How much money does it cost to caravan around Australia?
It’s amazing how quickly travelling expenses can add up and eat into your budget faster than the speed of light, or so it would seem.
One of the easiest ways to save lots of money is by free camping, and I know I’ve mentioned it before but it does save serious amounts of money, so I think it bears mentioning again for the benefit of anyone who is considering trying it out.
The Camps Australia Wide book is a great resource for finding free camps. There are also apps available like 'Wiki Camps Australia' which is excellent.
If you are set up with some kind of solar panel arrangement, whether it is fixed to your caravan roof or a portable fold up model, or if you have a generator, you can easily have all the comforts of home while you are free camping.
These days there are very energy efficient 12 volt lighting options and if you need to run a laptop or TV it is as easy as buying a 12v to 240v Inverter and plugging your laptop or TV into it. As a general indication, we find that our caravan ‘house’ battery lasts for 5 hours when running 1 or 2 lights, a laptop and a small TV, and if we are on the road again the next day it will simply recharge as we are going along.
It’s impossible to run an Air-con or microwave on battery power, so you would need a generator for that. A generator will also charge your caravan ‘house’ battery. So you could use a combination of both generator power and battery power if you wanted to.
Another major expense is fuel, but there are savings to be made here too. Apart from collecting supermarket discount fuel dockets from family who don't use them, we converted our car to LPG after our first trip revealed we were using 22 litres of petrol every 100 klms. It was the best thing we could have done to save money on fuel, and I actually think the Commodore runs better (has more power) when towing on LPG.
Food is another major expense but there are some great websites around with some yummy low cost recipes. Try: 5dinners under $1
It’s also a good idea to keep an eye out as you travel for ‘farm gate’ specials. Often you will find farmers have a stall at their front gate where you will be able to pick up really fresh fruit and vegies at a good price.
We always go to Aldi supermarket to stock up on essentials like rice, flour, pasta, sauces etc before we leave the city or regional town. Food will be more expensive in remote areas as the cost of freight will be added, so it pays to carry as much as you can with you if you are heading out bush.
Aldi is not Australia-wide yet, but they are expanding rapidly, so check their website for locations using the Aldi Store Locator on the right hand side of the page. We have found them to be the cheapest of all the supermarkets and the quality is very good.
There are also some good savings at shopper docket which offer discounts for anything from pizzas to tyres.
What do you do to save money on the road? Please leave a comment below...