I belong to several Facebook Groups (FB) to do with travelling in Australia and utilising either free camping or low cost camping and occasional caravan park style accommodation solutions.
Most of these discussions centre around either making money on road or the cost of travelling this great country of ours.
There are so many FB Groups that most people are aware of the existence of this type of group. Of the groups I am a member of topics like these are discussed:
free camping or low cost camping,
- the price of fuel and
- petrol versus diesel vehicles.
The reason that these three things become issues on a regular basis is mostly to do with money, or more importantly the cost of travelling.
Many FB groups discuss these issues, and many great ideas are presented, with some very interesting results.
The cost of travelling Australia
The range of thoughts concerning the travelling costs of doing the BIG Lap of Australia is phenomenal, anywhere from $500 to $600 a week to around $1000 a week is frequently discussed, as is another way of measuring the cost – $1.00 per kilometre driven.
Whilst planning for our recently completed Sydney to Perth (and return) trip we estimated that out total cost would be in the vicinity of $6000 to $7000 for a 2 month free camping road trip. This included allowing for extra expenses along the way, simply because we thought it prudent.
Once we got under way we were able to meet our expected budget until we got to South Australia. That is when things started to astray, cat trouble, car trouble and soaring costs.
Even with me being able to service and repair the vehicle, maintain all of our gear including the camper trailer (which actually did not cost a cent in maintenance) our costs started to spiral past the worst case scenario and we were not even at a 1/3 of the way through our trip.
It seemed that specific cost saving plans we made did not come to fruition, as I dot point here:
- We expected to free camp 40 to 45 days of our 60 day trip, however 30 free camping nights resulted.
- We expected to cook our own food, coffee etc most of the time (ie 40 out 60 nights) – result: less than half!
- Pet food and expenses spiralled out of control – 2 vet visits, the cat stopped eating normal food.
In the end, the addition of these expenses and also vehicle repairs necessitating additional accommodation costs saw our final costs for the whole trip amount to around the number of kilometres that we travelled.
We travelled approximately 10,000 kilometres, and the cost matched that in terms of dollars ($).
The cost per kilometre basis for funding a trip has since become our preferred method of determining our budget, even for trips of around a month.
Earning money when travelling
Most people naturally assume that any comments relating to making money when travelling refers to the older person who has retired. However, this could not be further from the truth, as there are many who now take their children out of school and do the BIG Lap of Australia.
If you were to consider the costs of travel then you would be forgiven for saying that it is too expensive, especially when you factor in mortgage costs, no income and plenty of hungry mouths to feed.
One of the big attractions for me in travelling our country has been the ‘ideal’ that whenever someone is in trouble, others will stop to help. This got me to thinking about making money, and no not from those stranded and in need of help, that would be so far from the Australian way as to being unethical and bordering on criminal.
I am referring to those times when you are free camping or staying in a caravan park.
There can be two categories here:
- “Grey Nomads”
- Experienced (and qualified) trades people
The Grey Nomad
After a lifetime of work many Grey Nomads frequently have skills which will allow them to make small amounts of money when travelling, skills like:
- knitting, sewing, crocheting
- clothing alterations
- hair dressing
- computer repairs
- basic car / vehicle maintenance
- wheel bearing re-greasing or replacement checks
- rotation of tyres
- 12 volt / solar panel solutions
- electrical system issues
- pet minding / walking
amongst other things.
Simply by putting a sign out when you arrive advertising your
services, or put stickers on your car however I would certainly talk
with the park owners if that is ok, and in the event that others are
already offering these services – a chat would be wise.
Perhaps you could agree to not advertise when they are there, but as soon as they move on you could advertise your own services.
This form of income earning is not going to make you an overnight
millionaire but it will help a lot as you travel. By earning $50 to $100
a week you can enjoy some “coffee and cake” surprises once a week.
Experienced and qualified travellers
As I mentioned above there are many who take their children out of school and travel.
The responsibility for their education is an issue to be addressed, and there are FB groups to assist in this area too.
In addition, if you have a mortgage then there will most likely be a need for earning of extra income as you travel, even if you can manage to rent out your house for the duration of the trip.
Frequently people will have certain skills which make them suitable for specific jobs, or they may have undertaken a course, such as “Caravan Park Management”.
There are many skills which can be taken on road, more of them could be:
- garden maintenance
- landscaping skills
- office management skills
- canvas repairs, the list goes on and on …