Spend less on the road
Carol Prates

Carol Prates

A Brazilian girl living the dream in Australia

6 Ways To Spend Less On The Road

6 Ways To Spend Less On The Road

For many years I got inspired by travel blogs and their stories about people who left everything behind to go on a road trip for a week, a month or a year! I was fascinated with that lifestyle and freedom of being able to travel for as much as you like and stop whenever you feel like but everything has a price and you have to be smart to spend less while travelling on the road.
 
In February 2015 I did my first trip by van exploring South of New Zealand for a month and from that day on I have done a LOT of road trips in Australia and it can be very expensive If you don’t pay attention on little things.
 
 

Here are 6 ways to spend less on the road:

1. Don't pay for a coffee every morning. Make your own coffee instead

Let’s imagine you’re planning to go on a road trip for a month and you love coffee. If you buy a medium cappuccino every morning (AUD4) during your whole trip ($4 x 30 days = $120) you are dead. Ok, you’re not dead but If you are like me and you’re willing to save money for more road trips, you’re not going to spend that amount of money. You are going to make your own coffee.
 
What I did: I bought a thermal bottle and a coffee from my local supermarket ($8). Every morning I used to stop close to a small cafe or bakery and ask for hot water. Yes! They give it for free! All I had to ask was to fill out my thermal bottle and it didn’t cost any cent! It wasn’t the same as to drink a Starbucks flat white but my wallet said thank you.
 

2. Avoid paying to go to the bathroom

It really pisses me off when you go to a tourist city or activity and they charge you to use the toilet, when not charging you to pay for the toilet paper as well! One day we might end up paying to use the toilet per minute. Seriously? I can even imagine: – excuse me madam but If you want to continue to do the number 2 it’s an extra 0.50 cents.. Come on! We’re in 2019!
 
Anyways, when you’re on the road and you don’t have that amazing camper van with a beautiful toilet inside, you have to find a bathroom at least once or twice per day. Avoid paying for a bathroom and have a little look around you: you can ask a small restaurant to use their toilets, go to the closest shopping mall, check If around there is any public toilet or even go to the fast food places – McDonald’s can save your day!

3. Support the small business

Instead of having lunch at the busiest restaurant in town, why not have a look around you and try some small local cafes instead? You can even buy some fruits and vegetables on the road. If you’re travelling in New Zealand or Australia, it’s very common to find a local fruit or veggies along the road. I found even more amazing when the farmers leave a basket of bananas, onions or carrots and said: pay wherever you like for.
 

4. Get to know the Markets and Garage Sales

When I was travelling around South of New Zealand I had only one pair of pants and no jacket. Thanks for that afternoon I stopped in Kaikoura city and I found a warm coat from a local garage sale for only $5! Most travellers are selling their stuff to keep travelling light around the world. Who not stop and check out? 

5. Food waste warriors

When you’re travelling for a long time, all you want to is saving money to keep going further on the road. You try to eat without wasting, you support the locals, you plan your meals.. and you eat a piece of bread from yesterday! To be honest with you, I never saw this happened before until I travelled to New Zealand and met the owner of a small cafe who always leaves the bread from yesterday in front of the shop till closing so everyone can come and get it! I saw another place where you can leave food for other people to take for free and also a small local business distributing fruit and vegetables to everyone on the streets – all the food that would otherwise go to waste.

6. Don't be shy (or you're going to lost the best part)

Imagine the scenario: you have been travelling by van for a month and eating canned food and instant meals for more than two weeks. You see a camper van parking beside you and seems like their cooking an amazing dinner. What do you do?
 
a) Nothing. I don’t talk to strangers.
b) I stick at the back of their van just to smell their food.
c) I go and say hi! Introduce myself and ask If they can borrow me a pan for a minute!
 
When I was travelling in New Zealand I saw a cute old couple cooking their meals at the car parking by the river and I couldn’t stop myself to check their amazing equipped camper van and asked them If I could use the stove to make a quick meal.
 
What happened later? We spent hours talking about our travel experiences and stories on the road. Believe or not: a lot of people travel alone and all they want is a good company to talk to so don’t be shy to say hi next time.

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Hi, I’m Carol, a Brazilian native, who left all behind to learn a new language, travel and live overseas. Living in Australia since 2013, now working remotely from the coolest cafes along my way, I’ve explored so many places and found beauty everywhere I go!

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