Where to Go for an Amazing Holiday Under $500

Taking a break doesn’t have to mean blowing all your savings. While jet-setting to Europe and sun-baking in Cancun are clearly off the cards, $500 can still go a long way for an amazing holiday within Australia.


Think Budget


Where you rest your head can be an expensive decision, especially if you don’t do your research. While hostels are a good go-to for dorms and CBD locations – think $20 a night for shared dorms with 100 people – for a more pleasant night’s sleep search AirBnB, which starts at about $30 a night for a room.

It’s even cheaper to travel with a few mates and book a house, just be careful of sneaky ‘extra’ fees when using their booking service. If you’re a first timer user, get a friend to refer you for $25 off your first booking.

On the travel front, now is not the time to be a plane-snob; Jetstar and Tiger are your friends in the sky. They will save you loads, especially during sale periods, so sign up to their email list to stay in the sales loop.


Holiday Deals


The online-version of clipping vouchers and shopper dockets are discount travels hubs like Groupon, Scoopon, Living Social and Lastminute.com. During slower periods, hotels and resorts use deals to fill their rooms, sometimes offering extra freebies like car hire and food and drink vouchers.

Frequent deals include the Goldcoast ($400 flights and accommodation for 5 nights), Sydney ($300 flights and accommodation for 3 nights). But there’s also sand-sinking Australian oases like Fitzroy Island and The Whitsundays.

Like all great deals, read the fine print and make sure the dates you want won’t cost extra.


Camping


Is there anything better than heading out bush and camping under the stars? Australia has a huge variety of beautiful national parks and bushland, with honest activities like hiking and swimming in watering holes that will cost you nothing.

Camping options range from zilch to paying $50 a night for a powered site during peak season at popular destinations. If you are starting from scratch and don’t have any camping gear, expect to fork out around $250 for a tent, inflatable bed, camping chair and cooktop.

It’s a worthy investment for a holiday of serenity, but borrowing off friends or family is a good idea if you’re unsure of the length of your tent-ancy.


House-swapping


Over the holiday heaps of people go away and need someone to look after their cat, dog or gold-fish. And that special person could be you. It will cost you around $50 to sign-up to one of these sites – try Aussie House-sitting – but you won’t have to pay a cent for your accommodation, just the travel costs to get there. Options range from the beach to inner-city bohemian studios.

Another alternative is to house-swap with a mate or relative, and try someone else’s life out for a change. As they say, mi casa es tu casa.

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