So you’ve decided to take the family on the big lap around Australia in your caravan, a tour around a few states or a weekend away? The holiday mood can tempt you to splash out more cash than you need to spend, so preparing a budget is a wise move. There’s fuel to consider, food, snacks and activities so a budget can help you prevent excessive and unnecessary spending
If you’re a travel enthusiast, we have five handy hints on how to stretch your budget.
Write out a list of menus
Eating out can be expensive, so keep it to a minimum. Also, takeaway food can soon deplete the holiday kitty, so shop for fresh foods in supermarkets along the way. Cook as many meals as you can as a fun activity without making it feel like you’re at home. Make takeaways and restaurants a treat. If you’re camping, it brings a whole lot of adventure to mealtimes if you’re eating out under the stars beside a campfire.
Drawing up menus might not seem exciting, but if you make it part of your holiday preparations it can be great fun if you get the kids involved. We’re not saying you have to eat all your meals in the van but with just a few ingredients you can make a healthy meal and save money.
Brew your own coffee
Just because you’re on holiday in your caravan and your routine is out the window, you don’t have to miss out on your morning coffee. Who doesn’t love their morning tea or coffee breakfast ritual! Rather than spending money on breakfast in a cafe, or drinking takeaway coffee, why not load up the coffee maker and beans or grounds and brew your own in the van?
Try to do as many caravan repairs yourself as you can
While most caravan enthusiasts know how to keep their van maintained with regular checks and services so it’s trip ready, stuff happens when you’re on the road far from home and your favourite mechanic. So it’s a good idea to do some homework before the trip to arm yourself with some knowledge beforehand for possible problems.
When you’re on the road and have a breakdown, use the internet or YouTube for DIY fixes if possible and save money. If it’s a serious problem of course you’ll need expert help and advice.
Plan your fuel stops and carry some extra petrol
If you’re going into the outback you must plan your fuel stops and carry some extra petrol since there are a limited number of service stations in remote areas of Australia. The best idea is to buy extra fuel when prices are low and carry it with you to save money.
However, there are legal and practical considerations to think about before you fill up and hit the road. By law, you can’t carry more than 250 litres of ethanol or petrol in jerry cans in your car. The added weight lowers fuel efficiency, and vapours can be inhaled causing headaches and drowsiness, so never store it inside the car.
Never put the jerry cans on the front or back of your car, behind the caravan or the trailer drawbar. The ideal place to store jerry cans of fuel is on roof racks on top of the car secured safely to avoid sliding.
Drive wisely, take a car phone charger
While most of us use GPS devices on our dashboards or mobile phone apps to show us the best routes to take on our travels, actual paper maps can come in very handy. If you use your phone app to find your way and forget the car charger you’re up the creek without a paddle if you get lost. You can always ask someone or pull in to a service station and ask for directions, buy a charger or a map.
But why not be prepared before you leave home? That way you can use your paper map to learn the route while you’re at home and relaxed, rather than on the road and feeling stressed or in a panic.
Drive wise: Save on fuel by travelling on smaller backroads, roll downhill rather than keeping your foot on the accelerator if you can do it safely. Also, avoid uneven terrain and steep hills where you can, and also don’t get caught up in rush hour traffic where speeds are low and fuel is used up in no time.
Most of all, being prepared means you will enjoy your trip much more and you won’t break the bank.
Alex Morrison has worked with a range of businesses including real estate, health care and business consultants. He has used his knowledge and experience to work for clients as diverse as Hale Corp, Avida and Models & Hobbies 4 U to help them reach their business goals.