As you all know, Australia is high up on my bucket list. Hence, I have done fair bit of ground work on backpacking Australia so that I don’t end up breaking the bank whilst enjoying my new adventures.
When any backpacking trip is on the agenda, the amount of money at your disposal for day to day expenses becomes the core issue. There are many factors which will ultimately determine this and this is not an easy task, and more so if your planned destination happens to be Australia.
Just the sheer size of the country can distract many a prospective visitor from visiting it, and for good reason too. The cost of the flight and the duration itself (especially for me in India) can bust any budget. Having said that, once you have made it to the land Down Under, there are plenty of ways to save money and have an affordable holiday in Australia.
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Airfare will lop off a major chunk of your budget, so plan and research your itinerary carefully and well in advance. Airlines offer deals from time to time, especially during the lean season from spring to fall. Fares during this period are much much lower than the peak December to February months.
Plan Your Trip in Advance
Australia is so large in size, that it is virtually impossible to see it in one trip, especially for a backpacker where there are bound to be time and money limitations. It is strongly advised, therefore, to focus on just one or two regions of your choice and explore them thoroughly. This will not only make the trip more enjoyable and relaxing, but will save both on costs and time.
Keep an Eye out for Free Attractions
Australia has innumerable attractions that can be visited by paying nothing. So do proper research about these in the area you intend to visit and you will be surprised as to what free goodies are on offer. Places like the Botanical Gardens in Brisbane and the Contemporary Art Museum in Sydney are prime examples.
Get A Discount Card
If you intend to see a lot of places in a limited period of time, go for a discount card like, iVenture for example, for visiting popular cities like Melbourne, Sydney or even Tasmania. At a one time nominal cost, one can enjoy a host of tourist spots for free as well as get special offers and discounts on others.
Getting Around While Backpacking Australia
Because of the sheer size of the country, transport takes up a large share of your budget as well. Travel infrastructure is however excellent in Australia, so one has many options to choose from depending on the time available.
Probably the most popular way to see Australia is by traveling in your own vehicle overland. It may take up a sizeable portion of your budget, but will be worth every penny. Visitors have the choice of either renting or buying a car, though this depends on how much time you intend to stay in Australia.
Backpackers and travelers who are ready to bunk down in the back seat or camp can simply rent a Station Wagon. Sites like Roadshare provide information to people looking for travel partners. These are not only cheaper than other vehicles, but can accommodate small groups which make them very cost effective. However, if your Australian trip is going to be a long one, buy a vehicle, preferably with a buy back guarantee. You are then assured of the amount you will get back at the end if the trip and you save on paperwork and time, which otherwise takes upto 2 to 4 weeks to complete. Many sites like this one offer excellent deals on second hand caravans and vehicles of all sizes.
Take a cruise
Believe it or not a cruise trip in Australia can turn out to be extremely cost efficient. Some cruise companies like, Royal Caribbean and Cruise Australia, offer tickets for as low as 100 AUD per night. Not only one is spared the hassle of packing and unpacking daily, but many destinations are covered in one trip. Ticket price includes accommodation, meals, onboard entertainment and transfers from port to port.
The large distances involved in travel within Australia makes air travel the quickest mode of transportation. A number of low budget airlines like, Tigerair and Jetstar offer tickets at discounted rates which are good value for money.
Jump on a Bus
The bus is the cheapest way to travel in Australia, providing you are planning to visit a small region of the country. Operators like, Oz experience are suitable for backpackers on the eastern coast. Elsewhere Greyhound Australia offers good discounts, ranging to 50% as well as travel pass for longer journeys.
Enjoy a Scenic Train Ride
This is the most relaxing and scenic way to explore Australia. Rail Australia has a number of rail passes on offer to many places all over the country.
So do not get deterred by the magnitude of the Australia, instead plan diligently and pack your bags to have an incredible experience in the land of the kangaroos. Simply stick to the basics and follow the tips given above for a surreal Australian sojourn.