A great way to save some cash while travelling Australia is to hire a car instead of the campervan. It can turn out to to be much cheaper and you only need to purchase a few small items to complete your set up!

Costs of campervan hire can yo-yo from $300 -$700 for 14 days hire. This includes a place a sleep, a car, a camp cooker and generally the cooking utensils you will need too.

You have two options when hiring a car for your epic Aussie road trip. You can hire a car from a campervan company, such as Wicked, and it will come with a bed already in the car (so no need to buy a tent).

The cars from Wicked are quite new and not a bad choice. They are fuel economical, they will suck a lot less fuel than a campervan! Plus if you’re travelling solo this is much cosier on those chilly nights. These cars can cost as little as $19 per day and are a great option in our opinion. Click here for a quote.

If you decide to opt for a Wicked car, you will only need to purchase your cooking equipment and a sleeping bag/doona. We recommend heading to K-mart to grab a cup, knife, fork, spoon, plate etc. You can pick up a cheap pot and a pan there too as well as a sleeping bag. The whole combo should cost less than $60. The only thing left will be the cooker. If you plan to make the most of free camping spots around Australia, you will need one of these.

If you want to drive a slightly nicer car around Australia, then head to Drive Now for a quote on all the brand below. Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 5.58.01 PMDrive Now compares leading car hire companies on the one page so you can see what you’re option are. The cost is similar to that of a Wicked Car, however you still need to purchase your own tent to travel with one of these babies. You can read about how we chose our tent here. However we have also seen MANY budget conscious inernational travelers living in low cost tents quite happily. There is no reason you can’t do that same. A cheap tent will will cost you about $30 and an airbed will be about the same. You will also all the equipment mentioned above in the Wicked section (cup, sleeping bag, cooker etc). So that basically means that you can add $120 to the cost of your hire car and have all your equipment ready to roll.

Where to buy a cheap yet good quality tent? We purchased ours online, check out these for inspiraton:


So how much can I save?

Great question fellow budget-minded traveller. Lets have a look at the results of a few sample roadtrips. You can see the overview below or click here to see the full workings. For each sample road trip, the car hire costs that were compared are: Wicked Mini-camper car, Wicked Premium 2 seater van, Travellers Autobarn budgie and Hi-top models, Juicy El Cheapo and Crib options plus the two cheapest economy car hire options via DriveNow.

Sample road trip 1

21 days to explore Queensland (departing and returning vehicle in Brisbane)

Dates input: 1 – 21 June

Kms covered: 3,000 (average fuel cost of $1.20)

Cheapest option: Wicked Mini-camper car at $857


Sample road trip 2

14 days to explore East Coast (departing Sydney and returning vehicle in Cairns).

Dates input: 1 – 14 June

Kms covered: 4,000 (average fuel cost of $1.20)

Cheapest option: Wicked Mini-camper car at $1,090


Sample road trip 3

41 days to explore more (departing Cairns and returning vehicle in Melbourne)

Dates input: 1 June – 11 July

Kms covered: 6,000 (average fuel cost of $1.20)

Cheapest option: Budget car hire at $2,261


Sample road trip 4

60 days to explore it all (departing Cairns and returning vehicle in Adelaide)

Dates input: 1 June – 30 July

Kms covered: 7,500 (average fuel cost of $1.20)

Cheapest option: Wicked Mini-camper car at $3,305


Remember that cars are a LOT more fuel efficient than campervans also. We are not experts in this field, however ecampervanhire.com.au are and they tell us that the average compact car’s fuel usage is 6.6ltr per 100km, where campervans are approx 14ltrs per 100km. Wicked Campers states on their site that their Mini-capers use 8ltr er 100kms, so we have used that for the calcualtions. On short, by hiring a car instead of campervan you can basically half your fuel costs.

The Verdict

The cars came out as the cheapest option every time. On shorter trips this was due to the fuel consumption, as the vans were the cheaper option before the fuel costs were added (click here to download the full budget for a better understanding).


What’s next

Now that you have decided how you will travel and how much that will cost, you can start to compile the rest of your travel budget. Not sure how to do that? We have you covered. Head to How much money do I need to travel Australia here.


We are very much on a working holiday and are earning the money to keep travelling as we go. This means that we did not start with a lot of money and you don’t have to either. Want to know how we’re affording this lifestyle and how long we can keep it going for? Sign up to our mailing list for monthly updates, job opportunities that we see our personal income and expense reports

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