Road trips are a great way to explore Australia; there’s something uniquely special about setting off on the open roads with a tank full of gas, the bare necessities, and an assortment of adventures ahead of you. The best part? You don’t have to spend a small fortune to create memories that’ll last a lifetime.
Preparing for a road trip to save money doesn’t have to be time-consuming or challenging at all. If you’re looking for some tips on how to save money for your next road trip, you’ve come to the right place.
Read on to Learn Six of the Best Ways to Road Trip on a Budget!
1. Set a Daily Budget
A road trip budget is essential to ensuring you can get the most out of your next adventure without irreversibly blowing out your bank account. With proper planning for expenditures like food, gas, activities, and accommodation, you’ll be able to enjoy your road trip without financial stress.
You’ll find that it can actually be cheaper to fly into the closest airport and hire a car directly from the terminal as opposed to driving the whole way. To avoid transfer costs and cross-city taxis, you can go directly to Sydney Airport car hire, for example, and start your road trip from there.
2. Pick The Right Time to Travel for You
No matter where you’re road-tripping everywhere is more expensive during peak season – caravan parks, hotels, motels, and even camping sites will increase in price, making your pre-trip saving efforts less fruitful.
If work allows, look to avoid times of the year when there’s a long weekend or public holiday inbound. If you’re not traveling with the kids, look to avoid the school holiday season. If you are traveling with the kids, stay aware of any holiday discounts, offers, or freebies. National parks and councils will often have free activities for children, too – visit their websites to find out what’s on.
3. Save Money in the Leadup to Your Trip
Once you’ve locked in your road trip, make every effort to reduce your cost of living in the build-up to your trip – you’ll be surprised and thankful later when you have a little extra cash to spend in order to maximize the experience of your trip.
Regularly buy coffee during your work day? Make coffee at home and bring a thermos or a keep-cup to the workplace.
Enjoy going for a few beers after work? Take it easy for a couple of weeks or invite friends over to yours and drink at a cheaper price.
Buying lunch most days? Start meal-prepping and look at cheap, easy-to-make recipes online. It’ll be good preparation and habit-building for your road trip. And on this note, we’ll move to our next tip…
4. Plan Your Meals
Cooking while on your trip is a fun, cost-saving activity that can also ensure you’re staying healthy and fuelled for the duration of your adventures.
Spending a lot of time in the car can often lead to plenty of unhealthy snacking (thanks to local petrol stations everywhere), so try and bring some healthy options like fruit.
Bring a portable BBQ with you, some pans, and firestarters, and look to shop for roadside fruit & market stalls – not only are you supporting the communities you visit, but the prices are often cheaper.
5. Know Where to Fuel Up
Petrol is always one of, if not the most costly expenditure on a road trip. But all hope is not lost, you can make some savings if you plan ahead.
Petrol prices are often higher in regional towns, due to the distance in between stations. Plan your stops for fuel accordingly along the way – filling up in a larger town with more stations to choose from, even if you’re only half a tank full can save you money in the long run, versus only filling up when you’re low and have no other choice. If you’ve got an Everyday Rewards card from Woolworths, you can save even more.
HOT TIP: Try to avoid rapid acceleration and braking, as this uses more gas. Roads that require you to constantly stop and start also use more gas, so try and get onto highways and avoid peak time travel. Also, turn off your air-con if you don’t need it – you’ll be surprised at how much gas you save.
6. Plan to Camp in National Parks
Free camping is probably the easiest and most enjoyable way to save money on a road trip. Cheaper (and often more stunning) than caravan parks, camping is allowed in many Australian national parks, and they typically come complete with basic facilities.
Camping overnight in a national park costs anywhere from $0 – $10 AUD, a small price to pay to witness the stunning natural beauty of Australia while you’re road-tripping.
So, there you have it, your one-stop guide on how to prepare for a road trip, saving money without sacrificing enjoyment. Get traveling!