“The main barrier between you and achieving your dream is so often having enough cash behind you.”
So you’ve decided you want travel! You want to explore and see the beautiful country that is Australia, gain valuable life experience and skills and have an amazing time.
But you need finance, you need funds - you need MONEY! The main barrier between you and achieving your dream is so often having enough cash behind you.
Being Aussie myself I did the opposite of most of my customers. Whereas the people I help day in and day out are moving from overseas to Australia, I moved over to London in the UK. I decided one day that I wanted to see the world, as much of it as I could while I was still young (21) and before any really big life commitments hit. At the time I was living the musician dream working minimal while playing in bands but after a few mishaps and band breakups the frustration of putting all my money and time into it only for it to fall apart got to me, so I decided to go for it and travel.
Unfortunately, because I was working minimal I had a minimal amount of money as well as the usual commitments – Rent, Internet, Phone, Electricity, Gas, Car. I started by trying to get more work, I was working at a 4-star hotel that at the time had no more hours to give me so I went looking around. After nothing eventuating in the following weeks one of my colleagues at my hotel left and some other opportunities arose which gave me a chance. I asked my boss to let me step up and fill all the voids left and not to hire anyone else and before you know it I had 50-60 hours’ work a week!
I organised with my current roommates to break our lease, sold a bunch of my stuff and put everything else into storage at my parent’s place which they were completely thrilled about! I organised to move into a big share house thanks to a friend where the rent was super cheap. To put it lightly I was living under the house in the open area on an old mattress. One time I even woke up with a Dead Rat right in front of my face! BUT I had almost no outgoing costs and was earning a good amount. This allowed me to save plenty of money over the next 6 to 12 months to fund my travels. I travelled Europe for 3 months and then settled in London for 2 years where I got in a similar situation working in 2 pubs and continued to fund my travelling dream.
I’ve now been to every continent except Antarctica though I’ve still got plenty I want to do!
So that’s how I did it, and following is some advice for how you can achieve your dream too.
That’s a pretty broad word – Plan. But it’s a must if you want to have the best time possible stress free. I’ve seen a few blogs and articles and known a few people to have gotten a couple of credit cards and just used them to travel, but those people end up spending years longer paying off the interest and costs associated than it would have taken to just initially budget and save up! This will also affect you wanting to finance a home or car and all the other things that come later in life especially if you fall on hard times and struggle to pay it back. Credit Cards are great, for emergencies.
Plan where you want to go and research. How much money will you need per day in these places? How long do you want to spend there? For example, if you budget $100 approximately per day to go to Australia and you want to spend 20 days their you’re going to need $2000. Add on Visas and transport and you find yourself wanting about $3000 - $4000 for that time.
I have an excel document which shows me how much is in my savings, how much is in my bank account and how much cash I have on me. It then calculates how much money per day I have to spend until the end of my trip and shows how much money I have allotted to the country I am in and what amount per day I can spend. This is a great tool especially if you book a trip you weren’t planning on or have a big night on the town, you can easily recalculate and see where you’re at.
Once you’ve figured out how much your destinations are going to set you back you can then look at how long it’s going to take you to save, figure out how much you can save each week, fortnight or month and then calculate how long it’s going to take you to hit that target, is there anything extra you could be doing to cut off some time?
All the time when I travel or in everyday life people will comment on how expensive things are and in most cases this is because they did not plan ahead and research and the reason they are complaining is because they are Surprised by the cost. Read as much as you can and research and you won’t run into any nasty surprises.
This one seems obvious and I covered it a fair bit under plan already but It pays to budget a certain amount to each country you want to visit. It’s fine to recalculate as plans change but just remember to always keep an eye on things and think ahead and know that unexpected costs can arise at any time.
How are you going to save the amount of money you need to finance your trip? Do you need extra hours? A second job?
Do you have any unnecessary costs?
Phone, Car, Pay TV, Internet are just some things you could cut back on using or get rid of all together (assuming you live somewhere that has good public transport If you sell or stop using your car). Are you paying too much in rent? Could you move somewhere cheaper and live minimally or possibly move back in with your parents? Remember it’s not forever and it’s going to get you to your dream sooner.
Can you save up a portion, visit a few places and then work abroad? This is a popular option for many visiting Australia, they’ll holiday on the way here and then visit as much as they can before settling somewhere to replenish their funds and continuing to travel. This is a fun option as working abroad is a great experience and teaches you about different conditions in countries other than your own.
Start a savings account separate to your everyday banking account
and put all your travel money into it. Money can take 24 to 72 hours to transfer back to your everyday account which means that you’re a lot less likely to transfer money across to use for impulse buys or a few more cheeky pints at the pub.
Save your loose change and don’t spend any of It, as soon as you get any coins put it straight into a piggy bank that you’re not allowed to open until the week before you leave. You’ll be amazed at how much money will end up coming out!
Avoid expensive nights out and don’t succumb to peer pressure! Your mates will understand when they see your Facebook feed full of pictures of you on Whitehaven beach or at Uluru while they’re still at home.
Think about what you eat and make basic meals, a lot of people complain that they can’t save money because it’s too hard but they’re buying a coffee every day for $4 and lunch for $10 to $13. If you spent $20 on ingredients for a salad or sandwiches or baked potatoes that will last you the week you can be putting almost $100 in your bank account each week! The same thing applies to having takeout for dinner or going to a restaurant, it can be done cheaper at home and ingredients can be bought in bulk!
Stick to it
Once you’ve planned, budgeted and strategized how you’re going to save for that big trip you need to stick to it. Remember every slip up you have of going out or eating at an expensive restaurant can add weeks to the amount of time it will take you to save. You’re going to have plenty of time for fun while you’re travelling so sticking to your plan is the way to go to get you closer to your dream trip sooner.
This means always being prepared on where you go, know if there are any scams aimed at tourists and try to look like a local. This can be hard when you have your backpack on but once you check into your accommodation try to not look lost! I also advise against carrying around an expensive security bag with locks on it day to day.
Sure it makes you feel secure but I once bought such a bag and carried it with me day to day in South America. It was only a week before I got sick of people looking at it wondering to themselves what I was trying to keep secure.
This rule doesn’t apply to non-visible security pouches such as passport holders/wallets that you can strap to your chest/store in your pants, I highly recommend these! Keeping emergency cash in different places such as your socks or different compartments of your bag can come in handy in case of an emergency, and if you forget about it you’ll have a nice surprise later when you come across it again!
If you have expensive jewellery you like to wear and a high end phone these are also best left hidden, looking like you are made of money while travelling is not advisable.
So now you have plenty of tips on how to save money to travel to Australia, we wish you the best of luck and just remind yourself of how much fun you will have in Australia and there is a light at the end of the tunnel!