Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The first 9 weeks…

Here is a bit of a summary of our first 9weeks on the road… I figure this might help others that are planning to do the same thing get an idea of how much it really costs to travel. We are doing this with a budget! But we have a balance of not sacrificing important things but also not wasting money. So we are doing the activities that are important to us but not splurging. We don’t eat out of a night and we have generally packed sandwiches for lunches except on those days when eating somewhere nice was part of the local experience for us. Because of the ages of our kids we have generally not had to pay for accommodation or entry fees for them so families with older children will need to all a bit extra.

We have traveled x kms over 63days at an approximately total cost of $6250.

Fuel- $2,100
Accommodation- $1,225 (An easy mix of van parks, cheap camps, and free camps)
Shopping- $1,415 (groceries, regular daily purchases)
Snacks- $400 (things like coke, eating out for lunch, cake & coffee etc)
Laundry- $120 (I also used our own little washing machine as a supplement, but keep in mind we are using cloth nappies so a regular family without nappies would wash a heck of a lot less)
Alcohol- $295 (mostly cartons of beer rather than pub prices)
Activities- $440 (entry fees, helicopter flight etc)
Other- $180 (clothes, rechargeable torch etc)
Gas- $75 (for the weber and running the fridge, I think the bottle is mostly still full)

There are probably some things that I am missing… I don’t think I have the $75 for the waeco fridge cover in there for example but that’s not a typical traveling cost so I think it’s all near enough for the purpose.

So essentially we have had to allow about $700 a week to do this. I think for most families that have allowed themselves, say, a year to travel Australia then we would be moving at about the right kind of pace, but for our future travels (when we don’t have an existing work commitment to make) we intend to do it much, much slower. Which would reduce our overall fuel costs and drop our weekly expenditure to about $500. But for a family with two kids between 5 and 15 I think you need to allow an extra overall cost for accommodation of between $500-$700 plus activities etc so on average another $100 a week.

Essential travel bits, and things we wasted our money on!

Big winners-
The waeco- so handy having the fridge in the truck with us. An absolute lifesaver with keeping sandwiches and snacks on hand for the kids when we need to push through that extra half hour and also in the heat to keep our drinks cold. Worth every cent!
Tinting on the truck windows.
Our Camps 4 book.
My 4 thin plastic Tupperware chopping boards.
The in-car DVD player (again for the kids)
300w inverter which converts the trucks 24v system into 240v power which has been bloody handy.
Weber BBQ
My menstrual cup (sorry blokes if it‘s too much information! but the women might appreciate the tip)
The inner-spring mattresses.
The internet gateway thing so we can both have wireless internet connection on our own laptops,
Not sure if it was worth it-
The washing machine. I think if you got into the habit of setting it up, or stayed somewhere for more than just a few nights then it would be different. We used it anywhere we camped for more than a few days but it was more effort than it was worth to get it out and set it up. If it was plumbed in inside the van then that would make a huge difference to using it.
The annexe walls. I love them and I love the extra room it gives us when we are stopped for a period of time but for the vast majority of short-stop traveling I think the shade cloth surrounds are much handier simply because they are soooo much quicker to set up.
The TV. We really never turned it on. Maybe if we had a better easier antenna it would get used more.

Total waste of space or money.
The boat.
The tools we bought along we really don’t need. Regular tools are ok but we also bought working tools like the which I think are just taking up a heap of space and dragging down our fuel economy and are not going to make any difference to us finding work at all.
My red wine. I am not drinking anywhere near as much as I had hoped! LOL! It’s been so hot I have not felt like a red wine. I think I have drank three bottles! So another 53 bottles to go.


  1. I can't believe you are managing the cloth nappies- you are super awesome Michelle!

  2. As we are in the process of planning our trip this post is sooooo helpful! Thanks so much!!
    I'm really enjoying your blog!
    Safe travels!

  3. Sorry to hear about the wine, maybe I better drink up before we head north. Day 8 for us.