If you are like us, you have spent some time on travel blogs, YouTube Channels (like ours!) and Facebook on travel groups, and the most common question, after ‘how do I make coffee without power?’, is generally ‘how much do I need to do the lap of Oz?’ or ‘how is everyone affording it?’ And you will find the answers vary but a general consensus – start with a budget of $1000/week and reduce it if you are a bit tight and increase it if you have extra kids or like the finer things in life!
For us, we made a conscious decision not to track our expenses.
We have a reasonably steady income, a decent emergency fund and we basically just keep an eye on the emergency fund to ensure it doesn’t drop past where we are happy.
For us, keeping track of every single transaction we do, and having to justify expenses to each other would just drag us down emotionally so that we weren’t enjoying our travels as much, questioning if we could afford to do things if we spent too much yesterday etc etc.
We do keep track of our fuel. We have to keep receipts anyway, so we use Fuel Map (from the developers of Wikicamps) to log our fuel expenses. This is more for our own interest than anything else (the 4×4 Daily is currently using 24L/100km (GPS tracked) including towing our caravan, driving without the van, off road 4×4 work and Fraser Island for a week.)
Moral of the Story!
So don’t feel obliged to have to track every last cent just because other people are doing it, everyone is different and everyone’s minds work differently!
After a few weeks on the road (& the first couple feel like a holiday, where you spend more because you eat out, explore more than normal in our opinion until you find your new way of life and groove, buy things for the van that you realised you need/want), you will have a rough idea of what you’ve spent anyway, you’ll soon know how much of each you’ve done – van parks Vs free camping, attractions Vs free activities, eating out Vs off-grid remote, etc.
There will also be weeks when you need more car or van service/maintenance than expected, but does that mean you can’t go on that awesome tour you really wanted to do? No, it just means you need to think about how much you have to change over the coming weeks to cater for it or use your emergency fund for those maintenance things that pop up. That’s what an emergency fund is for anyway right!
We also feel it balances itself out over time anyway once you find your rhythm. One week for example, in Airlie Beach – it is a holiday/island vibe where you want to be staying amongst the features therefore no free camping, doing tours, eating and drinking out. Where as you may go inland where there is more free camping available and your activities are visiting natural features such as waterfalls, fishing/swimming in the creeks and rivers, and taking kids to playgrounds or parks.