Jason C. McLean and Dawn McSweeney discuss the major storm ahead of Christmas Weekend, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visiting US President Joe Biden in the White House and Elon Musk’s resignation poll.
Considering the dreamy climate and the friendly culture in the Land of Down Under, there’s no better way to explore this incredible continent than to backpack across its rural and urban hotspots. What makes this way of traveling even more appealing is that you’ll make unplanned stops, meet numerous people from all over the globe, and come across such breathtaking vistas that you’ll inevitably want to return. However, such an endeavor comes with a hefty price tag, even for the most experienced explorers among you.
While certain lifestyle habits will differ from one person to another, and thus alter the final price of the trip, you can make certain changes to your travel routine without sacrificing any of your travel comfort. In fact, many of these budget-saving travel tips will increase the level of travel satisfaction and provide you with a new perspective of this land!
Bungalows in Tasmania, Pixabay
Since Australia is known to be rather pricey in terms of private accommodation options, you might want to consider something less conventional than a hotel or a motel room. Living in cities such as Sydney or Melbourne is particularly expensive, while more rural areas are significantly more acceptable in terms of their pricing. Plan ahead and do some research on your best couch-surfing options, as well as camping areas, especially if you’re traveling during summer (which is during winter for the rest of us in the Northern Hemisphere).
You can come across camping areas which are completely free of charge, while others come with a more than reasonable overnight fee. Other frugal options include housesitting, which may limit your movements in an area, but you can at least have your rent covered by the fee you’re paid. For hard workers among you, staying on local farms and working for your room is another popular option which will get you immersed in the local life and provide you with a roof over your head!
Simplify your habits
You may be accustomed to traveling by plane inside the country as well, especially since Australia is truly vast, but this is as pricey as it is convenient. For the sake of your budget, you may want to consider less expensive options, such as using the local buses (trains are also pricey), while car shares are becoming more popular, and you can always rent a van or a car with your backpacking companions to share the expenses. Booking in advance also often means a discount for the regular last-minute price, so make sure to book as early as possible and plan your routes beforehand.
Another common expense on the list of many travelers is bottled water, since most of us come to a new country not having a clue if the local water is suitable or safe to consume. Luckily for you, Australia’s tap water is perfectly safe and you can bring your own reusable drink bottles instead of wasting cash on plastic ones, which are not just pricey, but also harmful for the environment. Opt for the ones that are insulated so that your water can stay cool and fresh, and refill them as you travel through the country!
Restructure your menu
Restaurant & Street Food in Australia, Pixabay
Foodies, beware, because Aussies are famous for their love for coffee and all things culinary, whether local or international. You’ll find that most of their restaurants offer a variety of local delicacies mixed with international influences, and you can certainly take your pick from fresh groceries on the farmers’ markets and eateries alike. However, your budget-friendly approach should be based mostly on eating home-cooked meals, although an occasional takeaway dinner cannot hurt.
What you should really pay close attention to is your alcohol intake, since the prices can be quite high, and it’s truly not worth it. You can use the same amount of money to cover a day of your eating expenses with fresh food. If you have a store in your vicinity, head to Woolworths or Coles, both of which have considerably lower prices than their competitors. For the duration of your stay, it’s best to stick to a DIY meal plan!
Work on the go
By far the best and the easiest way to cut your expenses significantly and to cover a portion of your travel budget is to put in some work during your explorations. However, make sure that you choose the right line of work in order to adapt your travel plans – if you decide to work online, check if your destinations have ample Wi-Fi spots with a reliable connection.
You can make arrangements well before your travel date, with the local hostels, farms, and cafés, as most of them offer seasonal, part-time work which can come in handy for someone like you. Digital freelancing is a great way to supplement your travel budget, especially if you’re proficient in English, which opens up a whole world of teaching opportunities in the Asian market.
Learn about freebies
Trams in Melbourne, Pixabay
Finally, Australia is quite a generous country. You’ll come across so many free activities, galleries, museums, festivals, and events that you’ll most likely be able to fill your entire schedule with those alone.
The Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney not only has an abundance of exhibitions for you to visit, but also free movie nights, music recitals, as well as workshops you can enjoy. All it takes is a bit of research, and you can always talk to the friendly locals and learn about those less advertised events that might be more to your liking.
Just admit it, you’ve fantasized of escaping to the lovely Land of Down Under, where sun is practically endless, a museum with free entrance just around the corner, and yet another crispy clear beach stretches on the coastline. We’ve all been there – I mean, in the same fantasy, but what about leaving your comfort zone, actually getting the plane ticket and living a full year as an Aussie?
Fortunately, there are many fun, exciting and rewarding ways to achieve this endeavor, so let’s take a look at a few Australia-perfect strategies to explore this wonderful continent, and yes, fall even more in love with its intact beauty during your stay.
The good ol’ work and travel
Just when the winter blues starts to set in, you would be packing your bags and escaping the vicious cold all the way Down Under. Whether you’re a culinary wizard that craves for more hands-on experience with some of the finest experts in the field, or you’re looking to teach abroad, Australia offers a wide range of work and travel programs.
Some of them include tour guides, full accommodation and visa paperwork preparation, so that you can start getting ready hassle-free. It’s best to apply via an accredited agency with previous experience and success, because these applications require investments that can range from $900 in fees and additional funds in your account to prove you can support yourself during your stay.
Of course, you’ll get all the advice and guidance you need from the local agent and on site as well, so that your experience is as seamless as possible. From forwarding your mail, finding the right job, to nailing your visa application, they’ll have you covered.
Make a difference
Traveling for a non-profit cause to Australia is another wonderful way to experience their culture, heritage and do your best to contribute to their efforts to protect the environment and their indigenous wildlife. There are numerous wildlife sanctuaries, rescue operations, organic farms, tree-planting programs, all of which are perfect for nature-lovers among you.
You will stay with the local folk, join in on their daily routine and gain invaluable experience in Australia’s cultural background. Many of these volunteering programs also include perks such as free horse-riding, kayaking, free accommodation and local sightseeing tours. You’ll also likely have field trips and regular access to major cities, including Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, but also some of Australia’s most beautiful natural wonders, including the Great Barrier Reef, the Blue Mountains, and the Uluru-Kata Tjuta stone formations.
Apply for a student exchange program
As a country that boasts a staggering number of international students, Australia has some of the best universities, coveted educational programs, and great benefits for their student visitors from abroad. This is particularly alluring for those who would prefer a more urban experienced located in some of Australia’s cities, where you can apply for scholarships, and you will also be able to get a part-time job during your studies.
Before you go, make sure you look for student accommodation in Brisbane and other cities to see which option best suits your needs. Of course, you should budget for your studying and living costs in the area of your choice. Every university has different entry requirements and procedures, so it’s essential to get acquainted with them before you make a final decision.
What to expect
As an international volunteer, worker or student, you’ll need to cover many expenses before you reach the sunny coast of Australia. From getting the right health insurance, ensuring ample financial support during your stay, covering the cost of airplane tickets, accommodation, and basic lifestyle needs, you’ll see that the standard of living Down Under is very high, and the price is no different.
Since you’re coming from a snow-covered north, you should brace yourself for an entirely different cultural setting. Aussies are known to be laid-back, friendly, welcoming and kind, and the climate is sizzling hot during summer, while they enjoy mild winters – but their seasons are flipped compared to ours, so if you are traveling during your winter, you will be greeted by their summer!
* Featured image by ajmclellan via pixbay Creative Commons
You got the time off work, you quit or you just plain up and left. However the adventure came, you’re on it and you have only the road to guide you. On this year’s escape from Montreal, head to Granada, for a gastronomical, musical and cultural experience that you will never forget. Get ready to experience life like Spain’s swankiest royalty.
Granada is not only a slice of seductive gastro-paradise but it’s also where you can see what’s it was like to live as a Moroccan Sultan. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Check out the Alhambra for an experience of pure architectural beauty and intrigue.
Constructed as a small fortress in 889 AD and converted into a royal palace in 1333 this “paradise of earth” will leave you feeling like an heir to the throne. From intricate art deco details to the always extravagant doorway, you feel as though you’ve entered a slice of Moroccan paradise in the warm comfort of the south of Spain.
After experiencing life as a Sultan, your next stop should be to head down a dark deep cave to a Flamenco show. Flamenco is expressed as a strange, dark struggle linked to death and creation. Mixing Romanian gypsy music with the rhythms of North Africa, Flamenco has a strong rooted culture in Spain driven by its unique and wild melodies that can be distinguished by the pounding of the bailaora’s nail-capped shoes. A single performance of Flamenco takes over an audience with grace and passion that proves to last you long after the night is over.
With an abundance of famous Flamenco shows in Granada it’s hard to choose where to go. If you want the best spectacle in town head to Venta El Gallo, where you can not only see an authentic Flamenco show but experience it in a cave as you dine on extravagant cuisine.
While delectable Spanish food melts in your mouth you get the pleasure of seeing some of the best flamenco musicians and dancers in town. With shows everyday you’ll never have to miss out on the most powerful and jaw dropping Flamenco spectacle. The women will dazzle you, the musicians will razzle you and the dancers will leave you with chills all night long.
When in Spain the magical experience that is tapas is a must to graze your lips. Tapas are a midday or evening appetizer between meals to help gulp down some wine or beer. The Spanish got it right. Instead of whipping out for a quick bite to eat or eating fast food in front of the TV, Tapas happens at a slow and luxurious pace. People seemed unconcerned with the passing of time instead focusing on the enjoyment of good company as they sip on tantalizing wines.
From olives to prosciutto to black calamari with rice your taste buds will be tantalized and cold beer helps you wash it all down. The best part? All you pay for is the drink. Don’t fall into the tourist trap of Barcelona tapas to get your fill, instead head to Granada, the capital of free tapas. If you want to experience the real deal check out Poë, La Riviera, Om Khalsum, El Nido del Búho, and Babel. Get ready to experience food like royalty with a buffet of food headed your way with every drink.
Don’t let the luxury end there. Finish your trip off by splurging on a luxury Spanish villa for a week or two with friends or family. You won’t be disappointed. With privacy, security, and the most luxurious and intimate dining experience you feel like true royalty on your own private villa. The architecture will astound you, as the nature surrounds you, let yourself dive into the mindset of the Spaniards of the past.
From tapas, to Flamenco, to Moroccan castles, to Spanish Villas, there are many ways to dip your toes in the luxury of the south of Spain. But more important then the luxury is the change that takes over your mindset when you jet to another place, an escape from your life that permeates deeper then just a vacation.
“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” — Miriam Beard