Holiday Road Trip on a Budget

Posted by Motorama in Buyer Advice

When you start planning a long drive with the family, most people will look at it as getting from A to B in as quickly, safely and hassle-free as possible.

But by taking a few steps to plan the finer details of your trip, you can save yourself time, money and make the most out of your drive.


It’s a given that there will always be a 24-hour fast food joint in sight just when the first hunger pangs hit on your drive, which can turn into an expensive exercise if you’re on the road for more than an hour or two, passing through different towns and cities.

If you’re going to be on the road for a long stretch, especially if you’ll be travelling around your regular meal times, it’s a good idea to pack some food for everyone.

It doesn’t mean you have to pack a four-course banquet, but simple meal ideas that will keep everyone full until you can find some more substantial food options on the road. Make sure you also pack some snacks to tide anyone over who’s looking for a little more.

When packing food, try not to cook things that will have a strong aroma (like curries or garlic-heavy dishes) that may make any carsickness worse or food with lots of liquid that can spill. Also try to keep meals as basic as possible, to keep any risk of sickness as low as possible.

If you have to stop for food, try to ensure it is based on your timings, rather than the nagging from the kids. Larger take away haunts, whilst more expensive, can have shaded, fenced & clean kids area’s which can allow them to burn off some excess steam whilst you relax & have a coffee.

Alternatively, use apps like Trip Advisor or YELP to seek out local places that other people have tried before & are more likely to offer more value for money and potentially, a more memorable meal. What a great way to get some brownie points with the family by picking a great lunch venue after a long slog on the road. (Speaking of apps, you can even sort out your toilet breaks afterwards when you leave the safety and cleanliness of the restaurant.)

Another option is to try to keep an eye out for family farms or roadside stalls, as these may have fresh, excess produce for sale from the farm out of the front to catch motorists travelling into or out of town.


Of course you’ll plan to fill up before you travel anywhere, but knowing how long you can drive before needing to pull into a petrol station has the potential to save you at the pump.

If you wait until the low fuel light comes on, you may be forced to travel to the closest fuel station, which may or may not have the best prices. If you’re travelling through rural or regional areas, where there may not be fuel stations close together with competitive prices, it’s always good to know how much fuel you’re working with.

Knowing how much fuel you will potentially use is easier on newer cars that come with a fuel consumption sticker to tell you an estimated fuel usage amount for different driving conditions.

You can calculate the fuel usage on older cars by keeping an eye on your odometer and at the pump. During the week, record your odometer at a full tank, and then note how many litres it takes to fill the tank when you’re next getting fuel. Then divide the litres of fuel it takes to refill by the kilometre difference on the odometer, then multiply that amount by 100, to get the fuel usage for that period of driving.

Of course no two trips will ever use exactly the same amount of fuel, as how much fuel your car uses depends on a number of factors including driving style, weather and traffic conditions. But with some careful planning you can guess how much fuel you may use and plan accordingly.

Car Servicing

If your car breaks down on your trip, it could end up blowing your budget and leave you stranded far away from home. Regional and rural areas tend to not have many service centres, so you could end up paying a premium; either to have parts sent there, or to have it fixed there, or to have your car towed to the nearest service centre, which could be hundreds of kilometres away.

It’s best to have your car serviced comprehensively to make sure any problems are treated before you leave for your holidays. Pay particular attention to the tyres, engine and fuel line components and your brakes and ensure that they’re up to scratch for long range driving.

TOP TIP: Don’t forget to check your spare tyre is correctly inflated too – no point changing your tyre over only to find the spare is flat.

Motorama has service centres specialising in seven car brands, conveniently located in three dealership hubs in Moorooka, Browns Plains-Hillcrest and Springwood. If you need to schedule a check up for your car before you go away these holidays, make sure you contact a member of our expert service team and book your car in before you lock up the house and get out of town!