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

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 even arriving in Australia and then you will have to provide a minimum amount of savings to support yourself.

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. 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. 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.

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.

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 £900 to £1200 in open and return (depending on the season) and minimum £800 for a one-way ticket. Since Covid-19 pandemic, prices have risen quite a bit. Count around 1400 EUR (1200 GPD) for a return ticket with a stopover.

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

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. The application is more expensive if you apply by paper form (£85).

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 6 months after the end of your visa if you wish to travel before your return to the UK.

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 £283 per person or $510 (march 2023). It is valid for one year and allows you to travel to Australia for 12 months. It is renewable twice under certain conditions.

Please note that if your application is denied 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.

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, keep in mind 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: £283
– Passport: £75.50
– Insurance: £350
– flight ticket: £1400
– Savings: £3000
TOTAL : £5105.50 (about £2105.50 + £3000 savings)

Cost of living 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 = $1.80 (rate March 2023).

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 …

Campervan or Motorhome rental in Australia

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 $2,000 for the purchase of a car, and $5,500 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.

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.

Purchase a vehicle

Depending on the length of your road trip, you will have to decide whether to buy a vehicle. For a short trip (e.g. 1 month), it is probably more cost-effective to rent a vehicle than to invest in one. As a general rule, here is a price range to guide you:

  • An unequipped car costs a minimum of $2,500.
  • An equipped van costs between $6,000 and $12,000, depending on the type of vehicle.

On top of that you have to pay the registration fee (rego) and the insurance (third party / full). If you are staying for more than 6 months, it is worth buying a vehicle as you can sell it at the end of your trip and recoup your savings. Even if you use the vehicle for a month’s road trip here and a month’s road trip there, it may still be cheaper than renting (depending on the period).

Expenses on the road

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. Keep in mind, 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).

To give you an idea:

  • Count $125/week for food – this will depend on the budget you want to allocate to food…
  • For fuel, calculate a distance of 100 km/day with consumption of 10L/100 km (average consumption of a campervan), with an average price of gasoline at $1.85 /L.
  • The camping budget is calculated by counting 1 night every 4 days in a caravan park at $35 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. Please note that Australia is, as the rest of the world, facing inflation, so cost of living is higher at the moment!


Youth hostels

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 $30 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!


Are you planning to stay in the same city for a long time? Shared accommodation is a good option. Prices vary depending on the city, location, number of housemates, and of course the condition of the accommodation.
In central Sydney, you can expect to pay around $250 to $300 per week. In smaller cities, it is possible to find accommodation for $100 a 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 $280
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 $500/week (not counting outings or shopping!)

Tips to save Money

Save before coming to Australia

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. Try to lower your costs of living before traveling to Australia (less nights out, less restaurants etc).

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. Also check the airlines websites, they do sometimes offer deals for certain period of the year.

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 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.


Rents are high in Australia, especially in big cities. However, there are some tricks to reduce this expense. 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..

You can also try the Couchsurfing where you can stay for free at someone’s place (you will most of the time sleep on the couch… but for free!). You will have to register and create a profile.


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”.