Today, we have a guest post from a friend I met at FinCon in San Diego a few months ago. Clayton hails from Australia, a country that I’ve had the pleasure of visiting twice and is the dream destination for many people. He shares some tips for anyone looking to travel to Australia, including an Australia discounted flights trick.
Ahh Australia. The Lucky Country. The Land Down Under. Where Christmas is spent at the beach, we drive on the wrong side of the road (first step is admitting), and we catch Kangaroos as public transport. I promise.
Having spent some time in the US, I’m aware of how adventurous Australia seems to many Americans. I hear ‘I’d love to get to Australia one day’ quite a bit, so I thought I’d show some appreciation for our trans-Pacific relations, and share with Bald Thoughts the ‘true blue’ way to travel Australia.
This one is going to blow your mind. As a personal finance expert, I view money decisions through a filter of lifestyle-to-value benefit. What I mean by that is I’m not frugal – sometimes I like to pay more for better quality – but whenever I can get good quality for a low price, then we’re cookin’ with gas!
Flying in Australia
Flying in Australia, especially the common routes, is very affordable. This is due to the current wave of ‘low cost’ airlines taking over the market around ten years ago. Over that time, though, flying has become the main form of transport when traveling between states or cities. Believe it or not, it is now cheaper to fly than to rent a car and drive.
But not only am I satisfied with this, I have a very awesome tip on how to get THE CHEAPEST FLIGHT every single time, without using the cheapest airline. Let me explain.
TigerAir vs Jetstar
Tigerair is the cheapest airline in Australia. You know the one. It’s the one that always has flight delays, dodgy check-in policies, lowest quality planes, and weird out of the way terminals. Basically, if you want to save money you fly with Tigerair.
Jetstar is another low-cost airline. However, it is owned by the most reputable airline company in Australia – Qantas. It has a similar business model to Tigerair, but doesn’t need to cut the corners as much due to its ability to leverage existing Qantas relationships. As such, the flights are on time, the check-in policies are fine, the planes are better quality, and the terminals are easily accessible. The only ‘problem’ here is the flights are generally more expensive than Tigerair flights.
Australia Discounted Flights Trick
A couple of years ago, I stumbled upon a little-known opportunity where Jetstar will not only match any price for a Tigerair flight – they will actually beat it by 10%! So what that means is now every time I take a flight, I fly on the superior airline, for less than the price of the cheapest airline. Let me show you my Australia discounted flights trick.
The flights have to be around the same time (ideally within an hour of each other), so instead of searching each website separately, I just put the flight I want into Webjet. The advantage of using Webjet, or any 3rd party website dedicated to showing flights from multiple carriers, is that I can see immediately how close in time the Tigerair flight and the Jetstar flight are to one another, and what the savings are.
From the screenshot above, you can see a Jetstar flight leaving at 3:30pm for $195AUD. Just 15 minutes earlier, there is a Tigerair flight for $149AUD. This is awesome. I go to this Jetstar Price Beat Guarantee website, start an online chat, and book the flight for the additional 10% discount for $135 – resulting in a 31% discount for around five minutes work.
Pro Tip: I’ve used short-haul redemptions for 10,000 AA miles each way on Qantas within Australia. Also, consider using British Airways Avios for distance-based awards. – Lee
Americans have the biggest banks in the world – take advantage of it! My favourite little currency hack with the US/Australia relationship is to use a bank that has ATMs and branches in both countries. The reason is a) attractive currency exchange, b) no commissions, c) no bank fees. All this equals one happy traveler.
Pro Tip #1: I use Charles Schwab’s free checking account that does not charge to use other banks’ ATMs and also refunds me for any fees that they may charge. – Lee
Pro Tip #2: If you’re going to travel internationally, make sure that you have a credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees, which are usually 2-3% of your purchase. – Lee
Tipping and Taxes
Like most things in Australia, tipping is casual. By that I mean you can if you want, but by no means does anyone expect it. Tips are what service workers consider ‘drinking money’. It’s nice to have, but they don’t rely on it to get by.
Minimum wage is around $13.50 USD/hr so most people are doing just fine. If you want to tip – by all means go ahead, but you won’t be scoffed out of a restaurant if you don’t. And all prices are inclusive of taxes – so you can leave the calculator at home!
Odds and ends
Uber is here, take advantage of it ($15 off your first ride with our link). Cabs are pricey and will take you the wrong way.
Alcohol is only sold in specific shops dedicated to selling alcohol. Our beer is a little more expensive, but the wine is cheaper. If you like red, try a Shiraz for around $15AUD – not too bad.
All food is cheaper in our large grocery store chains like Woolworths or Coles. And finally our coffee over here is real coffee, not the drip kind – so one to two per day is max. Believe me.
Don’t worry about snakes, spiders or other creepy crawlies, sharks, crocodiles and other killer aquatic life – us Aussies have a national obligation to protect all foreigners from life-threatening flora and fauna (except Drop Bears – no one is safe from them).
Most importantly, if you come here – relax.
She’ll be right mate.
Writer at Fund Your Ideal Lifestyle.
The Bald Thoughts
As always, it pays to get the best tips and tricks directly from the locals. This Australia discounted flights trick from Clayton is a perfect example! If you have plans to visit Australia, Clayton’s advice above is really valuable. They really drive home the fact most places are not like your hometown, and that we need to adjust to the local customs to have a more enjoyable (and more affordable) vacation.
If you want to connect with Clayton, check out his Fund Your Ideal Lifestyle website, Facebook Page, or Instagram account. You can even check out his videos on YouTube. Here’s one of my favorites about fighting decision fatigue…