What It Really Costs to Travel Australia

What It Really Costs to Travel Australia

The costs to travel Australia

If you are thinking of travelling Australia, either full time or part time (6-18 months) then this article is a must read first to find out the costs to travel Australia. 

To be honest everyone spends their money differently and everyone values different things. To give an exact figure on the costs to travel Australia would be impossible, with so many variables each family has. 

Below is a list of weekly expenditures that come with travelling Australia. So what are the must haves costs for travelling full time or even just taking the year off and doing the lap. Before you leave it’s good to have a figure to work on and then when on the road you can work to get under budget so you can either extend your travels or splurge on some really cool tours.

Table of Contents

caravan parked near beach

Accommodation Costs

Accommodation can either make you or break you. It’s a must have on everyone’s list, I mean let’s be honest everyone has to sleep somewhere….right??? Depending on your set up, whether you are towing a fully self contained caravan or tenting it, will depend on the cost of your accommodation. Plus having children ups the price a lot as well. We try to avoid caravan parks like the plague!!! They don’t suit us and our style of living. We would prefer to camp amongst the bushlands and watch kangaroos bounce around or park up along the coast and watch the dolphins say hi. Plus we are not a fan of the hefty price tag that comes with caravan parks. We average and try to spend $100-$140 per week on accommodation. Check out this post to see how you can get your accommodation down to bare minimum Travel Australia on a shoestring accommodation Budget 

TOTAL- $580 per month

Caravan Park Accommodation

Staying in caravan parks every night can get pricey and add $$$ to your trip very fast. They usually offer comfortable living and lots to do for the kids like swimming pools and jumping pillows. 

Our children are 8yrs, 6yrs and 5 yrs and each child cost an extra $5 or $10 per night on top of the nightly base rate. So you can see where caravan parks get expensive. 

The cheapest caravan park we have found was $35 per night including the kids. The average rate is $50-$60 off peak including kids and $70-$80 peak including kids. 

TIPS- 

-paying weekly rates will get you a cheaper deal

-Having the caravan discount cards will get you 10% off

-TAWK discount cards will get you a night or two where kids stay free. 

Low Cost Camping Options

Choosing low cost places to stay will save you heaps when doing the lap. These low cost options usually include National Parks, showgrounds and council locations like the beaches etc. These can vary in price from as little as $10-$40 per night. These locations offer no water, electricity and some offer drop toilets. 

What they do offer is great locations. We have camped at some amazing spots. From on the beaches in Shark Bay, to having kangaroos sleep at our caravan in National Parks. 

caravan on a beach

Free Camping

With the right set up you can free camp right the way around Australia. We know of many travellers who are living out of their kombi van and use nature as their toilet. They pay no site fees and only have showers every few days at public restrooms. So travelling can be done on the cheap if you are willing to choose that lifestyle.

While this is not our style of living. We do love a good free camp as the next person. Nine times out of ten there will be no toilets but you do sometimes get lucky. This is why having your own toilet and shower onboard pays off. We have a shower and toilet and we wouldn’t travel without one.

Road side pull over bays (truck stops) are popular free camp spots. Although they are loud and on the side of the road. But for an overnight stay it’s perfect. We have only used these along the Nullabor.

The best free camp we found was in Western Australia at Freshwater Point South (see pic below)

TIPS- Download the wiki-camp app. This usually has 90% of campsites inside the app. The cost is $10.99 but well worth the small price to pay. 

Food

Food- The next must have expense is food. Everyone’s gotta eat! If you are travelling with children get prepared for a continuous bottomless stomach. If your children are anything like ours, which is super active and hardly ever sit still then be prepared. We don’t scrimp on food. Dan and I know that good food is keeping us healthy so we always have two shelves in our fridge filled with ample fruit and vege. We have a cooked dinner every night. We often cook breakfast or if the kids get hungry before we wake they will make their own greek yoghurt for brekky. Lunch is usually salad wraps, ham and cheese rolls, snack platters, home made pizzas etc. Depending if we are at the van or out exploring. Every week we can usually keep the food shop to under $350 per week.

TIP- Whatever your shopping bill is at home will roughly be the same on the road. Although when remote you will find it will increase by $30-$40. 

TOTAL- $1400 per month

Fuel

Fuel- This is a bloody killer!! Fuel/diesel- whichever one, it still hurts. We drive a V8 Landcruiser 100 series and tow a 3.2 tonne van. Depending on how fast we travel to each destination depends on our fuel consumption for the week. We are slow travelers, which means we are not in a rush to get anywhere so some weeks we may only drive 100kms to our next destination and other weeks it might be faster travel and we clock up 500kms. Once we drove from Exmouth to Perth in a week. That hurt! We use an average of 30 litres per 100kms, the cost will depend on the $$ amount at the service station. 

Work out your car’s fuel expenditure and see how thirsty she is. Then you can predict how much fuel your car will guzzle while doing the lap. 

TOTAL- $400 per month. If you are doing the lap this will be more. 

Health Insurance

Health Insurance. This is a non- negotiable. Get insurance and don’t be a stooge with your health. The people that say ‘it will never happen to me’ are always the ones that regret not forking out for insurance. AHM is our private health insurance. We pay $83 per month. 

TOTAL- $83 per month

Gas

Gas- Again depending on your set up will also alter how much gas you will need. We carry two 9kg gas bottles and average one every three weeks. Keeping in mind our fridge runs off gas nearly 24/7. Gas gets pricey when heading to more remote places. From $29.00 to $89.00….ouch

When we are able to, we run the fridge straight from the electricity to save on gas. 

TOTAL- $30 per month

Phone/Internet

Phone/Internet- We each have a mobile phone. We have a Telstra 150GB for $100 per month set up and the kids and Dan can personal hot spot from the phone. 

We have never run out of data before and we stream Netflix from it and use it everyday for personal hot spotting to the laptop. The good thing with Telstra’s plan is that when you go over your 150GB of data your connection just gets slower and doesn’t automatically charge you extra for more data.

Dan also has a plan which is $100 per month for 100GB. We use all our data every month. 

TIP- When you have free wi-fi at a restaurant download as many videos as you can onto the kids tablets etc. This will save chewing through your own data. 

TOTAL- $200 per month

Car Rego/Insurance/Maintenance

Car Registration and Car Insurance

Work out your car registration and add it to the list. It is another expense that you cannot escape. We pay ours upfront for the year so we can get rid of all the bills straight away it costs us $960 per year. Our car insurance is with budget direct and costs us $78 per month

TOTAL- $118 per month

Caravan Registration and Caravan Insurance

Our caravan insurance with CIL, we pay $60 per month. The caravan registration is $135 per year

TOTAL- $71 per month

Maintenance funds will be up to you to decide how much you will need. If you are saving to do the lap, having some savings put aside for back up funds is well worth the extra months of saving. We blew two tyres in two weeks….. a very expensive month that was. 

TOTAL- We save some money every week. We like to have a saving of no less than $5000 in the bank for back-ups. 

House Bills/Rates/Water

House bills/rates/water- This is going to change for everyone. We have a house that we rent out, so we still have the bills for the house which is shire rates and the water bills. These are not cheap and our rates and water for the year are around $3200. Another one I will add in here is storage, If you are only going for the year and are coming back to your house then you will most probably have your items in storage. We decided to sell everything we own and only keep the memorable’s which all fit in three storage boxes and my Mum has them stored away for us.

TOTAL- $266 per month

Splurge

Splurge- So once you have worked out how much you will need for the week of living on the road then work out how much you have left to splurge on tours and attractions etc. You may think you will do all the free stuff but there are costs everywhere. Keeping in mind you do want some back up money for anything that may and could go wrong. If you are way out with your income vs expenses on the road. Don’t wipe the idea of travel just yet! Head back to the drawing board and see where you can save some more. 

Keeping in mind that you may need new clothes. Thongs will break, water bottles will get lost. It really is the little stuff that you will never think of. It all adds up. I don’t know exactly what our splurge account or budget is but I am going to guess we spend roughly between $100-$300 a week on extra stuff. Some weeks we won’t spend anything. 

TOTAL AVERAGE- $400 per month

The Optionals for Travelling Funds

The Optionals- I have put these expenses down as the optionals. As they are not the essentials of travelling on the road. The costs to travel Australia do vary, Although alcohol is a high expense of ours- spending up to $120 a week on it (and that’s just Dan). I would also say that it would go in our essential list. There is no way Dan would travel dry.

TOTAL- $480 per month

Subscriptions

Subscriptions- Our subscriptions have decreased and we tend to use the free options where we can. We purchased Netflix six months on the road. We never used to have this at home but since being on the road Dan and I have found it very relaxing to sit and watch a movie a together. Or if it’s stinking hot outside the kids watch a movie inside in the air conditioned van. It has been a nice addition. 

TOTAL- $14.95 per month

Medication

Medication- I have put this in the optional box as not everyone will need this. I have epilepsy so I spend about $150 every 2 months on my regular medication. So for us it is a neccessity. Also keep in mind if the kids get sick to have some back up funds for anti-biotics etc. I cant remember the last time my kids had anti biotics UNTIL we hit the road. Mr J got serious Impetigo that took over his body and we spent $100 on anti-biotics and ointments etc. Then the other two got it two weeks later which was another $100. The doctor recommended I keep the children clean and out of the dirt for one-two weeks. That was the hardest two weeks of our travels. My children live in the dirt playing! I think we lost our sanity that week lol

TOTAL- $75 per month

Schooling- $90 a year per child

Schooling- Depending on which route you decide to take for your choice of educating your children will depend on the cost. For the first year we home schooled the kids, so the cost was practically nothing. In the second year we decided to give distance education a crack. The cost of this was $210 a year for all three children. Including all resources and everything is postage paid included.

TOTAL- $17.50 per month

This is to give you an idea of what it costs us a family of 5 to travel Australia and how there are some costs that simply do not disappear when you hit the road. 

As you can see there are ways in which you can save a lot. You may even have a lot of those expenses that do apply to you which would be a massive saver in itself. 

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