A Guide for Backpacking in Australia on a Budget

Considering the dreamy climate and the friendly culture in the Land of Down Under, there’s no better way to explore this incredible continent than to backpack across its rural and urban hotspots. What makes this way of traveling even more appealing is that you’ll make unplanned stops, meet numerous people from all over the globe, and come across such breathtaking vistas that you’ll inevitably want to return. However, such an endeavor comes with a hefty price tag, even for the most experienced explorers among you.

While certain lifestyle habits will differ from one person to another, and thus alter the final price of the trip, you can make certain changes to your travel routine without sacrificing any of your travel comfort. In fact, many of these budget-saving travel tips will increase the level of travel satisfaction and provide you with a new perspective of this land!

Be accommodation-smart

Bungalows in Tasmania, Pixabay

Since Australia is known to be rather pricey in terms of private accommodation options, you might want to consider something less conventional than a hotel or a motel room. Living in cities such as Sydney or Melbourne is particularly expensive, while more rural areas are significantly more acceptable in terms of their pricing. Plan ahead and do some research on your best couch-surfing options, as well as camping areas, especially if you’re traveling during summer (which is during winter for the rest of us in the Northern Hemisphere).

You can come across camping areas which are completely free of charge, while others come with a more than reasonable overnight fee. Other frugal options include housesitting, which may limit your movements in an area, but you can at least have your rent covered by the fee you’re paid. For hard workers among you, staying on local farms and working for your room is another popular option which will get you immersed in the local life and provide you with a roof over your head!

Simplify your habits

You may be accustomed to traveling by plane inside the country as well, especially since Australia is truly vast, but this is as pricey as it is convenient. For the sake of your budget, you may want to consider less expensive options, such as using the local buses (trains are also pricey), while car shares are becoming more popular, and you can always rent a van or a car with your backpacking companions to share the expenses. Booking in advance also often means a discount for the regular last-minute price, so make sure to book as early as possible and plan your routes beforehand.

Another common expense on the list of many travelers is bottled water, since most of us come to a new country not having a clue if the local water is suitable or safe to consume. Luckily for you, Australia’s tap water is perfectly safe and you can bring your own reusable drink bottles instead of wasting cash on plastic ones, which are not just pricey, but also harmful for the environment. Opt for the ones that are insulated so that your water can stay cool and fresh, and refill them as you travel through the country!

Restructure your menu


Restaurant & Street Food in Australia, Pixabay

Foodies, beware, because Aussies are famous for their love for coffee and all things culinary, whether local or international. You’ll find that most of their restaurants offer a variety of local delicacies mixed with international influences, and you can certainly take your pick from fresh groceries on the farmers’ markets and eateries alike. However, your budget-friendly approach should be based mostly on eating home-cooked meals, although an occasional takeaway dinner cannot hurt.

What you should really pay close attention to is your alcohol intake, since the prices can be quite high, and it’s truly not worth it. You can use the same amount of money to cover a day of your eating expenses with fresh food. If you have a store in your vicinity, head to Woolworths or Coles, both of which have considerably lower prices than their competitors. For the duration of your stay, it’s best to stick to a DIY meal plan!

Work on the go

By far the best and the easiest way to cut your expenses significantly and to cover a portion of your travel budget is to put in some work during your explorations. However, make sure that you choose the right line of work in order to adapt your travel plans – if you decide to work online, check if your destinations have ample Wi-Fi spots with a reliable connection.

You can make arrangements well before your travel date, with the local hostels, farms, and cafés, as most of them offer seasonal, part-time work which can come in handy for someone like you. Digital freelancing is a great way to supplement your travel budget, especially if you’re proficient in English, which opens up a whole world of teaching opportunities in the Asian market.

Learn about freebies

Trams in Melbourne, Pixabay

Finally, Australia is quite a generous country. You’ll come across so many free activities, galleries, museums, festivals, and events that you’ll most likely be able to fill your entire schedule with those alone.

The Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney not only has an abundance of exhibitions for you to visit, but also free movie nights, music recitals, as well as workshops you can enjoy. All it takes is a bit of research, and you can always talk to the friendly locals and learn about those less advertised events that might be more to your liking.

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