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10 Tips For Saving Money on a Family Campervan Holiday

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Australia is home to the world’s largest living organism, the oldest culture on earth as well as boasting 19 world heritage listed sites and over 10,000 beaches. It’s no wonder it's such a bucket list destination for a campervan trip. While there are endless incredible things to do in Australia, from cultural attractions, eateries, wineries, sea life tours, and so much more, we believe that seeing the beauty that Australia has to offer shouldn’t have to break the bank.

Family holidays can be just as enjoyable when done on a budget. Whether you’re planning to explore the arid red outback or the lush tropics of the north, there are many ways to save money on a family holiday. Choosing to prioritise where you spend your money may very well mean you end up with a trip better than you had imagined.

While there are a number of ways to save money on a camper trip, renting a van is one of the ways to budget travel. Van travel allows you to take advantage of affordable campsites or try your hand at free camping. On top of that, travelling with a kitchen and bed with you means you can take advantage of a fridge and stove to save money for the experiences that really matter.

Let’s dive into some of the other hacks to help you save money on your trip with our top tips for saving money on a campervan trip.

Tip 1 - Pre-pack your snacks

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One of the biggest expenses on the road is food. All those takeaway meals and petrol station premiums all add up. A few ways to enjoy good food while keeping to a budget:

  • Make the kids special snack boxes to avoid stopping at more expensive spots on the road for food.
  • Stock up the camper pantry before you leave or visit supermarkets on the road for cheap bulk buys. This is especially true of remote areas: stock up in cities before you head into remote areas where there is a high premium on groceries.
  • Pack snacks for when you are out and about, then come back to the camper to cook your meals.

Tip 2 - Pack lots of practical items

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Another big expense when on holiday is last-minute purchases. Forgetting a rain jacket and not having a water bottle or the right shoes may result in unexpected expenses. This can be mitigated by being prepared and creating a list of things to bring on your camper trip.

Some things to consider when making your camper trip packing list:

  • Tupperware is a great way to store your leftovers which can make for extra meals or snacks rather than eating out for every meal.
  • Bring your reusable water bottles and fill them up when you get the chance to save having to pay for water.
  • Remember to bring reusable bags, so you don’t have to keep buying more at supermarkets and shops.
  • Pack fast drying towels and clothes to save on laundry costs.

Tip 3 - Remember to pack items for downtime

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A camper trip is a fantastic opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and into new situations, but that doesn’t mean you won’t want to enjoy some downtime! It’s important to consider what you may want to do in these times to avoid spending money at expensive tourist attractions and entertainment options. Do you enjoy board game nights? Setting up a sports game? Watching a movie together? Going wildlife spotting? The options are endless.

Here are our top picks for winding at the end of a busy day:

  • Books or Kindle devices
  • Family board games or compact card games
  • Music devices
  • Projector or portable DVD players
  • Sports equipment (consider balls and other compact equipment that won’t take up too much space in the camper)

Tip 4 - Plan your route

While planning a route for your trip can seem a little time consuming, it will save you time and money while on the road. Planning your itinerary will help create a budget for gas and make sure you don’t go off budget because you missed a turn off (and need to drive back the way you came!).

Besides saving money, planning your trip is a great way to ensure that you’re going to all the places you want to go and that you won’t miss anything. The thl Roadtrip App is a great way to keep track of your itinerary and to ensure you have an easy one-stop-shop for planning your Australia road trip route. The app is a trip planner where you can search for campsites, free camp spots, dump points (essential if you have a toilet onboard), attractions (and so much more!) and save them all to create the ultimate travel itinerary.

Tip 5 - Utilise all the free stuff

Every little cost adds up when travelling, so it’s a no-brainer to make the most of free resources when you come across them.

Here are a few examples of free things to take advantage of on your travels:

  • Use free Wi-Fi instead of your data
  • Fill your water bottles at restaurants and cafes
  • Make use of campsite facilities like fridges and free BBQ areas to save your own gas and or power

Tip 6 - Research free attractions in the area

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Of all the incredible things to see and do in Australia, you would be surprised by how many Australian attractions cost nothing at all! These can be anything from walks, natural attractions, beaches, gardens and so on.

The best way to find these free things to do is to check local council websites and ask at information centres in the town what are the best free activities in the area. While free attractions vary from place to place, they may include:

Tip 7 - Utilise vouchers and special deals

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There are some great websites such as Groupon that offer travellers discounts for everything from food to activities, depending on the time they are hoping to attend and the number of people joining them. These typically include 2-for-1 travel deals, discounts or family prices through pre-purchased vouchers.

Buying vouchers in advance can mean saving a significant amount overall, which will help you plan more during your time away. We are a big believer in snagging a special deal, and so when you book with Mighty, you also get access to a 10% discount for powered camping sites at G’day parks.

Tip 8 - Keep an eye on small spends

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It seems a little counterintuitive, but paying attention to the little expenses can help a lot if you’re trying to stick to a budget. All the small costs like parking metres and public transport add up. Some ideas to keep those small spends at bay:

  • Driving a little further out can mean less parking costs on meters and in parking lots.
  • Avoid public transport - hitch the bikes onto the camper for easy getting around, or talk a leisurely walk and see the sights.
  • Bring snacks to avoid hangry purchases.
  • Transfer your holiday money into one account and only use that money to help you keep you on track.

Tip 9 - Research free events happening in the area

Lots of local councils all around Australia will put on events that are free to visit. These can be anything from markets, garden concerts, art/performance shows, family days in the park, fun runs etc. This is also a great opportunity to mingle with the local community, support local businesses and experience life like a local.

Tip 10 - Look for free classes and activities

What is better than stumbling across an outdoor yoga by-donation class to stretch and unwind after a long day of sightseeing? Yes. These exist.

Some community centres and organisations will offer free classes to the public. This could be a yoga class, crafting session, or a learning session at a local library. These are typically free or by donation and are another great way to experience life like a local. The best way to find out about these classes is to check out local community pages or stop by the information centre to see what’s on offer.

Get more out of your trip with a Mighty campervan holiday

There you have it; those are our top tips for saving money on a campervan trip. As you’ll see, there are many different ways to reduce your expenses while you travel, so you can save that 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.