As we approach 8 weeks on the road, I thought it was time to do a little update.
We are truly loving it & I can't imagine returning to a simple life again - uh oh.
Everyones first question is how much does it cost?
We spent god knows how much preparing to leave - bull bar, canopy, lights, fancy things, new cooking things, expensive doonas, new bedding etc. Which we could have got away with not doing - but it made us happy so why not! But easily spent $50k including the brand new camper trailer. So our savings looked REALLY good when we first set a date then kept getting smaller and smaller lol.
Luke thought we could get away with $800 per week - LOL (we don't include home bills in our tracking either - that's just life as we have house sitters at home keeping our dog company). Reality? We don't do under $1,600. There was once, when we were on the island for 8 days and got it down to $1,200.
But we do aim for $1,500 a week. Ill get into the details later in this post.
The biggest killer? FOOD.
But you have to eat, and if you don't eat you die, so may as well enjoy the steak sangas for lunches and leave the Vegemite sandwiches for the days you cbf. Like last nights dinner, it was English muffins as minis pizzas - and the kids thought it was a treat! So far we have spent $4k on meals - but again, we would probably spend more if we lived at home as we ate out a lot more.
What we didn't realise was NSW & QLD absolutely SUCK for free camping.... & we don't feel comfortable setting up a camper at the back of a pub with 3 young kids - so i'd rather pay the $45 caravan unpowered site fee and have a shower and toilet access. We have said once we hit Mackay onwards, we will start free camping more though as some of the free campsites look so gorgeous - Notch point I'm looking at you!!
Adjusting to life on the road. How has it been?
Easier than social media made it out to be!
I think because we have been using caravan parks 90% of the time, adjusting to that side of it has been easy! The camper trailer is great but christ we are jealous of caravans setting off before 10am and all they had to do to pack up is put away the annex, lol.
The first month I absolutely had some days screaming at the kids, one day I cried because I had just had enough of the kids bickering, talking and touching me lol. That's a day Seth won't forget, but again now I can just say to him "if you don't stop, im going to cry" and he feels bad and generally calms down a bit lol.
Mia & Willa are just explorers, the quiet adventurers so they are always needing to be watched and checked on, whereas Seth makes friends anywhere and everywhere we go - the first words are "can I go make friends now?". They have always been good travellers and campers too - They were born for the outdoors.
How do we plan our stops?
Wikicamps app - $8 best money spent ever.
We have created a "plan" and then whilst on the road I check Facebook groups for recommendations, then open up wiki apps and check each site that is of interest and read the reviews. We try not to book anything in advance to keep our options open and never have to deal with non-refundable deposits. Although, for school holidays I highly recommend booking in early (it also saves you money!) But in off peak season it can pay to do a last minute booking as sometimes they reduce the price.
Caravan park memberships
TAWK - Travel Australia with kids (some caravan parks will give you 2 nights kid free)
BIG 4 www.big4.com.au
G'day parks www.g'dayparks.com
As you book more, you redeem more points for free things too! ie. Karts.
We haven't done national park pass yet as we haven't been able to camp there.
Alright back to the money side of things... I don't count every cent, but the main things I do!
Food (supermarkets and eating out) $4,000
Fuel $2,500 (no idea how many kms) fuel prices are $1.73-$1.94
Accomodation $1,400 - Paying extra for kids is a killer.
Coffee $180 (only Luke drinks coffee)
Other (shopping, hard ware, car things, surf board, clothing etc) $3,200
The one thing that has had us questioning whether we return home or not is the bloody car!
The service we have received from FORD Australia has been ridiculous... And im so sad that we aren't already further north where its warmer and more tropical - but we currently are stuck with rain for the whole week, so its not too bad not having to cancel plans. Instead we're just lapping up the beautiful town of Barbara.