, renting a car is a pretty expensive option in Australia, especially if you're solo or in a couple. With costs like insurance, fuel, parking and one-way travel fees to consider, it really is better to opt for a campervan (to combine your accommodation and transport costs), or an East Coast bus pass. Our itineraries typically include a Greyhound Whimit East Coast Bus Pass, giving you unlimited travel in whatever direction to Greyhound's extensive destination network. 

Score your bus pass for your East Coast trip before you arrive, or browse our campervans to see more for less.

A group of backpackers in the jucy van in Noosa

3. DIY meals

PSA: this tip can save you up to $600 a week! Australia isn't a very cheap country for buying food out, especially when compared to Europe and Asia. So, if your holiday budget is on the tighter side, simply cook your own meals! Not every single meal of course (you are on holiday after all, and the restaurants in Australia are fantastic!) but at least some. Put simply, don't underestimate the power of a quick grocery shop, even if you don't have access to a kitchen. Sandwiches or wraps are a super easy and cheap fix-up, as well as pasta, noodles and salads. Not to mention, there are plenty of fantastic (free) alfresco BBQ areas in public parks and beaches; perfect for a classic Aussie arvo sausage sizzle. Just make sure to remember that drinking in public is only legal in designated areas, so double-check before buying that 6-pack to avoid a fine. Common supermarkets across Australia include IGA, Coles, Woolworths and Aldi, however local farmers markets and fruit shops often have great value and super fresh produce! Bon appétit!

Check out our guide to best meals to cook in a hostel for some incredibly easy recipe ideas for under $2 a serve!

A food platter with salad, veggies and condiments

4. Work in Australia

If money is a worry and you want an extended trip, opt for a working holiday! Working during your travels can either look like remote working (hello digital nomad life!) or a working holiday backpacker job. This can be café work, fruit-picking, or really anything you want! Just know that if you plan on getting a job in Australia, you will require a visa that allows you to work, typically the Working Holiday 417 and Work and Holiday 462 visas. You need to apply for an Australian working holiday visa in advance, as they usually take a few months to process. You're not permitted to work on a tourist visa, with the vague exception of remote work for a company in your own country. For more info on getting a remote job and which visa you need to be a digi nomad, read our article on how to be a digital nomad

Keen for a working holiday in Australia? Learn more about getting work, tax, superannuation and visas with our complete guide to working holidays!

A woman in white on a boat with a platter of fruit

5. Know the average cost of goods 

While a new currency can be overwhelming, it's great to understand the conversion and also the normal price of things like food, drinks, accommodation and transport. This way, you won't walk into expensive tourist traps, leaving with a grimace as you punch in your PIN number. A schooner (425ml) of beer costs between $7 to $12. A pizza costs around $25, a pub feed costs around $20 to $28, and a coffee costs around $4 to $5.50. A night in a hostel dorm costs between $25 to $70 (peak season), and a budget private room will set you back between $100 - $200 a night. Be savvy, don't be afraid to bargain hunt and avoid touristy areas in the peak season. And the most important rule of all: never pay more than $12 for a beer!

For more info on doing up your own budget, check out our breakdown of living costs in Australia.

A beer in the pub being poured into a glass

6. Spend your days at the beach 

Okay, so this one doesn't really feel like a sacrifice - we all know you're coming here for the world-class beaches! However, once you're in Australia, the easiest way to avoid overspending is to shack up on golden shores (the horror!). Beaches in Australia are free, so grab your towel, a good book and live simply and beautifully - beachside. Car parking may be paid in more popular spots, so make sure to opt for public transport if possible. Whether you're into surfing, sunbaking, reading, coastal walks, snorkelling or swimming, let the days flow by in a sun-soaked haze on some of the most gorgeous beaches Down Under. Just don't forget the sunscreen!

For the best beach spots, read our top beginner surf breaks, perfect for avid surfers and beachside relaxers alike!

Two people sunbaking on white sands

7. Share accommodation & book a bit in advance

A glaringly obvious yet golden rule of backpacking on a budget: stay in hostels. Particularly great for solo travellers, avoid spending too much on a private room and bunk with other travellers. Across the East Coast, there are an array of awesome hostels and flashpacker lodgings, and often you can find reasonably priced places with perks such as on-site pools and bars. Live it up in luxury with your backpacker wallet! Another hot tip for any couples or small groups is to compare the price of splitting a budget hotel or villa with the price of each of you paying for a bed in a hostel. Sometimes, you can find private rooms that are cheaper split between four than the total price of four beds in a hostel. Shop around and book early if you're sorting out your own accommodation, to avoid last-minute price hikes while ensuring you get the best deal!

Here are our favourite places to stay along the East Coast that can work with any budget.

A man in a bed reading in a hostel with two bunks to his left

9. Go camping!

Reconnect with nature, get off the beaten path and save your dollars with this quintessential Aussie pastime. If you have a van or a tent, you can explore the wonders of Australia's National Parks and camping reserves without the crowds. Take your pick of rainforest, bush, beach or hinterland sites, with ample cheap and free campsites across the East Coast!

If you're a fan of the campervan, check out our ultimate how-to on living in a van for free in Australia!

A tent on the beach with a couple camping

10. Book a package

By bundling your tours, accommodation and transport, not only do you avoid the stress of organising your holiday, you also save the big bucks. Whether you're looking for a stripped-back adventure with plenty of free time, a social guided group trip or anything in between, our travel agents can connect you with your dream Aussie itinerary at the best price. Spend less with awesome discounted bundle prices and do more of the magical East Coast! 

A group of three women in swimmers walking at Lake Mackenzie

Find more information on saving down under with our travelling Australia on backpacker budget guide, and learn more about budgeting for your Aussie trip.

Ready to book your discounted and inclusive itinerary? Discover our popular itineraries or personalise it with our DIY itinerary planner. We'll see you where the sun is always shining!

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