When you’re a university student traveling can sometimes seem like a distant dream and often the biggest road block in realising these dreams is your strict budget. However, you have decided that this inter semester break you are finally going on your dream trip somewhere around Australia. It doesn’t matter if it is one hour or five hours away, the one thing that often creates the most anxiety when planning a trip is accommodation. If you are smart the accommodation that you book for your trip can not only save you a lot of money, but can add to the fun and excitement of the trip!
To make booking your next trip easier here are the ins and outs of your typical accommodation choices in Australia.
Hotels are the basic form of accommodation. You can find hotel rooms anywhere from $50 – $1000’s a night. The average hotel price for a 3 (4 if you’re lucky) star hotel in Australia is around $80- $150, although this all depends on the location and how early you book. Most hotels have built in restaurants which can also be quite expensive. For an average university student there are much better options than staying in a hotel. However, if a hotel is your only option try websites such as wotif which provides great last minute savings or booking.com which allows you to book hotels that allow you to cancel the day before and you don’t have to pay until arrival, sweet!
Camping is a brilliant option for travelling on a budget. If you have a tent and a sense of adventure camping is the way to go. It is important to know the different types of camping available in Australia. The easiest and most common form of camping is in holiday/tourist parks. These parks allocate you a spot to set up and most come with a range of features including swimming pools, entertainment rooms, activities, laundry, bathrooms and most importantly a camp kitchen. Cooking your meals in a camp kitchen is a great way to save money and an excellent opportunity to meet other campers. The average price for an unpowered site is anywhere from $15-$40, once again depending on location and quality of the park.
The other camping option in Australia is for those who are really interested in adventure and want to make the camping experience the main feature of their holiday. If this is you, camping in a national park is an experience not to be missed. You are without bathrooms, electricity or any cooking facilities. You cook meals over a fire and access to fresh water is limited, so if this type of camping is your style make sure you do plenty of research and talk to some camping experts in advance. Safety is a major factor to consider in national park camping. You have to plan to ensure you know your surroundings, have emergency contacts and mobile phone reception and know what to expect on the trip.
Hostels are the most popular form of accommodation for backpackers and university students. The great thing about hostels is that you have a wide choice of accommodation. Hostels offer anything from private rooms, to shared rooms for up to as many as 20 people. When choosing a room in a hostel there are a few things to consider. If you just want the cheapest room, then certainly book the cheapest room you can find. Although, if you have enough saved to have some leniency of choice try to book a room with eight people or less as these are much more comfortable than the larger dorms. Check out hostelworld to compare hostel prices and to find cheap deals!
Hostels are a fantastic way to meet other travelers and often run many social activities, such as tours and pub crawls. A typical hostel will have a kitchen, common rooms, shared bathrooms, and computers. If you found a good hostel it will also have a bar where you will be able to socialise with other travelers. If you are going to stay in a hostel, be sure to pack ear plugs, a towel, an eye mask and most importantly a friendly and adventurous attitude to socialise and meet new people!
In more recent years the travel industry has witnessed a rise in non-traditional accommodation. These types of accommodation generally come in the form of everyday people offering up a room or couch for like minded travelers to stay in their homes. The biggest draw to this newer form of accommodation is the experience. Instead of just being a place to sleep, travelers have a local guide who welcomes them into their own home and shows them their town or city in a way that you cannot experience alone or through traditional tour companies.
Two of the main booking sites which specialise in this type of accommodation are couchsurfing and airbnb. The two differ from each other as couchsurfing allows people to set up a profile and stay at people’s houses (often on the couch) for free, whereas at airbnb the hosts have a room set up completely for guests and travelers pay for the accommodation. These forms of accommodation are a fantastic idea for people who wish to learn more about a culture or the local way of life. If you choose to source this form of accommodation be sure to check the safety information on each website and always trust your intuition if you don’t feel quite right when you meet your host.
Now that you know the ins and outs of typical accommodation in Australia don’t let your tight budget stop you from realising your travelling dreams. You might just met your new best friends in a hostel or go trekking in a beautiful national park. So what are you sitting at the computer for? Go out and Explore!