This article has been contributed by one of our guest bloggers.
Planning a road trip in Australia?
Whether you fancy taking in the sight of the 12 Apostles along the Great Ocean Road. Are thinking about heading up the M1 into Tropical North Queensland. Or even want to tackle the iconic 1000 km drive along the Nullabor. Now that lockdown has been consigned into history, there is nothing to stop you from jumping in your car and going.
Apart from maybe your finances.
Road trips can be expensive, after all, you have to factor in accommodation, petrol, food and a host of other costs. But they are absolutely worth it. And with a few clever strategies and tactics, there are several things you can do to fund your next one.
In this article, we will look at several different ways of funding your next road trip, and also making the money you have saved up for it go that little bit further.
So, let’s get into it!
Once you have settled on your destination, you will need to work out a budget for how much it is likely to cost.
The best way to do this is to establish what costs you might have, on a daily and weekly basis, whilst you are on the trip.
Most typically this will be for items like:
- Car Servicing (prior to leaving on your trip)
- Travel Insurance
- Fees for entry to tourist attractions
Having identified what costs, you will incur on your road trip, try to set a realistic budget per day for each section.
Some sections including accommodation, the cost of tours and entry to specific tourist attractions will be easy to ascertain, once you have booked or researched them.
Others will involve a bit of guesswork, which you will need to be realistic with.
For instance, if there are two of you embarking on the road trip, and you intend to eat out for breakfast, lunch and dinner, a food budget per day of $100 per person might be appropriate.
Once you have ascertained what you think the cost per day for each of these items might be, you can set an overall total budget, which you can then set about saving for.
This budget should include an allowance for sundries, or a contingency, for any unforeseen costs.
Saving for the road trip
When trying to fund a road trip, it is a good idea to set up a separate savings account specifically for your holiday fund.
If you do this, one of the best ways to save money for your road trip is to make regular direct payments into this holiday fund account - from the account in which your employer deposits your pay.
You can do this as an automatic direct debit on the day you get paid, so you won’t be able to spend it as soon as it comes in. If you find yourself with a bit of spare cash, you can also add that to the account as well.
Try to set up a bank account, or fixed term deposit, for your holiday fund that offers a good rate of interest. That way your money will grow further. You will find several options to do that in this article.
If you are comfortable with it, other ways to fund your road trip from banks could be to get a short-term loan, apply for an overdraft, or ask for an increased limit on your credit card.
Other ways to save money
Aside from your pay, there are several other ways you can save money to fund your road trip. This includes:
- Going out less and transferring the money you would have spent into your holiday fund
- Eat more meals at home and order less takeaway
- Don’t drink expensive alcohol as regularly as you usually do
- Ask for money for your birthday and Christmas and put that in your holiday fund
- Start a blog about your trip, (or travels), and generate revenue from advertising or donations from readers
- Grow a social media following for your blog and ask for followers to donate to your trip via incentives like ‘buy me a coffee’, or ‘buy me lunch’
- Sell some of your possessions on Facebook Marketplace, eBay or Gumtree
- Take on a second (part-time) job to earn extra money specifically for the holiday fund
Keeping Costs Down
Once you have saved up enough money for your road trip, you can make this money go further by employing several tactics to keep your costs down.
In fact, it is perfectly possible to travel around Australia in a car with a limited budget. Try checking out Prestige Cars to learn types of vehicles that aren’t overly expensive and gasoline friendly if you are sensible about your expenditure.
One of the best ways to do this is by travelling outside of peak times if you can. Typically, peak time includes any period that falls within the school holidays, public holidays and in particular, the summer months.
You could save yourself a tidy sum of money just by embarking on your road trip at these times because as a rule most things, including hotel accommodation costs, fuel and even entry to various tourist attractions are cheaper at this time.
With regards to hotels, if you can book well in advance of your trip you can often secure a very good, discounted room rate. Which will also help with your budgeting too.
As well as accommodation, a substantial cost for your road trip is likely to be food. You will need to factor in eating at least three meals a day. The price of which can add up quickly. So, if you can, why not consider self-catering for part of your trip?
Most hotels you stay at should have a toaster, kettle and microwave so for breakfast, at least, you can save a lot of money by having toast, cereal or porridge. Also, you can pick up a lot of ready-to-eat snacks and other food items at supermarkets, which will make for an excellent picnic.
You can even bring some already prepared meals from home, which you can just eat up at your hotel. Or cook something there, if you know you have kitchen facilities available.
Fuel will also be another major cost on your road trip. Although it's difficult to predict fluctuations in price, one clever tactic is to use an online fuel app to find servos that offer the cheapest petrol, in the area in which you are driving.
Although this will involve a sizable upfront outlay, it is also worth getting your car fully serviced by a qualified mechanic to ensure it is up to the drive.
You should also take out car and travel insurance for your trip, especially if you plan it to be a lengthy one. Doing this could potentially save you thousands of dollars down the line should the unexpected happen.
Australia is a wonderful country to explore on a road trip and it's perfectly possible to drive around it on a budget.
Before you do that, you’ll need to save up enough to fund your adventure. So, we hope this guide has provided you with some useful hints and tips on how to do that.