How to travel Australia on a tight budget

If you’d love to go wandering but have a tight budget, grab these discounts.

How to travel Australia on a tight budget

Australia may have boundless plains to share, but travelling throughout this sunburnt country is not so cheap, especially during the holiday season.

However, you can achieve affordably travel across the vast expanses if you know where to find the discounts, are happy to give up a few creature comforts and if you plan ahead and book early.

Drive it yourself
Car rental companies need drivers to relocate their vehicles to principal points of hire. In order that the cars are not stranded, the companies will often let you drive them back to the right branch for free or at little cost, compared with standard hire charges.

According to website transfercar.com.au, rental companies often throw in some free petrol and car insurance. Plus, so long as the car is delivered by the agreed time, the driver can take whichever route they like.

Transfercar.com.au also matches drivers with campervans that need relocating. This is a great way for the more intrepid travellers who like to explore out of the way places and don’t require traditional accommodation.

At the time of writing, the website was offering 59 campervans, mostly across two days, for just $1. They have to be driven between a number of cities along the east coast and be delivered by a certain date. Another comprehensive list of campervan relocations which offers generous terms and pays for petrol is imoova.com. Depending on how many berths in the motor home, the cost is just $1 to $5 a day. Read the terms and conditions carefully before you drive away, however, and be prepared to shell out a sizeable, refundable deposit.

If unfettered camper-vanning is more your thing, wickedcampers.com.au have some great deals for longer haul travelling that will save you thousands of dollars in accommodation. And if you turn up naked to pick up your campervan, they will throw in a free day. Although they will extend the one-day free deal to drivers aged over 50 if they stay frocked up but mention the offer. Plus they do not charge for minor dings and scratches.

Catch a coach
Luckily for the east coast states and South Australia, there is healthy competition between bus companies that should help you find bargain tickets.

Among the best value coach holidays are the ones offered by AAT Kings, which also has several ‘fly free’ to a departure point for many of its guided holiday tours.

Greyhound Australia has saver fares that are less expensive than standard fares but also less flexible. Among the coach company’s deals are the ‘hop on, hop off’ pass, which allows passengers to alight and board wherever they like and is valid for three months. At $350 for this one-way fare, it is among the most popular of Greyhound’s offers.

For even deeper discounts, look out for coupons and promotional codes on sites such as ozbargains.com.au. At the time of writing, you could buy a $3 coupon to save 40 per cent on Greyhound’s advertised rates for travel booked this year and to be taken by December 2018.

On the rails
For many there is no more delightful way to keep a holiday on track than by travelling first class on a train.

Fares for luxurious railway carriage commutes are a fraction of the cost of their airline ticket counterparts.

Check out fares for travelling all around Australia on railmaps.com.au. A first-class berth on an XPT train from Sydney to Melbourne will set you back just $271. For just $350, a NSW TrainLink one-month, premium pass will take you across New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory. You can ride out as far west as Broken Hill, as far north as the Gold Coast, and as far south as Melbourne.

Railmaps.com.au details train trips, fares and connecting services across the nation and is a must-read if you want to plan a rail-based holiday.

Reach for the sky
For those who prefer to fly, there are still some savings to be found. Ozbargain.com.au regularly advertises discounted airline tickets, such as a one-way Melbourne-to-Sydney Qantas ticket for $115. That is more than $50 cheaper than the special deal offered by Qantas, and much more inexpensive than a standard full fare.

Comparison website skyscanner.com.au will help you choose between the best deals being offered by a range of airlines. If you sign up, you will receive an alert each time information relevant to your preferences is published. Other sites to check out for special prices are:

Ozbargain.com.au is also a good marketplace for earning sizeable quantities of frequent flyer points to put towards a discount on your next fare.

You never need to pay full price for a fare to travel our Great Southern Land.

Do you book your fares in advance? What is the biggest discount you have ever received during your travels.

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    COMMENTS

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    Rosret
    28th Oct 2017
    6:48am
    Olga may I suggest you actually go and do this and come back to us. (Tax deductible).
    Its hot dry and people die.
    If you go by car there is a check list needed for you and the car. There is a list of do and don't do protocols.
    Motels inland can be a bit "off" to say the least and its a good idea to brace for smelly water and your hair never getting a lather up until you're back in the big cities.
    Petrol costs will add up but not as fast as the very expensive (safer tour guide options).
    One excellent tip an elderly person gave me was to get travel insurance around Australia.
    After a shock diagnosis of ovarian cancer on a vehicle trek across the Nullabor they paid for her flight home, the car to be railed back, her daughter's return air fares and the time she lost at work.
    Every Australian should go and see the outback - its amazing and its huge. Don't forget to look up at night! The universe shines in all its glory!
    CindyLou
    28th Oct 2017
    10:11am
    Oh my, Rosret.... "people die".... Doesn't happen - just did a trip to Birdsville, through Windorah then back north to Mt Isa - all fairly good road (need a 4wd for this bit though).

    Absolute nonsense re "people die" and the hair washing bit, I travel a fair bit throughout this wonderful country - whilst SOME places are hot and dry there are stops every few hundred kilometers for fuel, water and sometimes shower facilities at the service stations.

    Outback travel is amazing - can go to lots of places on bitumen, very civilized - fuel might be a bit pricey but otherwise can do.
    Rosret
    28th Oct 2017
    3:01pm
    Gosh CindyLou I used to live in Central Australia, I don't think its got any cooler and I doubt the water is any less calcified.
    Go off the track and things can go wrong very quickly and that's what the 4WD trekkers see as adventure.
    I could start listing the people who have met with unsavoury outcomes but you can google search that too. Even the far north Queensland route has odd balls who see isolation as their opportunity.
    Yes - you are safe enough on the road with a good car and the list of must haves - water, phone, spare tyre etc.
    Yes - the outback is great however a little preparation and local knowledge can really improve the experience.
    That's why I suggest Olga actually does it and reports back to us all on YLC as to her recommendations.
    CindyLou
    28th Oct 2017
    4:59pm
    Rosret, my travels have been since 2010 - we have a 4wd vehicle - well prepared, winch, 2 way radio...going off the track is really for the more adventurous folk - myself, I'm ok with corrigated roads, don't like them but can't avoid.

    Last year went upto Cape York - no dramas, roads reasonable.
    Likewise Birdsville this year - roads ok...did a 110km detour to Haddons Corner - all good.

    Rarely ever see any dramas - most travelers very kind...driving into Lawn Hill this year hubby put tyres down for corrigated road - people stopped and asked if we were ok. I felt always very safe.

    Water - ok it might not always be great butive always managed to wash my longish hair ok. Water at Winton smelt a bit funny but was ok. Just part of the experience.
    Rosret
    28th Oct 2017
    5:08pm
    CindyLou I think we both respect the country and you are obviously well prepared - which is what I suggested.
    Enjoy your travels! :)
    CindyLou
    28th Oct 2017
    5:13pm
    Addit.
    Telephone doesn't work in a lot of remote places, hence 2 way radio (or satellite phone $$$)

    I am ok with remote, ie Captain Billy's Landing - near Caoe York but we are not crazy folk, ie gunshot creek - to me, that's "not fun". So there is remote, nice, pretty, then there is remote crazy.
    CindyLou
    28th Oct 2017
    5:20pm
    Absolutely agree Rosret - got to respect the country, be prepared.

    I think we are just so lucky in Australia, I can't ever stop saying this...we can find lovely places to free camp or else stay at caravan parks, council show grounds for small donation - I could write an article myself on this...eg. NSW Hay by the river, such a lovely town, showers next to Information Centre for gold coin donation, Bollon qld. - town has a shower for public use.

    The lucky country !!!
    Rosret
    29th Oct 2017
    7:00am
    Yes - do that and put it up on the Meeting Place. I think a lot of Grey nomads would like feed back.
    CindyLou
    28th Oct 2017
    10:00am
    I love travelling around Australia - we save money by free camping where we can.
    In regard to outback motels and they can be cheap and fairly basic, ie I stayed at Boggabillia recently, room rates started at $69, Moree I paid $80 for an ok room.
    imoova
    2nd Nov 2017
    9:28am
    Great article! Thank you for spreading the word about imoova.com Campervans & Motorhomes for $1 & $5/day. We have these trips in Australia, NZ, USA & Canada. Bookings can be made through our call centre or online.
    CindyLou
    6th Nov 2017
    8:53am
    I would hate to relocate a vehicle - rushing to get it from point a to point b. No way to travel - how can this be enjoyable.
    CindyLou
    6th Nov 2017
    8:59am
    Also, google this company ...imoova ....

    It's not a great straight forward process as the reviews note and as well, I do not think it is appropriate for companies to self promote.

    Beware


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