Budgeting Tips for an Australian Road Trip

26.March 2014

Our Journey

Australia is a popular destination for backpackers, and although there’s no shortage of budget-friendly hostels and campsites it’s easy to underestimate just how expensive a trip down under can be. This is particularly true for those planning a road trip. Driving across the country is a wonderful way to get off the beaten path and avoid high city prices, but at the same time you’ll have to think about paying for the fuel necessary to cover such vast distances. As you start to work out a budget for your epic Australian adventure, you’ll want to keep the following tips in mind.

Choose What to Budget For

There are a number of variables to plan ahead for when you’re looking at a road trip. You’ll need to think about how long you have to travel, what type of vehicle you plan to drive and its mileage, and how much starting cash you’ll have for your journey. Australia is a massive country, so you may need to pick and choose the sights you’ll have time for and work any entrance fees into the budget as well.

Save on Accommodations

There’s a wide range of accommodation available in Australia, including campsites, hostels, and chain motels on the road. If you have extra time on your hands, you could think about staying and working on a farm for a few weeks. Another option is to drive a campervan and simply live out of your car.

Save on Travel Expenses

One of the biggest expenses to budget for is transportation. You’ll need to either rent or buy a vehicle for your journey. Compare rental fees carefully to find the best deal, or click here to look at car listings across Australia. Although buying a car may seem like a larger expense up front, remember that you can always resell the vehicle at the end of the journey. By comparison, when you rent you’ll never get those rental fees back. It’s worth downloading an app to find cheap fuel along the way, such as GasBuddy or Motor Mouth. You can also compare cars in terms of efficiency to find one that will save you money at the pump.

Save on Food

Part of the fun of travelling across Australia is sampling the local cuisine, and there’s nothing like a barbecue in the Outback! Try not to live on food from refuelling stations or convenience stores, however. Not only will this leave you nutritionally deprived, but you’ll pay the price in the rest stop mark-up. Invest in a cooler for the car and stop at large supermarkets when available to stock up on healthy snacks. This will leave more room in your pocket for splurging at restaurants now and then.

Seek out Free Attractions

Some of Australia’s most iconic sights are free of charge, including the majority of its sunny beaches. You can expect to pay entrance fees for most national parks, however, and cultural attractions can add up over time. Fortunately, the permanent collections of Australia’s national museums are all free to visit, as are a number of campgrounds throughout the country. Be sure to research entrance fees before you work out an itinerary to set an accurate budget.

It’s certainly possible to explore Australia on a tight budget, but you’ll need to work out what you want to see in advance and look at the possibility of alternative transportation and lodging. By following these tips and planning ahead, you can have money left in your wallet for airport souvenirs!

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