1. HUNT OUT A SECRET TOWN
We’ve all heard of Byron Bay, Margaret River and Hamilton Island, but with that renown comes a price tag. Opting for accommodation that isn’t right on the beach, or in less popular towns, can save you big bucks. Check out what’s available at stayz.com.au.
2. SIGN UP AND SWAP
Join a houseswapping site such as houseswapholidays.com.au or lovehomeswap.com, which has more than 75,000 homes in 160 countries. It has everything from luxury stays on Sydney Harbour to chilled digs by Perth’s pristine beaches. These sites have small fees, but you’ll save a packet in accommodation costs!
3. EVERYBODY'S GOIN' SURFIN'...
‘Couchsurfing’ (staying on a stranger’s couch or in their spare room for no cost) is a popular concept among budget travellers. Join the community of millions at couchsurfing.org, who seek not only a truly local experience but also to open their homes to like-minded travellers.
In a true win-win, sites such as houseminders.com.au connect homeowners with house-sitters who are happy to look after others’ homes and gardens (and often pets, too) for little or no cost.
5. SLEEP UNDER THE STARS
Camping can be the ultimate budget beach holiday, if you can find that elusive free location to pitch your tent. Websites such as australiancampsites.com.au and campsaustraliawide.com are packed with information on the best free – or very cheap – camping spots across Australia.
Be aware, though: in peak seasons, these parks often operate on a first-come-first-served basis, so make sure you plan a few options if there’s a particular area you really want to visit.
6. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ONLINE OFFERS
Packages can be very good value. These include discounted flights and hotels in one transaction on websites such as expedia.com.au. Look out for ‘kids stay free’ deals too – Accor Hotels often promote these. Find out more at accorhotels.com.au.