Road tripping on the cheap

Road tripping on the cheap

If you’re heading for the open road this long weekend, there are simple ways you can plan ahead and save a significant amount of money over the course of your holiday. Here are the top 5 ways to save on a road trip:

1. Bring a sack lunch

Packing food for the duration of the trip will not only save you a bundle, it could also give you more time to enjoy the scenery. Of course, you’ll miss out on the experience of wining and dining your way along the course of your trip, but if you’re really squeezed for cash this could be your best option. Make a list of all the food you want to eat for each meal, then hit up the supermarket and go nuts! Chances are, even if you splurge a little on home-cooked meals, you’ll still end up ahead since eating out along the way costs a lot more than you think.

2. Do your research

Find out the best places to stay along the route. Hit up Tripadvisor and read some traveller reviews. Decide on where to stay and look at getting some discounts, if possible. Multiple night stays are usually cheaper, so if you find a nice place, it might be worthwhile camping for a few nights.

3. Check your car insurance policy

Make sure your car insurance covers you and doesn’t expire over the trip. Also, know exactly what you are covered for, should roadside assistance be needed. It’s better to be prepared before you set off rather than finding out the hard way.

4. Check your tyre pressure

Ensure your tyres are all at the correct pressure. Usually this will be in your driver’s manual, or written on the sidewall of your tyres. Driving on under-inflated tyres is not only dangerous, but increases fuel consumption. Take a minute to inflate your tyres and not only will you save money, but you could also save your life, and the lives of those you’re travelling with.

5. Pack some cards

Entertainment for the duration of the trip needn’t cost you an arm and a leg. If you plan ahead, and take some board games, cards and other novelties with you, chances are you’ll be less likely to waste money on movies or other entertainment.

6. Be your own tour guide

Organised tours are great, but they can be very expensive! Get out there and see the sights on your own. It’s more adventurous, and you’ll have just as many memories at the end of the road trip. Organised tours can be great, but if you’re on a budget, chances are you can do a bit of research before you go and be your own tour guide!

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Can you insure your car for 6 months?

Most Australian insurers won’t offer you a 6-month car insurance policy, so you may need to buy a policy that covers your car for damages and cancel it after six months. You will need to purchase comprehensive car insurance to protect your car from accidental damage, theft, vandalism, or natural disasters.. 

Consider checking whether your 6-month comprehensive car insurance will cost more if you pay monthly or six-monthly premiums instead of a one-time annual premium. Another question to ask the insurer is whether you’ll need to pay administration or cancellation fees when you cancel the policy.

Alternatively, you can look for a suitable ‘pay as you drive’ car insurance policy, which usually offers you the coverage of a comprehensive car insurance policy but only requires you to pay for the distance driven. Such a policy may not be the ideal 6-month car insurance plan as it is based on how much you drive rather than for how long. If you need to drive a lot, you may end up paying more than you’d pay for regular car insurance. 

Does insurance cover a stolen car if keys were in the car?

A car insurance policy that covers the theft of your car, such as third party fire and theft insurance, usually covers a stolen car, even if the keys were in the car’s ignition.

However, your insurer may deny the claim if you live in an area where there have been several car robberies reported recently. They will see you leaving the keys in the car as a case of negligence. In such cases, your insurance provider may even expect you to have installed anti-theft security measures in your car. 

You may need to confirm whether or not you left your keys in your car, and if they had been stolen or misplaced, before filing your car insurance claim. The loss or theft of your car keys may be covered by a comprehensive car insurance policy, but usually as an optional item.

If you can confirm that your car keys were stolen, mention this in your claim as this will help establish that your car was not stolen as a result of your negligence.

Can I drive a new car without insurance?

It is illegal to drive a car in Australia without insurance. Most states require that you get your insurance in place before you drive the car off the dealership’s plot. So, the answer to whether driving a new car without insurance is no, it is not allowed.

The only time you can possibly legally drive an uninsured car is when you have to get the vehicle registered. You should drive straight to an inspection station or your state's vehicle registry. You must also make sure that you take the most direct or convenient route possible.

It is important to note that your compulsory third party insurance (CTP or green slip) isn’t valid until your car is registered.

Driving an unregistered or uninsured vehicle can have severe legal repercussions. If you are involved in an accident, and are driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle, you will be personally liable to pay compensation to anyone hurt, as well as for damages. If you are caught driving a vehicle without insurance, you may be fined or even have your vehicle seized.