Budget Tips For The Big Lap: Planning Your Travels Around Australia

by Chrissie Caballero

In search of the best budget tips for the big lap? If you’re dreaming of setting off on the ultimate big lap adventure around Australia, we’ve gathered the most valuable budget tips for your big lap to make your journey not only memorable but also affordable. Join us as we unveil insider secrets and smart strategies for planning your travels around Australia on a budget.

For many travellers, starting the amazing Big Lap journey across Australia is a dream come true. But let’s be honest, the price tag for such an epic adventure can seem intimidating. Are you more worried? Well, don’t go just yet, because…

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll share the top budgeting tips and tricks to help you make the most of your Big Lap experience without going over budget! Whether you’re a travelling couple seeking to minimize expenses or a family with kids looking for cost-effective ways to explore this vast and beautiful country, we’ve got you covered.

From budget-friendly lodging choices to innovative methods to cut costs on meals and attractions, we’ll explore how some travelling couples have successfully managed to limit their weekly expenses to less than $600, proving that you can experience the wonders of Australia without breaking the bank.

Additionally, we’ll discuss the budget considerations for families travelling with kids, where the minimum expenses can range from $1000 to $1500 per week, and provide tips to optimise your spending while ensuring an unforgettable experience for all.

So, whether you’re a budget-conscious couple or an adventurous family, join us as we navigate the realm of budget tips for the Big Lap. Let’s make your dream of exploring Australia a reality without compromising on the incredible experiences this country has to offer.

Budget Tips For The Big Lap

1. Research and Plan Your Route

Before you hit the road, plan the best routes for your big Lap. This allows you to plan and optimise your itinerary, ensuring you don’t miss out on must-see places or attractions along the way. You can customise your trip to fit your interests and preferences by identifying the most scenic routes and popular landmarks.

Need ideas? Also, read our latest article for your big lap itinerary

The Big Lap Itinerary – Your Ultimate Guide to the Top Must-See Places in Driving Around Australia

You may want to factor in the cost of fuel and tolls to get the best bang for your buck. You may properly estimate the travel times and distances by researching the routes, therefore allowing you more control over your scheduling and budgeting.

Winging it instead of having tight and scheduled plans? We get it. But by at least understanding the routes, this helps you anticipate road conditions such as possible roadworks or closures, which may greatly impact your travel plans.

Being able to know alternative routes can assist you in adjusting your itinerary appropriately, minimising potential inconveniences. Finding the most efficient routes also offers useful insights into regional laws, traffic regulations, and specific requirements for certain areas. This ensures compliance with any permits, vehicle restrictions, or camping regulations, avoiding unnecessary fines during your journey.


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2. Embrace the Caravan Life/Van Life

When planning a budget travel adventure, it’s important to consider budget-friendly campervan or caravan options for your big lap journey. These choices not only provide a cost-effective solution for your accommodation needs but also offer valuable budget tips for the big lap to optimise your travel expenses

A suitable campervan or caravan that fits within your budget can still provide ample room for your family to move around, relax, and sleep comfortably during the big lap. It allows everyone to have their own space, reducing the chances of feeling cramped or restricted during long drives or extended stays.

By selecting a budget-friendly campervan or caravan, you can make the most of your travel budget. Rather than relying on expensive accommodation options, you can stay at free camps, low-cost caravan parks, and scenic locations, significantly reducing your lodging costs.

Optimise your big lap budget by considering budget-friendly campervan or caravan options that meet your family’s needs. These choices not only offer comfortable and cost-effective accommodation but also provide valuable budget tips for the big lap.

Many modern campervans or caravans come equipped with onboard facilities such as a kitchenette, bathroom, and storage compartments. These amenities offer convenience and save you money by allowing you to cook your meals, have access to a private bathroom, and carry essential supplies – including camping gear, bedding, and entertainment options for the kids.

Unsure of the best vehicle option for you and your family’s needs? Watch our featured Car and Van Tours on our YouTube Channel. Make sure to Subscribe and Hit the notification to be updated on our featured list!

From Caravans


You can also opt to use a Troop Carrier or Camp Trailer if you’re travelling solo or as a couple. A troop carrier or 4WD vehicle provides the versatility and off-road capability required to navigate the diverse terrains encountered during the Big Lap. From sandy beaches and rugged outback tracks to steep mountain trails, having a capable vehicle ensures you can access remote and breathtaking locations that may be inaccessible to regular cars.

Troop Carriers



and Vans

We have more than a dozen of van tours (and counting) that you can watch for ideas on what to choose for your travel options!

With your chosen travel option, you can create an ideal environment for family bonding as it provides a central gathering space where you can play games, share meals, and enjoy quality time together. It enhances the overall experience and allows for memorable moments while exploring different destinations.

An equally important choice when you decide on your car or van is insurance. Make sure you shop around for car insurance to get the best deal. Remember to factor in the cost of breakdown cover and roadside assistance when you’re comparing rates.

3. Stay In Free Camps (Most Recommended Budget Tip For The Big Lap)

There are plenty of free camps around Australia, so take advantage of them when you can. Just be sure to check the rules and regulations of each camp before you stay the night.

Staying in free camps significantly reduces your accommodation expenses, allowing you to stretch your big lap budget further. This is especially beneficial for long-term travellers or those on a tight budget, as it frees up funds for other experiences or necessities.

Living in free camps has the added benefit of allowing for more freedom and flexibility. Unlike traditional campsites or caravan parks, free camps often have fewer restrictions or booking requirements, allowing you to make spontaneous decisions and adjust your itinerary on the go.

This flexibility is especially helpful for travellers who prefer a more open-ended and adventurous journey.

Follow our Instagram and check out the Iconic Camps on our Guides Tab for the campgrounds near mustsee places and national parks around Australia. Weve included details on free camps, paid camps, caravan parks, and the best things to do within the area.


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Or join us as we compile a featured list of campsites in different states as recommended by fellow big lappers/travellers⁠. Share your knowledge and wisdom with the Big Lap community and tag us on your posts for features!

Don’t miss the chance to find the best campground for your next trip, as our featured list of campgrounds in each state updates every two weeks!

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Staying in free camps can also provide opportunities for socialising and connecting with fellow travellers. It’s a great way to swap stories, gather tips, and build new friendships, creating a vibrant and supportive community along the way.

Lastly, using free camps supports environmentally friendly and responsible travel habits. Many free campsites promote Leave No Trace principles, encouraging visitors to reduce their environmental impact and respect their natural surroundings. This aligns with the ethos of eco-conscious travellers who strive to protect Australia’s pristine beauty for future generations.

4. Cook Your Meals and Pack Your Own Snacks

Eating out can quickly add up and become a significant expense, especially with hungry little adventurers, so try to cook your meals as much as possible.

Cooking your meals allows you to choose budget-friendly and healthier ingredients and plan cost-effective meals. It allows you to accommodate any dietary needs without incurring the additional expense of specialised menus.  By having control over the ingredients and portion sizes, you can still ensure a well-balanced diet even while on the road. This can contribute to better overall well-being and potentially save on future healthcare costs.

Packing your snacks is equally important. It helps you avoid impulse purchases and overpriced snacks at tourist attractions or petrol stations. By having a stash of snacks on hand, you can satisfy cravings, keep energy levels up, and avoid the temptation to splurge on unnecessary treats.

Shopping locally can also be a great way to support the local economy.

Check out the Big Lap Bible Marketplace for Your Camp-Cooking Needs!


5. Research and Take Advantage of Free and Low-Cost Activities

Australia is brimming with free or budget-friendly attractions. From nature reserves, and beaches to national parks, museums and cultural events, there’s something for everyone. Take advantage of these options to keep the whole family entertained without spending a cent.

National parks offer breathtaking landscapes and outdoor adventures.


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Purchase an annual pass if you plan to visit multiple parks, as it will save you money in the long run. Plus, it encourages more spontaneous detours!

Keep an eye out for free events, festivals, and cultural celebrations along your route. Immerse yourself in the free entertainment, showcasing the unique culture and traditions of different regions.

6. Travel During Off-Peak Seasons:

Consider travelling during shoulder seasons or less crowded months. Accommodations and attractions tend to be more affordable, allowing you to experience popular destinations without breaking the bank.

Off-peak travel also means fewer travellers/tourists and smaller crowds at popular attractions. You can enjoy a more relaxed and intimate experience, without jostling for space or waiting in long queues. This allows you to appreciate the natural beauty, cultural sites, and landmarks at your own pace, enhancing your connection with the destination.

The availability and flexibility of accommodations and travel plans are often better during off-peak seasons. You have a wider range of options to choose from, including popular camps, caravan parks, and sought-after accommodations that may be fully booked during peak times. This flexibility allows you to be spontaneous, change your itinerary if desired, or extend your stay if you stumble upon hidden gems.

During off-peak seasons, you also have the opportunity to have closer interaction with the locals. With fewer travellers around, it can also mean experiencing more attentive and personalized service. Hospitality staff, tour guides, and local businesses may have more time to chat, share stories, cater to your needs, answer your questions, and provide recommendations. This can lead to meaningful cultural exchanges and a deeper understanding of the places you visit, enriching your travel experience.

Finally, Australia’s diverse landscapes and wildlife are even more captivating during off-peak season. Meaning, you may have a higher chance of spotting wildlife in their natural habitats, witnessing unique natural phenomena, or enjoying pristine beaches without crowds.


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7. Look For Discounts/Utilize Travel Apps and Websites

Taking advantage of discounts while on your Big Lap adventure is a smart and practical way to save money and make your big lap travel budget go further. Why else should you scout for them?

Access to Premium Experiences:

Discounts can grant you access to premium or exclusive experiences that may have seemed inaccessible due to high costs. Whether it’s discounted entry fees to national parks, special tours, or upgraded accommodations, you can indulge in memorable experiences that enhance your Big Lap adventure.

Extra Savings for Extended Travel:

If you’re planning an extended Big Lap journey, discounts become even more valuable. They accumulate over time, resulting in significant savings on various aspects of your trip, such as accommodations, dining, fuel, vehicle maintenance, and attractions. These savings can add up and have a substantial impact on your overall travel expenses.

Livin’ Barry by Big Lap Bible

Discover a world of incredible discounts and savings when you grab your very own Big Lap Bible. Get ready to save big on top brands, with hundreds of dollars in discounts at your fingertips! Plus, as a special bonus, every Big Lap Bible purchase comes with 12 months of FREE access to our exclusive Livin’ Barry discount platform.

Your ultimate guide, planner, tracker and diary for your travels around Australia

Get your Big Lap Bible here to plan your travels along with this Big Lap Itinerary

When it comes to the types of discounts available for travellers on the Big Lap, they can vary widely. Here are some common categories:


Get discounts on caravan park stays, campgrounds, hotels, or serviced apartments. (Up to 10% Off on Accommodation with your Livin’Barry Membership

Fuel and Vehicle Services:

Savings on fuel purchases, vehicle inspections, maintenance, or repairs. (Livin’ Barry membership gives you up to 10% OFF on servicing and repairs, including FREE JAX Vehicle Inspections from JAX Tyres & Auto – worth up to $69)


When dining out, scout for happy hour specials and meal deals offered by restaurants and bars. It’s an excellent way to indulge in local cuisine without emptying your wallet.

(Check discounts of up to 20% OFF on Tours and Dining Purchases with Livin’ Barry here)Budget Tips For The Big Lap - Livin’ Barry Membership

Attractions and Activities:

Many tourist destinations and attractions offer discounts for families. Check local tourism websites, visitor centres, or travel apps for coupons, family passes, or special promotions.

Get discounted entry fees or special offers for popular attractions, tours, or adventure activities of up to 30% Off with your Livin’ Barry Membership, here)

Livin' Barry Discounted Activities to save on your big lap budget

Retail and Supplies:

Find discounts on camping gear, outdoor equipment, groceries, or supplies at specific stores or outlets. Visit our Big Lap Bible Marketplace and Marketplace Deals for your Big Lap travel necessities!

Here are several travel apps that can also be incredibly helpful to save on your big lap budget:

Fuel Price Apps:

Apps like FuelMap, FuelPrice Australia, FuelCheck or FuelFinder provide real-time information on fuel prices at different stations along your route. By comparing prices and locating the most affordable options, you can save significantly on fuel expenses.

Accommodation Booking Apps:

You can also download travel apps and visit websites that offer discounts, deals, and last-minute offers for accommodations, attractions, and activities. Stay flexible and grab those bargains when they arise.

Here are some of the camping apps you can check and their fees

Wikicamps Australia: $7.99 one-time purchase
CamperMate: Free to download
Camps Australia Wide: AUD 9.99 for an annual subscription
Anycamp: Free to download

G’day Parks: caravan parks

Restaurant and Dining Apps:

Australian Good Food Guide and TripAdvisor are just some of the apps/sites that provide information on restaurants, cafes, and eateries in various locations. Some apps even offer discounts, loyalty programs, or special deals, enabling you to enjoy meals at discounted prices.

Navigation Apps:

Reliable navigation apps such as Google Maps, Maps.me, Hema 4X4 Explorer, can help you plan your routes, find alternative routes to avoid tolls and navigate efficiently. By avoiding unnecessary detours or toll roads, you can save both time and money on your travels.

9. Connect with Other Travelling Families

Join online communities or forums where travelling families share their experiences and advice. They often recommend budget-friendly campsites, attractions, and activities tailored to families on the road.

If you want to be a part of the Big Lap Bible community and get your story featured, DM us on our Instagram account


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Facebook Groups with a sizable membership

Planning a Lap of Australia – Hints and Tips 

Aussie Big Lappers

10. Consider House Sitting or Couchsurfing

This can be a fantastic way to save on accommodation costs. Plus, it allows you to experience local life firsthand and make new friends along the way. Here’s how you can do it:

  • House Sitting: Sign up on house sitting platforms, create a compelling profile, and apply for house sits. Take care of someone’s home and pets while they’re away, enjoying free accommodation in return. It’s a win-win, providing cost savings on accommodation and the chance to live like a local in different destinations.
  • Couchsurfing: Join the Couchsurfing community and connect with hosts offering a spare couch or room. It’s a fantastic way to meet locals, gain insights into the area, and save on accommodation costs. Be respectful, engage with your hosts, and consider offering a small token of gratitude.

Both options require open communication, building trust, and respecting each other’s space. Engaging in house sitting and Couchsurfing not only saves money but also offers unique cultural experiences, lasting friendships, and a deeper understanding of Australia’s diverse communities.

Plan Ahead

In conclusion, the best budget tip for the big lap is to plan ahead. By estimating costs, securing early booking discounts, and identifying off-peak seasons, you can maximise your savings. Packing smart and avoiding last-minute expenses further contribute to keeping your expenses in check. So, invest the time and effort into planning your journey, and you’ll have the peace of mind and financial preparedness needed for an unforgettable and budget-friendly Big Lap adventure.

The Big Lap adventure is an exciting endeavour that requires careful budgeting and smart financial decisions. By following these budget tips for the Big Lap, you can make the most of your funds and ensure a memorable and fulfilling adventure.

And to truly elevate your planning and preparation, consider getting a Big Lap Bible. This invaluable resource provides a comprehensive guide to navigating the Australian landscape, uncovering hidden gems, and maximising your budget. With its wealth of information and insights, the Big Lap Bible is your trusted companion, helping you plan the ultimate adventure of your life while keeping your budget intact. So, grab a copy and set off on your journey fully equipped to make the most of every moment, every dollar, and every incredible experience that awaits you on the Big Lap.

Get The Ultimate Planner, Tracker & Guide for The Greatest Road Trip Of Your Life

Follow our Budget Tips For The Big Lap And Have Happy Travels!

Join us on the Big Lap for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure! Make sure to follow our socials and share your adventures with us!










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