Stephanie Parker is a travel addict and creator of Big World Small Pockets budget travel blog. Originally from Jersey, Channel Islands, but currently based in Australia, she backpacks the world on a shoestring collecting tips, advice and stories to share with a smile.
We asked Steph about her travels and advice, and we have no doubt our readers will love her answers just as much as we do!
What’s your best money-saving tip for travel?
Accommodation is a really big money-burner when it comes to travel expenses, so trying to lower the cost of just this one factor can be huge when it comes to saving on your trip expenses. Instead of seeking the usual, why not consider alternatives methods of accommodation such as glamping or AirBnB? Hostel accommodation is now available almost anywhere around the world, but so is working for accommodation schemes such as Helpex or Wwoofing – and there’s always Couchsurfing. Personally, I almost always travel with a tent, which allows me to sleep cheaply or for free almost anywhere. It also allows me to get off the beaten track a bit and go exploring in national parks and other more remote areas.
How do you decide where to go to next?
Ha, this is a great question and one I really had to think about because I don’t think anyone has asked me it before – myself included! I think inspiration for where I go next just comes to me organically – it’s never a decision I consciously make. I tend to go places I haven’t been before and I tend to go places that are either cheap to get to, cheap once you get there, or where I can work to support myself. I’m travelling Australia now because I got my working holiday visa here. After this, I want to go home to the UK, as I haven’t seen family in a while, but the plan is to travel overland all the way through Asia to get there – as I haven’t explored this continent at all yet.
What’s been your best ever road trip?
It has to be travelling Australia’s Red Centre to Uluru. This is one of those fabled journeys and it certainly lived up to the hype! Uluru is just as huge as you imagine it to be and every bit as awe-inspiring. We made the trip there in a 4WD, which allowed us to get off-road to see some amazing things including driving the Oodnadatta Track. From Uluru, I then relocated a hire vehicle in order to get me all the way north to Darwin. Renting a car like this was a budget traveller’s dream and the things I encountered along the way in the Northern Territory had to be seen to be believed!
Are there any parts of travel where it’s worth it to spend a bit more?
Yes, sometimes there are those rare, once in a lifetime trips, to see something or someone when money doesn’t come into it. Often it’s to a famous monument, mountain or momentous occasion when taking a tour or a guide is necessary – yes then I think it’s is worth it to spend a bit more. When it comes to people and matters of the heart, then money should never be an object!
Where is your favourite destination in Australia?
I’d have to say Fraser Island in southern Queensland. This huge national park is the world’s largest sandbar and as a fully protected reserve, the wildlife and natural scenery here take some beating. From sighting whales, dolphins and dingoes to swimming in freshwater lakes, trekking through jungle and sand boarding – it’s all on offer here. And if that wasn’t enough you can camp under the most incredible night sky you’ll ever see!