Caravanning around Australia is a big commitment, and you don’t want to blow your budget with half the trip still to go. Everyone’s costs are going to be different, but there are some key things you need to consider.
1. Location and duration
From a budgeting perspective, it’s ideal to know where you’re going. Divvy up your costs according to locations and legs. For example, heading from the Barossa to the Great Southern region is a bit of a trek (2600km, in fact), but your costs should be low. However, your daily budget in South East Queensland is likely to be much higher.
When taking your caravan around Australia, fuel is your primary concern after safety and having fun. Ideally, you will know your tow vehicle’s average fuel consumption when towing, which will allow you to forecast the approximate fuel cost for each leg of your journey. Remember that fuel costs will be higher in more remote areas.
3. Accommodation and outings – the planned and unplanned
If you can, plan the majority of your stops ahead of time. This will allow you to estimate what your overnight costs will be – not to mention how long you’ll wait between decent showers.
Also make sure you allow for walks, cruises and tours, as well as entrance fees. However, always allow some flexibility in your budget – you never know what random gems or local tip-offs you may discover en route.
Top tip: Book accommodation ahead if you can! In peak times and in remote areas, you may find your plan falls apart when there’s no room at the inn.
4. Meal planning
Smoked salmon or snag sangas? Create a rough meal plan for each week. If you’re doing long stints out the back of Bourke, you will have to adjust your food-buying strategy accordingly and with consideration to how much storage you have.
Spice things up by allowing each member of the crew to choose one or two practical luxury items – so smoked salmon could be on the cards after all. Budget permitting, factor in a restaurant meal in towns and the odd takeaway meal for when you can’t be bothered.
5. Foreseen and unforeseen circumstances
You’re going to get two flats. That old wheel bearing is going to die on you. Maybe you need a tow.
This is the mentality you to need to employ in your planning. Having funds set aside to cover repairs, services and spares takes some of the stress out of travelling great distances.
Tying it all together
Regardless of how you’re travelling or where, your budget is the key enabling – or limiting – factor of your trip. Pin rough dollar values to each leg and each stay so you can understand where your costs will be, how much flexibility you have and how well you can cope with sudden changes.
Having your budget sorted means you can relax more and enjoy the important things in life – like smoked salmon night.
There’s something that’s more important than budgeting though – the caravan safety checklist.