If you’re craving for a new adventure or want to take a minimalist route, then caravan living may be right for you. Living in a motorhome or van may be a life out of the ordinary, but there are some tips and tricks to make your journey fun and safe.
Moving from a full-sized house to a caravan or motorhome is a considerable adjustment, but with proper planning and the right resources, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of mobile life. You’d be free from the worries associated with home maintenance, council rates, and power bills.
One essential tip that can help you thrive while living in a caravan full time is to consider it a lifestyle and not a vacation. It would be best to avoid cramming activities into one day and ease yourself into a daily routine that includes chores, regular meal schedules, and plenty of downtime.
We’ve rounded up all you need to know about making the most out of ‘van life’. You’ll find valuable information to see if this indeed is the life for you. Read on to know what things you need to load up on and the best places to live in a caravan long term.
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Why Live In A Caravan Full Time?
Living in a caravan long-term will allow you to drink in Australia’s incredible sights and diverse flora and fauna at a comfortable pace. It will also provide you with experiences that only the great outdoors can offer-hiking, camping, climbing, swimming, and trekking. If you’re yearning for a life filled with adventure and away from the hustle and bustle of city life, then the caravan life is for you.
Having no set itinerary or a strict timetable is part of the caravan life. One day you’re parked in front of a riverbank, then the next day, you can be in the middle of a National Park. The uncertainty of where you’re going or who you’ll meet can give you a taste of freedom. It’s a thrill of a lifetime that’s going to teach you so many valuable lessons and life skills- those reasons alone are priceless!
To know if living in a caravan full-time in Australia is worth it, you need to weigh up the pros and cons of caravan life. Ultimately, it’s all up to how much you really want to experience a change in your lifestyle and how far your resilience and determination can get you.
Pros Of Living In A Caravan In Australia
- It lets you enjoy a simple life.
When you live in a caravan, you have limited space, so you need to get rid of things that do not serve you. You also can’t buy more stuff simply because you have no room for it. By limiting your purchases, you reduce your impact on the environment. You reduce your carbon footprint by producing less trash, using minimal electricity, and consuming less water. You are given a chance to simplify your life and cherish the things that truly matter, like nurturing relationships and communing with nature.
- It saves you money.
Living in a caravan is way cheaper than buying or renting a house. The average rent in Australia is $436 AUD per week, while the rent for a caravan is about $250 AUD per week. You save about half in rental expenses. If you have your own van, you wouldn’t have to worry about rent at all.
On the other hand, the average price of a house in Australia is about $995,000 AUD, while a caravan can cost between $10,000 to $60,000 AUD, depending on the size. Of course, the comfort features of each home are worlds apart, but if you’re dead set on living a minimalist life (and saving money along the way), then the caravan life is a great choice.
- It costs less to maintain.
When you live in a caravan, your main cost will only be food and fuel. You don’t have to break the bank paying for electricity or water bills. You can cut your fuel expenses by staying in one place for three days, minimum. Eating in-season produce and less meat can also help you stay within budget.
- It allows you to be one with nature.
Australia is known for its diverse environment. You have so many options as to what you can see and experience. Whether you are keen on living near a river, the beach, or the bush, you’ll never run out of places to go. It’s an excellent opportunity to enrich your life every day by witnessing sunsets, interacting with nature, and reveling in the peace of it all.
- It helps you build meaningful relationships.
Most people who decide to live in a caravan long-term do it with their loved ones. Living in a small space with so many unknowns can test your limits, but it can also provide you with many lessons on harmoniously dealing with whoever’s with you. It can strengthen your relationship and can make you a more resilient person.
The caravan life also allows you to meet new people along the way. You can foster new friendships with people who have the same interests. Many of those who have been on the road for a long time revealed that they had made new friends in caravan parks and other destinations.
Cons Of Living In A Caravan In Australia
- Showering and going to the bathroom can be a challenge
If you’re using a van, likely, it doesn’t have a shower. Even if it comes with a portable shower, it’s still not convenient to use. You can take a shower in paid campsites or aquatic centers, but sometimes those options are not within your reach. So you can go for days surviving only on wet wipes to keep yourself clean.
Showering in beach showers or getting yourself clean by swimming in the lake can also be some of your choices. But again, not being able to bathe in a full-size bathroom is something that needs getting used to.
If you think showering while living in a caravan is hard, going to the bathroom is even more complicated. Most vans and campers have portable toilets, but anyone who has experienced using it will know it’s not the most convenient way to do a number two. Cleaning and waste disposal also entails hard work and patience.
There are other options, such as public toilets, but sometimes you will be faced with not-so-clean ones. Bathroom issues are one of the main disadvantages of living in a caravan that you need to prepare for.
- You may be judged and stigmatised.
Caravan living is a lifestyle that goes against the norm, so expect to raise a few eyebrows. Some people think that those who live in vans or campers are either poor, irresponsible, or have no direction in life. Of course, you know this isn’t the case, but they don’t, so better take their judgment with a grain of salt.
- You’ll have no total privacy.
Even if you stay in an isolated spot, there’s still a chance that there are other people who can see you. You will always be in a public space, so you can’t do what you usually do when you’re inside your house – like dancing around in your underwear. There can be moments when you have to share a living space with other campers, which can get pretty uncomfortable.
- It’s hard to move in a small space.
Whether you’ll be using a van, a motorhome, or a camper, you will always have a space smaller than your house. Getting dressed and moving around can be challenging in such tight quarters. You can stay most of the time outdoors, but sometimes you will have no choice when it’s raining. You’ll also have to consider some creative caravan storage ideas to keep your space organised.
While there may be some setbacks to living in a caravan long term, the memories you create and the freedom that goes with it can be all worth it.
What Essentials Do You Need To Live In A Caravan Full Time?
Before you head out on a journey of a lifetime, make sure that you have all the essentials you need to survive. We’ve rounded up a list to help you get started.
It may not be a great idea to load everything on the caravan with hopes that you leave the car space for people (and pets). You may need something while you’re on the go so it’s best to keep the following essentials in the car.
- An EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon)
- First aid kit
- Rubbish bags
- Baby wipes
- Rubber backed rug
- Rags or old towels
- Chargers for gadgets and mobile phones
- Gaffer tape
- Car tools
For the Caravan
Now that you’ve secured the things that you need for the car, it’s time to gather the tools and equipment for the caravan. Remember that you will be living in a tight space, so make sure that you take smaller and lighter versions of the necessities, if possible.
Make sure also that you have locked every cupboard and drawer to keep the contents from falling while you’re on the road.
- Fire blanket or fire extinguisher
- Fire alarm with working batteries
- A hygiene kit (wipes, soap, tissues, and hand sanitiser)
- Paper towels, dishwashing soap, sponges, tea towels, plugs
- Bath towels and toiletries
- Mats for outside and inside the caravan
- Canvas cleaners, rags, BBQ wipes, car sponges
- Folding tables and chairs
- Small bins and liners
- Broom and pan set, mini vacuum
- Laundry bags, detergent, pegs, clothesline, or a portable drying rack
- Shoe containers
- Shopping bags
- Sporting and fishing gear
- Weather protection such as raincoats, umbrellas, and hats
- Kettle and toaster
- Lighters and torches
- Kitchen utensils such as a knife, peeler, chopping board, and tongs
- Extension cords
- Device chargers
- Batteries and fuses
- Reading materials, board games, playing cards, journal, and pens
- Camera and extra memory cards
- Beddings, linen, and pillows
- Weather appropriate clothes
- Frozen food, pantry staples, seasonings, and snacks
- Drinking water and water purifiers
- Barbecue grill and charcoal
- Cooked food for your first day on the road
Can You Legally Live In A Caravan In Australia?
Yes, it’s completely legal to live in a caravan in Australia. However, there are specific written and unwritten rules you need to follow. One essential thing you need to remember is to always follow parking rules. You can usually park a caravan or motorhome with other vehicles, but you need to stay clear of areas where it states you can’t camp overnight.
You are also allowed to live in a caravan on your own property, but not permanently. Living in a caravan on your own property in Australia is limited to thirty days per year.
Where Can You Live Permanently In A Caravan In Australia?
Caravan parks and camp sites around Australia are the ideal places to live in a caravan permanently. There are plenty of caravan parks that allow you to stay long term, with all the amenities you’d need.
There are also a number of RV friendly villages across Australia. These rural towns allocate areas where people in motorhomes and caravans can park and sleep for free.
How Long Can You Live In A Caravan Park In Australia?
It all depends on the area where you will park your caravan. Some sites only allow up to 48 hours, while others in Western Australia, for example, can allow you to live between one to five years.
For most parks in the country, you need to make prior arrangements with the caravan park owner or administrator before deciding to live there long term.
Is It Better To Buy Or Hire A Caravan To Live In?
If your plan is to live in a caravan long term, it’s best to buy it instead of hiring or renting. While hiring a caravan may be more affordable in the short term, you’ll be spending money on something you won’t own at the end of the day. The extra price of buying a caravan outweighs the affordability of hiring, especially if you are planning on living in your caravan long term.
Making your caravan feel like home is very important if you’re living in it long term. Consider the best ways to store things in a caravan to keep as many of your homely comforts with you as possible.
Can You Live In A Caravan On Your Own Property in Australia?
Yes, you can live in a caravan on your own property but only temporarily. You are only allowed a maximum of thirty days a year. It helps if you can meet certain conditions like having a toilet, a proper waste disposal system, kitchen facilities, and an appropriate sleeping area.
Should I Get A Caravan Or A Motorhome?
Many people in Australia prefer caravans because they offer the flexibility of a mobile home, but can be detached when you only need your car; while motorhomes are large and unwieldy for everyday use. However, both caravans and motorhomes have advantages and disadvantages. Your decision depends on your preference, traveling needs, your companions, and your destination.