Budgeting for your initial expenses in Australia
One of the requirements of the Australian Working Holiday Visa is to arrive with at least $5,000 to cover your initial expenses. Proof of funds may be asked for at the airport, but it’s also common sense to come with savings. Even if you’re planning to work, there are unavoidable initial expenses and cost of living is high in Australia.
If you didn’t have the chance to save a lot of money, try to land in a smaller city with a lower cost of living. You may also want to join a “work for room and board” program like WWOOF, HelpX or Workaway to start your Australian adventure. You won’t earn money but your expenses will be minimal.
So, what should you budget for?
Transportation from the airport
Bus, shuttle or taxi, from the cheapest to the most expensive option, you’ll need to get from the airport to wherever you’ll spend your first night. Budget from $5 to $50. Note that some hostels offer free pickup/pickup for a nominal fee, arrange it before you leave.
Unless you’ve already found an apartment or room from abroad, you’ll probably spend your first few nights in Australia in a hostel or in an Airbnb apartment. Budget between $25 and $35.
Airbnb can be a cheaper option for couples, and you’ll get more privacy as well (but on the downside, you won’t meet other travellers). Feel free to use this link for a discount on your first booking.
Bigger expenses will follow once you find a more permanent option—you may have to pay for several weeks’ rent on the spot ($100-$250/week) and a deposit (amount varies depending on the landlord).
Transportation, Internet access, entertainment
If you’re staying in a city, don’t forget that getting around town costs money. Most of the time, if you have access to a public transportation system, you will be able to buy single-use ticket (or a prepaid card) or a pass. The cost depends on the city and on the zone(s) you’ll be covering.
To stay connected, you’ll be able to find a few Internet café (usually $1-$3/hour). Some hostels offer free Wi-Fi access, and there are also free Wi-Fi spots in most cities (in public libraries, for instance).
Your grocery budget should be about the same as at home if you’re from Canada or Western Europe. Ask around for affordable, lively bars and restaurants to have fun without breaking the bank.
Need new clothes? There are good deals, although most North American and European brands won’t be cheaper Down Under. Op shops (“opportunity shops”) are usually operated by a charity (Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc.), to which new or used goods are donated, for sale at a low price. You could find jeans for less than $10.
But even the most thrifty traveller needs to leave home with savings, so don’t delude yourself into thinking you’ll find a good job right away and your future pay cheque will cover your expenses from day one.
Finally, figure out a way to access your savings once you are in Australia. You can usually withdraw money with your foreign card, but there will be a fee and a withdrawal limit. It may be wise to make an appointment at your bank before the trip to increase your withdrawal limit and make sure your card won’t be flagged for suspicious activity.
An international bank transfer usually takes as little as four days and as much as two weeks, depending on financial institutions. You can also consider using an international money-transfer service. Wise is a fast and reliable solution with exchange rates better than most banks—and as a pvtistes.net reader, you’ll get a free first international money transfer, up to £3,000 (around €3,400) if you use this link.
Main articles about the WHV to Australia
16 Good Reasons to Apply for a Working Holiday Visa
The Working Holiday Visa Adventure as a Solo Traveller
Applying for a Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417) To Australia: The Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide with Screenshots
Globe WHV insurance policy highlights
Your first steps in Australia with a Working Holiday Visa
15 Tips for a Successful WHV Experience
Working in Australia: Opportunities, tips for backpackers and job search advice
Fruit Picking Jobs in Australia: What, Where, How (and Why!)