Last updated on 5 August, 2023
The big lap of Australia or affording to travel ongoing will be more achievable if you can travel further for less money. Money often determines how long you can travel, so making your money last means more travel. Our tips on how to save money while caravanning around Australia will let you travel longer.
Having a caravan to travel around Australia is a great way to see this country and save on accommodation. Still, there is no end to travel costs that can be high and blow your budget.
The best way to travel around Australia on a budget is by spending less money while caravanning or on a lap. Gratefully, saving money while you travel does not mean having less of a good time. Instead, your money will go further for making memories of a lifetime.
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- How to Save Money while Caravanning
- Free Camping
- Solar Set Up
- Free things to do
- Stay in Places Longer
- Be Selective about Which Paid Tours You Do
- Stop to Work Temporarily
- Car and Caravan Maintenance
- Have Roadside Service Membership
- Fuel Apps
- Improve Fuel Efficiency
- Prepare and Cook Your Food
- Avoid Caravan Parks on School Holidays and Long Weekends
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How to Save Money while Caravanning
Make your money last when caravanning around Australia by spending less. But, how can you travel but not spend too much money?
Here are some easy money saving travel tips to help you.
1. Free Camping
On average, we have paid $35 a night to stay in a caravan park as a couple with no kids. Over a year, staying in a caravan park would cost a whopping $12775. Just one night a week in a caravan park for a year adds up to $1820. Free camping can help significantly to reduce camp fees.
Caravan Australia on the cheap is possible by using free camps. Free campgrounds are often in the most fabulous locations around Australia. Free camping on stunning beach fronts, alongside beautiful lakes, rivers or creeks, on stations, in gorgeous bush settings or in lovely towns is not unusual. Why would you stay in a caravan park?
Not all free camps are in beautiful locations. Many are roadside stops with nothing more than space to get your rig off the road. However, to save the most money, free camping means a willingness to use roadside stops when there are no other free options available.
2. Have a Solar Set Up
Of all the money saving tips to travel Australia on a budget setting yourself up with the best solar power and battery you can afford will give some of the greatest savings while travelling. A decent solar set up will let you go off grid and comfortably free camp because you will have your own power supply.
Lithium batteries are the better batteries on the market these days. They are also a lot more expensive and not within everyone’s budget.
An AGM battery will likely do the job for you, providing you have a big enough solar panel and are not trying to run large appliances like your fridge off it. We have a 200w solar panel and a deep cycle AGM battery and they do us. Our three way fridge runs off gas.
3. Find Free Things To Do
Travelling Australia is about collecting experiences and memories. An easy way to save money while on the road is to do free attractions and activities. That is not to say you should never pay to do a tour or an entry fee, but instead, fill most of your time with free things to do.
Daryl and I carry on board our rig a kayak that also fits our dog, snorkel gear, fishing gear and a few other items that mean we can make the most of doing free things wherever we go. Yes, we had to buy these items, but they have more than paid for themselves in savings on hire fees. Plus, it is convenient to have our own.
4. Stay in Places Longer
Save money while travelling is to travel slower and staying in each place for longer. Also, using free camps and doing free activities will help you to save more money.
So if you find a nice free campground with enjoyable free activities, do not be in a rush to move on to the next stop. Instead, linger longer and spend less on fuel.
5. Be Selective about Which Paid Tours You Do
The temptation is often to do as many paid attractions and tours as possible, often because of a fear of missing out. Stretch your travel budget by selecting a few must do bucket list tours and make the most of what money you do spend.
6. Stop to Work Temporarily
Of all the money saving tips for travelling around Australia, stopping to work is the one that can potentially add money to your travel funds. How much will depend on what you earn minus your expenses.
Daryl and I have worked full time in remote places with accommodation and food included, plus we were too remote to go anywhere. With no accommodation, food or fuel costs we saved a lot of money fast.
In other places we have worked, we have done minimal hours and only earned enough to pay our way. The best regions we found to do this have been in areas of high tourism and high costs. By working we had money to stay longer without depleting our savings fund.
7. Do Your Own Car and Caravan Maintenance
Car and caravan servicing, maintenance and repairs are ongoing costs that new travellers underestimate as an expense. The costs for keeping everything in good working order, which you need to be to travel safely, adds up quicker than you think.
To caravan Australia on a shoestring, doing as much of the servicing, maintenance and repairs yourself will save you a lot of money while travelling. It means making room to carry some tools. Sometimes it is still necessary to pay for some jobs. At least, then it is only when necessary, not as a given.
8. Have Roadside Service Membership
Roadside service membership is one of those things you should have but hope never to need. If you find yourself in a situation where you do need them, you will be glad you have them.
During our travels, we have used our roadside service three times. Each time we needed a tow. The amount of money we have saved on towing costs alone has meant we have not blown our Australia road trip budget.
The other positive of having roadside service is the convenience of having someone else organise what you need. It is, so helpful to have the roadside provider arrange things like towing and car hire.
Do not leave home without a roadside service membership!
9. Use a Fuel App
Fuel is by far our biggest expense travelling in Australia. A simple way to save money while on a road trip is to use a fuel app to find the cheapest local fuel where you are.
Using a fuel app, we have regularly seen 5-30+ cents difference in petrol prices in towns and suburbs around Australia. If you only save 10 cents per litre on average, it will add up to hundreds of dollars over a year. The money is better in your pocket.
The prices on Fuel Apps are usually accurate. They rely on crowdsourcing to keep the information on them updated, so they are not always 100% accurate.
10. Improve Your Car Fuel Efficiency
Since fuel is highly likely to be your biggest expense doing a big lap or travelling full time, one way to stretch your travel budget is to drive in ways that will save you money on fuel costs. There are simple ways to improve the fuel efficiency of a car while towing that could reduce your road trip costs.
11. Prepare and Cook Your Food
Eating out is costly even when choosing the less expensive options. For a cheaper road trip, prepare and cook all your meals. In our post, Road Trip Food on a Budget, we share ideas on how to save money on food.
12. Avoid Caravan Parks on School Holidays and Long Weekends
Besides, caravan parks being too peoply during school holidays and long weekends, they also charge a premium. It is possible to travel more for less money by going to the non touristy spots at these times and hiding out until the holiday makers go home again.
13. Use the Bucket Method for Laundry
There for four super ideas for doing laundry on the road. The bucket wash is the cheapest, being nearly free for each wash other than for the cost of the wool wash. It uses a 20L bucket with a screw top lid, water and wool wash.
Tell us. How do you save money while travelling around Australia? We would love you to leave a comment.
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