Tips for Making Travel in Australia Less Expensive

Australia is one of the most expensive countries on the planet at the moment. High costs of living, high wages and a relatively stable economy mean that Australia hasn’t suffered the way the US or Europe has economically. Combined with the expense of buying Australian dollars and the cost involved in reaching Australia initially, it can be a very expensive place for travellers.

We’ve spent 3+ months a year in Australia for the past three years so have gathered some tips for making travel in Australia just a bit less expensive. Here are ten of my top tips:

 

Tips for Making Travel in Australia Less Expensive

 

1. Rent cars from local, off airport companies. Not only is the cost of renting the vehicle much cheaper any added extras like carseats or GPS units are also significantly less expensive.

2. Do a vehicle relocation. Australia is a big country and lots of tourists choose to travel one-way meaning rental car and camper companies need to move vehicles around a lot. You get a cheap rental, like $1 per day, and sometimes even fuel vouchers towards your journey. The only catch is the limited amount of time you can take to complete the relocation.

3. Book flights from outside of Australia. You can save a few dollars on domestic flights by booking through flight search engines with a better currency conversion. Have a look at buying your Jetstar flights through Expedia.co.jp as an example.

4. Sign up for airline newsletters. The main airlines flying domestically in Australia are Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Tiger Airways. Sign up to their newsletters & Facebook pages and watch out for deals. Jetstar have a weekly Friday Fare Frenzy and Tiger have weekly deals for email subscribers too.

5. Don’t pay cash on buses! The fare is always much more (sometime more than double) when you pay cash on boarding the bus. Instead, get a transport pass or re-loadable swipe card. You can get these from convenience stores and newsagents. Stick with buses when you’re travelling around a central city. A bus-only transport pass in Sydney is MUCH cheaper than one that lets you use rail or ferries. Pay for those only when you need to.

6. Book an airport shuttle. Taxis are expensive in Australia so don’t rely on them as an option for getting to or from the airport.

7. Watch Groupon for accommodation deals. Once you’re a month or two out from your trip, sign up to Groupon Australia and get the email alerts for their travel deals. You’ll find lots of city hotels on for 1-2 night stays as well as longer stays in holiday destinations like the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.

8. Book mystery hotels. Wotif.com is my favourite site for booking hotels in Australia (and New Zealand). The have great hotel deals all the time but also do mystery hotels. A mystery hotel means you won’t know the exact name of the hotel before you book but you can narrow down search results by criteria like location, star rating etc. You can pretty much work out which hotel you’re booking by checking the amenities list and comparing it to the hotels listed.

9. Self Cater where you can. If you’re staying in an apartment or hostel or touring in a campervan it’s easy to self-cater. Supermarket food in Australia is a lot more reasonable than eating out as wages are high for restaurant workers. Even if you’re not staying somewhere with catering facilities, the weather in Australia is great for picnicing and eating outdoors. It’s really easy to find shared, gas BBQs in common areas in parks and beachfronts too.

10. Search for coupons and vouchers. -Supermarket dockets in Australia have really great coupons on the back for local attractions, cheap eats and discount hotels. Entertainment books are also a great source for vouchers for dining and activities if you can get your hands on one (you might need a local to help you). Look on Groupon for activities and dining vouchers too.

 

Got any more tips for making travel in Australia less expensive?

Leave me a comment below. I’d love to know your tips!

 

 

 

31 Comments

  1. Definitely all good tips. We definitely have an advantage with family there – accommodation and even cars are often taken care of, plus we still have our bank accounts so purchasing currency doesn’t sting so much. I’ve noticed the tourism ads have gone seriously upmarket – they’re now selling the country to People Of Means (contrast this with the infamous “Where The Bloody Hell Are You” campaign of a few years back).

    But it’s true, you can definitely cut costs A LOT by taking a few simple steps. Two more:

    – Camp grounds are often quite nice if you don’t mind staying in a tent. Some caravan parks have on-site vans for overnight rental as well. It’s not quite as bustling with families as it was when we were kids, more the “Grey Nomad” set these days. We stayed in an onsite van recently in Tasmania and it was quite comfortable and the kids had a good area to run around.

    – Self-catering doesn’t mean you need to rent an apartment with a kitchen. A lot of parks have BBQs and picnic tables which can be used for free without booking. Especially good for families with kids as the kids can use the playground at the same time. You can also get a wide variety of picnic-style ingredients from supermarkets – including the usual sandwich stuff but also things like cous cous salads, felafels, etc etc. Bakeries are also a good idea and sell mini-pizza breads, pies, etc (although not that cheap for bakeries, they’re a lot cheaper than sitting at a cafe!).
    Bronwyn Joy recently posted..DC, as in WashingtonMy Profile

    • Thanks Bronwyn! We have lots of family dotted around Oz too so usually have someone to call on for a night or two of free accommodation. ;)

      I’m not much of a camper myself but caravan parks etc are great here in NZ so I imagine they would be in Oz too.

  2. Great tips – thanks for sharing! We are planning our trip to Australia and NZ and are definitely worried about the costs. I love that you mentioned Groupon – I totally forgot about my beloved Groupon. I used to get on and check for deals every day in the States, but since moving to Thailand I’ve completely forgotten about it.

    Can’t wait to do some BBQing on the grill though. Something else we have dearly missed since coming to Thailand! Thanks again!
    Brittany recently posted..Introduction to “Trading Tuesday”My Profile

  3. Fab post Bethaney, and one that travel folk need more of in different variations. Totally agree that Australia is so expensive to get around. Something we did quite a lot of when we hired a campervan in Tasmania was the free camping thing – and there are lots of free or cost-next-to-nothing spots in the National Parks in SWA too. You’ll find some free camping spots going North up to the Coral Coast too. Definitely a plan for a night or too to recoup a bit of cash.
    Johanna recently posted..What shall I wear today? Oh Boho!My Profile

  4. Great tips – and some of them apply the world over too… so you’re giving even more bang for your buck!

    May I ask a question please? What is the name of the script font you have used in the top photo? The one with the Opera House in it?

    Thanks! xxx

  5. Pingback: Dive Right In and Explore the Great Barrier Reef | Family Travel Blog - Flashpacker Family™ Travel with Kids Around the World

  6. Definitely agree on the non-corporate rental cars. As long as the car is in basic condition I don’t think it matters that it’s not brand new (if money is tight). Not quite sure that I agree how expensive Australia is – been to Switzerland (or anywhere in Scandinavia) lately? : )

  7. I am happy to read this because you shared a great tips to save money on tours in Australia. I love the idea of relocation car rental. These tips will useful and helpful to everyone to save maximum money. I’m planning to visit Australia in coming summer. Your blog will helpful for me to save money on that trip. Thanks a lot for sharing this information…..

  8. Australia’s costly enough to get to from our place on the globe. Which creates your money-saving guidelines even more appropriate. Also I really like the concept of the moving car hire. Leasing vehicles is always so costly, but in a nation such as Sydney it is probably a lot of fun roadtripping.

  9. Totally agree with all of that. Also, hostels are a great choice over here.

    If you can get into a YHA, do it. The service is always great, with all the facilities you could need, and they usually always have family rooms, and they are more often than not very cheap, too. The Brisbane City YHA on Upper Roma Street is the cheapest in Brisbane. I stay there every time I’m in the city.

    Note: I’ve heard some people say they couldn’t stay at youth hostels because of their age. So not true. Majority of them aren’t fussy at all. If you’re not sure, just flick them an email.

  10. Great post. Camping is a great way to save money; there are plenty of spots across Australia that are free, and many that are just a few dollars a night. With the right setup camping is very comfortable, and can save you a bucket load!
    Aaron Schubert recently posted..Beach fishing in PerthMy Profile

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