Top 10 budgeting tips for your trip to Australia

One of our staff members, Rachael, just got back from her two-year trip to Australia, so we asked her to compile a list of budgeting tips that she has collated from her time there.

BODYSydney_ Australia

You’re off to the other side of the World on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, and you wanna make sure you’re going to have enough money to last the whole trip, right? Well, I’m known among my friends as the ‘ultimate budgeter’ so I’m here to give you my top budgeting tips to help you stretch your money as far as possible – because that’s what I do.

Pre plan as much as you can

All ready for my adventure with my MASSIVE bag! #borrower #travels #scary #exciting

A post shared by Rachael Porter (@rporter90) on

If you’re really worried about not having enough money to last the whole trip, then plan your travel (if you’re visiting more than one state) and accommodation beforehand, so you know EXACTLY how much you’re going to be able to spend. Then you can divvy it up between weeks. Alternatively, if you’re wanting more of a spontaneous trip, go online and do some research on plane/bus/train prices and the average night price for accommodation (it will fluctuate) but then you’ve got an idea of how much to save aside for travel, and the rest you can use for spending.

Make a spreadsheet

BODYmelburngraffiti If you’re really terrible at budgeting, or just love a bit of organisation, it could be handy to make yourself a spreadsheet and subtract as you spend. Personally I didn’t do this, but I met plenty of travellers who did.

Travel cards


The best way to get around when you’re here in Sydney! It’s all about the trains, buses and walking here Well, you can bike too if you like #OpalCard #PublicTranspo #BiyaheNiIya A post shared by Iya Villania-Arellano (@iyavillania) on

You can get these in every state in Australia, and they’re basically just a card that you can top up to get discounted rates on travel – much like an Oyster card [only mention Oyster in UK] – very helpful if somewhere for a week or even just a few days. The name they go by in each state is:
– NSW: Opal
– QLD: Go Card
– ACT: MyWay (travel on ACTION buses)
– NT: Tap and Ride Card (just for buses)
– WA: SmartRider
– TAS: Greencard
– VIC: Myki

Get an Aussie SIM card

Depending on how long you’re out there, it might be worth picking up a local SIM card so you’re not crying in to your pillow because you’ve spent £100 on roaming charges. All providers will have some good pay-as-you-go deals, that will DEFINITELY save you any hefty charges. When I was there I went with the Optus Social Plan which gave me unlimited social media and I think I got 250 international minutes, which was pretty ideal for me. I paid $30 a month pay-as-you-go, but I know there are loads of providers that offer different deals.

Do free activities – there are loads!

Hosier Lane #melbourne #cbd #hosier #lane #graffiti #streetart

A post shared by Rachael Porter (@rporter90) on

This is a broad category and can mean anything from a walk around the local neighbourhoods, a visit to the beach or a hike in a national park (sometimes free). Having an unforgettable experience doesn’t always mean spending loads of money, in fact some of the best experiences are free – like hanging around a campfire with friends, listening to that one person who always brings a guitar, or walk around a local market and scope out all of the cool art. I had a great weekend in Noosa once just chilling on the beach and doing the coastal walk in their national park.

Stay in hostels

BODYIMG_7437_ Australia FAM trip Hostels are cheaper than hotels usually, and are a lot more fun, especially if you’re travelling alone. They usually do private rooms too if you don’t fancy sharing a dorm, but want to get in on the social side, or even if you just want to save some money and just looking for somewhere to sleep. Hostels also tend to get exclusive deals for day trips, bar crawls and local restaurants…this definitely helps you stretch your money. Some hostels have memberships too to give you discounted rates on other stays. YHA definitely do this, because I had their membership card. If you get an ISIC discount card you can get a fair few deals off hostels and hotels too.

Road trip with a group of people


Had the best time cruising round in these little camper vans on the great ocean road #travels #roadtrip #wicked #campers #friends #birthday A post shared by Rachael Porter (@rporter90) on

If you’re wanting to travel across states or even within states, a great Aussie road trip could be the way to go. Once you’ve met some friends at a hostel, or if you’re going with friends to Australia, look at hiring a car or campervan and dividing the cost between you. Some people I met even found people on free websites, or hitch hiked, although you’ve definitely got to be wary with those ones. I went on two road trips in Oz: I spent 6 weeks between Sydney and Brisbane (yep, you really can spend a whole 6 weeks roadtripping that small stretch of land), and the classic Great Ocean Road trip. Seriously fun, and budget friendly too.

Open an Aussie bank account

It’s annoying when you spend a good chunk of your money on withdrawal charges isn’t it? When you see that annoying ‘international transaction fee’ sitting on your statement, looking all smug. Not an issue if you’re travelling to Australia. Surprisingly, this isn’t only relevant to those on a Working Holiday Visa, even though you think it would be – because as long as you have a visa number then you’re able to open a bank account. Most places allow you to open your account before you arrive in Australia so you can deposit money to be ready when you arrive, like Westpac. Westpac also gives you a one year ISIC card when you open one of their Choice Accounts – so kill all the birds with one stone … hotel discounts, tour discounts, flight and travel discounts! Thank you Australia.

Get an ISIC card if you’re a student

This is globally recognised in over 130 countries, and hugely helpful if you’re a student (hellooooo discounts). Not only can you use this in Australia, you can keep it for other destinations too. Perfect for a globe trotter! Even better, kill two birds with one stone and open a Westpac everyday Choice account, and you’ll get a free ISIC card for one year! Bank account and discount card, check.

Get a youth travel card, if you’re not

Remember the days when you could just get discount everywhere you went because you were a student, and then the crash back down to earth as soon as your card expired (I’m still not over it). Don’t worry though, because if you’re under 31, STA won’t leave you behind! This card gets you discount on flights, hostels, hotels, and other cool stuff.

Ready to get your trip to Oz under way? Have a look at our Australia page for some more holiday inspo.