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How to Stretch Your Travel Budget on your Campervan Holiday


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Whether you’re looking to be inspired by the red dirt of the outback or play on the golden sandy beaches of pristine coastlines, there are so many ways to explore Australia while travelling on a budget. Campervan travel is one of the many ways to make your money go further while enjoying all the best that Australia has to offer.

Campers can help your budget go further for so many reasons. For one, staying in caravan parks and campgrounds can be super affordable. Second of all, with a bed and fridge on board, you have the opportunity to extend your budget by alternating nights free camping to save on accommodation so you have more for activities. Best of all, with the great deals on Mighty Campers, you’re already making a saving when you rent a van to travel with Mighty.

Australia is also filled with many budget-friendly national parks, beaches and natural attractions to explore and having a camper gives you the freedom to explore them at your own pace. Let’s dive into our top tips for stretching your money as far as possible without feeling like you’re missing out on your upcoming campervan holiday.

Buy supplies in bulk

Travelling around Australia, especially to remote or touristy destinations, there is a significant premium placed on food and drinks. Take advantage of your home on wheels and stock up in city centres where the prices are lower, and you can search for a good deal.

When you hit supermarkets, here are a few essentials to keep in mind:

  • Buy in bulk where you can to save money.
  • Stock up on canned goods and other pantry items, and just restock on fresh veg along the way (local markets are also a great way to get fresh produce).
  • Planning your meals in advance can save you from having to make too many top-up shops and takes the stress out of figuring out what to eat every night.
  • Buying family sizes packs of food can be stretched for better value than individual portions.

Keep your leftovers

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One of the best parts of travelling in a camper is that you always have your fridge with you. If you do decide to eat out, you can rest easy knowing your leftovers won’t go to waste. Leftovers can be the perfect lunch on-the-go for the next day.

Not quite enough for a full meal? No problem. Re-working your leftovers in the camper kitchen can be a fun way to keep your meal ideas fresh and simple while on the road.

Look for local deals

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Local travel deals are the bread and butter of budget travel. There are some great websites such as Groupon that offer travellers discounts on everything from food to activities. These can include anything from 2-for-1 travel deals, discounts on off-peak attractions or family prices.

Taking advantage of these deals can help you stretch your budget so you can fit more activities for less into your time away. These are also a great way to help scope out the best attractions, restaurants, and coffee shops at discounted prices!

Pack smart

Don’t be caught out by unexpected expenses, like replacing that rain jacket or water bottle you left behind. A great way to make sure you’re prepared for all those situations and the everchanging Australian weather is by creating a list of things to bring on your camper trip. Some things to consider when creating your Australian road trip packing list:

Remember to bring along life essentials such as reusable bags, water bottles, first aid items and tupperware for leftovers. Bring plenty of things to do and save the hire fee or buying gear as you travel e.g. hobby equipment, games etc are great things to bring along (be aware that there is limited space in the camper so make sure these are compact). Pack fast drying towels and clothes to help save on laundry costs.

Shop smart

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While being prepared is so important, sometimes the unexpected happens. It’s good to know that these hiccups don’t have to mean going over your budget! Lost your rain jacket and don’t have the budget to get another - why not go second hand? Second-hand stores like Salvation Army (also known as ‘salvos’) and St Vincent De Paul’s (or affectionately known as Vinnies) usually stock great quality items that can be found at affordable prices. Best of all, as it may only be a temporary purchase, you can just re-donate when you’re done.

Shopping smart is also important when it comes to groceries. Check out local markets around Australia for good deals on produce or to meet the local farmers.

Choose free camping for some overnight stays

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There is really nothing like parking up in nature to enjoy a night off-grid at a free campground. While caravan parks can be a great way to make use of the campsite facilities so you can do your laundry, power up the batteries on powered camping sites and make use of the camp kitchen, at $45-$100AUD per night this can add up!

Free camps can be found all around Australia and can really help to stretch your budget further. Try alternating nights of free camping and enjoy the space offered in these more remote free camp locations. The thl Roadtrip app is a great way to find free camps all around Australia.

If you’re interested in free camping during your camper trip, be sure to include room in your budget to stay in a caravan park every few days. Mighty recommends using a powered site every 2-3 days to ensure the battery is properly charged.

Walk or bike when you can

Having your home with you at all times is incredibly convenient but carrying your home in tow means your fuel costs are going to be higher. One way to reduce these costs is by parking up your camper and walking or biking to your destination when you can.

This is also a good way to get your steps in for the day and stretch your legs after a long stint of driving. Be sure to check out the specifications of the camper you are looking to rent to make sure it is equipped to store bikes.

Make your own way around

When travelling abroad you may be advised to pay for a local guide to show you around. While this can be an amazing thing to do if you have the budget, it isn’t necessary. You can easily visit all the bucket list spots in Australia without paying for a tour guide. Better yet, ditch public transport or expensive transfers for tourist attractions you can access by camper where possible.

If you are looking for a more personalised experience, be sure to do your research as some places will offer free tours in national parks (such as the ranger led Mala walk at Uluru).

Take the shortest route

There are so many different routes to travel around Australia, depending on the things you want to see and do. Planning your itinerary is a great way to help create the most direct route and will help you to create a budget for gas. This can also be a lifesaver to make sure you don’t go off-budget during a trip because you missed a turn off (and need to drive all the way back the way you came).

Besides saving money, planning your trip is a great way to ensure that you’re choosing a route that will take you via all the places you want to go, and that you won’t miss a thing. The thl Roadtrip App is a great way to create an itinerary for an Australian road trip. This app-based trip planner allows you to plan your trip by searching for campsites, free camp spots, dump points (essential if you have a toilet onboard), attractions and so much more! This way you can have your travel itinerary and all your dream destinations saved in one convenient place.

Mix free attractions with paid ones

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Australia is a hub for escaping into nature. Filled with a huge diversity of natural attractions, national parks, beaches and gardens, there are so many things to do that cost nothing at all. The best way to find these free things to do is to check local council websites and information centres in the town. While free attractions vary from place to place, they can include:

Hire a Mighty campervan for your next adventure

There you have it! Those are our top tips for stretching your travel budget on a campervan holiday. There are so many ways to stretch your budget while you travel so you can save money for the things that really matter.

If you’re looking to rent a van for an upcoming campervan trip be sure to check out all our latest deals and book your Mighty camper today in a branch or online. If you’re looking for more travel inspiration and ways to budget for your trip you can read more on our blog.

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