Planning for the trip of a lifetime

As I sit at home in my small 1 bedroom apartment on the Central Coast of NSW, Australia, I think to myself just how small I am in comparison to not only Australia but the entire world. There is so much to explore and discover, yet each day ticks over and the years start to pass and I find myself in the same spot. I’m not fulfilled, and that needs to change.

As I write this, I am a 34-year-old Product Owner in a tech company, each day I wake up and navigate the daily grind and each night I come home to plan my ultimate dream: To take off in a 4WD and travel Australia with my fiancé Karina.

Growing up as a kid, I was always fascinated by geology, seeing photos of all these beautiful places where minerals, crystals and gold were found, I wanted to see more of Australia and explore what this beautiful country has to offer. It was just been a matter of when. Now that I am older and have an established career, I am saving up for what will be the trip of a lifetime.

Touring Australia is my ultimate bucket list item and after 14 years building a career, I’m keen for a change. This is our journey as we plan our big adventure around Australia.

Although we are keen on this change now, we would like to continue our savings effort to buy a house and have that for a year or so before we rent that out and take off.

Knowing we’ll need decent funds to keep the adventure going for at least 12 months, we are working at making our dream become reality as soon as possible by creating a budget and starting our savings as of June 2019.

Our savings plan

To get things started, I was going to set up separate savings account that I would deposit into automatically every payday, but I found something (hopefully) better.

I decided to create a Raiz account to build our savings, Raiz is an automated investment service delivered via an easy to use app. It allows you to automatically invest your spare change into a diversified portfolio of exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Raiz is about investing small amounts of money on a regular basis and accumulating wealth over time, without affecting your lifestyle. It can be thought of as the digital equivalent of a coin jar.

So each week I transfer a set amount (admittedly very low due to most going towards the house) from my everyday bank account into my Raiz account. On top of this, it will round-up my debit card purchases to the nearest dollar. Once that reaches $5, it will be deposited into my Raiz account. I’ve been using it for about a month now and have just over $100 in my account and the added round-ups have been a big part of that. It feels like I have moved to a more expensive city, but in the background, I’m building up solid savings. For example, let’s say coffee will cost $3.50, I will pay the shop $3.50 and 50c will be put towards my Raiz account.

Check out Raiz for yourself and get $5 when you use this link – http://app.raizinvest.com.au/invite/MAQADT

Savings Progress

How much will we need?

We would like to spend at least 12 months travelling around Australia, so we’re going to budget around $1000 a week. This is a very high level estimate and is specific to my requirements.

This will pay for necessities such as:

  • Camping / Accommodation (approx $210 per week)
  • Fuel (approx $150 per week)
  • Food / General Supplies (approx $200 per week)
  • Medication – (approx $100 per week)
  • Bills/Car Maintenance/Emergencies (approx $475 per week)

On top of this will be the cost of a new 4WD.

Camping + Accommodation

It would be great if we can camp most of our trip, so we’ll add to our budget the cost of new camping gear for the 2 of us.

Ideally I would love to get a 4WD with a canopy kitchen and possibly even a rooftop tent.

Here is a camping checklist of what we’ll need for camping around Australia

Shelter

  • Tent (+ spare pegs)
  • Tarpaulins
  • Rope
  • Awning / Gazebo
  • Floor mats
  • Dust pan & brush

4WD

  • Maxtrax
  • Air compressor
  • Recovery gear
  • Shovel
  • Puncture kit
  • Diesel Jerry
  • Water Jerry
  • Hi lift jack
  • Tool kit
  • Fire extinguisher

Furniture

  • Fold up camp chairs
  • Fold up table
  • Cupboard
  • Clothes line
  • Picnic rug

Power

  • Power boards
  • Extension leads
  • Battery charger
  • Jump start pack
  • Inverter
  • LED lanterns
  • head lamps
  • 12V Light/Spotlight

Toiletries

  • Toilet paper
  • Microfibre towels
  • Soap
  • Razor blades
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Comb

Kitchen

  • Plates, cups, utensils
  • Pots, pans
  • Bin and bin bags
  • Esky/cooler
  • Bbq stove
  • Gas cylinder
  • Matches/lighter
  • Tea towels
  • Bucket
  • Water bottle

Bedding

  • Pillows
  • Sleeping bags
  • Air mattress
  • Sheets

Miscellaneous

  • Maps
  • First aid kit

Fuel

This will be a hard one to calculate right now as we don’t know how the 4WD will perform nor how far we will be driving each day.

Others have said the diesel cost is around $20 per 100km.

This, of course, depends on the location you are in as prices will fluctuate and will surely change by the time we are ready to take off.

Buying a new 4WD

On top of this will be the expense of a new 4WD. Due to an operation I had when I was younger, I have license restrictions that allow me to only drive vehicles fitted with hand controls. The requirements to put hand controls on a vehicle is that it must have power steering and must be automatic. Keeping that in mind, I would prefer to buy a fairly new 4WD.

As an estimate we’ll budget for an $80,000 4WD

Take the poll: What 4WD should we get?

Total estimated cost

If we break down the costs involved, for a full year of travelling around Australia, we’re looking at:

Initial One-off costs
  • New 4WD – $80,000
  • Camping Gear – $2,500
On-going costs
  • Acommodation – $10,000
  • Fuel – $8,000
  • Food / General Supplies – $10,000
  • Bills / Insurance / Car Maintenance – $9,000
  • Medication – $5,500
  • Emergency Fund $10,000

TOTAL = $135,000

Now keep in mind this is a very high level estimate! I’m being very generous in my figures as I am not sure what to expect yet.

Take a look at our big lap travel itinerary!

We have made a list of the beautiful places we would love to visit around Australia.