Home Budget Australia – How much money do you need to work & travel?
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Budget Australia – How much money do you need to work & travel?

If you want to live in Australia for up to 3 years under your Working Holiday Visa, it is essential to prepare your budget. A lot of expenses are expected before arriving in Australia (plane ticket, visa cost etc), and then you will have to provide a minimum amount of savings to support yourself. Here are some pointers to help you understand the cost of living in Australia which will help you to budget, work and travel in Australia.

First, know that the Australian government recommends starting with at least $5,000 AUD per person. While this amount may seem high, remember that life in Australia is quite expensive, and if you plan to buy a campervan or a car for example, much of your budget will be devoted to it. For those who plan to go to a hostel or find a house share, have at least $ 1000 / month (accommodation + food). It is important to arrive with a comfortable budget, which will allow you to support yourself if it takes some time to find a job.

Budget before coming to Australia

The first question we ask ourselves is generally “How much money do I need to bring with me?”. However, before even asking this question, one must ask oneself “how much do I need to before I leave?”. Here is an estimate of the costs of preparing a Working Holiday Visa (WHV) to plan your departure.

Passport application

To travel outside the European Union, you need a passport. Otherwise, you will not be able to apply for a WHV without a valid passport. To obtain or renew it, it is necessary to make a request to your town hall with the supporting documents requested. You can choose to go to the counter or prepare your file by making a pre-request online. The cost of a passport (1st request or renewal) is £75.50 if you apply for it online in the UK.

If you already have one, make sure it is valid for at least as long as the duration of your stay. We recommend the validity of at least a few months after the end of your visa if you wish to travel before your return to the UK.

The Working Holiday Visa Application

The visa application will also cost money! It is important to apply for your visa first before buying your plane ticket or health insurance. The Working Holiday Visa costs around £267 per person or $495 since July 2021. It is valid for one year and is renewable twice under certain conditions. Please note that if your application is refused for any reason, you will not be reimbursed.

Make sure you apply for a visa from the official government website and no other site offering the Working Holiday Visa.

WHV Health Insurance

The WHV travel insurance is for those who leave for 1 year or more on a Working Holiday Visa. To subscribe to private health insurance with offers designed for Working Holiday Visa makers, count around £350 per year.

These insurances will cover you in the event of an accident or infectious disease. Your hospital costs, repatriation costs, accidents during the practice of certain sports (to be checked with the company), or your civil liability will be covered.

The Plane ticket

Airfare will undoubtedly be the biggest expense before you leave. Australia is at the other end of the world, so going there will have a significant cost! For a round trip, prices range from £800 to £1000 in open and return (depending on the season) and minimum £500 for a one-way ticket.

We advise booking your plane ticket once your visa has been approved!

The funds requested by the Australian government

At the time of your WHV application, the government requests to prove that you have a certain amount in your bank account. You need at least $5000/person or about £3000. Even if this sum may seem significant, remember that life in Australia is quite expensive. In addition, if you plan to buy a campervan, for example, a good part of your budget will be devoted to it. For those who plan to settle in and rent shared accommodation, count at least $1000/month (accommodation + food). It is therefore important to arrive at a comfortable budget. This will allow you to support yourself if you take a little time to find a job!

– Visa: £267
– Passport: £75.50
– Insurance: £350
– flight ticket: £1000
– Savings: £3000
TOTAL : £4692.50 (about £1692.50 + £3000 savings)

Spending once in Australia

Once there, you will also need to spend a little money to live in the land of kangaroos. In Australia, the Australian dollar is in place, the rate varies constantly but on average, £1 = $1.85 (rate from October 2021).

In Australia, everything is paid weekly (or every 2 weeks max.). Your wages will be paid to you every week, as will your rent, which you will have to pay every week.

Be aware that life in Australia is quite expensive … mainly because wages are higher than in Europe. Your main expenses will be divided between accommodation, food, transportation and the activities you will do. So, your expenses will not be the same depending on whether you decide to settle in a city or take a road trip!

Average budget for a road trip in Australia

You want to go on a road trip, and if you have the ability, arrive with the maximum of funds in the territory! Indeed, many backpackers think finding a job quickly on reaching Sydney (or elsewhere) and wish to save to afford a vehicle. The reality is not so simple! When one lives in the city, it is much more difficult to put money aside …

Your road trip budget will depend on several factors such as the number of kilometres you travel a month and the places you are visiting. Remember, gasoline will be more expensive in remote areas. Your food expenses will also determine your budget, as will the level of comfort you want. Be aware that it is possible to spend very little money when you are on a road trip by sleeping in your vehicle, eating inexpensive foods (rice, noodles, canned goods).

The main item of expenditure will be the purchase or rental of the vehicle in which you are going to travel! As an example, count at least $1,500 for the purchase of a car, and $5,000 for the purchase of an equipped campervan. Added to this are the registration fees and compulsory third party insurance. You can choose to take out full insurance or not, depending on your needs and means.

We have a road trip budget calculator to estimate your costs better. Calculate your expenses according to your route and needs here.

Campervan or Motorhome rental in Australia

For your motorhome or campervan rental, we advise you to use an online comparator. Motorhome Republic for example often offers good discounts and works with all vehicle suppliers in Australia. This will allow you to compare different types of vehicles and even filter the results according to your needs.

  • We calculated $125/week for food
  • For fuel, we calculated a distance of 100 km/day with consumption of 10L/100 km (average consumption of a campervan), with an average price of gasoline at $1.5 /L.
  • The camping budget was calculated by counting 1 night every 4 days in a caravan park at $30 per night.

Average budget for living in a big Australian city

Whether you arrive in Sydney, Perth, Brisbane or Melbourne, your expenses will be quite high during your first weeks. Be aware that depending on where you are, the cost of living can vary greatly. In general, life in big cities will necessarily be more expensive than in small Australian cities. This is explained by 2 main factors, the cost of housing which is higher, and expenses to visit restaurants/bars etc. which are more frequent in a city! Food and gas, on the other hand, are cheaper in big cities.


Your expenses will vary depending on your type of accommodation. On arrival or for a short stay, hostels are a practical and economical solution (from AUD $25 per night). Note that it is often more advantageous to book a full week to get discounts (-10% or 1 night free!). Be careful though because the prices vary a lot depending on the time of year and the location of your hostel.

Booking.com is one of the most popular sites for booking hostels in Australia. Thanks to this search engine, you can compare hostel rates and make your reservation online!

If you plan to stay in the same city for several weeks or months, roommates are a good option. Prices vary by city, location, number of roommates, and of course the condition of the accommodation. In central Sydney, count around $250/week.


For those in hostels, advantages are often offered in the room rate (breakfast included, free drinks or rice and pasta available free of charge).

If you do your shopping in the supermarket, count at least AUD 60/week per person by cooking the meals yourself. The prices of fruit and vegetables vary greatly depending on the season. Meat is accessible but products such as cheese, bread are more expensive. Finally, if you want to buy alcohol, count on average $18 for a pack of 6 beers, $10 for a bottle of wine (low end), and $50 to $70 for strong spirits (vodka, rum…). If you eat out, the budget will be much higher, count around $250 per week.

Public transport

Transport is quite expensive in big cities. Most major cities offer a cheaper rate if you use a transport card instead of an individual ticket (such as the Opal Card in Sydney). These cards will allow you to use the entire public transport network of the city (bus, train, tram, ferry, etc.). You can recharge it online according to your needs. It will always be more attractive to take a weekly pass or a top-up card than single tickets.

Average budget per person/week in a big city


Accommodation: around $250
Food: variable according to your appetite, count $80
Transport: it all depends on your place of residence and if you plan to use transport regularly. Count around $35/week.

TOTAL: about $355/week (not counting outings or shopping!)

Tips to save Money

Save before departure

Certain costs cannot be reduced, such as the cost of a passport, or obtaining the WHV. It is, however, possible to find cheaper plane tickets with a few tips or to save on your WHV insurance for your trip.

Plane ticket

To get a better price a few tricks can be used. The price of your tickets can be optimised if you anticipate the purchase, for example. Try to do it 4 or 6 months in advance. Prefer the low season, tickets will be cheaper in the UK and Australia. Do not hesitate to use online comparators and to make quotes from agencies which can obtain specially negotiated tickets for young people on a WHV

Travel Insurance Discounts

There are many WHV insurance offers and it can be difficult to navigate. The quality of services and benefits and prices are variable. It is important to compare them well and find the one that best suits your needs. We have carried out a complete comparison of the various insurers and their services. We also got discounts with several of the best companies. What save you money during your preparations!

Save during your Trip

You have understood, the cost of living in Australia is high. The prices are equivalent to those of our major European cities. It gives you a few tips to help you avoid breaking the bank on your arrival.

The Accommodation

Rents are high in Australia, especially in big cities. However, there are some tricks to reduce this expenditure item. You will spend probably more money on your arrival. If you intend to stay longer, opt for a roommate, this is the most economical way to stay.

Be aware that there are also alternatives that allow you to make big savings. To volunteer, for example, via Helpx or Wwoofing are good options. You will be housed and fed in exchange for your help a few hours per day. These networks help offset spending on food and shelter for a while, while living with locals..

The Food

The budget allocated for the food can be salty. In supermarkets, prices vary during the day. It will be more interesting to do the shopping at the end of the day to get discounts on unsold, especially on fresh products. You could also select the markets for fresh produce and always look at the specials in the supermarkets and the “Quick sale”.