1. Buy a pack of baby wipes
A lot of Australia is extremely dry – you’ll want to save your water for drinking or cooking. Baby wipes are surprisingly good at cleaning your body and, by just using a few, you’ll feel refreshed and clean enough until your next shower. You can find a pack of 80 for as cheap as $2.50 at Coles or Woolworths and these should last you a good few weeks.
2. Download the Wikicamps Application and Fuel Map
Wikicamps is the Australian road-trip and camping bible. The application, available for $7.99 to download on smart phones/tablets and Windows, shows where to find points of interest, paid or free camping, showers, BBQs, fuel, drinking water and much more all over Australia. The app is driven by ordinary people who add content which is then rated by other users. It’ll save you a heap of time and money so is well worth the small investment!
The Wikicamps team also created a Fuel Map application based on the same idea. Users update the price of fuel at petrol stations Australia-wide so that other travellers can determine where to buy the cheapest fuel.
3. Use a spray bottle as your personal air conditioner
This works a treat! Just grab a 0.5L spray bottle and fill it up with water, wait for a slight breeze or wind down your window and spray away. You’ll feel super refreshed and you can take it anywhere! We used this idea to cool down during sunny treks, when it was too hot at night and when we needed to turn off the car’s air con. to save fuel.
4. Rival McGyver by having a multi-tool or Swiss Army knife
You’d be surprised at what you can achieve with a multi-tool or Swiss Army knife! These handy contraptions usually come with pliers, a knife, screw driver, scissors, metal file, bottle opener, cork screw, mini saw and even tweezers or a magnifying glass. They won’t replace a proper tool kit but they’re great to take on treks and to be easily accessible at all times.
5. Make friends with everyone you meet
Meeting different people and making new friends is probably the best way to enjoy your trip around Australia, get insider tips on where to go and have back up help if you need it. When you’re camping near someone else, make sure you say hi –
other travellers will likely have the same interests as you and can become close friends overnight.
They’ll also be able to tell you how the roads are in places you haven’t been to yet, what things you have to see (or what is missable) and what to be careful of. If you’re travelling in the same direction, join forces to see the sites together and have security for if either car breaks down or has any problems.
6. Visit local libraries or a McDonald’s restaurant for free WIFI
Australia is pretty remote and therefore internet is a hard thing to come by. Its usually either extremely slow or extremely expensive to use in more remote areas. Instead of getting frustrated, head to the local library and more often than not you’ll find they offer free WIFI or at least a computer with internet access. In larger towns the McDonalds restaurant or other chain cafe’s like Dome in WA or Starbucks also offer free WIFI.
7. Have an RAC membership (or equivalent)
Not only does having RAC let you relax knowing you have roadside assistance Australia-wide, but you’ll also receive fuel discounts and other offers (like cheap movie tickets and National Park entry fees). It’s a relatively cheap way to know you don’t have to worry if you lock your keys in your car, flatten your battery or need to be towed a few hundred kms.
8. Use a 12 volt slow cooker to save water, gas and money when cooking
Ever heard of a slow cooker you can plug into your cigarette lighter? They actually exist and are perfect for cooking dinner while you drive. Not only will they save you money (because the cheapest cuts of meat work best) but it’ll save you water and gas when cooking things like vegetables.
To find out more on how they work and where to buy one, read (link: http://greetingtheworld/en/blog/tips/slow-cooker text: 12 volt slow cooker – an overlander’s best friend).
9. Save on fuel by ride-sharing through Gumtree
When you’re driving between large-ish towns, check the ride-share section on Gumtree to see if anyone needs a lift. Usually they’ll be happy to share fuel and food costs and you might even make a new friend. You can also post your own advert on Gumtree offering a seat to wherever you’re going.
10. Join an online forum of your car’s make and model
Most car model’s usually have an online forum or website of owners who get together to share information and stories relating to that car. This is the perfect place to research common issues your car has and therefore be prepared for your trip. You’ll be able to get a better idea of what spare parts to take, what preventative maintenance you’ll need to do and what your car’s limits are. Learn from other people’s mistake befores making your own!
11. Buy long lasting fruit and vegetables
If you’re going to remote areas or doing a long trip, focus on packing vegetables like eggplants, pumpkins, potatoes, carrots and onions. Avoid salad mixes unless you’re going to finish them on day 1 (cos lettuces are a better option as they’ll last a little longer). Stick to hard fruit like apples or pears and as long as you keep an eye on them, citrus fruit should survive long enough to eat also.
If you can’t survive long without meat, dried salami or cacciatore sausages are the perfect solution. You’ll be able to keep them for a few weeks without a fridge – just make sure they’re stored in shady, cool place. You’ll never need SPAM again (thank GOD)!
12. Switch to Telstra
Without doubt Telstra has the best mobile phone and data coverage around Australia. Other providers will usually only work around towns and points of interest. So if you’re wanting to call your family or check your email from the outback, Telstra is your best bet.
If you have any other tips you’d like to share with us write a comment below or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.