Australia & New Zealand – Budgeting – Tips & Tricks

I know I should be doing the rest of my last trip but I had already started this a while ago so thought I would get it up. Over the last couple of years I’ve met people who have said I put down in writing some of the dodgy (and some not so dodgy) ways of saving money / surviving as a backpacker.

I’ve titled this Oz & Nz because from my experience quite a few of these options aren’t do-able in Europe or Russia (or I never saw anyway) but of course there will be some cross over. I will update it as I think of more things or as people remind me. Oh and i don’t want to hear any crap about morals etc – when your hungry, your hungry.
  • Of course its pretty obvious to say things like ‘stay in hostels’ – ‘take the cheapest’ – ‘largest room normally best option’ but there are other little things such as check Hostel World, Hostel Bookers and e-mail the hostel directly… one of them is always cheaper than the other if you take 5minutes to check.
  • Majority of larger hostels in Oz & Nz will allow you to work for your nights sleep. You get there and pay for the first night but the next morning get up and do 2-3 hours of cleaning (changing beds etc) for a free night… not bad at all since your not really doing anything else with your time.
  • If staying for a few months it can be worth renting somewhere. From asking around it seems you save a huge amount if you gather a few people together and rent a whole flat (which we did) instead of just moving into a flat share.
  • The obvious one here is make your own food. Rice & Pasta is cheap and can be made in bulk. If you can cook with a couple other people then things get cheaper.
  • Free Food Bins! Man I love these things. Most hostels in Oz had a basket in the kitchen where people put food they can’t be arsed to carry on to the next place or when the cleaning staff remove all the bags that are past checkout time. They are useful at all times for condiments or the off random thing but if you know the day & time of the kitchen clean you can pickup plenty of stuff if your the first there – One of the girls I met was living in a flat but they used to split up once a week and raid hostel food bins to restock (you know who you are!)
  • Hostels with free meals. Obviously booking a hostel with a free meal can save money (sometimes) but the meals are normally tiny and you have to pay extra for a full size meal. In Auckland we found that at 4:30 we could go round the corner for free hot dogs, the  nomads for a free small meal and if quick could get to base for something else. Do your research, sometimes it’s easy.
  • Apart from just accepting you will be drinking the cheapest, nastiest booze on sale at the shops (Goon) there isn’t too much can be done on this front.
  • Plenty of hostels & bars give out 2 for 1 or free drinks vouchers and finding a way to get hold of them is a great option. A lot of people don’t use theirs and quite often will pass them on – or if you are lucky like I was in Sydney you can get your hands on a stack of 70 free drinks.
  • The last one is the same anywhere including at home… find out where the student nights, drink offers, bar games etc are.
Local Transport:
  • I was always buying student tickets in Australia (as they are half price) – In the end it got to the point that if I was caught (and couldn’t pull off the dumb tourist trick) the fine would of only been a fraction of the money I saved.
  • In cities with trams I have never brought a ticket – just keep an eye open and jump off at the stop if you see ticket inspectors getting on.
Long distance travel:
  • Hitch.
  • Safer option if time isn’t too much of an issue is keep an eye on the hostel notice boards. There are often things posted like “Heading north on the 14th, want to be in Brisbane by the 19th, looking to share petrol costs – 3 spaces”
  • Hop on, Hop off bus tickets are great in Oz and pretty cheap. Greyhound is slightly more expensive but you get the choice of a couple buses a day – Premier are cheaper but normally only 1 bus a day and sometimes that bus is at a silly time.
  • Sometimes its cheaper or near same price to fly so do check (Virgin blue were good when I was there).

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