One of the key choices which needs to be made before that big trip is what type accommodation will you be taking with you. We’ve basically owned all types so have some knowledge about the pros and cons of each.
This is where it all started for us. We did a fair bit of hiking and camping and we used to use a tent everywhere. They are cheap, versatile and pack down small. Once you get quick at putting or packing them up you can usually avoid a domestic. They are generally a bit more limiting in size which makes those days of rain hard work. We’ll be making sure our trusty tents are packed with us for our trip so that we don’t miss out on some of the best bits of Australia, which usually require a bit of 4 wheel driving to get to.
This was the natural evolution for us once we had kids. If you have little ones this is sure to test the strength of the relationship and if you are putting them up in summer or up north in the humidity you’ll be sweating it out more than a gypsy with a mortgage. The upside is you can literally drag them anywhere your tow car can go – so this means pretty much any 4×4 track or beach is an option. They are generally much lighter than caravans or other towing options, they are also very roomy once set up and can store a reasonable amount of gear. We both decided to sell our camper trailers before the trip. Just the thought of putting one up after a big km day behind the wheel makes me exhausted.
This category covers a very broad range of vehicles, from a little Hiace size van right through to a massive custom built RV or converted bus. Really the only limit to how fancy they can be is the depth of your pockets – I recently saw a custom motorhome for sale which had provisions to transport a helicopter! The up side is there is no towing, everything is contained in your vehicle so setting up is an absolute breeze. Lots just simply plug into the power/water and waste and you are relaxing with a beer within 5 minutes of arriving. There is quite a range that can be driven on a normal car licence. There are even new truck style rigs which are even capable off-road. The big downside is that they are usually the only form of transport so just nipping down to the shops for milk might mean packing up your setup. The other thing to consider is the running costs. While these vehicles are usually based on a commercial vehicle which can do large number of kms with no issues. They can be expensive to repair if things do go wrong and you might need shares in oil companies as you are likely to be using quite a bit of fuel. Keep in mind this is also likely to be another full registration, which let’s face it, is not cheap in most states (I prefer to be in a drunken state when paying)
The caravan industry is booming and there are good reasons why. Caravans offer a home away from home these days with so many luxury options. The other big bonus is you can setup and go shopping or visit the surrounding area without packing up. There are a huge number of options when it comes to caravans, we’ve pulled together a bit of a guide here. Selecting the spec of your van is not so simple. You can’t simply tick all the boxes and go with a 24 ft monster if you own a Rav 4. If you have the luxury of buying both together than you can buy your tow vehicle to suit your van, but for most of us it’s a compromise and it is very important to know the limits/specs of your tow rig – we’ve pulled together a guide for understanding weights here.