Australia is known for its amazing campgrounds and excellent areas for caravan camping experiences on the outback. Locals and visitors frequent Australian campgrounds for a new and exciting experience. As with any trip, before heading out to Australian campgrounds, campers should consider budgeting and creating ways to save money. Creating a caravan budget includes several elements and could become overwhelming for beginners.
Have no fear, new campers! We have created this guide with 9 important things to consider in your caravan budget. This list includes everything from food, accommodations, and miscellaneous costs. Considering these items in your caravan budget will save you lots of money and time. Be sure to keep in mind the size of your travel group, as well as the ages and special needs for anyone who you may be travelling with when creating your own caravan budget.
1. Cost Of Campgrounds And National Parks
Australia is known for its vast variety of campgrounds and national parks for campers. The country has six National Commonwealth Parks and over 50 Marine Parks. Prices and fees may vary depending on which park you decide to stay at, how long you plan on staying, and how often you may want to visit. Free and low-cost campgrounds are also available. We suggest new campers to split their time between paid caravan parks that offer advance amenities, and free parks which are highly economically friendly when budgeting for a caravan trip. Parks may range in price from based on amenities or locations. Prime location parks can cost over $50 per night, with extra fees for kids and special offers. Park rules usually only allow free stays for small babies, with some charging child rates for kids as young as two years old. Be sure to calculate the cost per person when determining which park or campground works best for your caravan budget.
2. Caravan Gas System
Equipping your caravan with a well-tuned gas system is important for your comfort and safety during your caravan camping trip. Caravan owners should be aware of all basic guidelines and precautions that should be taken during the installation of a gas system, and in the event that they are not, a professional should be hired and considered in the caravan camping budget. A gas bottle holder will help to ensure your gas cylinder is stored securely in a safe place in your caravan. A gas system can be extremely beneficial during a camping trip. Here are a few reasons to consider purchasing a gas system for your caravan:
- Gas systems ensure that campers will always have power during a camping trip in case of emergencies.
- Allows your campervan and your entire camping trip to become more self-sufficient with no need for an external power source.
- Eliminates the need for a powered camping site which may ultimately save you money on accommodation fees.
Tip: To save some money on your budget, consider different ways to minimise the use of the gas, doing so will allow you to save on purchasing gas cylinders continuously.
3. Grocery Budget
Food is one of the most important elements of caravan budgeting. Remember that the details of your food budget may vary based on special dietary needs of travelers. Many campers report that food is one of the largest expenses on their caravan budget. Food is an unavoidable expense. Here are a few basic things to consider when making your food budget for your caravan camping trip:
- Who will be on the trip?
- Based on the area you are traveling in, how much accessibility will you have to restaurants, grocery stores, and other types of food vendors?
- How much will your group eat?
- Who will be preparing food, and what methods will they be using?
- How much space is available in the caravan to store food?
- How are food prices fluctuating in the area you are camping?
After considering these factors, you can think of different ways to save on food during your caravan trip based on the needs of your camping group.
Tip: We suggest creating a detailed meal plan early in each week of camping. Meal planning will help save money on unnecessary purchases, and it will also make food prep a seamless process.
Tip: Consider installing a tri-fold caravan table in your camper. Tri-fold tables are an easy way to comfortably eat a meal in the caravan, they are perfect for families and groups who like to eat in the caravan often. Caravan tri-fold tables and interior tables are highly recommended for a seamless trip, they are also extremely affordable and they help to save space on the caravan. After meals, they are easily folded and removed from the main eating space.
Tip: Consider these easy cook items on your caravan grocery list. They are the perfect items for affordable, quick meals:
- White sugar
- Plain flour
- Self-raising flour
- Baking powder
- Bi-carb soda
- Shredded coconut
- Dried lentils, chickpeas, kidney, and black beans
- Brown sugar
- Salt and pepper
- Vegetable oil
- Tin tomatoes
- Soy sauce
- Balsamic vinegar
- Tomato sauce
- Coconut cream
4. Restaurant Budget
Depending on how long you’ll be camping, you may want to get fancy and drive your camper to a few restaurants for dinner. Be sure to consider the costs of restaurants in your camper budget. Restaurant costs can get pricey. We suggest choosing one or two days during each week to venture out for restaurant dining. For the remainder of the week, we suggest using these tactics to avoid the restaurant scene and save some money on your caravan budget:
- Pack your lunches, be sure to include snacks and drinks for all parties on the trips ( be sure to consider children and anyone with special dietary needs while pre-packing lunches. Try to keep lunch selections simple and easy to store. Wraps, sandwiches, crackers, and juices are highly recommended. Bring a medium sized cooler or a cooling backpack and disposable silverware, plates, and bowls, for picnics and lunches outside of the caravan.
- Avoid bringing several plastic bottles of water on your caravan trip. Save money by investing in a filter or drinking tap water if safe.
5. Entertainment Budget
Entertainment is important for any trip, especially long caravan trips. Consider prices for nature tours and adventures. Be sure to also consider other activities and tourist attractions like museums and national monuments. Kids tend to get bored easily, we recommend considering children when calculating your entertainment budget.
6. Fuel Costs
Calculate your fuel cost by first determining how long your trip will be and how far you will be travelling. Use the average current price of fuel and the total distance travelled to determine your total fuel cost. Be sure to consider the area you are travelling in as fuel prices may vary based on region. Compare prices in different areas before venturing out.
7. Caravan Hot Water System
A caravan hot water system is a game changer. Hot water on a caravan is one of life’s simple pleasures that you will not regret investing in. After a day of hiking, surfing, or just exploring nature, you’ll appreciate the availability of a hot shower on your caravan. Hot water is also great to have for cooking and cleaning on the caravan. Be sure to leave room for a hot water system in your caravan camping budget.
8. Caravan Repair Costs
Caravan repairs can be annoying and sometimes unexpected, but they are a major thing to consider when creating your caravan budget. Caravan repairs may range from modifications, and servicing, to last minute repairs. Issues with gas and plumbing are especially important to consider in your budget. See our post on How To Install A Caravan Gas System for more details.
Insuring your caravan is extremely important in case of accidents. Insurance costs for a full-sized caravan can cost over $1,500 a year with deductibles of around $100-$400 for instances of unexpected damage.
Ready to drive? We’re excited to help you prepare for your next road trip! See our range of caravan folding tables, caravan hot water systems and gas bottle holders on BCA Australia.