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Welcome to a new series we’re running on Why Wait, called How Much Does it Cost to Travel?
The goal of this series is to provide you with real budgets people have used for trips they have actually taken. This could be anything from a long weekend in Miami to 6 months backpacking around South East Asia. It’s our hope that by shining a spotlight on what people are actually spending- and the value they get for it, you will have a better idea of what it really costs to travel.
All of the travel budgets will live on this dedicated page.
If you’re interested in contributing to this series please send me an email using the contact form on the site.
Today’s travel budget is from Lauren Fitzpatrick of Lateral Movements.
Where did you go?
My husband and I spent 16 days road-tripping Tasmania.
Briefly, what was your itinerary?
We flew in and out of Hobart from Melbourne and traveled around the state in a campervan. For the most part we stuck to the coast, but also went inland to see Cradle Mountain and caught the ferry to Bruny Island.
How much money did you spend overall (include plane tickets, meals, activities, accommodation, souvenirs, etc.)?
As a couple we spent approximately $3,112 USD (based on an exchange rate of 1 AUD = 0.8039 USD)
- Transport: $1,441
- Food and drink: $745
- Accommodation: $367
- Activities: $354
- Miscellaneous cash expenses (probably more food): $205
How much did you spend on transportation?
We hired an Apollo camper van and got a 10% discount for being NRMA members (similar to AAA in the US). We were also required to put a $5,000AUD deposit on our credit card, which incurred a frustrating but unavoidable fee. The deposit was refundable but the fee was not.
Altogether we spent $1,441 on transportation, though the camper van also doubled as accommodation:
- Return Jetstar flights from Melbourne to Hobart: $194
- Long-term parking for our car at Avalon airport: $114
- Campervan hire: $688 + $12 for a portable heater
- Campervan deposit fee: $82
- Fuel: $325
- Bruny Island Ferry: $26
What kind of accommodation did you stay in?
We spent our first 2 nights at an Airbnb in Hobart ($136). The remaining 14 nights ($231) were in the surprisingly comfortable campervan. The Wikicamps app was essential in helping us find caravan parks and free camps as we went; sites are peer-reviewed and you can read comments from people who have stayed previously. We found some incredible cheap or even free camp spots this way, the most memorable at Boat Harbour beach, a gorgeous spot with a public toilet nearby.
Our campervan keys came with a keychain that entitled us to a 10% discount at any caravan park affiliated with Big 4, Discovery, or Family Parks. We’re also Top Tourist members and get 10% off at Top Tourist parks. We budgeted $24 a night for a site but ended up paying less on average, thanks to the free camps.
What sort of activities did you do?
There are so many beautiful national parks in Tasmania, easily accessible with a National Parks pass ($48 per vehicle, valid for 8 weeks). We hiked to Wineglass Bay, up Marion’s Lookout at Cradle Mountain, and to the top of the Nut in Stanley.
We also joined a wine tour of the Tamar Valley from Launceston ($201), visited the Port Arthur Historic Site ($60), and went to the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart ($45). Other than that, we ate and drank so much that I would qualify it as an activity. I came to Tasmania really excited about the food and wine, and we definitely had a good crack at experiencing as much as possible.
What did you splurge on? Was it worth it?
Definitely food and wine. We cooked many of our meals, but allocated more money to eating out and having drinks than we would during a regular 2 weeks on the road. The wine tour was a splurge, but well worth it. Tasmania’s foodie scene is incredible. In my regular life I have to talk myself out of stopping at every ice cream shop I pass, but in Tassie all bets were off.
I would highly recommend spending the money to visit Port Arthur and MONA. Port Arthur was originally a convict settlement and it’s an eerie place to visit. MONA is an underground art museum built into a cliff face and it ranks among the weirdest but most fascinating museums I’ve ever been to.
What did you scrimp on? Are you happy with that decision?
We saved the most money on our accommodation, particularly by doing some free camps. I loved the freedom and flexibility we had in the camper van; though we had a rough idea of where we were headed each day, we weren’t locked into anything. Definitely worth the savings.
Did you purchase any special souvenirs?
I bought a dress during the seasonal sales in Launceston ($18), but other than that I ate all of my memories.
Did you do anything special to save up for this trip?
Tasmania was part of our big Australian road trip, which we spent roughly 2 years saving for. While living in Newcastle, NSW we put money away every month ‘for the trip,’ though for a long time we didn’t have a fixed departure date. I do some freelance writing while we’re on the road, so that helps bring in cash. My husband is Australian and I’m a permanent resident so fortunately we’re able to stop and work as we travel.
Do you have any regrets regarding how you budgeted this trip? Would you do things differently next time?
No. As much as I like having a comfy bed each night, the positives of the campervan far outweighed the minor negatives.
Anything else to add?
We’re traveling Australia with a car and camper trailer, and initially planned to take the overnight ferry from Melbourne to Tasmania. After researching prices we realized it was cheaper to leave the trailer at a friend’s place in Melbourne, park the car in long-term parking at the airport, fly over, and hire the van.
I loved Tasmania; it’ll always be one of the highlights of Australia for me.