road trip hacks.

I pride myself on being able to spend as little money as possible whilst away travelling, not to the point of missing out on things or being stingy, but if there’s a luxury I’d normally pay for back home you can bet there’s a cheap or free way of doing it when I’m on the road. Most of these are a bit cheeky/simple things that just take a couple of road trips to figure out! Here’s a few travel hacks for the budget lover in us all…

-less weight equals less fuel

No you don’t need to start running before you head out on the road, but the biggest cost when on a road trip is fuel, bring it down to as little as possible by making your stuff as lightweight as you can. Pack carefully, grab a lightweight tent, sleeping bag etc. and don’t take all that unnecessary stuff you normally would, you know the things I mean, a different bikini for every day, three pairs of trainers for every occasion and this just incase, that just incase…

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No one wants a huge phone bill or to be recharging your phone more than usual, but the internet keeps you entertained, lets you google the next place you’re heading to and also map when you have no idea which way you’re going. Take a trip to the local McDonald’s and get a load of their free wifi. A lot of the time you can pick the signal up from the car park, sometimes you might have to hang out by the entrance looking a bit strange, and sometimes you might need to go the whole way and head inside to buy a 50 cent ice cream to stop the manager eyeing you up, but that’s okay, who needs an excuse for ice cream right?! Tourism centres and some smaller towns also offer wifi, just scan the networks when you arrive into a town and see what you can pick up. Be careful what information you share on open networks like this.

blogging on mcdonalds free wifi.


-simple meals

Eating noodles for every meal is fine right? Most roadhouses, service stations and some cafes will happily give you free boiling water, use this to whip up a pack of noodles, or anything else that only needs a couple of minutes in boiling water. We go for own brand noodles from woolies, coles or iga, get the empty cup filled and then add the noodles, leave for a couple of minutes and empty the water, meal sorted! Only one place has tried to charge me for boiling water in the past, most places are fine to just provide it for free. If you don’t have a travel mug, ask a particularly nice employee for a cup of boiling water, then just reuse the cup. There are free BBQ’s all over the place in Australia, so make the most of bulk packs of burgers and sausages and cook up whenever you fancy!

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-look after the pennies

Try to do a couple of big shops rather than lots of smaller shops and you’ll be rewarded with fuel dockets that get you a few cents off each litre of fuel. Save them for when you’re filling up a full tank and you’ll be a few dollars better off, not much but every little helps.

-need a drink

Or just want to unwind round the campfire with a nice glass? Then head to liquor land or bws and pick up one of their $5 bottles of wine. Super cheap and better than just drinkable, much better than goon too ha! Do not drink too much if you are planning on driving the next day! 0.5 is the legal drinking limit in Australia.

-free trials

Possibly the cheekiest of all the money saving tips, you’re in a town for a few days, you’re missing your gym sessions, but signing up for a membership for a few days usage is pointless, well luckily most of the big gyms offer free trials online, so sign up, head down to the gym and listen to the sales pitch before they let you head on in and use the gym for free for up to a whole week. However if you give your real number prepare for a couple of weeks of calls asking you to become a member!

-like an esky but cheaper

An esky is a great investment, but if like me you can’t commit to one (you might be on a plane next week instead of driving and then what do you do with it) then instead grab a cool bag or two from woolies or Coles ($2.50 each) a bag of ice (around $4) put the ice at the bottom and your food on top and you have a cheap esky that’s easy to leave behind if you need too. The ice lasted me 2 days and 2 nights in 38-42 degree C heat, if your campsite has a fridge then generally they have a freezer, so throw it in there overnight and you don’t even need to buy a new bag.

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-boxes not bottles

Boxes of water work out so much cheaper than buying lots of bottles, at the minute a 10.5L box of water is $3.50 to $3.85 in Coles or Woolies, so buy a couple of them and decant the water into bottles when you need too. Once you’ve emptied one you could fill it back up, freeze it and then use that as your ice for your ‘esky’.

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-free camps and road reserves

Just google ‘free camp wherever you’re travelling to’ and chances are at least one good place to stay will come up, staying in simple facilities with little amenities can save you a lot of money if you can live without luxuries such as showers and BBQ’s. If you can’t find a free camp chances are there will be a road reserve, they have loads in the territory and queensland, there will often only be toilets at the most but they are really safe and free!


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