Caravanning Australia reader Emily Harrison and her family embarked on a 12-month gap year to travel around the country. Head over to Part 1 first for more tips on travelling the country on a budget.
There are definitely pros and cons to travelling on a budget. You can get on the road quicker, but you have to prioritise where your money goes. We didn’t eat out very often or go to many paid tourist attractions. Our primary goal wasn’t to do and see everything. It was to spend time together as a family, to reconnect, and to explore our amazing country. We didn’t rush from campsite to campsite, we spent a few days in each place, exploring and having some downtime. It was definitely achievable on a budget.
In the end, we spent about $800 a week on living expenses (food, petrol, alcohol, eating out, gas and attractions). Our biggest expenses were food (we buy organic whenever we can) and petrol – some weeks, we spent upwards of $400 on petrol. We budgeted separately for ongoing costs like insurance and phone bills, so we didn’t keep track of that. I used my long service leave and annual leave, and we stopped a couple of times for hubby to work to help fund the trip. We made it home with money to spare, but only just!
Despite travelling on a budget, we didn’t feel like we missed out on anything. In fact, I was constantly amazed at how little we actually needed to be happy. Other than their bikes, the kids don’t need toys – give them some dirt, sticks, shells, a tree to climb or other kids to play with and they’re happy for hours at a time. Hubby and I didn’t need to watch TV or have the latest gadgets – we watched the stars and read books (and swapped them at street libraries all over the country). We didn’t need constant distraction and entertainment – we made our own fun, met new people, and enjoyed a slightly slower pace of life.
Whatever your budget and whatever your motivation, if you’re thinking about taking a family gap year, I’d say do it. Find a way to make it happen. It won’t always be easy, but it’ll be the best thing you ever do.
If you’d like to follow our journey, check out @our.family.gap.year on Instagram and Facebook, or have a look at our blog.
If you’d like to contribute to our Caravanning Australia blog as a correspondent, please send through an email to the team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Image courtesy of Emily Harrison, @our.family.gap.year