Well, there is no real exact answer. Everyone travels differently, have different needs/wants and have different overheads to calculate into their budgets.
Obviously a few kids can add a few extra $’s to the budget and it all depends on where you are and what activities you decide to do. And of course WHEN- for example school holidays and public holidays can really put a dint into the budget too.
We get asked a fair bit about the costs involved in travelling like we do. Some people tend to think its expensive and that doing it full-time must mean we have lots of money. Ha! Ha!
We used last fortnight as an example to keep a record of all our expenses and thought we would share OUR personal expenses with you for those who have wondered what the costs are/can be.
There is no such thing as a standard or normal week on the road. One week we maybe out in the bush doing some “free camping” and keeping ourselves entertained around the camp, then the next week we may find ourselves staying at an expensive caravan park visiting lots of attractions. So as you can imagine it would be impossible to give a calculated cost to traveling.
The overheads of travelling are very similar I guess to those of a normal life in a house. There is of course vehicle registration, caravan registration, insurance, maintenance.
Fuel expenses ( a huge variable relative to the distance you wish to travel in a specific amount of time), Food, accommodation (another huge variable relative to your desire to free camp or stay at caravan parks- or both), Leisure Expenses (entertainment, attractions activities), Incidentals (medicine, repairs batteries clothing etc), Internet, Mobile Phones and other personal liabilities such as personal debts, credit cards, storage fees, mortgage etc.
Our personal situation meant we have decided to travel BEFORE buying a house and whilst we had no debts. This is the only way we would have been able to afford to travel. We take care of our yearly registrations, insurance, internet and storage fees in a single swoop each year so we do not have to worry about those expenses whilst travelling.
Many may think sharing such expenses like we are about to, a little personal and many may not be comfortable in sharing such detail. We feel that this particular fortnight of travel is a very typical fortnight for us ( sure, some fortnight’s we would blow these expenses out of the water and some fortnight’s may even halve these figures). We don’t mind sharing!
To give a summary of our fortnight and a snap-shot of these expenses it consisted of fourteen days (ten of which we stayed in caravan parks and four days free camping). Four of those days in the caravan parks were charged at peak season rates due to Melbourne Cup long weekend. We did not travel far towing the van but did do long day trips in steep and windy countryside which added to our fuel usage. We did no attractions that cost money (only free activities such as walking, canoeing, beach etc). Our leisure expenses consisted of pizza one day and two lots of fish and chips. Our food expenses was slightly higher than normal due to us spoiling ourselves on a few treats and making a few meals that were a bit out of the ordinary for us.
Please see the chart below for a breakdown of last fortnight’s expenses:
As you can see, this particular fortnight for us averages out at only a little over $90 a day. We reckon the difference between a frugal fortnight and a fortnight where we tend to indulge may only differ 20% either way.
Looking at these figures you can see that it can be a lot cheaper to travel Oz then to live in a house but of course this is a very personal decision and of course only our perspective.
In general caravan parks (for us) can vary from $25pn right up to $60pn in peak times.
We have paid as much as $2.08 per litre for diesel in remote areas
Cost of emergency recovery of your vehicle in remote areas can exceed $1000 per hour. So make sure your vehicle is sound
Here are a few things that we do to try and save money as we travel (and yes, some of it seems frugal):
- Research and compare caravan parks and their rates. Find a park that doesnt charge for kids (or at least very little cost)
- Ask caravan parks if they have any deals such as cheaper weekly rates or “pay 3, stay 4″ etc
- We do our own washing in our washing machine (saves $3-$4 a load and with kids that can get quite pricey)
- We sometimes opt for unpowered sites in caravan parks if only for a few days and use our house battery
- If staying at a caravan park, make good use of the camp kitchen and use their bbq’s to cook (save your gas)
- Look for free activities for the kids. Fishing, beach, walks, playgrounds or choose a caravan park with activities
- We use Camps Australia Wide Books to find budget camping alternatives (bush camps etc)
- We fill up fuel in larger towns where it is cheaper (including jerry cans if we know we are heading into remote places) And of course use super market fuel dockets.
- Use rechargeable batteries where possible
- Buy in bulk and use our Freshield storage containers to keep food fresh
- We use a “Whats Up Downunder” travel saver card to get good deals on attractions
- Be aware of any other discounts or deals offered through your club memberships. We find we get lots of discounts using our NRMA roadside card
- Buy multi-park passes for theme parks and attractions to get a discount
- Always have an “open ear” to other campers who may know some great tips
- Join a Caravan Park Association. Big 4, Top Tourist, Family Parks etc and save up 10% on each stay
- We buy National Park passes when we know we may be doing some camping or day visiting
- Resist temptation to eat takeaway or at restaurants often. We treat our life on the road as if we were at home and cook wholesome family meals most nights.
- We decide a budget for leisure activities and stick to it
- We use napisan in our porta-loo instead of expensive chemicals (and it works well)
- We use a Pre-Paid mobile phone so we only pay for the calls we use (there are sometimes full months when we have no reception and monthly contract charges would be wasted)
- We carry a set of hair clippers and do our own haircuts (for Anthony & Cooper)
We hope this little share of information maybe an insight into what the actual costs of traveling are and perhaps you could use it as a starting point if you were considering to travel as well.
Download our FREE Budget Spread Sheet- CLICK HERE!
Use it to help plan your travels and keep track of your expenses.
The FREE spread sheet is easy to use and fully customisable to include YOUR expenses and INCOME streams. The formulas and calculations are done for you and gives you a simple snapshot of your spending.
Once downloaded- Select a budget type from the bottom tabs in the spread sheet (either weekly, fortnightly or monthly depending on your preference)