The Hobo Guide to Getting Scabby in ‘Straya
There are a few essential know-hows if you wanna make your dollar go as far as possible in a place where a side of avocado costs seven bucks. From swapping your voddy for a goon sack and trading your Wholefoods for Aldi, we’ve got you covered with a hot list of tips.
The goon sack is an Aussie icon for youngsters, booze-hounds and hobo travellers alike. 40 standard drinks for less than 20 skins — that’s under 50 cents a hit. This is by far the cheapest option when it comes to getting pissed in Australia. Fruity Lexia, Dolce Rosso and Crisp Dry White are some of the more exotic flavours available, but there’s also a nice Medium Dry Red for those who prefer their grapes with skin. Technically it’s wine, but only nannas and thoroughbred private-school fools call it that. If you can’t get it down, mix it with cordial and you’ve created the “goon surprise”. I recently graduated from white to red, and I swear it’s hangover free.
After widespread media reports (propaganda) about it triggering anti-social behaviour, the goonie has been officially outlawed in Byron Bay. Don’t despair: this is but a minor hurdle for the true believers out there. Less than 15km away, you can still load the van with a few gallons. Police are yet to set up roadblocks on the drive back in, so feel free to grab a few sacks for you and your mates.
The Baccy Pouch
If you are going to drink, it’s likely many of you will also want to smoke. If you smoke tailors, you’re paying through the roof at close to a dollar a dart. As a cheapster, you can’t afford $20 a day, but a baccy pouch is only going to cost you a bit over $20 a week. A full set up includes a pouch, papers (choose Ventti – Tally Hos suck) and filters, setting you back around 25 bucks.
Perhaps the most epic idea behind the pouch is its shareability: “I got a pouch but I’m out of paper… hook me up and I’ll hook you later.”
Sure to gain you new — albeit scabby — friends, the pouch is brilliant and the smoke is tastier.
Ze Germans have done it again. Not only have they delivered Bratwurst, Bach and Beethoven, they have also given us Aldi: the cheapest supermarket in Australia. Aldi has everything you need and plenty of stuff you don’t. You can walk into Aldi, spin into a supermarket-spending-spiral and purchase freely without overdoing it. Granted, Aldi doesn’t always have everything you want, but if you’re sticking to a budget, it definitely has everything you need.
Shopping at Aldi is actually fun. Amusingly blatant brand rip-offs are among low-quality electronics and low prices. You could purchase a drill, a motorbike helmet, a guitar, a worm farm or a TV. Also, the Aldi bins are usually overflowing with deliciousness, and are probably the only time you’ll be glad to see fruit and vegetables pre-packaged in plastic. If you can’t even afford a shopping spree, get in there and dive that dumpster.
Dorm rooms will always hit you at over $20 a night, so if you have a van, then live in it, man. The initial outlay is going to hurt, but if you’re sniffing around for a few months (especially in winter, when many travellers flee the “cold” and sell their vehicles for cheap), it’ll only get easier. Believe me, the lifestyle is second to none. Wake up to the sound of the waves every day, hang around sipping on cups of tea, floating in the ocean and relishing the simple life.
The synopsis: Derrick and Desmond arrive in Oz with fuck-all cash, but they’re keen to hunt around for at least two months. With hostels setting them back $20 a night each, collectively they will spend $2,400 plus on accommodation. A savvy purchaser can get a whole lotta motor vehicle for $2,400. What’s more, D & D can sell their van on when they’re done Down Under.
Work for Board
Working for board can be an awesome way to eliminate what’s sure to end up being one of your biggest expenses — accommodation. Many travellers choose to work for board (and meals) because it can save plenty of coin and offers you the chance to travel differently. Doing a working home-stay or becoming an au-pair means you can immerse yourself in Aussie culture, get off the beaten track, make some good mates and be kind on your bank account. There are many websites to help you investigate the options, such as Gumtree, WWOOF and Backpacker Job Board and Helpx. Just make sure you don’t succumb to slave labour.
Alternatively, working at a hostel can keep you on the backpacker buzz and won’t see you isolated on a family farm or stuck in suburbia.
Regardless of where you travel, using the internet is just one of those necessities. Whether it’s searching for directions, bus timetables or finding the local strip joint, the net will surely be your lifeline. Paying for Internet data downloads on your phone is probably something you’ll want to try to avoid, so sussing out free WiFi is always high on the cheap hit list. While internet cafes are everywhere, they end up costing significantly more than a couple of coffees. Hunt down the local backpacker travel hub and join the scores of other WiFi thieves lining the windowsills scoping the free internet.
McDonalds is always a low-key guarantee if you’re desperate, but it sucks. You’ll be rubbing shoulders with the hundreds of other grimy little consumers, milling around, scummier than you, chilling with their cheeseburgers. Better off finding the local library and going there — it’s probably free, or at most $5 a membership.
Op Shops and Garage Sales
A great way to keep those dollars in your pockets is to avoid anything new. Australia isn’t cheap, so blowing upwards of a hundred bucks on an impromptu act of retail therapy simply isn’t smart. Don’t worry though – there is a solution!
Australia is brimming with op-shops, where you can pick yourself up almost anything for a fraction of the price. Be it winter jackets, swimwear, boots, books, hats or blankets, a little bit of patience can go a very long way.
Weekend garage sales are also a great place to scavenge, so keep your eyes peeled for what’s on around town. The best part of garage-sailing is hustling, harassing and offending the wackos trying to whip you their garbage at exorbitant prices. The banter can provide you fun for hours.
If your travel budget doesn’t allow for the luxuries outlined above, maybe resort to thievery, sleeping on the beach, busking or begging. And remember, shame is for the weak.