So! You’re traveling around Australia and you want to get from A to B. These are your choices:
a. Rent a car for a million bucks.
b. Buy a car but take on the risk on not getting is sold soon enough or losing out on it or breaking down…
c. Rent a campervan for even more money than a car.
d. Hitchhike, not a bad option, but unpredictable.
Alright, so if these are your options, it’s not so bad. If you have time and/or money that is… So which is really the right option? If you’re trying to get from A to B? I think the best decision would be…
e. Do a campervan relocation!
Yep, sorry, there was a choice ‘e’ but don’t think I’ll leave ya hanging! Here’s the lowdown on what a campervan relocation in Australia entails and my experience with it. It’s really the best way to get around the country if you’re just trying to get to another city!
What is a campervan relocation? Is it like a one-way car rental in Australia?
Get me there right meow!
In short, a campervan relocation is when you help a company get their vehicle from point A to point B for them, and in return, they charge you very little for the use of their vehicle. It’s essentially a one-way car rental in Australia except way better because it’s also your accommodation. This is a great deal for those who want to get someplace else without the hassle of luggage fees on top of the pricey ticket of a flight or pay out the nose for a rental vehicle.
However, the one downside of this is, they often give a tight time limit and you’ll need to get to point B to return that car on time, or they can charge you for an extra day.
This is usually for individuals who want to get from A to B, not stop often and enjoy the way.
How to find a campervan relocation:
If you like stopping often and want to see things along the way while enjoying a holiday, this is definitely not for you. We were moving to Darwin to start working right away. We were moving there with some of the stuff we’ve accumulated as well, so having that extra room in the campervan was essential. If we took a flight, we would have had to get rid of a lot just to buy it again in Darwin.
Campervan details: We had a sweet ass Mercedes-Benz campervan complete with kitchenette and bathroom. This baby was pretty damn luxurious! It’s doubtful you’ll get to rent a van this sweet unless you’re rolling in the dough. It’s at least $75 a day just for the vehicle!
So how did we get it? We logged on to a few different sites (coseats.com, hippycamper.com, transfercar.com…) and got alerts for what was happening during the time we wanted to go. Garrett got a notification for the perfect booking… Melbourne to Darwin for the precise time we wanted! Garrett immediately booked it and that was it! We worked our last few weeks in Melbourne and split!
The campervan was perfect for all the
junk useful items we had. I mean, it was either get rid of everything and buy it again in Darwin or keep it and stuff the campervan up. We chose the latter. Everything fit perfectly and we were off!.
It’s really easy to get a campervan relocation, but the only annoying thing about it was the deposit. The deposit isn’t much of a surprise, we expected it, but we didn’t expect it to take so long to get refunded. We had to wait at least month for our deposit money to hit our account again. It was our only complaint, which really isn’t that bad, especially since we’re saving so much money here. We weren’t desperate for the money, but this is a heads up as I know most travelers are usually on tight budgets. So just keep this in mind!
So how much did the campervan relocation cost?
*Remember gas will be more expensive in the outback. It’s hard to find gas out there so of course, they can charge more.
Milage Melbourne to Darwin – 2340mi —— 3765km
Remember to fill up when you can, skipping a town’s pump could mean you won’t have gas for another 400+k which could = trouble!
We actually spent $558, but the campervan company gave us a $50 credit.
Fuel cost: $508
$8 over budget.
We spent about $70 on food and water before we left and it lasted us almost the entire 6 days.
We bought a few extra bits along the way, things like chips, extra water, and an extra loaf of bread.
Total food cost: $100
$50 under budget
Free campsites, well, are free… But they rarely have anything but an open ground to camp on or park at. If you’re lucky, maybe a restroom. We took a “baby wipe shower” on these nights.
A campsite or caravan park averaged to be about $25-30 a night. This is a powered parking spot so we could recharge our battery to run the fridge and use the lights. There are proper toilets and showers so we didn’t have to be dirty hippies for all six nights.
These are essentially your two choices. Of course, if you have a vehicle you can’t sleep in, you’ll need a hotel or camping gear.
We had three nights at a campervan park (two at $30 and one at $28)
Our other two nights were spent at a campsite and were free.
Total accommodation cost: $88
$62 under budget
Total campervan relocation cost:
The typical cost of our campervan: $75 per day without the extras!
What we paid: $1 per day for a total of $6 for 6 days!!
Insurance – Included (with a $1000 deductible) BUT we chose to add $120 ($20 per day) because it significantly reduced our deductible to $250 dollars. So simply put: If we got in an accident, it would cost $250 instead of $1000.
Food was $100
Accommodation was $88
Fuel was $508
TOTAL: $816 which was mostly fuel.
What would we have spent if we would have taken a plane?
Only a bit less. We were finding flights for about $250 each plus the cost of getting to the airport. However, there would have likely been added fees for extra baggage – of course! The ultimate traveler enemy! But not only that… We would have gotten rid of heaps of stuff only to buy again in Darwin. For example, we acquired two fans (one large one) in Melbourne. They were free (Melbournians seriously leave some good stuff behind). Of course, we wouldn’t have been able to bring them on the flight, and Darwin is hot AF, a place where you need a fan. We would have ended up spending $100+ on a new fan, but we didn’t because the fan fit in our campervan. Also, we fly all the time, this was a far better experience!
Top things to bring during Campervan Relocation:
Don’t forget this ish…
- Baby wipes (cleaning yourself if there’s not shower and anything else), toilet paper, lots of water (buy the large jugs as opposed to a bunch of water bottles. it takes up less space and is greener!), chargers (like the cigarette lighter type for your phone) safety items like a flashlight, lighter, and cash because you might not find your bank’s ATM and you don’t want to rack up charges. Make sure to take more cash out when you have the opportunity to do so.
- You MUST download the WikiCamps app! It’s a life saver and it’s the only app you will need. Make sure to click the details and prices of the places you’re interested in stopping in while you have reception, they will reopen when you don’t have reception later. If you don’t, you can’t see details (comments and prices) when you don’t have reception.
- Road trip food: Soups, bread, peanut butter, snacks like crackers and chips, veggies and fruits that don’t need refrigeration like bananas, apples, carrots, peppers etc. Hopefully, your campervan relocation comes with a kitchenette, it comes in handy and keeps costs down. Also, if you happen to be on the route we went, Melbourne to Darwin, there’s hardly anything on the way. Next point- eating out will take time! Time that you might not have. We saved heaps of time by waking up early, having breakfast, preparing our lunch (sandwiches), and then stopping for lunch later and already having the food ready to eat.
Safety First, Kiddos!
Driving in the outback is crazy! If you’re close to the cities (Melbs to Adelaide) be vigilant but driving at night isn’t too bad. We saw some kangaroos! But it was just once then we stopped for the night…
Are you in the outback? Get off the road at dusk and don’t start until after dawn!
Those ‘Roos be out to get ya! And other animals too!
Everyone tells you to be very careful at that time and many people stop. Not to mention, most campsites and caravan parks were pretty full everytime we pulled up to one just before sunset.
Take rests. “Revive survive.” You’ll see these signs everywhere, but it’s for real. Just listen to it, because the landscape is boring and music and coffee can only take you so far. Be careful my friends!
ALSO… Don’t drink, even on these lonely roads, Garrett had a blow test just outside Alice Springs. They pulled over everyone.
Visual learner? Check this entertaining yet informative video out…
- Oh, yeah, and when you stay at a campsite, or anywhere for that matter….Clean up after yourself! Don’t be a dick. SO many people are gross and leave their trash everywhere. How rude!
- Yep, it really is boring ass landscape. There’s nothing. Like, literally nothing to look at. (On our route.)
OK… Some of the views are nice…
But most of the time, it’s boring.
- Get the insurance, ya never know…
- If you forget the chemicals for the campervan toilet like we did, and can’t find it on the road like we couldn’t… Trying using a scoop of laundry detergent and a splash or two of bleach. Worked like a charm!
- Do you actually have the time to stop and enjoy and aren’t rushing off to get to work like I was? Here are some awesome tips on traveling Australia on the cheap.
So how are you going about Australia? Tell me where you’re off to in the comments!
Have you done a campervan relocation in Australia before? Tell us your experience.
Would you do this “one way car rental Australia with an awesome twist” type deal?
Not done reading yet?
Check out how to get a working holiday visa in Australia.
Oh, right, and here’s how I’m saving THOUSANDS while living here. Yep, you read that right.
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