31 May 2016
Are you a budding member of the Grey Nomad brigade? Do you dream of hitting the open road with nothing but a map in hand and a caravan in tow?
According to the Caravan Industry Association of Australia, the demand and production of Australian-made recreational vehicles has increased significantly in recent years, with 55-70-year-olds making up a quarter of the market. Caravans and motorhomes have enjoyed a six-year run as the most rapidly expanding vehicle type in the country.
Join us as we break down the top tips to keep in mind when traversing this Great Brown Land of ours.
1. Do Your Homework
When retirement finally moves from the realm of fantasy to reality it can be tempting to disregard your suit, throw on a pair of shorts and thongs, and head straight to your nearest dealer to buy a dream home on wheels. Resist this urge and first complete a few trips with a rental caravan. This way, you can compare models and decide what amenities and details are right for you, as well as determining how large or small you are willing to go to be comfortable.
2. Insure your Retirement Dream
The purchase of a caravan or motorhome is likely one of the most expensive you’ll make in your life, so don’t skimp on insurance. Research what is available, request a few quotes, and read all the fine print before deciding which plan is appropriate for you.
3. Make a List and Check it Twice
If you plan on hitting the open road without a rough plan, you may be sorely disappointed. While the freedom of caravanning is alluring, you should still make a plan and stick to it as closely as possible to ensure you get the most out of your experience. This could include pre-booking a site at various caravan parks along your intended route, as well as bookmarking activities and locations you want to visit.
4. Service your Car or Motorhome
Have your car or motorhome serviced before a trip so you don’t have to worry about expensive tune-ups or repairs whilst on the road. Pay particular attention to the car’s cooling system, as this will work harder than usual under the strain of towing a caravan.
5. Visit your GP
A thorough health check is just as important as servicing your car or motorhome. If you take medication, ensure you have the necessary paperwork to refill prescriptions on the road. First aid and medical kits are also vital.
6. Embrace the Sunrise
Unless you plan to secure one of the less desirable spots in any given caravan park (particularly during school holidays and the Christmas/New Year period), it’s best to rise early and journey to your next destination as early as possible. This will ensure you beat the rush and evade potential squabbling with fellow caravaners.
7. Slow Down in Wet & Windy Weather
Wind and rain are two major concerns for caravan and motorhome haulers. To avoid accidents, stay below 20km per hour until conditions improve, or pull over until you feel confident proceeding. Also beware of sweeping side winds from trucks and buses.
8. Down time
Avoid twiddling thumbs by packing a few books, some magazines, a fishing rod, a set of cards and a board game or two. Regardless of how you prefer to spend your down time, be sure to pack enough easy forms of entertainment to help while away the hours when you aren’t on the open road.
9. Stop, Revive, Survive
Australia is home to a number of seemingly endless roads and wide, open spaces. For this reason, it is advisable to set yourself a daily limit (no more than 200kms is a good guide) in order to beat fatigue. Stop every couple of hours to stretch your legs, take a walk and have a snack to keep you in good stead for the next two-hour stretch.
10. Don’t forget the Digital Devices
Stay in touch with family and friends by packing your laptop, iPad and mobile phone along with their respective chargers. These devices offer a convenient place to store travel itineraries and maps.
11. Be Water Wise
Australia’s notoriously dangerous desert conditions make it vital to travel with approximately three litres of water per person per day to ensure you stay hydrated.
Caravanning around Australia may be top of your retirement to-do list, but you should also take this time to tick off other essential items, such as ensuring the costs of your funeral are covered with Freedom Final Expenses Insurance. To find out more visit our Funeral Insurance page.