Travelling Australia on a budget

Ready for unforgettable adventures in Australia? Here are some helpful tips for travelling on a budget and making the most of public holidays and term breaks in 2024.

16 January 2024

Young people looking out of their camper van and enjoying the views of Cape Byron.

Cape Byron Lighthouse, Byron Bay (Image credit: Destination NSW)

Studying in Australia is not just about hitting the books – it’s also about discovering the stunning landscapes and vibrant culture the country has to offer.  

By planning your public holiday weekends and term breaks early, you can make the most of your time Down Under and save money too!  

In this guide, we’ll give you money-saving tips and travel ideas, so you can experience the best of Australia throughout 2024.  

Holiday dates in 2024  

Public holidays in Australia are holidays or “days off” recognised by the Government. This means that classes won’t be running, and many shops and businesses will be closed.  

Public holidays can be on different days depending on the state or territory . Check out the Fair Work Ombudsman website for a list of 2024 public holidays in each state and territory in Australia.  

Term breaks are different for each education provider. You’ll receive a calendar when you begin your studies.  

Booking your trip 

Book early 

Flights, car hire and accommodation usually becomes more expensive the closer you get to the date of travel. So make sure you plan ahead, especially if you are booking in peak holiday times. 

Travel in off peak times 

It can be quite expensive to travel during school holidays and on public holiday weekends. Flight and accommodation prices will increase.  

  • For long weekends, explore places that are closer to home such as national parks or coastal towns. Some national parks have park entry fees for motor vehicles. These parks may also include camping sites and facilities such as barbeques and bathrooms.  
  • Take your bigger trips in your term breaks and try to find dates that are outside of the school holidays

Cheap ways to get there 

Find cheap flights 

Here are some tips to help you shop around for the cheapest fare:

  • Sign up to airlines’ newsletters to be notified of sale flights. You need to secure sale flights as soon as possible as they book out quite quickly. Airlines in Australia include BonzaJetstarRex AirlineVirgin Australia and Qantas
  • Use comparison websites to find the best prices but book directly on the airline's website to avoid third party booking fees. 
  • Sometimes booking with 2 different airlines instead of a return trip with one airline can be cheaper. 
  • Be careful of hidden charges when booking with a budget airline. You may need to pay extra for baggage, food and choice of seat.
  • Use an incognito window as airline and price comparison websites often track when you visit their websites and collect data on your search enquiries, so the prices may increase each time you visit the same site.

Bus or train 

Travelling by bus or train can be a more affordable option, especially if you are travelling to regional towns. One of the major bus companies is Greyhound or you can also use Rome2Rio to find bus or train prices.  

Car hire 

Sometimes the best way to explore is by car. By taking a road trip, you’ll discover places you never knew existed!  

If you need to hire a car, use a comparison site such to find the best deal. Remember to factor in the price of fuel (petrol) and car insurance.  

Find out more about licensing and driving safely in Australia here.  


When you hire a campervan, you’ll save on accommodation. However, you will still need to pay for fuel (petrol), insurance for the campervan and a site at a caravan park. Sleeping in your vehicle on the street or in a car park overnight is illegal.  

Camplify (which is like Airbnb for motorhomes and vans) has some cheap options. Jucy Rentals is also a popular option for road trips. 

Budget accommodation 


Staying in a hostel is one of the cheapest options for accommodation. It’s also a great way to socialise and meet other travellers. The Hostelworld app will help you compare the most affordable options in each area. 


Camping can be a fun and cheap accommodation option. If you can’t borrow a tent from a friend:  

  • Buy one secondhand on Facebook Marketplace. Just be sure to fully inspect it before you buy it. Make sure there are no holes and that it is waterproof.  
  • Buy a new tent from a reputable camping shop. Cheaper tents may break or not be fully waterproof.  

There are camping spots all around Australia. If you haven't had much experience with camping, it’s a good idea to go to one of the busier sites in less remote areas. That way, you will have others around to help you if you need it.  

There are free campsites available throughout Australia. However, they may not have toilet facilities or clean water. You can use apps such as WikiCamps Australia to find free sites.  

Make sure you do thorough research on camping safety before you leave. Here are some tips for starters

Trip ideas  

There are many exciting sporting events as well as comedy, film and music festivals throughout the year all over Australia. You may want to plan a trip so you can attend one of these. Some of the major events include:  

Whether it’s a short get away or an extended road trip, Australia offers endless possibilities for exploration and discovery. Check out this blog post to find out about some iconic places in Australia that you can visit. 

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