If you don’t want to run out of money halfway through your trip, it’s a good idea to work out a budget before you go.
Before you can build your budget, you need to think about your costs: fuel, food, accommodation and leisure activities.
The aim of our trip was to travel for as long as possible, therefore we planned to limit eating out at restaurants and other expensive leisure activities, which can quickly add up. We also planned to use free and cheap camp sites where possible.
Before you start budgeting, make sure you consider the following:
- What vehicle will you travel in? Do you need to upgrade to a 4WD, or is your current car suitable?
- What distance do you plan on travelling?
- Do you already have access to a caravan or do you need to purchase one?
- Will you need a tent for off-road adventures? If you’re heading off-road without a caravan, will you need to pay for caravan storage?
- Where will you stay during your trip? Do you prefer free, powered or unpowered sites? Will you stay in a motel for a few nights? How many nights would you plan on staying?
- What – and where – do you want to eat on your trip? There will be a big cost difference between eating out each day and eating canned tuna and beans.
- Will you need to buy a fridge and/or freezer to store food?
- Are you planning to buy any other kitchen accessories for your trip?
Lifestyle and leisure
- What type of experiences do you want to have? Consider costs for activities such as surfing, boating, fishing, snorkelling and so on, especially if you need to purchase new gear.
- Do you plan to work along the way to finance your trip?
Also remember that little odds and ends add up, so always add in a buffer.
How to build a budget
A spreadsheet that calculates a personalised budget is a great way to know how much money you will need to turn your big dream into a reality. We used a spreadsheet created by Expedition Australia, which helped us to calculate the amount of money required for our trip and the maximum amount of time we could holiday on our current savings.
Budgeting while you’re on the road
It’s important to remember that although setting a budget is great way to figure out how much you need for your trip, you need to be able to stick to it while you are on the road. To keep track of our day-to-day spending, we’ve started to document each purchase in a little receipt book that’s stored in the glove box.
Budgeting may be tricky – and time-consuming – but it makes your trip a lot less stressful in the long run.
Drew and Court are a Melbourne couple who are travelling around Australia for the next 10 months. They’ll be writing about their experiences for Without a Hitch, giving us the real story of life on the road.
In their next article, Drew & Court will explain how they went about choosing their van and tow rig.