Sydney, Australia is a world-class city for culture, events, and excitement. But it is expensive — you’ll be paying through the nose for hotel accommodations on your visit. Sydney consistently has some of the highest lodging costs in the world, second only to New York in 2011, according to Hotels Combined Price Index. At an average of A$192.03 a night, you’ll go through your travel budget faster than you can say “Throw another shrimp on the Barbie!”

The solution for many travelers who want to experience Sydney but don’t want their funds sapped by expensive hotels is to backpack and stay at hostels. Granted, this option isn’t for everyone, but a properly planned backpacking trip in a world-class city like Sydney can be every bit as enjoyable as staying at a 5 star hotel. To plan your perfect backpacking trip start by ask these 5 questions:

Should I Buy Trip Insurance?

Even if you’re saving money by backpacking, a trip can be a proportionately large investment. It is recommended that you investigate if you’ll be covered for emergencies when traveling abroad. Things like emergency room visits, trip cancellations, or hurricanes can cost you big if you don’t have supplemental trip insurance.

Which Hostel is Right for Me?

Hostels range in price, accommodations, and flexibility for booking. Prioritise what aspects of the hostel experience are most important to you. Luckily much of this information can be found online at hostelworld.com. Privacy, location, price, or even how social a hostel is can dramatically affect the quality of your stay. Be sure to plan ahead and research how far in advance you need to book a bed at the hostels where you want to stay.

What Do I Need to Pack?

When traveling abroad one needs to be sure to pack correctly. This includes things like copies of identification, power adapters, pack safes, and a headlamp (lights out after 11 at most hostels). Packing your clothes is a balance of necessity and space. Generally, you want at least one week’s worth of undergarments and socks. You’ll also want at least 3 short-sleeved or sleeveless tops, 2 long sleeved and warmer tops, 2 pairs of jeans or khakis, 3 pairs of shorts, and some comfortable long pants.

How Do I Handle My Money?

In big cities such as Sydney, it’s easy to bring and spend money. Sydney citizens love convenience so travelers checks and credit/debit cards are accepted almost everywhere. Travelers checks, standard credit/debit cards, or special travel debit cards (that can be remotely re-filled), are all good options while in Sydney.

Where Else Can I Visit?

Keep in mind that Australia is a big country, about the size of the 48 contiguous United States. Sydney is close to Melbourne, Canberra, Newcastle, and Brisbane, all an hour or less away by car. If you want to visit anywhere on the west side of Australia, like Perth, it could take almost a week to get there by car.