Budget Travelling

Submitted: Tuesday, Feb 05, 2013 at 16:05
ThreadID: 100390 Views:2685 Replies:6 FollowUps:10
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My partner and I are both on the pension and wanted to put this post out for other travellers opinions about whether or not its possible to travel around Australia using the pension as our income. We both prefer bush camping and are not really interested in doing the usual touristy stuff like winery, theme parks that sort of stuff.Any budgeting tips would be great too.
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Tuesday, Feb 05, 2013 at 16:55

Tuesday, Feb 05, 2013 at 16:55
Hi Katz,

There are very many retired folk who are out travelling the country, so yes it is quite possible. Like you we aim to bush camp as much as we can, but do not expect it as a "right".

The rule of thumb is that a long trip over 3 or 4 months will cost about $1 per kilometre, but our experience suggests that you can go for less. A lot depends on how you travel. If you cover long distances fuel will be a major cost, but if you are happy to find a nice spot and just stay for a while obviously you wont have such a high rate of spend. Preparing your own food is the other place to save - if you eat out a lot you will soon wear holes in your budget. Be aware though that food in the smaller outback places will be more expensive than in major towns/cities (and you have less scope for buying specials, bulk buys etc).

There are plenty of low or no-cost tourist things to do, and you will soon get a feel for the places that are just a "tourist trap".

Having said that its wise to have a few pennies put aside for those special tourist experiences eg a trip out to the Horizontal waterfalls or a flight over Lake Eyre or the Bungle Bungles. You will spend a lot in fuel to get to those very special places so you will want to make the most of the experience of being there.

You also need to have reserves to cover vehicle and health issues which can be potentially quite expensive.

Perhaps post some further info on how you plan to travel and for how long for more detailed advice. This has been discussed manytimes on this forum - maybe do a search (red button, top RH corner) using something like "Travel cost" for more info.



J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

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Follow Up By: Neil & Pauline - Tuesday, Feb 05, 2013 at 17:22

Tuesday, Feb 05, 2013 at 17:22
It is doable on a pension. We have averaged 8000klm per year for the last 6 years and mostly free camp. I find it is cheaper to live on the road than in a house. Whilst staying at MIL's recently I find paying our share of power, water, rates etc eats a hole in our pension. With solar power on the bus and a 9kg bottle of gas every 8 months overheads well down. Just need to be sure to save as much as you can for the emergencies, repairs for you and the bus.
My belief is don't cut out insurance as if you have a mishap without it you are stuffed. Mechanic just did $50,000 to bus by running into a truck in his yard, so without insurance I would have been up the creek as I had to pay for repairs then claim from mechanics insurance.

enjoy your travels

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Follow Up By: katz78 - Tuesday, Feb 05, 2013 at 17:36

Tuesday, Feb 05, 2013 at 17:36
Thanks this info is brilliant it gives us more of an idea we have a 4wd with roof top tent and we too make all food where possible and definitely will be putting money aside for those special tours and emergency.Our car is fully insured and have roadside assistance but was thinking of looking into getting health insurance.

We like to take out time to get somewhere and it depends on the place we end up at will determine how long we stay for. My husband has an underground house at white cliffs so if we do sell up we will use that to decide where home will be. We hope to travel for up to 12 months.
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Follow Up By: Candace S. - Tuesday, Feb 05, 2013 at 17:41

Tuesday, Feb 05, 2013 at 17:41
That rule of thumb is interesting. During my 2008 trip, I drove about 9000 Km in four weeks. I calculated the whole trip cost me about US$10K (the exchange rate then was roughly parity). However, that total includes airfare between Oz and Japan where I was living at the time, which added another US$1K or so. Take that out and I'd be right on target!

katz78: My advice for saving money would be something Val already mentioned: stock up on food and such in cities, as it is very expensive in more remote areas!! Same with fuel!
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Follow Up By: Member - Tony H (touring oz) - Tuesday, Feb 05, 2013 at 17:41

Tuesday, Feb 05, 2013 at 17:41
Gee Neil a 9kg bottle lasting 8 months..... How do u do that 1 cup of tea a day? lol
Insanity doesnt run in my family.... it gallops!

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Follow Up By: Neil & Pauline - Tuesday, Feb 05, 2013 at 19:06

Tuesday, Feb 05, 2013 at 19:06
Don't use the hot water system very much. The gas stove does not use much gas.
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, Feb 06, 2013 at 10:41

Wednesday, Feb 06, 2013 at 10:41
Just to follow up on my comment about "rule of thumb" costs of $1/km. Finally did the totals for our trip last year (about 12,000km currently being written up in our blogs). We actually came in at only about 50cents/km, despite using more CPs than we usually do. Fuel (petrol) was a bit over 60% of the total, the most expensive being $2.30/l at Warburton. HTH

Cheers ,

J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

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Reply By: disco driver - Tuesday, Feb 05, 2013 at 19:19

Tuesday, Feb 05, 2013 at 19:19
Often given as a tip for travelling on a budget is to purchase in bulk and/or in big cities as it gets more expensive as you get more remote.
That is true to a point, but the next time someone passes that way the little country store is no longer operating and another small town is closer to dying.

Please try and purchase some items locally as you pass through, not only will you help the little shop stay open BUT you will be much more likely to be given tips on things to see and places to camp that are not in the guidebooks.
Local knowledge is the best way to find these things out.


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Follow Up By: escapesilv - Tuesday, Feb 05, 2013 at 19:34

Tuesday, Feb 05, 2013 at 19:34
Disco is totally correct, for an extra dollars you get the item you wanted and priceless information that only a local can give you.

We are planning a trip round Australia late this year early 2014,
considering a 12 month trip if all goes well.


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Follow Up By: KevinE - Tuesday, Feb 05, 2013 at 20:47

Tuesday, Feb 05, 2013 at 20:47
I like this thread! :)

No complaining about getting ripped off paying for this or that, just a good question on how to do it economically & some great answers!

I'm not on a pension, but I can understand why people on a pension would like to do things more economically.

Thumbs up! :)

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Follow Up By: Life Member - Phil B (WA) - Wednesday, Feb 06, 2013 at 01:03

Wednesday, Feb 06, 2013 at 01:03
As Disco said x 2

There is a lot of difference between
‘Human Being’ and ‘Being Human’.

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Reply By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Tuesday, Feb 05, 2013 at 21:51

Tuesday, Feb 05, 2013 at 21:51
I'm some way of the pension but when we travel we take and make use of any discount vouchers being offered. Cents soon add up to dollars. I like my booze so there goes a fare whack of money so either give up the drink or moderate your habit (if you have one).

If you're forced into caravan parks many have cheap or free entertainment and many do Sunday breakfasts or sausage sizzles again very cheap or free.

You'll find your fellow traveller will fill you in on all the bargains to be had.

Also if you're arty or crafty a lot of the regional places and van parks have Sunday markets where you can sell your wears. One that comes to mind is 80 Mile Beach caravan park.

Have fun and enjoy your travels
Make sure you give back more than you take

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Reply By: gordon_adel - Tuesday, Feb 05, 2013 at 22:40

Tuesday, Feb 05, 2013 at 22:40
Ahhh finally a sensible and and polite discussion on how pensioners can do this within their budget.

The only advice I can give is to live within your budget. Some places are going to be more expensive then others. That doesn't mean it's unfair or it doesn't mean councils are anti nomads or anti free camping. It just means they cannot afford to offer services to help out.

Nobody is going to have a go at anyone for wanting to travel on the cheap or within a certain budget. But there is nothing worse than hearing a grey nomad complain because something is too expensive or threaten to boycott councils because they don't offer free services.

Live within the budget, realise some things will be out of a price range, but enjoy the freebies that come about and enjoy the travels. And most of all, be happy for the fact that you live in a country where you receive a pension and can afford to travel and still enjoy a good quality of life.

Good luck and enjoy your travels.
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Follow Up By: slave - Wednesday, Feb 06, 2013 at 09:10

Wednesday, Feb 06, 2013 at 09:10
Well said Gordon

Mrs S
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Reply By: Kiwibound eventually - Wednesday, Feb 06, 2013 at 07:01

Wednesday, Feb 06, 2013 at 07:01
We are younger retirees who have completed a trip of some 50,000 kms around Australia in October 2012. We set a budget and found that we were able to complete the trip within the planned budget although not within some of the categories initially set. We very rarely ate out, bought locally where we could to support local business and to avoid carrying large amounts of food, only carried limited amounts of additional diesel and always bought when we could, had a mix of free camping and caravan parks. We had a great experience and have absolutely no regrets. Just do it! We wrote a blog and there we listed all fuel and accommodation costs. You might find this helpful to review. Www.keepontravellingwith-gillandpeter.blogspot.com
AnswerID: 504174

Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 06, 2013 at 13:36

Wednesday, Feb 06, 2013 at 13:36
Hi Katz 78,

I agree with all that has been said above.

I could only add that the entertainemt you will get out of meeting and talking to other travellers will be the one of the highlights of your trips.

Re travel insurance, We only have the national health services provided by the Govt. for pensioners etc. and ambulance cover. From all that I have heard insurance is sometimes a waste of money as you may not get any better treatment but could end up with a bill at the end. No personal experience, only hearsay.

With regard to your accommodation being a roof top tent, may I suggest that if you can extend your budget to a small older style van of say 12 feet that at least will give you a higher degree of comfort and a much more comfortable alternative should the weather turn foul on you. An older van in good order needing some TLC would come up a treat with a decal on the side and some inexpensive interior decorating. A little paint here and there and some Vinnies curtains could do wonders to an older van.

Either way you do it you will have a great time I know. The best way to discover just exactly what is needed it to get out there and give it a go on small trips at first, then you will be an expert too like the rest of us. LOL (If there is such a thing)

All the best,
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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