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10 Budgeting Tips For Travelling With Kids

Wednesday 8th August 2018
By Dave Eddy
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By Dave Eddy
Article written by Bec from Trip In A Van.

Do you own an RV? Interested in learning how Camplify can help you turn your caravan, camper or motorhome into $5000 - $35,000 per year? Learn more about how Camplify works for owners here

1. Meals

One of the biggest expenses when travelling around Australia! It’s important to keep meal expenses to a minimum, to keep travelling within your budget. My number 1 rule to keep your budget down is to not eat out!! We met a family who were travelling Australia and spending $1000 per month just on takeaway!! Thats outrageous when you’re on a budget.

Keep them simple: Meals are pretty simple around here and I do a lot of pasta dishes for the kids, my husband Justin and I generally eat meat and vegetables. Our go to favourite and super cheap meal is Tuna Bake, which you can make for $11.55 and it feeds the family with plenty of leftovers to freeze for another meal. Others we love are zucchini Slice, meatloaf, bangers & mash, quiche, chicken or fish.

2. Groceries

Another large cost involves the grocery bill for our family of five, which roughly costs us $250 per week. This is hugely dependant on if we have access to the big chain supermarkets or shopping remotely.

We eat a very healthy diet and love to have the kids fuelled with the good stuff! When grocery shopping, buy meat in bulk (if you have the room), we will stock our portable fridge/freezer with meat and this limits unnecessary expensive meat purchases.

Freeze kids meals - After a day out exploring it is handy to be able to pull out a meal from the freezer, pop it in the microwave and have the kids fed in minutes. This eliminates ‘hangry’ kids after a big day and keeps you sane during meal time!

3. Preparation

If you know that you’re heading out for a day trip, have lunches and snacks prepared. This will eliminate the urge to pull into a roadhouse for a pie or Macca’s for a meal. Being prepared means a healthy lunch and it won’t hurt your wallet! Plus its a lot easier pulling up wherever you are to feed the kids and yourselves, a bonus, that they are able to have a play at a park!

4. Accomodation

When you’re beginning to plan your caravan travels I’d recommend getting set up for solar and free camping. You can make a huge saving when free camping your way around Australia. In 12 months we spent about $9000 staying in caravan parks, but we chose to stay in parks with great facilities for the kids and in excellent locations close to beaches. There are some epic free camps around and it makes it very enjoyable when you know you’re not paying a cent!

Free Camp - Swimcart Beach, Tasmania (Photo: Trip In A Van)

5. Fuel

Filling up your car is probably the BIGGEST expense on the road due to the crazy amount of kilometres travelled. Ways to keep your fuel consumption down is to firstly, keep light! Having your van and tow rig packed lightly with necessary items will help with your overall fuel consumption. Unless you're going off the grid, don’t travel with your tanks full of water - 1 litre of water = 1 kilogram. Be sure to find out what tyre pressures are suitable for your car. Less rolling resistance means better fuel economy.Find an economical highway cruising speed and use your vehicles computer information to determine what speed is best for your fuel consumption. Lastly, buy reputable fuel. Quality fuel will hands down give you better milage out of your tanks and we always recommend BP fuel.

6. Apps

Apps are a great way to keep your budget in check and we can recommend 'Expensify', which enables you to input and calculate your expenses. Using the WikiCamps app is also handy to locate free camps and watching your fuel economy through Fuel Maps app is a great way to track fuel expenditure. Check out Camplify's list of top apps to use when travelling Australia. 

7. Activities & Attractions 

Keep them to a minimum as it can become an expensive outing for your family. We choose very wisely and ensure value for money. You simply cannot do everything, so do your research and look around for a deal or coupon to save you some cash. If you're travelling with little ones, a great perk is that they are often FREE. Hit up the Tourist Information Centres in the local area and you’ll find they have discount codes and coupons for tours and attractions.

8. Washing machine

Having a washing machine on board our Jurgens Caravan has undoubtedly saved us a lot of money! The caravan park laundries are expensive, costing around $5 for a load of washing and if you need to use the dryer, another $4. Imagine if you did this on a 12 month lap!!! At 3 loads a week this will cost you $780! If you don’t have a washing machine in your van, I’d recommend purchasing a portable one, generally around the $200 mark. I must admit, its nice not have to wait in line for a machine, to then find someone pulling out their dog bedding!

9. Coffee

If you have kids, then you’re probably coffee lovers likes us, you don’t mind a delicious brew! We love going out for a coffee and heading to the park with the kids but this can become expensive at $10 for the 2 of us. We decided to make a small investment in a coffee machine. We have a Nespresso and absolutely love it. It cost us $129 and its well worth it. It stops us from buying multiple coffees everyday and that way we can enjoy a coffee in our caravan and also keep the cash in our wallets.

10. Holiday Park Memberships

When you are touring the country and staying in the caravan parks, for a family of five, it can be pretty expensive, especially with kids in tow! Having caravan park memberships are well worth the yearly investment plus they often run deals too, so keep your eyes peeled!

BIG4: An annual membership for $50 for 2 years. This includes saving 10% up to $40 on every BIG4 stay.
Top Parks: $40 will get you 10% off up to $40 for 2 years!
Family Parks: Save 10% up to $20 or 2 years, for $40! And many others.

I hope this has given you some budgeting tips for your next road trip. Travel safe!

Do you own an RV? Interested in learning how Camplify can help you turn your caravan, camper or motorhome into $5000 - $35,000 per year? Learn more about how Camplify works for owners here


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