Sydney on a Budget
I’ve been known as Queen of the Deal, The Steal Queen and as the person among my friends and roommates that you go to when you want to find the best deal for your purchase. My friend Sammy has challenged herself to attempt to find better deals than me when she finds something good, but sadly she has not found a better deal than me so far. With careful consideration of transportation, planning ahead and food, here is my guide to living in Sydney on a college student budget (aka very, very little).
TransportationSydney is a pretty large city, and there is always something to do or see. Thankfully it is very possible to get around the city if you need to get from Redfern to Manly for cheap. I often keep it green and make an attempt to walk around the city whenever I get a chance. When walking, I refer to Google Maps or take a picture of my route before I leave, since it’s often impossible to find signs with street names on them when you’re walking in Sydney. Missing one turn can have you lost for 20 minutes. You also have to stay alert when crossing the street since many crosswalks take an eternity to change. I’m not entirely sure about Australia’s laws on jaywalking, but sometimes you actually have to in order to get from point A to point B. Personally I can’t drive, and if I could, I would not be completely comfortable driving a rental car on the opposite side of the road. We often carpool in a taxi or an Uber and end up spending less than $5 each. Also note that car services are pretty strict regarding the maximum four people in a car. If you do choose to travel this way, consider how many people are in your group. Growing up in New York, I was accustomed to having a public transportation system that covers every inch of the city through buses and trains. However, I would argue that Sydney’s OPAL card can definitely rival the Metro Card. For starters you can use the OPAL card to get on trains, buses, railways and ferries. You also don’t “swipe on” to transportation, you just tap on and off (DO NOT FORGET TO TAP OFF). OPAL cards work on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ system and feature the following rewards for frequent travel:
- The Daily Travel Cap allows for adults to pay no more than $15 a day.
- The Weekly Travel Cap limits payment to $60 a week.
- All Sunday Travel is capped at $2.50 and is the perfect day to plan your day trips that are a little farther outside of the city. There are also discounts on public holidays and during off-peak hours.
- There is also an option to pay for only eight journeys per week and have the rest of your travel for the week free.
- There is a Concession OPAL card, but sadly as Study Abroad students we do not qualify for it and you’ll pay more in fines if you’re caught with one than you would save with one.
- Make sure you register your OPAL card so you can top up online and keep track of your card even if you lose it.