Hostels are known worldwide as being the ‘cheap’ alternative to hotels – share a room with complete strangers and you won’t have to pay half as much as you would in luxury accommodation! Because of this, it often comes as a shock to those straight off the plane into Oz the prices of hostels in the major cities. Hostels in Sydney and Melbourne range from around AU$27-39 a night and with that adding up to a weekly cost of AU$189-273 it can really eat away at your budget.
Fear not though, there are ways to get accommodation at affordable prices, you just need to know how to go about it! Here are some handy tips for getting a bed at the price you want:
- Book weekly instead of nightly – In most places you stay you’ll more than likely be stopping for a week at least, so it’s always worth looking around for hostels that offer ‘weekly’ discounts. You won’t really find many of these deals online, they’re normally advertised inside the hostels once you’ve originally paid the pricier single night rate, so check around before you book anything. If you want to stick around for a while longer in the area have a look to see if any hostels do ‘the longer you stay the more you save’ deals, as these can really save you a lot in the long run!
- Work for the hostel – Hostels are always looking to take on a bit of free labour in exchange for a bed, especially in low season when they’re finding it hard to fill rooms. Cleaning, kitchen hand and hostel reception jobs are hugely popular among backpackers in hostels, and if you’re lucky, some of them even pay (a bit) in addition to offering free accommodation. Ask hostels directly for more information.
- Live outside the central area – As much fun as it can be to live in a city centre, it’s often the location that causes prices to be so high (especially in high season). Have a look at hostels in the surrounding suburbs of the city, most of the time there’s great transport links into the city and you’ll find the prices can be dramatically lower too.
- Book well in advance – There’s nothing worse than rocking up at a hostel a week before Christmas to be told that if you want to stay there you’re going to have to pay big bucks. Avoid getting ripped off by booking well in advance – if hostels haven’t locked their prices for that week yet you can often get them to give you a great rate, you’ll just need to pay a deposit when you book so you’re guaranteed a bed
- Get a hostel discount card – Hostels love a bit of loyalty, so the big chains tend to offer membership cards offering great discounts on rooms to keep you coming back for more. Discounts range from 5-20% off normal room prices and often these companies will team up with travel companies to get you tour discounts too. The top companies currently doing this are VIP, YHA and Nomads. Show them how much you love them and you might get an extra night thrown in for free!
So do your research, see what’s out there and if you follow these steps you’re guaranteed to save a bit of money along the way. The only question now is what to spend it on…
For loads of handy information like this and to find out how to make the most of your Australian year abroad, check out ‘Work Anywhere: Australia’ the book here.