Australia is undoubtedly expensive, from food and transport to accommodation and sightseeing, the basic costs of living tend to be more than in many other countries. However, there are lots of travellers who approach spending in Australia in a savvy and cost-conscious way. AUD$500 (US$379.69) isn’t a lot of money to have in your back-pocket on the continent, but how long would it truly last?
Couchsurfing is a budget-friendly way to not only find somewhere to sleep but also hold onto those dollar bills, all while meeting locals on their home turf. Couchsurfing is a community based traveller platform connecting hosts (ie people with homes or beds to spare) with travellers in need of somewhere to stay.
Added benefits to this downright awesome idea is it’s completely free and travellers get a chance to meet true locals in their natural habitats.
Although it is not technically illegal to hitchhike in Australia, many travellers would enjoy the added safety of making contact with a potential carpool host before hopping on in.
In Australia, this isn’t an issue. There are heaps of carpool and ride share websites that offer travellers the option to sign up and search for drivers heading in their direction, whether that be cross country or just up the coast. For the majority of these sites, the ride is free, or there may be a nominal fee to contribute to petrol, for example, set by the driver.
Food costs depend hugely on what you’re eating and where. Travellers who want to indulge in the best restaurants in town or only shop in whole food markets are more likely to break the bank in no time than those who are being savvy when satisfying their hunger.
There are great deals on food in chain supermarkets around Australia, so, should you be staying in a home share or a hostel with a kitchen, there is no reason why the budget should be stretched in order to delve into a decent meal.
There are also some great restaurants in Australia that boast a ‘pay what you feel’ ethos. Lentil As Anything is an Aussie not-for-profit restaurant that serves up mouth-watering veggie and vegan meals with a non-mandatory contribution box for guests to pay what they feel is appropriate for the meal. Of course, it is necessary for guests to be fair in their judgement, but saying that, eating out in any other restaurant is bound to cost far more.
Other great cost-effective measures include signing up to coupon website Groupon, which boasts daily discounts ranging from breakfast and lunch to dinner in great restaurants around the country.
Activities are endless in Australia, from the great outdoors to entertainment and the arts, this continent is dripping with culture-filled ways to spend endless days. Australia is most-known for its love of nature, the outdoors and the lifestyle it brings. Although there are many pricey ways to blow a wad of cash on said activities, invest in the more organic way of doing things. Nature walks, trails, hikes, beaches and parks are aplenty. Bring a packed lunch and maybe a bottle of wine (which you can get from around AUD$5 [US$3.80]) and enjoy the simpler things in life, all on the cheap.
To sum it up
In conclusion, and in answer to the question: how long will you last in Australia with $500? The reality is, it depends heavily on how you go about your travels. Should you decide to be savvy, stay via Couchsurfing, travel via shared rides, eat cheap and enjoy all the free and stunning natural activities this country has to offer, you could easily master one month.
If you’re looking to splash the cash on all the finest things in life: less than a day. Matter of fact, Australia is downright expensive, but, if approached with shrewdness and a touch of common sense, this could be one of the most satisfying (and cheapest) trips of your life.