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Top 25 Ways to Save on Australia Travel

Transportation
rex regional express airline airplane australia discount airline12. Check the discount airlines. Thanks to Australia's sheer size, the quickest way to get around the country is by air. Australia has a number of discount airlines that provide affordably priced domestic flights, including Jetstar, Regional Express (REX) and Tiger Airways.

13. Take the bus. If you've got time to spare or if you're focusing your travels on a relatively small region, hopping on a bus to your next city may be your cheapest option. Greyhound Australia offers a wealth of discounts and specials, sometimes up to 50 percent off. For extended travel, consider a bus pass.

14. Take the train. One of the most relaxing and scenic ways to explore Australia is by rail. Check out the offerings from Rail Australia, which include a number of rail passes that could save you money on train trips around the country.

Top 10 Reasons to Travel by Train

15. Travel for free. A number of Australian cities have made select public transportation routes free to the public. For example, Melbourne offers a free hop-on, hop-off tourist bus serving some of the city's most popular visitor attractions. Brisbane has free service on several bus routes. And Perth offers free transit within a certain city zone.

16. Travel at a discount. Keep an eye out for public transportation discount cards such as Sydney's TravelTen tickets -- good for 10 bus or ferry rides. If you'll be relying heavily on public transportation, these passes can save you money over individually priced tickets.

17. Think outside the tour. Why pay for a pricey sightseeing cruise around Sydney's harbor when you could enjoy the same scenic views from a Sydney public ferry for about a third of the price?

Meals
18. Go grocery shopping. Buy your food where the locals do: at supermarkets. Instead of paying for your hotel's pricey breakfast, pick up a loaf of fresh bread at the local market and keep it in your room for a morning meal. Add some meat and cheese and you've got yourself a picnic lunch. As a bonus, groceries are not subject to Australia's GST -- but restaurant meals are.

19. Don't overtip. Tipping is generally not required in Australia, though it's growing more common in restaurants. If you're pleased with your waiter or waitress, a 5 to 10 percent tip will be appreciated. Tipping is not necessary at bars.

Melbourne Travel Deals

thai fish curry dish food asian ethnic20. Find cheap eats. Skip the touristy restaurants and follow the locals to places where you can find great food at a great value. Think ethnic restaurants -- Thai food is cheap, plentiful and popular in cities like Sydney and Melbourne, as is takeaway sushi. Department store food halls are also a good bet for quick, inexpensive meals. In smaller towns along the coast, look for little joints offering the ubiquitous fish and chips.

Lodging
21. Consider a home- or farmstay. Staying in a family home or on a working farm offers a wonderful way to interact with locals and get a genuine feel for what it's like to live Down Under. See our story on homestays and farmstays for more information.

22. Consider a vacation rental. Particularly if you're traveling with a family or group, a vacation rental could save you money over a hotel stay by giving you more space for less money, and by offering a kitchen where you can cook your own meals instead of eating out.

23. Look into hostels. Contrary to popular belief, hostels aren't just for 21-year-old backpackers. Many Australian hostels offer private rooms and even private bathrooms -- so if you don't mind basic accommodations, they can be a cheap and comfortable alternative to fancier hotel rooms.

24. Swap your home. A home exchange is perhaps the cheapest way to stay in Australia -- you stay in an Australian's house for free while he or she stays in yours. Often you'll have use of your exchange partner's car during your stay, which will save you money on transportation. Read more in our article on home exchanging.

25. Go camping. Australia has some of the world's most scenic and well-maintained campgrounds and caravan parks. Renting an RV gives you the freedom to drive yourself around the country, as well as a cozy and inexpensive place to sleep each night. You can learn more about camping and caravanning in Australia at AussieCamping.info.

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    --written by Sarah Schlichter
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