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6 Tips for Caravanning on a Budget


Campervan in Australia (photo: Christian Haugen)

Hiring a campervan is a great way to see Australia on a small budget.

It also allows you to enjoy a flexible schedule where you can experience the open road without the constraints normally experienced on a tour bus.

Indeed, campervan hire allows you to travel in relative comfort and freedom. Hiring a campervan is simple where Mighty offers cheap affordable options and Maui Motorhome Hire is also a preferred dealer.

If you are traveling on a shoestring and it’s your first trip in a campervan, here are 6 tips to help you stick to your budget while out on the open road.

1. Make sure you get the right campervan size

Many first-time campervan travelers assume bigger is better, but bigger campervans usually come with a hefty price tag. They are also harder to drive if you are not used to driving a big vehicle.

Instead, choose a campervan that will fit all your gear and allow everyone to be comfortable. You’re probably not planning to spend all your time in the campervan so you don’t need a lot of space.

2. Sign up for camp-site loyalty programs

Of course, with a campervan, you have the freedom to spend the night wherever you wish, but if you want that bit of extra security, many caravan parks across Australia have loyalty clubs and programs that cost little or nothing to join and can save you a bundle on your nightly stays.

3. Ask your campervan company about the fuel efficiency of their cars

Fuel costs can really eat into your budget, especially if your trip will end up being more than 5,000km.

Check sites like, which can help you find the cheapest refueling option in your current location. As a precaution, always carry a can of extra fuel onboard, especially if you are heading to the Outback.

4. Plan your grocery needs a week out

Fuel stops and campsite restaurants are rarely the cheapest option – the grocery store is your best bet.

Since grocery stores aren’t always nearby, plan out a week’s worth of meals, including lots of items that don’t require refrigeration for a full week.

5. Know the terms and conditions of your campervan contract

One common mistake many travelers make is failing to read the T’s and C’s. For example, driving a 2WD vehicle on non-sealed roads may void your insurance or cost you extra to hire.

In addition, returning the vehicle with an empty tank may also mean the hire company will hit you with an extra charge.

6. Know the depot hours and make sure you return your campervan on time

Returning your vehicle after-hours often means incurring a late fee or worse yet – paying for another night’s stay.

Carefully plan the last few days of your trip so you can return your hired campervan to the depot in time.


This post was brought to you by Mighty and Maui Motorhome Rental.

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Rob (Safari Day Kenya Tours)

Tuesday 8th of October 2013

The campervans tend to make you spend much more than advertised by the hire firms as the camping ground fees are usually so high. Most people will only find out later that the campervan consumes much more gas than expected. I think a camper van is great for people that want it for a more comfortable safari but not for roughing it or budget travel.

K.T. @TheLifescape

Wednesday 2nd of October 2013

Hey! Great advice and tips.

However, we traveled via campervan in New Zealand for 40 days and found it to be WAYYY more expensive than we had planned. It guzzled WAY more gas than the company claimed. We didn't end up using our kitchen as we ate canned tuna and sandwiches everyday. We also ended up spending a TON on camping sites (even though we were 'self-contained').

So when we went to Oz to do our camping 'road-trip' we decided that we were going to REALLLY rough it and hire a hatchback and live out of the car- no tents- no kitchen - nothing.

We were able to save TONS of money in doing it this way. Our seats folded down in the back creating a bed. And we were more easily able to sleep in places we might not otherwise have been able to get away with. Ya know, Mcdonald's parking lots, shopping mall parking lots, etc. We blended.

It was actually a lot of fun to prove to ourselves that we were capable of living with SO LITTLE! and Australians are so friendly!

Great advice though!

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