Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Four months of travel - how much has our "big trip" cost

When we started planning to travel for 12 months we found it very hard to find any information on how much it would cost to tour around Australia in our camper trailer. We did find various estimates that ranged from $1000 a week to $1 per kilometer travelled. We have tried to keep you updated in our month round up posts, to give you an idea of the cost of fuel & camping fees. Now we have completed 4 whole months of travel (April to July inclusive) we wanted to give you a more detailed look at what the cost has actually been. 

A couple of things to note
- there are just the 2 of us
- our tow vehicle is our beloved 2012 model 76 series landcruiser "Ruby"
- we have items on our roof rack (chainsaw box, spare tyre, spare jerry can, swag etc)
- we are towing our 2007 Trackabout Off-road Overlander camper trailer
- we try to sit on 95-100km/hr when highway driving 
- we drive to conditions when driving off road
- we try to free camp as much as possible, but if it means we have to pay to stay somewhere convienent to a certain attraction then we will
- it's worth noting that during this time while we were obviously conscious of our spending, there was very little if anything that we didn't do that we wanted to do, based on cost. At this stage we are still under our budget & aren't limiting our plans. 
- we are hoping our diesel & camping costs will be lower in the following 4 months as we move south & drive less kilometer & hopefully more free or low cost camping options.
- we understand we could definitely travel cheaper. For those on a tighter budget we suggest, planning your stops where you can find lower cost camping, eating out less & being selective & research the tours you want to complete. 

In our calculations
- for our week calculations we used 17 weeks for the 4 months (based on how many Sundays there were during the 4 months)
- for our days calculations we used 122 days for the 4 months
- the "other" category is all sorts of things from doctors appointments, pharmacy items, clothes, books, hair cuts etc
- the repairs & maintenance category is any repairs or maintenance on the car or trailer including servicing, wheel balance & alignment etc. It also covers any resupplies of butane gas, LPG gas, consumables etc. 
- Bought meals includes anything we haven't cooked/made ourselves. From breakfast at a servo or bakery, to lunches or dinners out at the pub, caf├ęs or restaurants, this total cost also includes alcohol consumed at the same time. 

So here are our costs for 4 months of travel. When worked out per kilometer of travel it has cost us $1.24 per kilometer. 

- the cost per night of camping has been higher than we hoped for. This was especially evident at any coastal place & within the Kimberley. 
- the amount of free camping available in Northern WA was less than we anticipated. 
- we are using about 5-10% more diesel than we originally estimated. We put this down to carrying bulky items on the roof rack, & being very conservative about having full water tanks as much as possible, so carry a lot of weight in that. 
- on a plus side we have definietly spent less on repairs & maintenance than expected & have been lucky to be in larger towns when those repairs or maintenance services have been due. 
- we have also spent less on meat on this trip, as we have been able to supplement a lot of our supply with fresh fish. Also by running a freezer we are are able to buy meat when it's cheaper at the bigger towns. 
- our 12V power system has been fantastic. By using the solar panels we very rarely need a 240v power source. If we stay at a caravan park it is almost always for convenience (for a decent shower or to do laundry) or there is no other option for a place to camp. 
- a lot of the time when you pay to camp somewhere you are actually paying for the security of your gear. Yes you can stop at a free rest stop on the side of the highway, but most of the time you won't be comfortable leaving your gear at camp while you go away for the whole day exploring. At least at a paid campground you have that extra security. 

What would we do differently if we started from scratch
- carry less items on the roof rack
- take less clothes (we shipped a whole bag full home)

What will we do going forwards for the rest of our trip
- need to justify why we would stay anymore than 3 nights at one place. 2 whole days & 3 nights should pull most places up. If staying longer there needs to be a good reason. In the first few months we probably overstayed at a few places, which did significantly increase our camping costs. 
- actively choose unpowered campsites when available, instead of paying for power just because it's convenient. This can save $5-10 per night, if we have to stay at a caravan park. 
- do more research on free camping options
- be more restrained with eating out, take the time to make our own lunches on the road. Be selective when you do a eat out, some places have been disappointing & expensive, use TripAdvisor. 

1 comment:

  1. Hey guys, good post on your costs. Ours came in at just under $1000 p/w for 12 months which is around what we budgeted for. We kept track of our budget as a point of interest for us more than to track our costs, at the end of the day we didn't want it to detract from the whole reason why we were doing the trip in the first place. On saying that though we were mindful of our finances and didnt do a few tours where if we were working and on 4 week trip we would have otherwise done...