Want to know our secrets of rent-free travel?
If you read our budget article from a few posts back you’ll know how much we spend each week on the road. After getting some good experience travelling we now budget between just $0 – $50 a week for accommodation – only staying at caravan parks when we need to recharge the bus batteries (we’re not fully off the grid or on solar yet).
Here are the top ways that we succeed with rent free travel around Australia
We’ve been absolutely blown away by the quality and volume of free camps on our journey so far. Our bus isn’t self contained so we always stay at places with toilets – we’ve also found free camps with hot showers too! The best way to find places to camp in Australia in our opinion is the Wikicamps app. Rent free travel made easy!
Wikicamps is a smart phone app that helps users find free camps, caravan parks, dump points, day use areas and places of interest. The camps on there are also rated by users so you can always find out if the camp will be suitable for your vehicle. Once downloaded on your phone you simply search by place name, or by filters, to find a camp to stay at. We always search for free camps that are dog friendly and have toilets – there are over 1100 of these around Australia. If you’re not travelling with a pet then you will find 1500 camps, if you’re pet free and self contained there are a whopping 5600 free camps listed. Top tip – remember to check donation only camps too – quite often these are run by volunteers and have hot showers, BBQs and even kitchen facilities at some. You leave what you can afford in a donation box located somewhere at the camp.
There is also a great website called Free Camping in Australia – with maps, guides and advice for free and low cost camps around the country.
One of our favourite places was a farm in NSW where we got to look after goats, sheep, cows and dogs – we stayed for 6 weeks and it was beautiful to get away from it all and live the farm life for a while. When you’re traveling full time in a bus, caravan or camper trailer it’s really nice to have all the mod cons of a house for a few weeks. Most places we’ve been give you access to their car, Netflix and wifi for your stay too. If you’re interested in signing up or searching all the sitter listings for free head over and have a look here.
WWOOF stands for Willing Workers On Organic Farms and is an international volunteer program to connect host farms and travellers. You exchange 4-6 hours per day for accommodation and meals – and get a taste of local life and culture.
WWOOF Australia has over 1500 host farms looking for helpers – and it’s a great way for the kids to learn about farming and where our food comes from.
Joining WWOOF has a heap of benefits too – including a great online community and $10,000 insurance to cover your stay. You can search host farms via a map, the website or a free mobile app.
WFA – Rent Free Travel and Work
Like WWOOFing but without the farm necessity – WFA is working for your accommodation. There are loads of jobs around Australia where your board is included as part of the package – and some of these are perfect for families (farmstays etc). Head over to our blog about how to find work on the road in Australia to find some Facebook groups that post jobs for families around the country. You can also search on Gumtree for volunteer jobs – these are mainly jobs that are helping out on a property or in a home in exchange for accommodation.
We’ve not tried this one yet but recently heard that there are couchsurfing options available for rent free travel for families too – great if you’re visiting a capital city or an area where camping is not as easy. It’s also a brilliant way to make new friends and learn about the culture of an area. You can visit the Couchsurfing website here – it’s free to sign up.
Like couchsurfing but with friends and family! One of the greatest things about traveling Australia is getting to meet up with people who we’ve not seen for ages. Family and friends who moved interstate are top of the list – and it’s amazing how many people offer their house, or garden to park up in, for a few nights.
We’ve also met new friends on the road who have given us their details to go and stay along the way – and these meetings forge the kind of friendships where they’ll come and visit you when you’ve settled down too.
We’ve got people to visit all over Australia and it’s great to get the local knowledge of the area too.
Rent Free Travel
Do you save money on accommodation while you travel? We’d love to here of any more money saving tips – comment below!