So you want to backpack Australia? It’s not easy to do on the cheap. However, it can be done. If you’re on a backpackers budget, these basic tips and tricks will save you money along the way. You and your bank account can thank me later.
1. Food Fight
Food can be expensive, but you don’t have to live on two minute noodles and canned tuna. To score the best bargains you’ll want to check out your local Woolworths and Coles supermarkets around 5:30pm. Generally, this is when they’re discounting foods approaching their sell by dates, cooked food they can’t sell tomorrow, and a plethora of other things. Some locations have dedicated sections for discounted food and at others you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled. $3.00 for a kilo of steaks, $1.00 olives, 10 cent milk?! You may have to eat what you buy sooner rather than later, so be prepared to shop more than once per week. When it’s money over everything though, this is far and away the ONLY way to food shop. 2. Say it with me: Sal-vos
Salvation Army (Salvos) is a haven for cheap clothes, books, kitchenware, etc.. It’s a backpackers’ dream when you need to get rid of that old ratty t-shirt or those worn out sneakers you’ve had for years and only have a few bucks to spare. The best part? Every item in store has a colored tag, and every week, items with a certain color tag are half price. That sweet pair of snake skin cowboy boots you had your eye on just got even cheaper. Also check out Good Sammy, Vinnies, and the RSPCA op-shop. 3. Free things in Oz?
“Come on Devin, I’m a backpacker. I can’t buy uncooked food. I don’t have anything to cook it on.” Australia is the home of free electric BBQ facilities. No need to worry how you’re going to cook that half price pack of burgers you just purchased from Coles. Every city and the majority of small towns have these areas. Usually located in parks, most are very well maintained and anyone can use them. They’re flat tops so frying an egg, sauteing onions, or stir-frying noodles all become possible. Do your best to clean them when you’re finished though because no one likes using a dirty BBQ. 4. Buy, Swap, and Sell EVERYTHING
Everyone has Facebook. It’s a fact of life in 2016. Use it to your advantage. All cities and some towns have Buy, Swap, and Sell Pages on Facebook. Just search Buy, Swap, and Sell (Insert city here) and join a group that matches where you are. Some groups are big, some are small, but bargaining is welcome and you sometimes come across gems. This is also a great place to sell your surfboard you’ve been carrying across the country before you head home. 5. WikiCamps
If you’ve purchased a car, campervan, or motorcycle don’t waste money on caravan parks or risk getting fined staying somewhere with a no camping sign. Download a handy little app called WikiCamps for AU$5.00. Here you can search on a map for both paid and free spots, picnic areas, free showers, see ratings, pictures, and read comments. Loads of search filters help find a place best suited to your needs. Beware though, this information is uploaded by other users so always read the comment section. Many of our favorite and most memorable overnight spots were found with this app, and none of them cost a dollar. These are the basics you must master to travel Oz on a budget. Don’t be afraid to come to Australia because the French guy at your hostel in Bangkok told you how expensive it is. Yes, do it wrong and you’ll be phoning a friend to foot the bill for a plane ticket home. Do it right though and you’ll be traveling long after you’ve left this beautiful country.