How I Put 10K In The Bank While Traveling Australia

Traveling, earning money and actually saving that money is not something you usually hear. But, I managed to save over $10k AUD while working and traveling in Australia. How? I entered Australia on a Working Holiday Visa that gave me the right to work for one year. The best part is that I only worked about 6 months.

The Working Holiday Visa in Australia is what makes this possible. Entering on a Working Holiday Visa, I was allowed to legally work in the country for one year. I was also taxed as a resident which was $0 up to the first $18,000 and then 19% after that. (The tax program is changing at the moment so check the ATO and Immigration sites to check current regulations.)

Arriving In Australia

When I first arrived in Australia, coming from Vietnam, I about lost my mind trying to justify the cost of everything in Sydney. The hostel was 5x the price, the food was 10x and a beer at the pub was 18x more! $9 for a beer!? I quickly had to figure out a plan before my bank account became empty!

Within two days of being in Australia, I found a job working construction for a small company. The $21/hr cash job quickly made me relax and realize that I could save some serious money to fund another trip after my Australian visa ended. The cash job lasted about 3 weeks, then I went to an agency which hired me for about $27/hr. Nights and weekends paid $34/hr. Got to love the penalty rate system (overtime).

After a month and a half of working, I had enough saved to fund an east coast trip. I bought a touring bike for $1300 and cycled from Sydney to Brisbane stopping in small towns and parks along the way. Then continued north in a campervan, checking out the sights in-between Brisbane and Cairns such as sailing the Whitsundays. I also snorkeled the most southern island of The Great Barrier reef and went SCUBA diving at the northern end.

Two and a half months on the road, I was broke.

Can't pass up 60% off steaks even if they are kangaroo! #kangaroo #australia #xxxx #woolies #findwildair

A post shared by Curt Schiesl: Travel & Biz (@findwildair) on

So, I caught a flight back to Sydney and went back to work. With 19 weeks till Christmas, I set a goal to save 10k, including tax return of about 20%. Then I simply followed a loose budget, cooked all of my own meals and tried to stay out of the pub.

By Christmas, I had just about hit my goal from working and with the sale of my bike, I was there.


How to get a Working Holiday Visa for Australia:

Apply for a Working Holiday Visa for Australia

Buy a one-way flight (read how I get free flights!)

Get your Tax File Number and set up a local bank account

Search for jobs on Gumtree or go to an agency

Get to work!

Quit and go traveling.



  1. Meandering Mallory June 6, 2017 at 2:45 pm - Reply

    How do Kangaroo steaks taste?

    • Curt June 8, 2017 at 1:30 am - Reply

      Kangaroo is a little gamey, much different than farmed beef from back home! If you buy kangaroo steaks, marinade them in balsamic vinegar or lemon juice, it mellows out the gamey flavor and makes it tender!

      • Meandering Mallory June 8, 2017 at 11:14 am - Reply

        Sounds great actually! I was dreading the “tastes like chicken” answer. Can’t wait until we make it down under to try Kangaroo, on clearance of course! 😀

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