21 ways to travel further for less

Ningaloo Coast - Winderbandi, WA by Jennifer Cumming is budget priced camping with million dollar views!
Ningaloo Coast - Winderbandi, WA by Jennifer Cumming is budget priced camping with million dollar views!

Known as the “RV Traveller’s Bible”, we really do have the know-how to stretch your dollars so you can travel further and longer! Go straight to the end of the list to save the big bucks!

1. Choose to camp

It doesn’t matter if it is with a swag, a roof top tent, traditional tent or a deluxe RV – if you choose to camp, then your nightly accommodation rates are slashed! You can see what sites are suitable for your set up, in each of our campsite listings.

2. Set up for self contained

Note that self contained vehicles can also attract a cheaper rate. So if you set yourself up for a toilet on board, and collect your grey water as well (shower, washing up etc) – you should also look forward to cut price rates at many sites. (Rules change site to site though, so ask first.)

3. Opt for unpowered sites

Choose unpowered sites versus powered sites for more savings. You still can access toilet and shower facilities, but receive a reduction in fees. 

4. Ask for family rates

Whether it is a farm stay, caravan park or showground – you often have to pay extra for additional people and children. This adds up if you travel with four kids (now adult prices), like us. So – do they offer a family rate? This is fixed rate for one family, regardless of numbers of children. If they do, thank them, and add this to the CAMPS AUSTRALIA WIDE App.

Friendly CAMPS travellers at Jericho Showgrounds, QLD where it was bargain $15 a powered camp site per night. Bonus if you pay for two nights the third night is free! Only $5 for tents!

5. Check for deals

It is also worth checking sites to see if and when they offer a special like a children friendly deal. If they have ‘kids stay free’ or ‘bonus night’ – that’s money saved that you can use to travel even longer! 

6. Check the ages that fees apply

Caravan parks start applying children’s rates at different ages. For example your 2 and 4 year old could attract normal rates or no rates, depending where you have booked. The same applies when children rates merge into adult prices. For instance, a 14 year old could be charged at children’s or adult prices, depending on the park. Check ahead! 

7. Ask for single rates

If you travel on your own, when you book ahead ask if they have prices for one instead of a couple. Although your rig takes up a similar space, you are only using half the facilities that a couple would. If they do – please add it to your review on the CAMPS AUSTRALIA WIDE App.

8. Do they offer a flat rate for sites?

Some properties ask for a fee per site, or vehicle, rather than basing it on number of people. Again, this is a big saver not just for families, but groups. You often find this in farm stays. 

9. Extra person charges 

When you are comparing prices if there are several options to choose from – look at the extra ‘per person’ or ‘per child’ rates. They can add up quite quickly! 

10. Weekly rates

If you plan on staying for a few days or a week – see if they have a STAY 7, PAY 5 or similar arrangement. Others offer a flat weekly rate that can work out much cheaper. 

11. Caravan park membership

Members generally receive discounts at every park that belongs to the group e.g. Kui Parks.  It often doesn’t cost much for an annual membership fee. Do your research first to find out which brand you are more likely to stay with. Some offer all the bells and whistles – like a jumping pillow and swimming pool. Others provide a more basic level of facilities, which might be exactly what you are wanting. Also look into where parks are located, so you can see what works best for your road trip or short breaks away!

12. Compare fuel and gas pricing

The CAMPS AUSTRALIA WIDE APP has live fuel pricing, updated every 20 minutes, so you can compare and save as your travel. This also applies for gas bottle refills so you can compare prices on your road trip.

13. National park fees

In some states, you need to pay fees to enter certain national parks, or all of them. This is on top of the camping rates. If you find a PARKS PASS like in WA, and you’ll be in that state or territory for a while – join up. You can secure a neat saving with this, that will make you smile every time you drive into a new National Park. 

Remember, any site that has this $ symbol offers a budget price.

14. Look for budget sites

Instead of choosing higher priced caravan parks or campsites, opt for more economical types of camping. Budget sites are generally found in national parks, state forests, RV parks, showgrounds, pubs and all other camping types with this symbol. 

Northeast Park, in Scottsdale Tasmania is a pet friendly, donation site with loads of facilities

Northeast Park, in Scottsdale Tasmania is a pet friendly, donation site with loads of facilities

CAMPS donation site symbol

15. Give donation sites a go

There are a healthy number of donation sites out there, too. This means you choose how much to give for the night. Remember, your dollars here serve as a fundraiser for a local charity, or a rural committee and really help keep a community surviving. These sites are generally council run or community owned – like a community hall or sportsground, picnic area or park. 

16. Enjoy free camping

Or go for the ultimate in fees – FREE sites. Remember, less cost generally equals less facilities. But you may be surprised – some districts are very generous with the quality of their free camps, because they know campers give back to their towns. It is well documented that campers purchase fuel, meals, groceries, entertainment and tours – plus repairs to vehicles, gas, souvenirs etc. It’s a long list! 

Julia Creek RV Stop, QLD is free!

Free camps include most rest areas, picnic areas, state forests (all NSW State forests camping are no cost), many pub stays (for patrons), plus some parks and recreation grounds.

We describe Free and Donation sites as FREEDOM camping – the symbol to look for these sites is this.

CAMPS FREEDOM camping symbol

But in our CAMPS AUSTRALIA WIDE App it is best to search using the price range filters.

Freedom sites often have the bonus of wide open spaces, near nature or wildlife, walking trails, rivers or other water sources. They may also be super busy in peak periods, and many don’t have the option to book ahead.

Free for patrons and pet friendly, the riverfront Coopernook Hotel in NSW even has a book swap for travellers, a boat ramp and great meals! 

CAMPS pub camping symbol

17. A special mention for pub camping

Some hotels charge camping rates, others are free for patrons. If free, it means you DO need to relax at the bar with a drink, support their bottleshop, or shout yourselves to a meal. Sometimes it will work out cheaper. We’ve found we are more likely to splurge on a night out with no washing up! It may cost more, but we generally had fun chatting to the publican, other locals or travellers and we bring home great memories! 

Camps Cookbook - Mini Quiche18. Camp cooking

There’s no doubt about it! Camp cooking is going to save you money and keep you on the road for longer, compared to purchasing takeaways and eating out. However, part of the fun of travel is experiencing other cuisines and communities. How can we forget the Bollon Burger, the croc at Home Valley Station or the iced vo vo biscuits from Kilcoy bakery? Sampling local delights is part of our own camping lore. 

(By the way – we have over one hundred money-saving camping favourites, plus hacks in the CAMPS Community Cook Book!)

CAMPS Fishing symbol

19. Fish for your dinner! 

No doubt about it, you can save big bucks on your groceries if you’re always bringing home a catch! Not only is fish and seafood super healthy, it is tasty too. And economical (let’s not count all the fishing gear, bait, boats etc!) Look out for this symbol in our books and App to find camping sites that offer fishing. 

20. Farm gate stalls

We love ’em! They are mostly cheap, local and super fresh because they haven’t been shipped off to the city markets and back again. We get to chat with locals and learn about farms, sometimes, too. Meanwhile our dollars help local farmers. 

Wolvi Grove, QLD doesn’t just have a farm gate – it also has budget priced farm camping!

PS We also love supporting local wineries, and breweries – but I don’t know that it works out more economical! It certainly enhances our trip and is a great consumable present or souvenir when we arrive home!

21. Buy the CAMPS guides 

For an initial investment, travellers with the CAMPS guides tell us they recoup the price of the books within 2 or 3 nights away. Of course, if you are travelling with a tribe – it might only take one night’s saved accommodation fees to cover the cost of a book! Purchase the latest books, and you receive an App download for FREE!

One last little saving for the family!

Once you have completed your account registration on the CAMPS AUSTRALIA WIDE App you can log in the same account on multiple devices, or create multiple accounts using Family sharing.

If you would like to set up multiple accounts under one subscription, so you and your partner can have your own favourites, trips etc, you must enable Family sharing on both devices.

Check out our FAQ on our website to assist!  

Please help us preserve this way of life on the road – and remember to leave no trace. 

Seven Principles of Leave No Trace

  1. Plan ahead and prepare
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  3. Dispose of waste properly
  4. Leave what you find 
  5. Minimise campfire impacts
  6. Respect wildlife
  7. Be considerate of your hosts and other visitors – for more information visit www.lnt.org.au



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