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Trekking Downunder

Road Tripping Families - 1 Year Expense Budget

This article has been written and provided by Trekking Downunder.

We are a young family of 5 currently overlanding around Australia full-time. Our experience includes Outback remote travel, road/homeschooling, blogs, budgets, reviews, radio and digital magazines. We hit the road in early 2018 and have never looked back! We share our knowledge of travelling with kids and hope to inspire other's to take the plunge and live a more meaningful and intentional life! -Ryan and Amy
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Our trip expenses for Year 1

15/3/18-14/3/19 Blaxland, NSW to St Marys, TAS (Furthest points-Mt. Isa QLD to Cockle Creek TAS)

I’ve said it before and I still think it to be so true, It sure does take a lot of love and dedication to spend 24/7 with your family, especially in a confined space. Well we have successfully lived in an 18ft van with 5 people for 1 year = 12 months = 365 days, without incident.

Sure we’ve had our challenges; building our blog, working remotely, lack of sleep, a toddler who grew all his teeth over the first 7months of our trip, a very ‘Mr Independent’ toddler for the last 3months of the year, schooling disasters, a van upgrade, learning to work on water shortages, travelling the outback and a handful more. Each ‘challenge’, whether we created them, would have experienced them back home or simply had no idea they were coming, was triumphantly overcome and we adapted to every single one. We have rarely argued or disagreed- but rather we grabbed hold of the freedom we were handed the day we left and we legged it ahead into the face of adventure.

We originally left due to having no family time together with Ryan working big hours and now after a year... we will never be the same and we are all so very excited for many more years of travel ahead!

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Here is how our first year of nomadic life looked

  • 📆365 days.
  • 🛣 Km’s Travelled = 35,766km
  • 📍Litres of Diesel used = 6,531.11L
  • 🚌 L/100km average =18.26L/100km

💰$49,515.79 = $949.60/wk*

(*Minus major outliers- Christmas expenses, major car expenses, major van expenses and business expenses)

💎$57,131.88 = $1,095.70/week**

(**Inclusive of absolutely every expense we had over our first 12 months)

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Other Expenses

  • ⛽️Diesel fills x65 =$9,125.79 ($175/wk) (also includes jerry can fills)
  • 🚙Parking x3 =$31
  • 🌿NP pass x4 =$206
  • ⛴Ferries x2 =$102.80
  • 🚢SOT return ticket =$1,705.18

Accommodation Expenses

⛺️TOTAL ACCOMMODATION x365 =$571 ($10.95/wk)

  • Free camp x299 nights =$0 (Includes short stays with family/friends, 1x house sit, 3x nights covered by NP pass)
  • Low cost camp (>$15) x56 nights =$376
  • Medium cost camp (>$30) x5 nights =$115
  • National Park camp x4 nights =$80
  • Moderate cost/ Caravan park x1 night = Free (Sponsored)

Cleaning Expenses

🛁TOTAL (PAID) CLEANING x33 =$150 ($2.90/wk)

  • Showers (paid) x4 =$4
  • Washing/ drying (paid) x17 =$57
  • Car/ van wash (paid) x12 =$89
  • 🔥Gas Refill x5 =$86.79 ($1.65/wk)
  • 🛒Grocery shops x174 =$17,284.77 ($331.50/wk)
  • (Includes food, cleaning products, disposable nappies and baby wipes)
  • 🍩Eating out/ beverages x103 =$3,058.37 ($58.65/wk)
  • 🍻Alcohol x0 =$0 ($0/wk)

Expereince Expenses

🎡TOTAL EXPERIENCES x242 =$1,537.38 ($29.50/wk)

  • Free x192 =$0
  • Fee x50 =$1,537.38
  • 🙏🏼Donations x20 =$46.55 (Includes camp ground donations)
  • 🛍Purchases/ Luxuries x83 =$1,624.74 ($31.15/wk)
  • (Non-essential items; includes family gifts/ birthday presents, postcards, postage stamps, postage, travel music/ games etc)
  • 🎅🏼Christmas purchases x18 =$1,072.45
  • (Includes cards, stamps, iTunes music, gifts for family and our boys plus postage)

Incidental Expenses

🛠TOTAL INCIDENTALS =$14,294.79 ($274.15/wk)

  • Car x28 =$5,699.94
  • (Minor items and services/ parts plus also includes major items ie replacement car fridge battery, new roof racks, new tyres, ORS draw system and ORS 45L water tank= $3,249)
  • Van x47 = $2,571.51
  • (Minor items plus also includes major items ie additional 120W solar panel and new van (Matrix PT) carpet= $1,249.80)
  • Business x18 =$2,044.84
  • (Includes set up and all related expenses for both TDU and OTM)
  • Adults x47 =$2,440.17 (Includes clothing, shoes, medications)
  • Kids x42 =$745.48 (Includes clothing, shoes, bedding, medications)
  • School x7 =$792.85 (Includes 2x CEA school programs= $565)
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Outgoing Bills

Vehicle Registration Expenses

🚧TOTAL REGO+ x2 =$1,124.44 ($21.55/wk) *Car and van are both personally owned.

  • Car rego and green slip =$914.30
  • Van rego =$210.14

Insurance Expenses

💵TOTAL INSURANCES x2 =$2,730.27 ($52.35/wk)

  • Car Insurance x12 =$1,315.77
  • Van Insurance x12 =$1,414.50

Phone Expenses

📱TOTAL PHONE BILLS x4 =$2,108.16 ($40.45/wk)

  • Amy’s phone x12 =$862.28
  • Ryan’s phone x12 =$619
  • Sat phone x12 =$548.94
  • Black Knight x6 =$77.94

Website and Marketing Apps Expenses

💻TOTAL APPS x3 =$271.40 ($5.20/wk)

  • Wix x12 =$79.82
  • iCloud x12 =$17.88
  • Adobe x =$173.70
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How far could $50K take your family in a year?

We are looking forward to year 2 and making a few adjustments to our priorities, improving our spending habits. How will we do this you ask? We will share a review, with our ideas and goals in a ‘First-year expense budget breakdown’- check out our website for updates!

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New Families/ Travelers we’ve met

  1. Oztrail’n Adventures (March)
  2. Barrett Family (February)
  3. ‘The Bus’ Family (February)
  4. Lost Wondering (January)
  5. Four Hand in a Tin Can (January)
  6. Wentworth Family (January)
  7. Aussie Destinations Unknown (January)
  8. Yarrington Family (January)
  9. Marshall Family (December)
  10. Bracken Family (October)
  11. Galway’s Go Round (September)
  12. One Day We Should (August)
  13. Purcell Family (August)
  14. Munros Making Memories (August)
  15. Livan’ For Now (August)
  16. Nine to Five Evasion (July)
  17. Travel Outback Australia (July)
  18. The Gate Escape (July)
  19. Not Working Tomorrow (July)
  20. Have Gear, Lotsa Beer And Some Idea (July)
  21. Take The M.A.P (June)
  22. Hurst’s On An Adventure (June)
  23. Trip In A Van (May)
  24. Caravanning With Kids (May)
  25. 08 Feet Travelling Australia (May)
  26. Hockings Home Away From Home (April)
  27. Wander to Wonder (April
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The BEST of where we went

More great reads by Trekking Downunder



Interested in a full-time road trip with the family and not sure where to start? We caught up with Ryan from Trekking Downunder to hear all about his extensive research when planning, and his top 10 road trip essentials for families.


Travelling Tassie in the van, or looking for a great family weekend destination? We caught up with Ryan and Amy from Trekking Downunder to hear all about their recent trip to Sandy Cape, on Tassie's West Coast.

Keen to read more about of Amy and Ryans awesome Lap of Oz? Check out their website or follow them on Facebook!