I remember before we left on our trip we were downsizing everything and then our awesome friends were wanting gift ideas on what to buy us and the kids gifts in preparation for our trip around Australia. At the time we were pretty “green” to the whole caravanning lifestyle and were none the wiser at how much your life is affected by the things you buy. When you live in a house you have ample storage space. But when you live a moveable house (i.e caravan, camper, bus etc) everything you want to buy is determined on how much it weighs and how much space it will take up. So before you go and buy your travelling friends this amazing coffee machine perhaps there could be something below in this list that could help you with an awesome gift.
I know, I know, people hate giving vouchers! I can hear you already saying they’re so “impersonal” or “tacky” but hear me out. When you are travelling around Australia with kids you are limited with space in your van. Not only that having the freedom to choose when and what you use. So here are some vouchers that could help out your new travelling family.
Coles/Woolworths gift cards
Food, fuel and accommodation are the three things that take most of your travelling budget when you are travelling around Australia. I know you might think that this is a really lame gift but it’s a practical one. Not only can they use it with groceries and fuel, but they can also purchase gas bottles.
Camping Store voucher
I hear you say “I hate giving people a voucher” but your friend will have quite a few things to purchase before they leave. They may need to purchase:
* Webber BBQ
* Non-slip mats for their cupboards
* Water filters
* Fishing gear
* Sun protection hats and shirts
* Camping chairs
* Plastic cups
* Lightweight cutlery
* Collapsible buckets
* Large plastic storage tubs
* Jerry cans
The list is endless at a camping store but a voucher is great as your friend can purchase the exact items they want and need. Perhaps putting a voucher in a card with your suggestion would be more personalised.
You would hate your friends to breakdown at the side of the road and have no assistance available to them because they have not purchased breakdown service. Or because your friends budget is so tight they decided to only purchase the cheapest one available to them. Little do they know they that if they do break down the cost at the time to tow that little bit extra rather than spending the money to upgrade to the highest level before they leave could be hundreds of dollars. Not to mention the accommodation cost on top of that. So perhaps offering to buy their state automobile breakdown service or offer to upgrade them to the highest level could be a really practical gift.
Caravan Park vouchers
Accommodation is expensive especially when you add the site fee + fee per child. You could purchase your friends a tourist discount card for Big 4, Top Tourist, Holiday Parks to help them save money throughout their trip. Generally, they will save 10% (or up to a certain value).
Another idea is you can purchase your friendly a voucher to use when they reach a certain destination. For example, the Big 4 Cairns coconut resort is a such an amazing place to stay. But it also comes at a cost! Perhaps you can purchase your friend a voucher to use for that particular destination. That way they have the freedom to use it when they wish (although check voucher expires). We have met lots of travelling families that have had family purchase them these vouchers and they have come in really handy when they want to have a break from the constant moving.
If you’re a travelling family and your really budget conscious then big expensive tourist attractions aren’t alway easy to afford. You can grab some amazing deals Redballoon, All the deals, Scoopon or Groupon for things like:
* Snorkelling on the Great Barrier reef
* Theme parks on the gold coast
* River or boat cruises
* Fishing charter (for the big kids)
* Zoo entries
* Surfing lessons
* Guided tours
And much more!
BWS or Dan Murphys gift voucher
Let’s face it, there are a lot of happy hours, moments to celebrate and crappy days that need to be erased with a relaxing drink. Be the great friend that they can “cheers” to and buy them a voucher to help their sanity 😉
Tech savvy stuff
Wikicamps is such a fantastic app to have while your travelling around Australia. Not only does it list a lot of free camps, caravan parks, parks, information centres and tourist attractions it also has valuable comments from travellers. Each user has the opportunity to rate and comment on these destinations. It’s great to be able to read a recent comment from other travellers if a free camp is still open or water available.
Itunes or Google play voucher
Before your friend heads off on this amazing trip these vouchers could come in really handy. They could download all sorts of apps that could help them in their travels. Some awesome apps are Wikicamps, Hema maps, Camps 8 and First aid apps. Plus of kids apps for iPads, Reading Egg, movies, or tv series to keep the kids entertained for hours.
Internet charges in Australia are ridiculously high. So for a travelling family when they get free wifi for whatever reason it’s like gold. So if your considering purchasing your friend some Itunes vouchers then perhaps add some internet credit to help with the downloads.
Other practical Ideas
Camp 8 book
If your travelling friend isn’t tech savvy then never mind there’s still a great option for them too. The camp 8 book is a great book to use while your travelling. It lists Free camps and caravan parks around Australia. It provides you information such as the address, big rig, pet-friendly and water available. Although you cannot see current comments from other travellers at least you have a map to see where your next destination is. Camp 8 also has an app available.
We met another travelling couple that had a battery operated sensor light. It’s great as a deterrent for anyone that may come to close to your van. We purchased our’s through Australia post but I am sure you could get them from Bunnings or any hardware or electrical store.
First Aid Course or Kits
Learning what to do in an emergency could be a life-saving gift. Being able to do a First aid course would be amazing however purchasing your friend a First aid Kit for their car or caravan would be a fantastic gift idea as well. St Johns has a large range of First aid kits.
Travel Journals or Trip Tracker
I particularly like the idea of the Travel journals made by Caravaning Australia as they have a few lines and an area for a picture. This gift is something that the kids can read for years of all the amazing memories they make on their trip.
Break-resistant dinnerware in a caravan is a must. Smashing a glass or plate is just too easy especially for young children. We found the range of Corelle dinnerware a great option to have in the van. If you are looking to save weight in your caravan then you can look at plastic plates and bowls.
How confident are your friends with towing a large vehicle? It’s one thing to know how to back a small trailer but it’s much harder to negotiate a large caravan. Do they know how to handle the vehicle in high winds or when a road train passes them. Perhaps a towing course could be a great gift to give someone to give them more confidence when towing around australia.