Are you ready for the caravanning life?

By: Claudie Bouma

Two years of touring around Australia as a family with three kids in tow turned out not only to be the beginning of an exciting new life but also brought us closer together. So what are you waiting for?

Australia has so much to offer, from the turquoise-blue waters of the celebrated Great Barrier Reef to the seemingly never-ending red dust of the iconic Outback.

There’s so much to see and explore, so many interesting people to meet and so much life to live. Travelling around this breathtaking country opens up new ways of living and has the potential to inspire – like it did for us.

But where to begin? Well, here are a few tips to get you going on the trip of a lifetime.

Rigs come in all shapes and sizes but don’t be fooled into believing you need to have the latest and most expensive rig to have an enjoyable trip. Sure, a couple of luxuries are nice – especially if you’re planning on hitting the road for more than six months – but you can make do with something simple and basic, if that’s all you can afford.

Once you’re on your way, where to go? My husband Chris and I met many couples and families who tried to cram too many destinations into their trip. We learned from firsthand experience that seeing more doesn’t necessarily mean a better trip; the opposite can often be true. Come up with a list of must-dos and allow sufficient time to enjoy these places. Make sure you have enough time to relax; otherwise you’ll need another holiday when you get home. 

Don’t skimp on vehicle/caravan maintenance as a breakdown can potentially ruin your trip. Take your car and rig to a trusted mechanic to have them fully checked and serviced before you head off. Repairs in the workshop are always cheaper than emergency repairs in some isolated place where you could be stuck for days.

Self-sufficiency is something most Australians dream of and this can be achieved quite easily when you keep camping simple. More and more travellers install solar panels to meet their power needs. We opted to bring a three-way fridge, which runs on electricity and gas, so we reduced our need for electricity. A second car battery supplied us with enough electricity to recharge the computer and mobile phones.

A highlight of any trip is meeting people from all walks of life and making friends in the most unlikely of places. You wouldn’t be the first traveller to forge a friendship that lasts a lifetime.

Last but not least, enjoy every moment. Time is short and precious, and in our busy everyday lives we often forget to live in the present. Leaving behind your ‘normal’ life to hit the road gives you the unique opportunity to make the most of every single day.

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