Living on the road is no longer reserved for grey nomads, with thousands of families and working adults choosing to make a home behind the wheel instead of a white picket fence. These van lifers share their experiences as they roam, inspiring others to take the path less travelled - just head over to Instagram to check out over six million posts adorning the #VanLife hashtag!
There’s more to this movement than adding a motor to the tiny home trend. Far from a passing fad, it is a way of life that trades materialism for minimalism, mundane routine for outdoor adventure and slavery to the corporate grind for freedom to take control of your time.
While the appeal of waving goodbye to rent or mortgage fees may attract you to this nomadic lifestyle, it’s the ability to experience whatever you want, wherever and whenever you like, that keeps so many van lifers on the road.
Provided you’re physically and mentally prepared, van life offers invaluable opportunities to discover the world, grow as an individual and realise what truly matters in life. And, yes, you can also slash your expenses.
Everything considered, it’s no surprise that Aussies all over the country have been quick to jump aboard this ever-growing bandwagon. Below, we delve into the joys behind it’s speedy evolution, how you can get involved and which van lifers to check out for some travel inspo!
As a van owner, you can earn over $10,000 each year by hiring it out on Camplify. As a holidaymaker, Camplify helps you to find the perfect rental so that you can experience the joys of van life without having to own one yourself.
Equipped with living essentials and home comforts in one convenient space, you can enjoy the freedom to roam wherever the journey takes you. And adventure awaits at every turn. Luckily, campervan living - and motorhome or caravan living, for that matter - offers flexibility to explore like no other.
Tied to neither a lease nor a strict travel agenda, you can discover the open road at your own pace! Loving a certain town? Stay another night. Not feeling this camping spot? On to the next. With its inherent spontaneity and endless opportunities, you can live van life your way.
A Chance To Cut Costs
With no more rent, mortgage or utility payments, living in a van can save you serious money – particularly on housing (which only seems to be surging). Of course, you’ll still need to pay for gas and vehicle maintenance, but you are in complete control of the amount you spend in this domain.
Make no mistake: van life is not the magical answer to zero expenses. Nothing in life comes free, so your costs ultimately depend on your preferences. Your lifestyle, your choice.
Less Is More
Your van won’t have as much storage space as your house. That means you’ll have to re-evaluate your belongings, only bringing those that genuinely ‘spark joy’ (as Marie Kondo would say) or serve a necessary purpose.
Honestly, this is a blessing in disguise. Minimalist living takes you back to basics, teaching you to make do with less, appreciate the little things and recognise that your happiness doesn’t rest in excess. Put simply, van life is good for your soul.
Oh, and everything you need is within arm's reach!
Time For The Things You Love
With its freedom and flexibility, van life is a celebration of our finite time on this beautiful planet. Whether you want to spend the day hiking with your kids, surfing with your partner or painting the surrounding landscape in peace, your van can take you there.
Not to mention that less living space and fewer impulse buys minimise your housekeeping duties and pressure to afford the unnecessary. With a simpler day to day, you can devote more time to your hobbies, interests and relationships. In other words, things that actually matter.
Bonds Across Australia
There’s no community like the van lifer community!
As you traverse the country’s camping grounds, you’re guaranteed to meet new and interesting people from all walks of life. What’s more, chances are they’re like-minded campers who understand your lifestyle on a deep level. That means you can skip the small talk and create meaningful connections from the offset.
Prefer to keep to yourself? The beauty of having a van is that you can go your own way when things don’t quite click. Whatever you do, make sure to join a Van Life Facebook group for handy tips, expert advice and travel inspiration from fellow adventurers.
Mother Nature In All Her Glory
The nature of van life will have you spending most of your waking hours in the great outdoors - camp beside pristine beaches, at the top of towering cliffs, within exotic rainforests and surrounded by vast desert. Essentially, you can immerse yourself in Australia’s stunning landscapes, calling the wilderness your new home.
When it comes to the weather, you can maintain a comfortable temperature inside your van all year round. A propane heater keeps you cosy in the chill of winter, while reflective window coverings and a ventilation fan cool you down on sweltering summer days.
Grow With The Flow
To thrive in van life, you need an open mind, an appreciation for simplicity and an enthusiasm for embracing the unknown.
Each day brings new experiences, with little certainty over where you’ll go, what you’ll do, who you’ll meet and where you’ll camp. While this can be daunting at first, you gradually learn to roll with the punches and accept change. And that feeling is oh so revitalising.
Challenges will rear their heads here and there, but you will overcome each one as you embrace the adventure. Because for every unexpected setback, there will be ten incredible moments that make it worthwhile.
Join The #VanLife Movement
Try Before You Buy
Make sure that the van life is right for you before you invest in your own rig. Camplify works with van owners across Australia so that prospective buyers can rent a caravan, campervan, motorhome or camper trailer for a trial run holiday – no matter the location or budget.
Listings are rarely decorated in branding, so you can get a real sense of what it’s like to live in your own van.
All vans have unique layouts and features to feed your conversion inspiration!
Every hire is covered by comprehensive insurance and 24/7 roadside assistance, so you can enjoy peace of mind on the road.
To learn more about Camplify for hirers, click here.
Purchase The Right Van
Buying a van is the greatest step towards that life-changing adventure you’ve always longed for. Unfortunately, everything in life comes at a price. And if you don’t do your research, it’s easy to fork out heaps more dollars than necessary.
Given the sheer volume of quality pre-owned vans on the market today, buying second-hand may be your best option. Not sure where to start or what to look for? We’ve created a detailed guide to buying a van, which will help you to get the most out of your money.
Make It Your Own With A Van Conversion
Now for the fun part. Your once-in-a-lifetime adventure deserves a one-of-a-kind van, so kit it out! These days, the standard of van conversions is unbelievable, with van lifers pulling out all the stops to make their spaces as beautiful and functional as the houses they left behind.
Converting a van is no easy feat, but it gives you the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills, as well as a sense of satisfaction and pride you cannot imagine. We promise your future self will thank you for putting in the effort, with a clever set up making van life infinitely easier.
As well as the obvious items like linens, cookware and camping chairs, a few other pieces of gear are vital to all van lifers. Firstly, you should always pack a solid set of tools (think pliers, spanners, duct tape etc.). Even if you are clueless when it comes to mechanical repairs, there’s a strong chance that someone else can help you to fix the issue. But not with their bare hands.
You will also need to bring recovery gear, such s 4WD tracks, a snatch trap and an air compressor. No matter how skilled a driver you claim to be, there will come a time when your van gets stuck, and quality recovery gear will be a life saver.
Finally, never hit the gas without a GPS locator beacon. When driving through remote wilderness, you want to be sure that you can contact emergency services if something goes wrong!
Making Money On The Road
It’s all well and good to treat a temporary road trip as a blissful vacation, but van lifers intending to wander indefinitely need to generate some sort of income. To sustain your nomadic lifestyle, you’ll either have to save up a mountain of money before you leave, or figure out a way to earn as you go.
The good news is that there are a myriad of ways to make money on your travels, from remote freelance work and online content creation to manual labour and seasonal farming. You name it, a van lifer has done it. Our advice? Devise a plan before your journey begins so as not to spoil your adventure with the stress of a dwindling bank account.
Share The Love On Camplify
There’s a silver lining to every cloud - even the gloom of returning from your van life escapades. With Camplify, you can hire out your campervan when it's not in use and earn up to $800 per week in extra income. As well as this, you’ll be helping other adventurers to experience the joys of the open road! Oh, the circle of van life.
Once you've created your Camplify listing, simply sit back and wait for the booking requests to roll in. Importantly, you control when you hire out your van and who you hire it out to.
A modern movement spurred by countless uploads of idyllic destinations, awesome adventures and enviable conversions, there’s no better way to get your fix of van life inspo than on social media. Whichever your preferred platform, you’ll find well-known wanderers sharing their van life wisdom!
Need some names? Discover some of our favourite van lifers below.
Tribe Of Six
This big, happy family sold up their life in Melbourne to embark on an epic journey around Australia! Kirsty, Christian, Ivy, Haddie, Bodhi and Olly show us how any brood - no matter how large - can take on the open road and bring their dreams to (van) life.
Rob, Tracy, Marli and Ziggy are sharing their experiences, excitement and expertise as they tour the great outdoors, hoping to persuade other parents to bring their littlies on the family adventure of a lifetime!
The Lorrimers are van lifers veterans, gallivanting around Australia for nearly five years now. Justin, Bec, Jack, Billy & Charli are avid adventurers, exploring the wilderness and offering up travel tips so that more families can take the leap into van life.
Drawing inspiration from Aussie adventures, the founders of Will & Bear traded life in Byron Bay for their 1972 Yamaha conversion and hit the road. Lauren and Alex are still managing their hat label on the go, proving that you don’t have to leave your passion behind!
After a magic weekend away in their new van, Kallie and Dylan called it a day on their nine to five jobs. Transforming their home away from home into a permanent family base, these spirited explorers are acing van life one Instagram post at a time.
Tired of the daily grind and its lacklustre routine, Bec and Gary decided to get out and explore the world while they still had a pep in their step. Converting an ex-Australia Post van into a dreamy love nest, these two are goals for any couple planning their own adventure on the road.