Are you rich? Did you win in the lottery? How can you afford travelling around Australia for one year?
Very often we are being asked about how much money we had to save for our one year road trip around Australia. During our last trip around Australia in 2009 we have collected all the data of our expenses and so we had a pretty good idea on how much money we have to budget for our road trip this time. But is the data still valid after five years? Is everything much more expensive?
In this blog post we will show you how much money we need for a one year road trip around Australia. You will also find useful tips on how to reduce your costs and how your money will last longer.
Is Australia a cheap place to travel?
Australia is definitely NOT a cheap country to travel. Compared to Asian countries, the cost of living is much higher. Food, transportation, accommodation and activities, all these things are about comparable with European standards rather than Asian standards. The distances are huge and there is not a very well developed public transport system, which brings you everywhere. The prices are high for public transport and the possibilities are limited. Especially if you like to get off the beaten track and head inland, the possibilities are very limited. Backpacker hostels are expensive and mostly available in cities.
How can you reduce the costs when travelling around Australia?
The good news is: There is a way to reduce the costs on a trip around Australia dramatically. All you need to save a lot of money for is for an own vehicle and some camping gear. Australia is the perfect country to explore with your own vehicle and the infrastructure for campers is just amazing. For us, Australia is THE place for Camping and so do most of the Australians think. A large percentage of the Australians have a caravan, camper trailer or another vehicle and travel extensively in their own country. Australia is the camping nation of the world.
If you have your own vehicle and camping gear, you can enjoy the freedom of camping in the most beautiful places. You can drive wherever you want, you bring your own accommodation and you can cook your own meals. As a camper you can save a lot of money on the basics: accommodation, food and transportation.
How to do a budget and what cost items you should consider?
In 2009 we did a road trip for eight months around Australia. We bought a Toyota Land Cruiser Troopcarrier with a camper conversion. The Toyota Land Cruiser is the perfect vehicle for the Australian Outback. It’s sturdy and very reliable. The spare parts are widely available and a lot of Australians drive this vehicle. In our camper vehicle we had a bed, a small kitchen with a gas stove and fridge and some storage cupboards.
At the end of our trip we sold the vehicle. If you buy a good vehicle and take good care of your vehicle during your trip, it will keep its value and you will not lose a lot of money with it.
While we planned our one year road trip around Australia, we did a budget for the expenses that we will have during this year of travel. Luckily, we had collected all the data during the trip in 2009 and so we had a very good base already.
The budget does include all the expenses for the eight months trip around Australia. It does not include the investment for buying the vehicle. We have excluded the investment for the vehicle because there is huge variety in vehicles you can buy. You can either go for a cheap station wagon with a tent, a cheap minivan or you can buy a much more expensive 4WD vehicle that has been converted to a campervan. We have decided to go for the expensive 4WD vehicle because we want to travel through remote areas and visit places you can only access with a high clearance 4WD vehicle.
The flight was very expensive because it included a stopover in Hong Kong and New Zealand.
The budget for our one year road trip through Australia
We took the numbers from 2009, filled them into a new spreadsheet for the budget of 2014 and added a safety margin of 25% to the costs because we read that the prices in Australia went up quite a bit. We ended up with the amount of 75’000 Australian Dollars. We didn’t expect such a big number and where a bit shocked with the outcome.
So how can we reduce the costs for our road trip? We went through all the items in our budget and analyzed the possibilities to reduce the costs. We found some potential to reduce the costs in accommodation, car maintenance and excursions. At the end we had a total amount of 50’000 Australian Dollars on the bottom line. That’s still a lot of money but it’s for a whole year of travel and a really great experience.
The first half year of our road trip is over – time to check our budget
We are already on the road for half a year and it’s definitely time to check our finances. Are our expenses within the budget or have we spent more money than we have planned? Do we have enough money to stay another six months?
After six months of travel, we have compiled all the data we have gathered, filled it into our budget spread sheet and tadaa – here is the outcome. The bottom line is that we have spent less money than we budgeted for. In the last two lines “Total Expenses” you can see that we have budgeted AUD 24’150 but we have only spent AUD 13’356. That means instead of a daily budget of AUD 123 we only needed AUD 82. That includes all our costs except the investment for the vehicle.
In October we have already booked and paid the flights and accommodation in Singapore, so the budget includes a five day stopover in Singapore.
The 4 biggest items in the budget and how we reduced these costs
How to reduce the fuel costs?
The biggest budget item is the fuel for our vehicle. Fuel is expensive and our vehicle needs about 12 Litres of Diesel for 100 Kilometres. To reduce the costs for fuel we would need to travel less and therefore see less and that is not an option.
BUT, there actually is a way to reduce the costs for fuel. We have learned that our big truck is running on around 12 litres of Diesel for 100 kilometres if we do not drive faster than 90 km/h. If we go faster than 100 km/h the consumption skyrockets up over 20 litres per 100 kilometres. So with reducing the speed we can almost cut the costs by 50%. For our one year road trip that’s almost AUD 10’000. That’s an awful lot of money that we can save. And we can enjoy our road trip more because we have more time to see the landscape while driving.
How to reduce the costs for food?
The second largest item is food. We try to reduce the costs here but on the other hand, food is important to us and we like good food and a glass of wine or a beer. We normally cook our own meals and only eat in restaurants for special occasions. Like this we can reduce the costs for food.
You can reduce your costs if you buy in bulk, if possible, directly from the farmers. The bigger the packet size, the lower the price per 100g. For example: Sometimes 1kg of potatoes in a supermarket cost almost the same like the big 5kg packet directly from a farmer.
How to reduce the costs for accommodation?
The next big item is accommodation. We were able to reduce the expenses for accommodation dramatically with avoiding expensive campgrounds. We stay as much as possible on the many free camp spots that are available across the whole country. The infrastructure for freedom campers is very good in Australia. There are many official and unofficial spots you can choose from. Some have toilets and showers, others have no infrastructure at all. In many towns, we found public toilets and showers and some even have picnic areas with free barbecues.
How to reduce the costs for car maintenance?
Another big item on our last trip was the car maintenance. This time we decided to do some of the maintenance on our car by ourselves. Don’t try to save money on not doing proper maintenance on your car. You need a deep knowledge and the right tools to do the maintenance by yourself and save money.
How to earn money while travelling
If you are under 30 years old and have a work/travel visa you can try to find a job (unfortunately we are too old for that). Try to be in rural areas during the harvesting season and you will get a job easily. If you work, you can not only save money, but you can even earn money.
You wonder, how much money we spent for the whole trip?
That’s the data from the first half year of our Australia road trip. We are already curious where we will stand after the whole trip. We hope that we can continue to spend less than budgeted. And we will publish a follow up with the total costs for one year Australia after the trip. Follow us on Facebook to receive our latest news.
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