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From work life to van life: 5 financial considerations for life on the road

Thinking of swapping work life for van life? Many retirees do – and with so much incredible country to explore here in Australia, why wouldn’t you?

However, whether it’s a caravan, campervan or motorhome, if such an adventure is on your radar, be aware that there are a few financial considerations to keep in mind.

Consider travel times

Travelling at the right time can save you a lot of money. Most popular tourism destinations have peak seasons due to various reasons like weather or time of year, and during this time there are more people around so prices shoot up. Darwin, for example, experiences an influx of people during its dry season, roughly May to October, and in particular June to September. If you can travel outside of these times and are willing to brave some bad weather, you could save yourself a lot of money.

Use Wi-Fi

Use free Wi-Fi whenever you can so that you’re not paying for data usage on your own plan. There are many different places that offer Wi-Fi, but the most common are cafes, bars, restaurants, fast food outlets, libraries and shopping centres. Check out our explainer on the difference between Wi-Fi networks and mobile networks for a refresher on the value of using Wi-Fi networks.


You may be leaving your life behind for a while, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll want to get rid of everything you own. If you don’t own your home and you don’t wish to depart with all your worldly possessions, you’ll need to be selective about what you bring with you, what you sell or throw away, and what you put into storage. Selling a few possessions can be a great way to make some quick money for your trip, but for everything left over, you’ll need to consider long-term self-storage. Even if you do have your own place, you may wish to at least store some of your more valuable possessions in a secure compound. All of this bears consideration.

Earning on the road

Due to the lack of international travel as a result of the pandemic, domestic tourism is booming. However, another side effect of the travel ban is that, throughout Australia, there’s a real lack of backpackers available to fill many jobs in the hospitality sector. While it means that, in many tourism-focused towns, locals are working harder than ever to keep their businesses afloat, it also means that there’s an opportunity for versatile Australians to grab some work along the way. If you could use a top-up of funds on your long trip and don’t mind pouring a drink or picking up a cloth, there are many towns desperate for extra hands at the moment.


Now that your caravan, campervan or motorhome is your full-time home, it’s critical that you take out insurance. Without it, you could risk being stranded and even financially crippled if something goes wrong such as an accident, weather event, theft, etc. Spend some time shopping around for the best-value policy. There’s a great summary of insurance considerations at this link.