Studying in Australia is one of the most rewarding experiences any student could wish for – the cultural diversity, vivid wildlife and sleepless cities alone are more than enough to keep you occupied even if you never leave the borders of your resident city. However, the entire country is so versatile and beautiful that every student should take advantage and see as much of the continent as possible.
Of course, since one of the main struggles that students deal with is the cost of travel, you can use the following tips to create an itinerary that lets you explore Australia on a student-friendly budget.
Think and book ahead
A lot of money for traveling across a country of this size will typically be spent on transportation, from flights, train and bus tickets, and all the way to car rentals if you need them. However, if you know when your spring or summer break is scheduled, you can also book your next flight months in advance, which gives you plenty of time to save on air travel.
The same goes for early accommodation reservations, since many hotels will offer very wallet-friendly deals if you book your stay well in advance. Keep an eye on airlines such as Tiger Airways, while Jetstar has their famous Friday Fare Frenzy, where you can snatch a ticket for really low prices. Use websites such as Skyscanner to stay posted on the latest and most affordable offers, so that even your last-minute trips are as big of a bargain as possible.
Find freebies across Australia
As a culture that supports artistic expression in every shape and form, there’s a chance you’ll be able to find a free entrance to a local art exhibition when you’re traveling to Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne, although even their smaller cities are equally versatile. For instance, the South Australian Museum in Adelaide holds a stunning indigenous collection of over 3,000 artefacts, along with a gallery dedicated to Pacific Cultures only, and an international section with natural wealth – yes, the entry is free of charge.
When in Sydney, do what Sydneysiders do, so join them on a Bondi to Coogee coastal walk, have a picnic in the Royal Botanic Garden right next to the famous Opera House and sneak a peek in the Art Gallery of NSW. Many cities offer free guided tours of some of their most popular neighborhoods and parks, such as the Kings Park in Perth, and you should always stay in the loop of the upcoming events that you can attend for free!
Read next: How to Save Money While Studying Abroad in Australia
Talk to your university travel agency
Just like how your university has a local service designed to help you get a part-time job both on and off campus, many universities across Australia have on-site travel agencies that are meant to help students experience Australia cheaply. Ask your fellow students if they can share their own experiences with you, to find a trip that will not just be a bargain but also to your taste.
Maybe a weekend trip to Brisbane is just the thing for you, while an excursion to the Blue Mountains would be better for a different time of year. Ask the agency on campus to give you a few tips on that, as well as regular updates on cheap flights, hostels, shared accommodation and anything else that might help you cut your travel costs.
Find smart foodie spots
Another important part of travel that takes up a big chunk of your budget is dining out. You should taste the local delicacies, but as a student, you can find an equally delicious meal at a fair price. For example, you can easily find affordable eats in Brisbane in a whole range of different spots – from homey Greek tavernas, to vegetarian food courts, you can find a cooked meal without getting an exorbitant check.
Sydney is also no stranger to low-cost restaurants, such as El Jannah, where one-half of roasted chicken can go as low as $6.90, or the Chur Burger in Surry Hills where you can get a burger with the works for $12. Always make sure to ask the locals and your fellow students if they know a cheap eatery or a bar where you can enjoy a happy hour without spending too much.
Read next: 10 Places You Must Visit When Studying Abroad in Australia
Work while traveling Australia
There’s nothing in your way of earning a little bit of extra cash during your travels. Ghostwriters, bloggers, graphic designers and similar creative project-based work are popular options you can opt for, and you can use many freelance platforms to bid on projects.
You can also house-sit or pet-sit, and spend some time in a completely different location for a fraction of the regular price. Sometimes, if you find a family that welcomes students, you can do some chores around the house, their farm and garden and pay off your stay in that way.
Volunteer while traveling Australia
Another way you can experience Australia is to volunteer and earn your stay by making a difference. Especially as a student, you can do good during your spring break and summer holiday, enrich your portfolio, explore your own interests and do some good for the local community.
Since the Land Down Under is deeply focused on its environmental impact, you will have an opportunity to take part in their tree planting programs, environmental protection projects, wildlife rescue and similar initiatives that will give you invaluable insight into the country’s natural wealth. Check out this post on how to get free accommodation while traveling by volunteering.