Welcome to week three of our hit the road plan! This week we’re talking family lap budgets.
How have you been going so far? Hopefully we’ve given you some family travel inspiration and helped you decide what type of caravan or camper trailer you should be looking for – now it’s time to talk money!
How much will you need to head off? How much will you spend each week? Will you need to work on the road? Read on for some answers and also some tools that you can use to help you calculate your budget needs.
Family Lap Budget
Everyone’s situation is different – some might decide to work and save before leaving so they can concentrate on pure travel, while others might want to head off sooner and plan to work along the way. We did a combination of both – we worked hard and saved up for a year before heading off but have also been picking up odd jobs along the way to top up our funds. Next week we’ll be letting you in on ways that we’ve found to make money on the road so be sure to subscribe and get all our tips direct to your inbox.
One of the biggest questions that we get asked is how much we spend on the road. Our first few weeks were definitely the most expensive as we got into the hang of travelling – we were also over excited and doing all the tourist attractions and eating takeout food – and who can resist a ice cold beer in an outback pub?!
Once we had settled in to our new lifestyle though we soon got a good idea of how much we needed a week – and we soon learned what ‘luxuries’ we could do without to make our trip last longer.
How much will we need a week?
Although it may sound like a lot of money – a good ball park figure for a family of four to travel Australia is $1000 per week. Now before you stop reading, thinking that this is well outside the budget you may have had, let me break down where the figure comes from.
On road costs amount to only about half of this figure. A family of four should be able to survive comfortably spending about $250 on groceries a week – some weeks will be more and some less – but don’t forget to allow a bit more for food when travelling through remote areas – the cost of fresh food can be a lot higher than you’re used to!
What you also need to budget for is the off road costs that are easy to forget about. A lot of the costs you have at home will be gone once you’re on the road – like electricity, landlines and home internet – but there are still ongoing things that will need to be covered. We still own our house – we rent it out so still have to pay our mortgage, house insurance, water bills, council rates and agent fees, plus any maintenance costs that arise, but it is also a steady form of income for us as we travel – plus an investment for when we want to settle down (if we ever do!). We travel with our dog so have pet insurance to cover, and there are lots of vehicle costs such as registration, insurance and maintenance to pay each week. It’s also important to have a ‘rainy day’ fund – money for mechanical or medical emergencies – and you can budget an amount each week to put aside for this, so if anything does happen it won’t financially ruin your trip. We also have $50 included each week in our budget for miscellaneous – this is generally treat items – ice cream out, some beer or wine or a takeaway.
Fuel your trip
Fuel can be a massive expense that can’t be ignored! Fuel costs will depend on different factors – how far you travel each week, the fuel economy of your vehicle, the cost of fuel and how much you’re towing. We have worked out that each km costs us about 20cents (we calculated how much a tank cost to fill and how many kms we got on average per tank) so we know hot much each leg of the trip will cost.
When we were in the planning stages of our trip I put a family lap budget together to track our spending – over the months I soon learned what costs we had that would continue once we were travelling – and I created formulas to show us how much money we would need to either save before we left or to earn while we were travelling.
Free Family Lap Budget Tools
Download our on the road budget for free – you can open with excel or any spreadsheet program and enter all of your own figures to see what your family lap budget will be. If you prefer to calculate things manually you can download a pdf version here and fill in the amounts with a pen and calculator.
The instructions to use the spreadsheet are on the first page – click over to the second page to start budgeting!
Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter for weekly travel hints and inspiration – enter your details below and we’ll add you to the list. Don’t miss week 5 of our hit the road plan – how to make money while you travel.