How to save money whilst travelling on the road
The reason you go caravanning is to enjoy this great country in an affordable way. Along the way there are several ways to make your dollar take you further. Some of these might be very familiar, even if you pick up one or two tips that help save some money then you're in front.
If you are looking to buy a towing vehicle, it is widely accepted that diesel is the best option in terms of fuel economy and you can use as much as 25-30% less fuel to comparable petrol engines and diesel is available Australia wide. LPG has some advantages, however the price in remote areas can rise significantly and sometimes the best option is a Petrol/LPG dual fuel option, but this does take up valuable space.
Regardless of what type of fuel your vehicle uses, it is more important that you know what is the optimum fuel-consumption speed, generally around 80km/h. After all it's not about how quick you can get there but taking the time to enjoy the trip at a safe and economical pace.
Take advantage of the fuel saving dockets associated with the major super markets 4 cents a litre doesn't sound much, but it all adds up when your on the road on a big trip.
Check out the offers of fuel cards with the major petrol companies, there can be savings worth considering before you take to the road.
Tyre pressures are important for driving in general but even more critical on long distance trips. The maximum pressures recommended by manufacturers should be maintained and checked regularly and on dirt roads conditions 10-15% lower to avoid tyre damage.
When planning your next caravanning adventure consider the prevailing winds, sounds unusual but it is acknowledged that travelling west across the Nullabor uses considerable more fuel than east and the same when heading to the centre of Australia from the north rather than the south. So plan your trip accordingly.
Prevailing winds sometimes are out of our control but the drag effect of excess baggage on roof racks is. Excessive baggage and overloading of your vehicle are major contributors to poor fuel economy.
Saving money isn't just about your car, there are other ways of saving. Here are some other suggestions:
- Avoid paying premium rates during high season periods and school holidays in particular.
- Caravanning is all about freedom and flexibility but planning avoids some of the pitfalls of unknown destinations. A little time on the web or reviewing maps of the region can be well worthwhile.
- Always travel with all of your concession cards, you never know when they might come in handy. If you're a member of an automobile club make sure you check out your entitlements at affiliated clubs and associations to take full advantage of your membership.
- Check out the caravan parks like the 'Big 4' group for discounts and membership cards, some may require a small membership fee but offer good savings on park fees and offer many other benefits.
- You'll save money when caravanning by cooking your own meals. Often the best way is to purchase the basic staples in bulk and buy perishables such as bread, milk, meat, vegies and fruit as you travel.
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