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When Tourism Australia launched its domestic tourist campaign, 'Holiday Here This Year', in light of the bushfire crisis there was no foretelling of the pandemic that would bring the nation to a complete standstill.

In fact, almost six months on from the campaign’s launch, it is now more relevant than ever. As restrictions begin to ease around the country, the thought of a short break, getaway or even a mystery drive with the family sounds like a real treat.

We’ve prepared five tips to help you support the domestic economy and stretch your dollars at the same time!

Ensure your getaway plans are compliant

  • Before planning your getaway and packing your bags, you must check in with your state or territory guidelines to ensure your staycation plans are compliant. Australia’s state and territory governments are gradually easing restrictions with regards to regional travel, however each state and territory are lifting these restrictions at different speeds.
  • Ensuring your plans are compliant with respective guidelines is essential for the ongoing global efforts to flatten the curve of COVID-19, while also avoiding the possibility of a hefty fine for breaching state or territory guidelines.

Book a staycation

  • An immediate way of supporting the local and domestic economy is by supporting small businesses, including hotels, motels and caravan parks. Tourism Australia launched an online platform earlier this year to connect holiday-makers with tourism operators and resources to plan and book holidays.
  • Likewise, your local travel agent should have some great deals as venues look to reopen their doors. Plus, they might share some hidden gems you can’t find online!
  • Looking for a free cancellation policy is particularly important given that state and territory guidelines may change, so you’ll have peace of mind knowing your booking is flexible. Many deals come with a free breakfast offering on an overnight stay, taking the hassle out of cooking and saving you some extra cash. Be sure to check out the T&Cs of any deal before you book!

Plan your own food safari

  • Most towns and regional centres host a regular market, where vendors come prepared with their most delicious locally sourced fresh produce, arts and crafts, baked goods and various other items. These local and independent traders often use markets as a primary source of income and rely on this business and patronage.
  • Produce sourced at markets is typically cheaper than at large supermarkets or retailers, so you’ll be able to save your cash to invest in other market finds! Another perk of shopping at local farmers markets is that you’ll always be able to find unique items and souvenirs, reminding you of your visit.

Explore the national parks

  • Australia’s beautiful landscape is unlike any other, we have hundreds of national parks and state forests in all regions of the country. Exploring Australia’s national parks offers an excellent opportunity to spend some time outdoors and enjoy a picnic in the fresh air. Many national parks are free to explore, though others require that you purchase an entry pass. You can save money by buying an annual pass offering you unlimited access to specified national parks. Check in with your state or territory’s national park website to learn more.
  • Depending on the region and time of year there are many national parks that you’re able to swim in and carefully play under running waterfalls. Similarly, many have basic and affordable camping facilities that can range in cost and site amenities, allowing you to star-gaze the night away. These camping sites can be booked through the state park authority.

Invest in experiences

  • The sentimental might say "we are the sum of our experiences" and that our identity is defined by the accumulation of those experiences and lessons. Australia is a diverse country with experiences aplenty. Whether its snorkelling, milking cows, riding horses, surfing, hiking, kayaking and everything in between, there’s an experience for it in Australia.
  • Consider the experiences that you believe would add real value to your life and invest in fulfilling them. By doing so, you’ll again be able to support small and local businesses and tourism service operators who have likely been doing it tough while also ticking something off your bucket list.

In light of the recent bushfires and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there is no doubt that the Australian economy has been hit hard. By holidaying close to home this year, we’ll be able to help the tourism industry and economy get back on its feet as soon as possible, while also enjoying some R&R time for ourselves, too!

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of State Custodians.

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