7 ways to save your travel dollars when petrol prices soar

It is encouraging to hear that the record level petrol prices won’t be stopping RV travellers and campers in Australia.

Here’s a list to help you stretch the budget further, despite wallets hit harder at the petrol bowsers.

1. It’s about the journey, not the distance

One way to slow down petrol spend, is to decrease your daily distances. Last year it took us eight hours to travel to our campsite, sixty minutes away. Plus it was fun! We found state forests, lookouts, historical trails as well as a pub!

Yes, this may mean you’ll cover less of Australia each month – or week, but it doesn’t mean your travels won’t be any less memorable.

Drop into visitor information centres for local knowledge. As well as paid tours, they can suggest town walks, hikes, or other free and budget activities in their area. You’ll be surprised at how much there is to see and do in each community!

Helpful volunteers at Bingara Information Centre, NSW
Helpful volunteers at Bingara Information Centre, NSW

2. Rethink your itinerary 

If time is limited for your holiday – there are a few things you can try. Can you split your trip plan up and make it into two separate journeys? For Instance, instead of the whole lap…travel up the centre through SA and NT and down through WA back across the Nullabor one year, and next year travel Victoria, NSW and QLD. 

Another option is to explore closer to home. Not only will you save some bucks, you can take more time to ‘smell the roses’ – walk, birdwatch, swim, check out the history and talk to locals. 

Focus on a region, rather than passing through. Find a circuit that really appeals – here are some of our favourite road trips in NSW.

Choose a theme – like the silo art trail, birdwatching, bush pubs, festivals… The list is endless. The best I heard this week was a circuit of bush races. We’ve only been to Roma’s Picnic Races in Queensland – I would love to see some more.

Heatley and Michelle at the Roma's Picnic Races in Queensland
Heatley and Michelle at the Roma's Picnic Races in Queensland

3. Stay in more free, donation and budget camps compared to $+ sites

Make up the shortfall in your wallet by adding freedom camping to your list. National Parks and State Forests are normally in the lower price range, and depending on the state, state forests may be free, too. 

If you check our campsite guides, CAMPS 11 or CAMPS Pendium, you’ll see that free camps aren’t just isolated rest areas. Some are in lovely country towns, beside wineries or even next to a waterfall

How's this for FREE waterfront views at Sloop Reef, Bay of Fires, Tasmania - and it is pet friendly! 
How's this for FREE waterfront views at Sloop Reef, Bay of Fires, Tasmania - and it is pet friendly! 

4. Check petrol prices in advance

The CAMPS AUSTRALIA WIDE App includes updated petrol prices every 20 minutes so you can compare and save. Just click on the petrol station icons to find the prices. 

5. Get further discounts on petrol

Keep your receipts with offers, use any memberships that push the litre price down a few cents. 

Keep your receipts with offers

6. Look for jobs as you travel 

Many of our travellers find all types of work as they lap Australia – there are many sites and pages where you can search for jobs. You can top up the coffers, access subsidised accommodation or camping, and be a tourist on your days off! 

Work around Australia like the lovely couple we met at Eulo Store, QLD, last year
Work around Australia like the lovely couple we met at Eulo Store, QLD, last year

7. Keep your income rolling in

Some travellers we’ve met balance travel with FIFO (fly in, fly out) employment – and just park the van up when they have to fly back to shifts. Others negotiate to continue working in their current role, sometimes with reduced hours. Remote work like this, means returning to your role is seamless. (And employers are more likely to keep valued employees.) Some tell us they cash in bottles and cans to boost their pension. 

Tough job but someone’s gotta do it! Downfall Creek Camp, Atherton Tablelands, Queensland by CAMPS Ambassadors Manda and Daniel from Overland Exposure.

Here’s 21 more ways to travel further for less – including tips for families, singles, self contained vehicles and even camp cooking cost cutters!

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