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Your Money Matters (issues) for a Caravan Holiday

Your Money Matters (issues) for a Caravan Holiday
Before you start your holiday, work out a budget. This is especially important if you are going to be away for a long trip. Try to plan your cash flow and make arrangements of how you are going to continue paying your normal bills at home as well.

1. Budgets
Working out a budget will give you an idea of how much your planned trip might cost. Money matters items to include will be:

- Fuel costs - make allowances for the increase price of fuel in remote areas (it goes up quite significantly), also make allowances for the increased fuel consumption for towing a caravan
- Make allowances for servicing of your vehicle
- Campsite costs
- Food, including both groceries and dining out (You will also probably invite some fellow travellers for snacks or meals along the way)
- Entry fees and other costs associated with tours and activities
- Gifts and souvenirs

If you are planning a long trip of several months, budget in smaller blocks. One month at a time is manageable and easier to work out. If after the first month your money matters budget does not reflect actual spending, use the trends to modify the budget. Be prepared for the range of small emergencies that can occur on the road. Most are vehicle-related expenses: tyres, windscreens and mechanical repairs. Consider also the possibility of expenses arising through injury or illness. To ensure that you can continue in comfort and without anxiety, set aside a small reserve of easily accessed money.

2. Sample Budget
- Fuel:
Distance: 3000km
Consumption: 15 litres per 100km
Fuel cost (average): $1.40 per litre
Calculation: 3000 x (15/100) x $1.40
Total Fuel: $630

- Service for car:
No service required
Total service: $0

- Camping fees:
12 days @ $25 - 2 days free
Total camping: $300

- Food:
Groceries: $300
Dining out/take away 3 nights @ $40 for 2 per night: $120
Total food: $420

- Entertainment:
One day fishing on charter boat for @ $175 each: $350
Movies 2 nights for 2 @ $13 per person: $52
Total entertainment: $402

- Gifts:
Gifts for children: $50
Total gifts: $50

- Miscellaneous:
Total miscellaneous: $200
TOTAL BUDGET: $2002 Banking and Bills

Before you go, think about what bank you are with, what services they provide any how easy are they to access in remote areas. Consider one of the larger banks because they have branches and ATM's across a wide range of locations. Australia Post, through its Bank@Post service, offers a range of banking services for a range of banks and credit unions. These services include cheque deposits, cash withdrawals and transfers.

Phone and internet banking can be a great alternative, taking away the hassle of having to find bank branches or post offices. Both services allow travellers to gain access to account information, transfer funds, make credit card and mortgage payments and pay bills. Make sure you have registered with your bank before you leave for your trip. If you are going away for an extended holiday, you will need to make arrangements to pay your normal bills. Most major companies have direct-debit facilities where your monthly, quarterly or yearly payments can be deducted from your account.

If you want to pay your bills as you go, arrange to have your bills posted to you along with other mail. Payments can then be made in the following ways:

- Use a mobile phone or payphone and a credit card or a billpay service. The latter, which draws on your savings or cheque account for the amount of the bill, can be transacted through your bank or Australia Post.
- Use the internet by logging on to your bank site, the site of the creditor or a specialised bill-paying site. Many caravan parks around Australia now provide an internet service or you can take your own laptop computer with internet access.
- Pay in person at an Australia Post outlet. A wide range of bills can be paid at Australia Post.

Cheques are still a useful way of paying bills. You will, however, rarely come across a retail outlet prepared to accept a personal cheque. If you have a strong preference for paying by cheque, contact the business first.

3. Using Credit and EFTPOS

When travelling it is a good idea to use a credit card linked to your bank account. This allows you to use an ATM, bank or EFTPOS transaction to replenish cash, pay for purchases using credit or EFTPOS, obtain a summary of transactions each month and pay bills using a mobile phone.

Just make sure you keep an eye on your credit account and either ensure you have sufficient money in the account or repay what you use otherwise you will incur heavy penalty fees from the bank. Many outlets impose a minimum amount on card transactions of between $10 and $25. Major outlets will accept most kinds of credit cards but many smaller businesses only accept MasterCard, Visa and Bankcard.

4. Cash
Cash is still an important when money matters: especially when you are travelling and spending small amounts of money at different places. Many small businesses - markets, takeaway food outlets and cafes among others - do not have card facilities and many more will not accept cards for small amounts. Paying cash for incidental items, such as chocolates, lollies, ice-creams, refreshments, magazines and entertainment admissions, is easier than having to worry about checking off a large number of small amounts against credit-card statements. If your bank charges ATM withdrawal fees, you may want to get out an amount sufficient to last you a week or so.

Do a cash budget by working out how you plan to pay for the items you will need on your holiday. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Cash is rarely insurable and certainly not replaceable, and large amounts will only cause you worry. This is the tenth page of 23 with related information about making the most of your caravan holiday.
Check our website at for the other articles.

by Ian Molloy
Ian Molloy is the owner of Crikey Adventure Tours. Visit his website for more information about this article and other related topics. His site is full of very helpful travel information including tips on motorcycle travel, driving cross-country, travelling with a caravan and other camping and travel information.
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