Having finished the stressful uni exam period, eight mates and I decided to get out of Melbourne. A holiday was exactly what was needed just to unwind and have some fun. We had previously been on a trip interstate and felt that it would be too expensive if we went again for only four days, so after looking at prices online we decided camping in Acheron (near Bonnie Doon, almost a two hour drive out of Melbourne) was the best option, both in terms of money and relaxation; hiring campsites included access to a swimming pool, kitchen and a games room.
Although I had previously been on camping trips, I was excited to just do something different. I was not expecting it to be as stress-free and cost efficient as it was, yet that was due to a great deal of planning.
We already had most of the necessary camping gear like tents, chairs and lights, so we deliberately choose to hire two campsites instead of cabins in order to save money. The campsite costs ended up being only $56 per person, which was exceptional value for money given the facilities and the length of our holiday; being 10 metres away from the Goulburn River was very serene, and was the perfect location when playing cards, listening to music and watching the cricket.
Figuring out items to bring with us was a challenge, as buying essentials like food beforehand in Melbourne and bringing it with us was cheaper than purchasing everything after we had arrived. Naturally we decided to shares these expenses, therefore budgeting and recording how much each of us spent was important for this process. I would not change anything about this aspect of my trip, as the strategy we executed ended up collectively saving us a lot of money.
Ultimately, the plans we put in place ensured that our holiday was as stress-free as possible and did the least amount of damage to our bank accounts. If you are planning some time away, I would recommend considering what experiences you have already done and decide whether you would have the same amount of fun doing something different, with perhaps a lower cost. If you choose a holiday in complete contrast to your regular lifestyle, it could prove to be more relaxing and enjoyable than you initially imagined.
– Richard Smart –