Is it still possible to plan a trip away with your offroad caravan while saving your pennies? Most definitely!

With campground fees and fuel costs rising, you’d be forgiven for wondering if camping is still an affordable means of getting away. Luckily, with some careful planning and a hefty dose of self-control, you can hit the road secure in the knowledge that your journey out bush isn’t going to send you broke.

Limit Fuel Costs

For nearly every traveller today, the biggest expense is fuel. Add to this the fact that towing inevitably affects fuel economy. You can obviously save on fuel by visiting areas closer to home, but there are other ways to limit costs.

When deciding which region to visit, opt for an area dense in attractions relatively close together rather than several, isolated areas. This reduces your mileage and, therefore your fuel usage. If longer-term stays are an option, you can also consider leaving your offroad caravan at camp and taking shorter day trips just in your vehicle, improving fuel economy.

Another way to improve fuel economy is by opting for a highway terrain or all-terrain (not mud-terrain) tyre tread pattern, always travelling with normal (not deflated) tyre pressures on highways and removing unnecessary items from your vehicle.

Free Camping

The free camping lifestyle is only feasible if you have a self-sufficient setup. This can involve an initial investment, but in time it pays for itself through savings on campsites. You can save a few hundred dollars a week by choosing free camps in favour of caravan parks.

Suffice to say you can expect the very basics from a free campsite; anything extra is a bonus. You may be pulling up on a patch of gravel or you may snag a huge beachfront spot with no one else around. Most stipulate a maximum stay, and as a rule you can’t book them in advance.

There are several helpful apps that can help you locate free camps, such as WikiCamps and CamperX. You can also pick up a guidebook or head to visitor information centres or council websites for information.

If it’s not worth the fuel detouring to a free camp, National and state park campgrounds are a great compromise. They’re generally half the price of caravan parks and tend to be better maintained than free camps.

Food and Drink

To save on consumables, limit your purchases of takeaway food and coffee, and limit pub meals to special occasions. Purchase groceries from supermarkets in major towns, where distance and freight costs don’t send prices soaring. Stick with simple, carb-based recipes prepared at camp and reconsider your need to have meat every night.

Avoid Tours and Hire

Unless you’re visiting an area that requires a tour to enter (such as a protected site), National Parks are generally free to experience, although some require fees or permits — check this in advance.

Bring hiking shoes as default, and any other items that will enable your favourite hobbies without paying for hire — bikes, kayaks, surfboards, fishing rods. Beware of the hidden cost of fishing permits in some locations, although a substantial catch might offset this!

It’s easy to become fixated on the budget and take frugality too far, but there’s no point in being so thrifty that travel becomes unpleasant or joyless. The best approach is to adopt the right habits and then focus on having a good time.

Ask the Experts

There is so much to consider when picking the perfect offroad caravan for your adventures. We hope this list has given you a good start for understanding what you need, but don’t be afraid to ask an expert! Contact [email protected] to talk about what exactly is right for you.

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