White water rafting

Want to make the most of your months studying abroad in Australia, but not sure if you have enough bills in your wallet? Between plane tickets, tuition, and day-to-day expenses, I feared I wouldn’t get to experience all the “must-do’s” that are on every Australia-bound student’s bucket list. Although I had to carefully budget my money while abroad, it was possible and here are a few tips I used (and wish I had!) to be frugal while living Down Under. Here’s some tips on how to travel in Australia on a student budget:

1. Find a job

Whether you work beforehand, or you register for an Australian TFN (tax file number) as soon as you land, saving up beforehand or securing a job once you are in the country is essential to help balance out the costs of your soon to be “live in the moment” lifestyle.

2. Pack Toiletries

A lot of people will advise you to wait to buy shampoo, conditioner, etc. once you get to Uni, but it may save you more money to pack these things before you leave.

These products are more expensive in Australia, so you will save some money by bringing your own. Packing these heavier liquids in your suitcase will also help you budget your luggage weight. This will help immensely when all those nifty souvenirs are coming home and you still have to stick to that 50lb. weight limit for luggage. By packing toiletries, you can help to prevent overweight luggage fees, which can become quite expensive.

3. Meet the Locals, and befriend them!

Making friends with locals has an abundance of benefits, but one bonus to making all these new friends is some of them will have cars. When you want to get to the beach, or take a mini-vacation, splitting gas money with a friend is much cheaper than booking a flight! Not to mention all the bus money you will save on all those late-night Macca’s runs!

4. Plan ahead

Spontaneity is essential in any experience you have abroad, however, there are some instances where planning ahead and booking tours and travel before you leave is more practical, and cost effective, than doing things on a whim. Before I left for any of my excursions, I always researched several tour groups, and based on ratings, recommendations, and prices, I chose the experiences that gave me all the adventure I sought for the lowest price. By doing this, I saved money on late booking fees, and by planning beforehand, I was able to ensure I was choosing tours and tickets that had the lowest prices and the same quality as other, more expensive, companies.

5. Leave a free day

Now here is where the spontaneity comes in! In every city I traveled to, I left at least one free day to explore, window shop, and experience the city in all its glory. Typically I would only buy lunch or dinner on these days, so I spent very little money and, truth be told, these were some of my favorite days in Australia. In some cities (Cairns, Melbourne, Sydney) you may even want to spend two days exploring and seeing the city sites.

Free fun in Melbourne

Being abroad will be one of the best experiences of your life, and you want to make sure you get the most out of the very little time you have. Travelling on a budget can be difficult at times, but with appropriate planning and some creativity it is by no means impossible! So be frugal, get out there, and explore a new corner of the world!

Aimee Morrison  is a student at Stonehill College and a TEAN Student Ambassador. Aimee studied abroad with TEAN in Townsville, Australia.