Accommodation options for your first nights in Australia
Options for all budgets
There are quite a few options for your first few days in Australia:
- Hotels: a pricier option, especially considering you will have to eat out since you won’t have access to a kitchen.
- Rooms or apartments for rent through online marketplaces like Airbnb: this is a smart choice for couples who are likely to spend less than they would on two dorm beds in a hostel. Book early for good deals and location.
- Hostels: reasonably priced, often ideally located, they are the best place to meet people and make your money go further.
- Couchsurfing: a free option, if you can find a host willing to let you sleep on the couch or in a spare bedroom. Read Couchsurfing abroad for more info.
Should I rent a room or an apartment before arriving?
If you’re planning to settle down in a city for a few months, it can be tempting to look for a place online and rent it before arriving in Australia to avoid spending a few nights in a temporary accommodation option. However, you might want to reconsider it for the following two reasons.
First, it’s hard to pick a place based on an online ad. Sure, the room looks cozy, but the neighbourhood may not match your needs or the building may feel dodgy. Besides, there’s no guarantee the place looks like the picture you saw online—they may have been taken years ago, with the most flattering angle and on a sunny day, but you may end up in a run-down apartment while there are cheaper and better options around. It’s best to visit your future home before renting it—and don’t forget to take a walk through the neighbourhood to see if you like the vibe as well. Sure, you may be missing a deal or two if you wait to arrive in Australia, but at least you won’t pick the place where you will live for a little while just based on a few stock photos.
Second, you could be falling into the trap of an apartment rental scam. Once the deposit money is sent and various fees paid, you might never hear from the landlord or your future roommates ever again—the place may not even exist.
Is it a good idea to sign up for a WWOOF, HelpX, Workaway or Couchsurfing experience when I arrive?
It’s up to you, but why not?
If you sign up as a volunteer, just keep in mind that regardless of how tired and jet-lagged you are, you’ll be expected to contribute. You may not be at your best for physical labour, especially on a farm. Couchsurfing also implies some human interaction and a couch in a busy living room isn’t the best place for a good night’s sleep after a long flight.
We still recommend you have a Plan B just in case your volunteering or Couchsurfing option doesn’t work for whatever reason. Research nearby hostels and budget accordingly.
More info: Volunteering on a Working Holiday Visa.