When you are travelling on the road, it can be hard to keep track of your expenses. If you are not sure where to start or just looking for some extra trips, then this blog is for you. This guide will mainly cover ways to save money on an Australian road trip.
Here are 5 ways you can save money on your next road trip!
Buy Groceries and Make Bulk Meals
In my opinion, the best way to save money on food is to shop at grocery stores and make 3-4 days worth of meals. As a solo traveller this is the most convenient way to cook and save some cash. Personally, I make my food in bulk. This takes the hassle away from thinking of meals each night and sometimes you just can’t be bothered cooking after a long day of exploring! If you are travelling with a kids or a partner this can be hard to achieve because not everyone likes eating the same dinner for 3-4 days. Therefore, I’d recommend just buying food from grocery stores and try not to buy takeaway or roadhouse food.
I usually set a budget for food for a week which is around $30-40 AUD. I also tend to make meals that are easy to prepare as it’s more convenient. Some great meal ideas are pasta dishes, taco bowls, stir frys and curries. These last in the fridge and can be eaten cold or easily heated up. When cooking on the road the biggest thing to keep in mind is convience. Unless you have a caravan or an impressive kitchen set up, taking out a burner stove and cooking up a meal can be a bit of a hassle. Keep your meals simple and cook them in bulk!
Skip that Roadhouse or Cafe Coffee
I’m a sucker for a good coffee and sometimes this can be a really hard tip to follow. However, when you see the prices of a cup of coffee these days, you can save $35-$40 AUD a week just by skipping them. Treat yourself every now and then, but try limit to buying them 1-2 times a week.
If you despise instant coffee like myself, never fear. I have a great portable pod coffee maker I take with me on my road trips. Simply boil some water and pour it into the water section, pop in your pod, press the button and you have a tasty cup of coffee! You can use this portable coffee maker with hot or cold water. However, cold water will drain the battery as it takes time to heat up. Therefore I recommend using hot water and you will easily get up to 100 uses from it off 1 charge.
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If you are set up for it, Camp Everywhere!
If you are road tripping in a vehicle that is set up for camping, make sure you make use of it and camp everywhere! This will save heaps of money and keep that budget on track. Australia has plenty of National Parks where camping usually costs $15-$20 AUD a night. These campsites have basic facilities including drop loo toilets, shelter and sometimes BBQs.
If you don’t have a power system in your vehicle and need to stay at powered campsites, expect to pay $35-$50 AUD a night. If you have the time and some spare cash, I’d look into power sources for your vehicle (second battery, battery box, solar panel, etc). This is a good investment in the long run, and means you can free camp. Australia has plenty of 24 hr rest stops which provide the same facilities as National Park camping which are completely free!
Plan plenty of Free Activities
Australia is a nature lovers paradise offering heaps of free activities from beach hopping, hiking, mountain climbing, rock pool hunting, fishing and more! Fill your itinerary with these activities to save money on the road. A National Park pass may be required for some places, because of this I recommend buying a Park Pass.
Limit Takeaway and Roadhouse Meals
Now I am a sucker for roadhouse chips or trying out bakery goods from a small town. However if I where to buy these frequently I would be spending a lot more on food then I intended. After a long drive cooking is usually the last thing you want to do. This is why I recommend buying from grocery stores and cooking in bulk. Treat yourself or the family to takeaway or a meal out every now and then. However if you are on a budget make sure to limit how many times you buy it during your road trip.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
- Fuel is always going to be the biggest cost factor on a road trip, especially if you are a solo traveller. Make sure to put a large percentage of your budget towards fuel, plus a little more for ‘country prices’. Fuel prices are out of your control, however you can use fuel vouchers (from that grocery shop) to lower the price. Another great resource is fuelwatch or state equivalent, to find the cheapest fuel prices near your location. If you have some extra money, possibly look into a long range tank. Honestly, game changer!
- Make a overall budget. This will help keep you on track for your road trip and allow you to see if you have any spare cash for extra activities or eating out.
- Always budget more than what you need! There are alot of unexpected circumstances that can arise from a road trip. You don’t want to blow your budget on a new set of tyres or mechanical fault.
- Invest in travel and car insurance. If something unexpected happens, this can save you money in the long run.
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