Top 5 money saving tips while on the road.....

Submitted: Monday, Jan 25, 2010 at 20:58
ThreadID: 75489 Views:4878 Replies:12 FollowUps:14
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Hi all,

Just wondering what your top 5 money saving tips are while travelling around OZ?

We are starting the journey in Aug 2010, 2 adults and 3 kids and Im looking to do it as cheap as possible.

Does joining a holiday park chain really save you money? Can you use free internet at McDonalds and other cafe's? How about free camping?
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Reply By: Eric Experience - Monday, Jan 25, 2010 at 21:44

Monday, Jan 25, 2010 at 21:44
The most important thing is not to overload your vehicle, overloaded vehicles brake and that is expensive. Eric.
AnswerID: 401024

Reply By: Wilko - Monday, Jan 25, 2010 at 21:59

Monday, Jan 25, 2010 at 21:59
Hi Luckymum,

Keep your speed down, Lowering it by 10km/h does wonders for the fuel economy.

Cheers Wilko
AnswerID: 401028

Follow Up By: Best Off Road - Monday, Jan 25, 2010 at 22:40

Monday, Jan 25, 2010 at 22:40
I agree with that.

Stick to 120 in 110 zones, most coppers will leave you alone at that. At 130 you'll probabbly get booked :-)

FollowupID: 670293

Follow Up By: Member - Teege (NSW) - Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 06:29

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 06:29
You're joking Jim. or Trolling? Have you seen the road trauma statistics.

FollowupID: 670310

Follow Up By: Member - Teege (NSW) - Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 07:30

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 07:30
I just noticed the time of your post - perhaps a little attempt at humour fuelled by a nice bottle of red?

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Follow Up By: Best Off Road - Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 07:44

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 07:44

See the smiley, just a little levity to lighten up the day.


FollowupID: 670316

Follow Up By: Wilko - Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 07:57

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 07:57
Hi Jim,
Great idea ; ),

Hi Teege I did take it as a joke But dont worry the drowning stats will soon be worse then the road stats lol.

Cheers Wilko
FollowupID: 670319

Follow Up By: GimmeeIsolation - Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 19:33

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 19:33
We have never had so low road trauma as per the gov stats.
It's just that the older males forget they use to get around with no speed limits, V8's with drum brakes, crappy handling, lap belts if worn at all, roads were narrower and worse condition, no air bags, no laminated windscreens, useless tyres, useless headlights, no crumple zones or electronic help from the car and less people on the road.
And further more you were a bit of a woose and your sexuality preference questioned if you said no to the 12th stubby before you jumped in the car to drive home with one eye open.
Lets not forget what REALLY use to happen and stop believing the bleeters on the idiot box. They had to introduce speed limits in town for horses many years ago before cars were around because the young fellas were riding through town too fast scaring other horses and risking locals on foot, nothing changes. I know not everybody drove like a lunatic when young but it's not a new thing.
The older we get the better we are.
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Follow Up By: Member - Teege (NSW) - Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 21:28

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 21:28
I don't really understand your point. Are you saying that because the figures have come down we should just tolerate a certain number of deaths every year. I guess you've never had to pull a dead child out of a wreck, or had to knock on a door at 3.00am to tell a parent that their 16 year old daughter is not coming home. Or worse still, you haven't been the one answering the door. I guess because you got away with being a hoon, that makes it all right for today's generation. With attitudes like that we will never have safety on the roads.

FollowupID: 670460

Follow Up By: Gramps - Friday, Jan 29, 2010 at 11:09

Friday, Jan 29, 2010 at 11:09
LOL in this case perhaps "Do as I say, NOT as I did" is quite OK.

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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Monday, Jan 25, 2010 at 22:00

Monday, Jan 25, 2010 at 22:00
The major unavoidable costs are fuel and vehicle maintenance.

Accommodation and food are the big discretionary ones in our experience. For your family, a night in a caravan park will probably cost $30+. A night in a bush camp is a $30+ saving. The book Camps Australia (currently Camps 5) is an excellent investment as it lists thousands of free and low cost camping spots. Caravan parks provide showers and access to coin operated washing machines - if you're happy to bush camp, set up a shower tent and save $$$. We've found some caravan parks will let you use the washing machines without being resident too. Always worth asking.

Joining a chain? I think it's only the big flash (expensive) operators that have chains. Go elsewhere if you need to economise!

Internet access - We haven't used McDonalds etc though I understand they do offer wireless access. We have a prepaid G3 phone with Telstra that can act as a modem. (Telstra has the most extensive coverage around Australia.) We buy blocks of megabytes as necessary - if you go this way, don't overspend your data-pack. Costs revert to $2 per megabyte if you do!!!

Meals - Doing your own cooking saves heaps. Buying cooked food is very expensive.


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AnswerID: 401029

Follow Up By: Member - Kiwi_In_Aussie(Wagga) - Monday, Jan 25, 2010 at 22:19

Monday, Jan 25, 2010 at 22:19
Following on from John's comment above regarding McDonalds free WiFi

He is correct - using the free Maccas internet connection is an excellent way of keeping in touch, getting e-mails etc

Check out their webpage to read all about it

Macca's Free WiFi

You dont even have to buy anything :-))) - just make sure your battery is fully charged when you go in :-)))
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Reply By: Geoff (Newcastle, NSW) - Monday, Jan 25, 2010 at 22:47

Monday, Jan 25, 2010 at 22:47
Be aware that McDonalds etc. puts on free WiFi for a reason and you are the perfect reason!

3 kids inside McDonalds and it's free? Doubt it!!

My experience is the road is similar to home, make your own meals. Avoid restaurants, cafe's etc.

Look ahead and ask fellow travellers for the best deals in the area they just left, the one you are heading toward.


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Follow Up By: Tricky Dicky - Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 05:36

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 05:36
Hi we don,t travel with kids anymore so we go into macca,s and just buy a 50 cent icecream or sit in the car park and use their wifi it works well.
have a great trip
FollowupID: 670309

Reply By: Member - ross m (WA) - Monday, Jan 25, 2010 at 22:50

Monday, Jan 25, 2010 at 22:50
1 Draw up a budget and stick to it.

2 Dont buy take aways except for whats in the budget.
Macs give free internet usage in the hope you will break down and spend money there.

3 Have good cooking facitlties and a good cook book

4 Decide how many nights you can cope without proper toilets and showers and stay in free camping grounds.
Taking some household appliances and paying for a powered site can make life easier without much extra cost

5 Keep the kids entertained without visiting expensive theme parks etc,but recognise that the kids do need something to tell their friends about.
Kids always have fun around water and its cheap.
AnswerID: 401041

Follow Up By: rosso1234 - Monday, Jan 25, 2010 at 23:49

Monday, Jan 25, 2010 at 23:49
"Kids always have fun around water and its cheap"

This is in your top 5 bits of advice! swimming=hours of free fun+ tired sleepy kids
FollowupID: 670299

Follow Up By: Member - ross m (WA) - Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 10:15

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 10:15
Are you agreeing or disagreeing???

Tired sleepy kids go to bed early and sleep well.
Any parent will be grateful for that
FollowupID: 670334

Follow Up By: rosso1234 - Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 10:16

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 10:16
as a father, agreeing...... I can see how it reads wrong
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Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 00:48

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 00:48
1. Fuel is probably the biggest slice. If towing, find the optimum economical speed for your car and watch the revs. Probably around 85 - 90 would be good, and this gives everyone a chance to look at things as you pass them. Get the children wildlife spotting. It would be hard at 110 but easy at 85 kph.

2. Take and make your own food and drinks. We eat basic simple meals. Food costs a bit more than at home, in part because of prices in outback areas, and partly because at home we can buy in bulk and store or freeze food. Often when at a venue, you will be tempted to buy lunch from the yummy odours coming from the cafeteria. Often prices are quite high in such places.

3. We bush or free camp as often as we can. This is a holiday choice. If we wanted to stay in towns, it would be cheaper to go to motels than to buy our rig. You get a feel for finding good spots, and Camps 5 helps if you are stuck for somewhere. When you are visiting towns, it is usually false economy to drive kilometres out to a free camp each day rather than staying in town on the spot. If you don't have a bathroom in your caravan, everyone can get fresh and clean each day with a tub of water and a flannel.

We have never considered paying membership of a CP group. We go to CPs only occasionally and usually only the lower cost ones (which are listed in Camps Australia Wide 5) which usually aren't part of a chain or group. The best three CPs we stayed at last year were $22-$23 per night for two powered (slight inflation on the $22 upper limit for Camps 5 listings). They were extremely good caravan parks. There are quite a few different groups. If you joined one, you may find they are not in the towns you are visiting.

4. (Not really a money saving tip). I have not used free internet. When travelling without a laptop, i used Telecentres and the like for downloading photos to CD and occasional correspondence and bill paying. For our longer trips i have had internet connection via a laptop for communication with family (instead of phone calls), trip research, backing up photos and keeping in touch with the world. Generally our phone usage is emergency only and low.

5. Entrance fees, cruises etc can be high. However considering what it has cost you to get there, shame not to spend a few more dollars to see or do what ever it is. Be selective. Check out the alternatives. Someone may be charging a fee to see something such as a wildlife event and you are paying for their talk and information. What is happening may well be able to be seen free nearby. Very expensive entrances fees or events are off the agenda for us.

I hope this helps



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AnswerID: 401049

Reply By: Outback Gazz - Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 09:42

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 09:42
I found the best way to save money on " the lap " is to leave the missus and kids at home - anything up to 20k can be saved !!
AnswerID: 401068

Reply By: John and Lynne - Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 10:07

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 10:07
You have already been given lots of good ideas. Do not stint on cooking equipment. Many people love their Dreampots which are expensive to buy but give you virtually free slow cooking of tasty and economical meals. Pressure cookers and camp ovens (allowing for fire restrictions these are great fun - the kids would love cooking on a fire) are also popular with travellers. If you stay in CPs an electric frypan is great. Whatever you choose to take the aim is to stay away from clubs and takeaways which will cost the earth for a family and give you lots of empty calories. You really want to keep everyone happy and healthy while travelling! Good tasy food is vital.
Still on food, look around in country towns for local (cheap) produce. Many have great farmers' markets or roadside stalls and excellent local butchers. Don't just head automatically for the overpriced supermarkets whose produce may look very tired after a lot of travelling.
We found for a long trip it was well worth buying a laptop with wireless intrenet access. This enables us to keep in touch with family and friends and do a lot of business. It saves a fortune on mobile phone calls. Trying to use internet cafes etc is often a pain. Local libraries can be better but are often closed the day you need them. You can use your laptop conveniently in your camp. We only pay the basic fee for minimum use and stay within that budget easily. You can spend a lot of time typing emails etc but you only need to go on line for a couple of minutes to send or receive a heap.
As Motherhen says, spend money on the real treats or unforgettable experiences and avoid tourist ripoffs!
Good luck! Lynne
AnswerID: 401070

Reply By: Member - Timbo - Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 15:37

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 15:37
In order of importance (IMHO):

1. Make sure you is well maintained/serviced before setting out - towing from a remote area could cost more than the entire trip! Repairs may also be more expensive in remote locations. Carry appropriate tools and spare bits and learn to do simple repairs/adjustments. Depending where you are travelling, it might be worth considering an RAC membership.

2. Take a tent and spend most of your nights in free camps, state forests, national parks or (if you have to) caravan parks, in that order. Most of the towns we've stayed in on long trips generally have 3 or less caravan parks so not really worth joining a chain - odds are, it won't be there! This decision will depend on how often you intend to stay in caravan parks, but they are far more restrictive on having a camp fire or letting the kids run around for a while.

3. Cook your own meals. Stock up on groceries as you pass through the larger towns but make sure that what you buy can cope with potentially being in the back of a hot car - you don't want to be throwing out spoiled food. It also pays to be aware of quarantine borders for fruit & veg (travelling around SW NSW and Vic is one, going west into SA is another, and going west into WA is another - I'm sure there is more detailed info elsewhere on this site)

4. Go on hikes/bushwalks - you get to see some great sights (often away from the crowds) and wildlife and walks are almost invariably free! Always wear a hat, plenty of sunscreen, take plenty of drinking water for each person and carry appropriate clothing in case the weather changes.

5. Talk to other travellers as you travel - they can provide valuable information about what tours/admissions etc. are worth paying for and why, and which ones are a waste of time/money. No doubt you will also have advice for them as you travel along.

Perhaps not so important, but do you really need a souvenir of every place you visit? Perhaps taking photos (with a digital camera) and making notes is a better way of remembering your trip.
AnswerID: 401129

Reply By: Faulic_McVitte - Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 18:01

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 18:01
Depending what sleeping arrangements you have
1) Free camping
2) Cook everything yourself
3) Travel 90km/h
4) Washing somehow how to do it. Laundromats cost a fortune for 5
5)Keep away from expensive overpriced tourist attractions. We have not done a paid tourist attraction for longer than I can remember. Always plenty to see free.
6) Buy a little in bulk like UHT milk when on special for 99c litre without overloading your rig

Amazing how little you can get away with other than fuel if yo are smart and still have a great time
AnswerID: 401171

Reply By: kiwicol1 - Wednesday, Jan 27, 2010 at 14:20

Wednesday, Jan 27, 2010 at 14:20

Our biggest saver, was not buying fuel at the first servo coming into town, we found most times they are 3-4 cents dearer than inner servos, and always check that the servo accepts shopper dockects before fueling up.

AnswerID: 401306

Reply By: luckymum - Wednesday, Jan 27, 2010 at 16:16

Wednesday, Jan 27, 2010 at 16:16
Thanks everyone, great replies.

Its given me alot to think about. From now until Aug we are on a tight budget to save for the trip and then when we actually begin the trip money will be even tighter.

Its the fuel Im worried about!
AnswerID: 401324

Follow Up By: Mitch - Friday, Jan 29, 2010 at 10:51

Friday, Jan 29, 2010 at 10:51
Get the kids to keep a diary of your trip - supply them with book, pens, scissors, glue stick - so they can write up the days events and cut up some of the pamphlets that you pick up along the way. They make interesting reading when you get back.

FollowupID: 670939

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