Cost of living on road

Submitted: Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 10:10
ThreadID: 87710 Views:6494 Replies:12 FollowUps:18
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Everytime I get paid I seemed to be handing out more in taxes and charges.
Council rates and water, interest rates, Insurances, food, Elecricity, registrations and CTP all seemed to be going up.
There was a thread recently saying how much it cost to be on the road but I would like to know how cheaply people can live when they are permanenlty on the road and still enjoy travelling.
Food should not change and I would use solar to reduce costs. Rego and insurance should also be static as it is the same as the vehicle is still or travelling.
The though of only paying one rego and no council rates and water etc seems like a good idea.
Whilst I know fuel would be a cost the ability to just move to the next town, stay at free camping sites, see the country before its all locked up or sold seems a very attactive option.
Also if anyone did try this and did not like it, their comments would also be appreciated.

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Reply By: Bigfish - Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 11:36

Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 11:36
I reckon if you type in a search word there are heaps of threads dealing with this issue.
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Reply By: olcoolone - Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 12:12

Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 12:12
It sounds good but I think at the end of the day the enjoyment would soon run out.

Fuel and vehicle maintenance would be higher and so would the price of food.

I don't know who long you would be able to camp for free as most free places have a time limit, very few facilities and not alway in the ideal location.

The other thing is I don't know your age or health but these may be factors and outer metro or out large town health care may be limited, non existent and costly.

Then there is the issue of family and friends and security.

So what you save in one hand may be spent in the other.

Most travelers still have a base to call home even if they are away for long periods of time.
AnswerID: 460598

Reply By: Matt & Caz - Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 12:17

Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 12:17

We travelled on the road with kids for just over 18mths and it was totally AWESOME, we sold the home ect to do the trip and planned to be away for 5yrs or more....... however due to certain circumstances we decided to stop travelling and rent a place till the kids were off our hands.

Well during the time we were away - electricity went through the roof, and our first bill had me clutching at my chest! We now are back to 2 car rego's, 2 insurances and having to pay insurance for home and contents.

In a nut shell living on the road is HEAPS cheaper - the only major expense we had was diesel, we free camped a lot and because we had the time - we went back to old fashioned cooking, baking our own biscuits ect.

We have been back 18mths now - still renting and have NO regrets (only having to stop) we don't have the worry of rates ect - we are planning and saving for when the kids are old enough..................

And see you on the road some time soon......
AnswerID: 460599

Follow Up By: the redbacks - Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 19:39

Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 19:39
All I can say Matt & Caz
You lucky buggers, wish I had the guts to do just what you did, & our kids are well grown up & gone.
I admire you !!
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Follow Up By: Livin On The Road - Monday, Jul 25, 2011 at 18:06

Monday, Jul 25, 2011 at 18:06
I would totally agree. We've been doing it since Jan '10 with our four kids (10, 8, 6 and 2) and living is so much cheaper this way. Our costs are fuel and food -- food is obviously a LOT with six mouths, and fuel is about 22L/100km, so it depends how far we travel how much we pay. we almost always free camp, and activities are usually those that are free, unless there is an entry charge to a museum or a national park.
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Reply By: Robin Miller - Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 13:38

Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 13:38
Hi Honky

It sounds like you have disadvantages without the advantages but there an alternate way.

We considered that senario some twenty years ago now.

We brought several hundred acres of the most useless rubbish
land there is with an almost condemmed shack on it.

Cost much less than any vaguely suburban place.

The real estate agent was apologizing for the bad slopes,stuffed access track,
rocks everywhere, mostly non-existant fences, so overgrown you can literally get lost on it.

With every word he said we would almost wet ourselves with delight.

Today the real total of every non-aviodable cost comes to under $6 per day.

You can't even camp in most places for that, and it costs more in fuel to find a free camp.

For that we get ->

Bogged to the axles for free in every way possible.

Endless tracks from mild to wild.

Camping with fires anywhere on almost any day of the year.

Literally shot rabbits from the veranda.

A completely do just about anything no hassles enviroment.

The cost savings are such that you can afford more "on the road" exploration trips far afield and when it gets to much you just veer right back to base.

And you know - its actually got easier to do over time, at least in our area of the world.
Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: Dr Hook - Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 15:27

Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 15:27

Can you adopt me?

Dr Hook
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Follow Up By: Member - barry F (NSW) - Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 18:05

Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 18:05
Dr Hook, It's rude to jump the queue so please back off!! LOL
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 19:20

Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 19:20
Look Guys I am sorry but I have not told you all the disadvantages of this approach , and its not just the sun dazzling your eyes as it reflects off the snow on the nearby peaks.

But its just harder than I thought to get away from the kids.

They know nothing of the love of 4wding and just treat the cars as objects to be used as toys or as building blocks to practise their motorbike skills.

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Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: Member - DAZA (QLD) - Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 20:13

Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 20:13
Geez Robin

It looks like a great place,

Have you tried the ramp your self lol lol.

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Reply By: Honky - Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 14:47

Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 14:47
Thanks for your responses.
I am 55 years old and it seems as the song goes "working for the man -another day older and deeper in depth".
Currently I have a 4wd van with an off road camper and am thing of getting a light truck with a camper on the back so I can get rid of another rego and insurance. NSW taxes a trailer with brakes around $280 for something that is only used a couple of times a year.
I did a rough estimate of standing cost without moving from the house for rates, rego, ctp insurances and water charges etc
and it is well over $15,000 plus $16,000 for house payments per year for a regional city.
Even if you take out the rego and insurance cost for a truck it leaves a lot for diesel.
I would not stay at one place but travel around Australia and have the mail addressed to the kidds.

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Reply By: Fatso - Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 15:04

Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 15:04
G'day Honkey
If you currently own a major city suburban home the return on that, if you sold it & invested in a self managed super fund & assuming you could access the funds at a low tax rate would well & truly cover the cost of caravan park fees plus keep your principal investment growing above inflation.
Plus you would have the savings of no house & contents insurance + one less car insurance, registration, maintenance & depreciation + no electricity bills + no council rates + no water charges + no house maintenance or improvements to keep up with the Joneses + no lawn mowing, going to the dump with garden waste, going to the hardware shop or even owning garden tools + household cleaning.
When you live in a caravan you don't have to own the endless array of she-t that you fill your household cupboards, wardrobes, pantry & backyard shed with. Minimalism & simplicity is the go. You can't physically buy junk unless you throw something out because of the minimal storage space.
Downside is that you would probably want to insure your caravan + depreciation on that.
Another thing, you won't have to mow lawns & your wife clean have to clean the toilet or shower.
My wife is going to have to get a shoulder operation that will require a 2 month recovery. We are thinking of buying a van & shooting through for 6 months straight after the operation. This is so she can take it easy. Minimal housework for both of us.
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Follow Up By: Fatso - Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 15:13

Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 15:13
Sorry one of those lines should have said"your wife won't have to clean the shower or toilet".
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Reply By: Member - DAZA (QLD) - Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 15:36

Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 15:36
It depends what you want out of life.
We live at the southern end of the Gold Coast away from the Glitzy B/S.
Our location is just on the edge of the rural area adjacent to Tallebudgera.
Approximately 5 ks from the beach by road, or 2 ks as the crow flys.
We have all the amenities we require less than 2ks away.
Our home is on a normal house block on a hill.
From the front deck we can see the Springbrook Escarpment, the Tallebudgera Creek, and a large Wetlands area that is a habitat for various species of Water Birds including Pelicans and Black Swans, let alone the Native Birds that are around our house.
We also have Rates /Insurances/4 lots of rego bills ect. normal cost of living that most people have.
The only thing we don't have to worry about any more is the cost of bringing up kids.
They are all grown up with their own families.
Now we try and get away on extended trips as much as we can, between our business obligations, which I hope to cease at the end of this year.
I have thought about hitting the road full time and even discussed the idea with the Cook.
Her reaction to the subject is, it's ok while we are fairly fit and healthy BUT when we start to get to the stage of not being able to what happens then.????
And if I even mentioned selling our home I would cop a Back Hander lol lol.
A lot of people do it, and they love the life style.

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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 19:23

Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 19:23
Tallebudgerra creek - lovely place , we have twice stayed in the units below that front the waters edge Daza - I will look out for the 4.8 next time we are up that way.
Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: Member - DAZA (QLD) - Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 20:17

Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 20:17
Send us a MM next time your up this way.

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Reply By: Motherhen - Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 19:01

Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 19:01
Hi Honky

Costs can be as little or as much as you choose. Generally it can be cheaper than owning a home. Food will be a little dearer due to distance as well as you won't be able to buy in bulk as we can at home with a large deep freeze and pantry. You can always pick up work along the way, but will generally need to stay at in town caravan parks to do this.

Most of all, you need to be certain this is the life you want before selling up. The need to be a nomad needs to be driven by more than just a cheaper lifestyle. For a few pointers check out Nomads on the Road.

For economising on costs Keeping Costs Down.

There are many out there with their rig as their only home. Some have huge outfits will all the home comforts, and we have met others with a simple camper trailer following the sun and working in the tourist towns during peak season and heading south for the harvest trail during summer.

What ever works best for you, but you will need to dispense of much of your wordily goods unless you have family with a roomy house to store you lifetime of memories and belongings.


With a home filled to the brim with the trappings of life


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Reply By: Member - Joe n Mel n kids (FNQ - Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 20:13

Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 20:13
Hi "Honky" and others ....
I was actually going to do a thread about this, but not really what most seem to be focused on, what i want people to see or at least look at is working around Australia, not going out and buying a big van or some tiny little camper trailer but actually looking for jobs and positions with housing supplied, there are heaps of positions out there, thousands actually, and you dont need any van, camper or tents, some will even "re-locate" you meaning they will pay to get your personal gear to the location, nearly all are furnished houses so you nonly need your personal stuff and most positions change over at around 18 months, that is ample time to get out on weekends and see the place and your are getting PAID ...............

OK i will put it this way ...... a position in the middle of Kakadu, NO park entry fees, $45,000 before tax, free rent, free POWER, free food... YES FREE FOOD ... NO RATES, NO insurance, NO water, NO maintenance, discount on Yellow Waters cruise, meet some awsome travellers .... no costs ?????. ..

Why would you own a house for that eh ??
Drooling now, so ya should be ...
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Follow Up By: Member Ray M (QLD) - Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 20:49

Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 20:49
Ok Joe, I'll bite
What's the job?
As long as it is something easy like wrestling crocs for the tourists then I'm in
Cheers Ray
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Follow Up By: Tjukayirla Roadhouse - Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 22:28

Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 22:28
I will back up what Joe says here.
We have been doing this for over ten years, getting jobs with housing provided, and usually also most bills.
everything from Cattle Stations to resorts, to roadhouses, to tour businesses, we've done all sorts, getting paid to be in these places, and also not having to pay a cent to live there..
for example, the job we have now has absolutely everything included, a 3 bedroom house, power, food, phone, everything.. and with 8 weeks annual leave..
This is why we've been oing this so long, and will probably never top.
We've one this all this time with no trailer, van or anything, although we have now just purchased a van, for our holidays, and to use between jobs.
Some jobs however do provide accom, but for a small rent, like most resorts.
Fun places to work for a while though, not a bad lifestyle, although we are a little past that now.
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Follow Up By: Member - Joe n Mel n kids (FNQ - Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 23:08

Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 23:08
so Al, you will fully understand that the pics are part of our backyards .....
YES, i am rubbing it in, ALL of these photos were taken within a short drive from our "home" at the time and some are from our BACKYARD as you can see the kids and the ocean in the background, yep our backyard.....
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Why would you live in a smog infested city when you can do this and get PAID ..
Beats me ??
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Follow Up By: Tjukayirla Roadhouse - Saturday, Jul 23, 2011 at 11:54

Saturday, Jul 23, 2011 at 11:54
Good stuff Joe :-) we're luckily enough to have had similar backyard pics.. Maybe we shouldn't be posting on here, it might create
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Follow Up By: Member - Joe n Mel n kids (FNQ - Saturday, Jul 23, 2011 at 12:09

Saturday, Jul 23, 2011 at 12:09
Actually i should keep my mouth shut, it is a secret and NOBODY seems to know about these jobs, if everybody wakes up and starts looking we wont have the choice we have .....

but i cant help my self eh
check out the following and NO i am not going to provide links, they are on the net for everyone to find and see ...

A "Coordinator" position in central Australia, right near the "Rock"

SALARY: $58 000
PERSONAL LEAVE: 10 days annually
ROSTERED DAY OFF: 1 per month
RELOCATION: Up to $2500
AIRFARES: 1 return economy airfare to place of employment shall be provided for employee and spouse
ACCOMM: One bedroom accommodation is provided with free rent & power, free internet access, free rental on telephone (call costs are the Coordinators responsibility)
VEHICLE: For work purposes only

Why would you bother with the $85,000 van ????
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Follow Up By: get outmore - Sunday, Jul 24, 2011 at 06:49

Sunday, Jul 24, 2011 at 06:49
SALARY: $58 000

theres the catch though

its all very well having an expenses paid job but if it pays less than what those expenses would cost you anyway ........

My contract is up next year and I reckon my next move will be residential - especially if I end up full time

then it will be the best of all worlds
- decent pay
- great location (east kimberly)
- subsadised housing
- all expenses and living while at work
- short working week
- over 6 weeks holiday a year

see what the new year brings
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Reply By: kidsandall - Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 22:20

Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 22:20
We spent three years travelling OZ. We met Matt and Caz as we travelled and a number of other people from this site. There are a number of ways to travel OZ and keep your costs down. Here are a couple of different senarios we came across as we travelled.
1/ We met a couple who had 2 kids and were travelling purely on family benefits, nothing else. They mainly free camped when travelling. When they needed to top up funds they would stay at farm stays like WWOOFA (willing workers on organic farms. Basically they got food and accom supplied in exchange for 4-5 days a week work on the farm. While they had no living cost their payments were building up in the bank. They stayed on orchards, vegie farms, in 5 star B&B's, seaside farms and cattle stations. When they had enough money to travell they headed off.

2/ Wet met a couple in Broome who were working full time for Woolworths. They would simly put in for a transfere to the next town they wanted to see. They were trained in most areas in the store from shelf packing, checkout, Deli ect. They would stay in caravan parks (they had a large caravan) while working. In some remote areas Woolworths supplied accom. They were employed full time so had holiday, sick pay, super ect..

3/ The way Joe said, find jobs that supply accom food ect as part of the job. Most of these jobs are in remote areas but hey... isn't that what we want to see.

4/ Reduce your costs, free camping etc. We travelled from Bermagui in NSW to Adelaide SA over 3 months and did not pay for any accommodation. We spent 3 months in Tassie and it cost an average of just over $3 a night for accom. Some places allow you to stay for months. we stayed just out of Wagga Wagga for 6 weeks and another guy had been there for 2 months already.

5/ Become friends with as many people on here as you can and stay with them. LOL (we have had a number of people stay with us since finishing our trip)

The cost of travelling depends on how you travel and what you want to see. We met one couple who decided if they had to pay for it they would not do it, including park fees, entrance fees, attractions ect.. I feel they missed so much by living this way but it was cheap.

Hope this gives you some ideas.


AnswerID: 460658

Follow Up By: Motherhen - Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 23:24

Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 23:24
Hi Josh

I hadn't heard of Anna Brown Recruitment. Have you had any personal experience with the agency?


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Follow Up By: kidsandall - Saturday, Jul 23, 2011 at 22:03

Saturday, Jul 23, 2011 at 22:03
Hi Motherhen, We were told about Ann Brown when we headed off on our trip. We planned to find work through her when we were wanting to head north but got the job I'm in now which worked better for us and allowed us to keep travelling. We know of 3 coules who use them regulary and can not speak highly enough of them. We did speak with them when we headed off and they seemed really good to deal with.

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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Saturday, Jul 23, 2011 at 23:05

Saturday, Jul 23, 2011 at 23:05
Thanks Josh

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Reply By: *Rusty* - Saturday, Jul 23, 2011 at 23:47

Saturday, Jul 23, 2011 at 23:47
We are currently saving for the dream of taking 1 - 2 years off and working our way around australia. We orginally had planned to do it just as the financial crisis hit, so we got scared and kept our jobs as we own our house (well the bank owns half) as we have a mortage to pay still. We have since bought our camper (An Adventure Camper) with it in mind we planned to travel and live in it. We decided to move (we moved the whole house and car and camper) to WA, bought our touring wagon and done it up and got a job here with the idea to look around on weekends and holidays, which we have done, but have now realised that Kalgoorlie probabaly wasn't the ideal spot to be able to see what we wanted to see whilst here (as its just too far from everything for a weekender or even a week). Now with the experience we have gained and hindsight, we have decided that when my partner's contract runs out, we will sell almost everything, keep the bed and tv unit etc, put it in shipping container (and his comp car has to fit in that container too) and send it home (to QLD). Then we should have enough saved up to do a working holiday for 18 months or more comfortably (whilst still leasing out our house which pays for itself) and see all of Australia. If we pick up enough work for 6 months or more we will rent a house and just buy salvo's furniture. My partner is a sparky and i can do whatever comes along.

Well thats the plan anyways! Only 18 months to go - and it can't come soon enough!
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Reply By: have a go - Monday, Jul 25, 2011 at 22:56

Monday, Jul 25, 2011 at 22:56
We contemplated the idea for a couple of years. Got very close to going around the time Matt and Caz did. Went only for 8 months even home schooled. Decided to stay put until the kids are doing their own thing. I work at the school now and my husbands job is great for getting school holidays off. So we have a ten year plan of short trips to fill the time in. Then look out WA
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