Everyone loves to travel and to hit the open road for a weekend escape, away from the daily grind, however, it isn’t always easy to get away. Family and work commitments can be difficult to get out of, but for the most part, most people cite tight finances as the main reason they don’t holiday more often.

Here at Thrifty, we believe that travel doesn’t have to be five-star luxury with all the fancy bells and whistles. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best activities to do if you are on a budget but need a mini-break.

Clear your schedule for a weekend and hit the open road with these inspiring budget-friendly travel ideas.


You may not have been camping since you were a kid, but there’s nothing more relaxing than getting back to nature. Day-to-day life means a constant onslaught of technology, screens and communication, but unplugging and going to a place where none of that is possible is great, not only for your mind but your body too.

Pack a tent, some sleeping bags and blankets, a camp stove, and some yummy camp snacks. Most caravan parks charge a very small fee to pitch a tent at one of their powered sites, or if you are feeling brave, head into the wilderness. Always be safe and travel with a friend and don’t go off the beaten track. Don’t own a tent? Save the pennies and borrow one from an adventurous friend.
There’s nothing more invigorating than waking up on a crisp morning to a hot breakfast cooked over the camp stove with the birds chirping and the comfortable silence of nature as your soundtrack.

At the end of the weekend, you’ll hardly have made a dent in your wallet, and you’ll feel energised and recharged.

Last-minute hotel and flight bargains

There’s a plethora of Australian websites online that sell hotel stays, flights and packages at a seriously budget price at the last minute. Hotels and airlines want to fill as many rooms and seats as they can, so if they aren’t fully booked by a day or two before a set date, they usually dramatically drop the cost. This is great for the impulsive types who love planning last-minute getaways. Checking out these websites in the days before your planned escape could see you saving more than half off the cost of your accommodation or flights if you play your cards right. It’s a gamble, but if you are lucky you could be having the weekend break of a lifetime for peanuts!


If you’re skint but need a change of scenery, consider advertising yourself as a professional housesitter in your city. Some people don’t like leaving their houses unattended when they go away or have pets that need feeding – and that’s where you come in! There’s a smorgasbord of websites that cater to this ever-growing niche market. Compensation will vary depending on the person requiring a housesitter, but a small pay-packet, access to their internet and pantry and cuddles from their furry friend could be as good as a holiday, without spending a cent!

Photography: Greg Snell, Tourism Australia