The Feel Good Family's Top 10 Tips for Planning a Big Lap of Australia
After 18 months of full time travel in our caravan, we have compiled our Top 10 Tips for Planning A Big Lap of Australia.
1. MAKE A PLAN, MAKE IT HAPPEN
We live by the mantra “You don’t need to see the whole staircase, just take the first step”, and we think this perfectly sums up the process of planning a big lap of Australia. Allowing yourself a realistic timeframe to plan, save, and implement the necessary actions towards the attainment of your goal is key to its success. You'll also find that this helps help to keep the stress levels in check and the moments of doubt and fear at bay.
We placed a huge whiteboard in front of our TV and used this to map out our plans, action items, and to countdown our weeks till departure, keeping the dream front and centre in our daily lives.
2. BECOME A CONSCIOUS CONSUMER
Whether you are completely selling up to travel, or placing your household items in storage for the duration of your adventure, one thing is guaranteed… you’ll need to downsize! For many people, ourselves included, this part of the preparation process can be extremely overwhelming and can also evoke some pretty big emotions as you assess the contents of your lives and their value.
Budget played a big role in our plan, making it necessary for us to stop spending and start saving. By default we became conscious consumers, assessing the need and worth of every item we thought we wanted, and by asking ourselves whether those dollars would be better invested into our “big lap of Australia” savings fund.
We approached our downsizing as a 3 step process starting with an initial cull of easy to get rid of items of little worth or sentimental value. This was followed by a much harder elimination to determine what special and sentimental items would be kept and packed away for years to come. The final step was to determine what items would come with us in the caravan, and it has been a fascinating realisation of just how little “stuff” you really do need to not only survive but thrive in this lifestyle.
3. GET INSPIRED
As complete newbies to caravanning and camping we knew at the onset that we needed to seek out others who were living the lifestyle we were dreaming about. We read, scoured social media and watched travel content on YouTube that inspired us and kept our fires burning. Not only did this instil the confidence in us that if they can do it we can too, but it also provided us with great education in an entertaining format.
4. DO IT YOUR WAY
One of the questions we get asked the most about our full time travel is around budget and costs, and unfortunately there is not a one-size-fits-all answer. At the commencement of our planning stage we mapped out a budget of anticipated travel costs that included our vehicle repayments, fuel and living expenses, accommodation and experiences, and we also included a 15% contingency just to be safe. We then used this budget to work backwards and determine how hard we needed to work to boost our savings in the timeframe we had before hitting the road.
We used a great budget template, downloaded from the Queensland Government’s Smart Money website, to input our income and expenses which we have used as our guide during our 18 months on the road, and we would highly recommend this as a great way to track your costs and make adjustments as and when necessary.
5. MAKE A BUCKET LIST
Australia is an incredible country with everchanging landscapes and experiences to rival any other in the world, so it goes without saying that making a bucket list of must-do destinations and experiences is a great idea, not only in your planning stages but also once you’ve hit the road. This could be a once in a lifetime opportunity so be sure to dream big and experience those bucket list items!
6. WHAT STYLE OF TRAVELLER ARE YOU?
There is no perfect model for planning or completing a big lap of Australia and this is true for just about every element of the process, including your budget and what rig you decide to purchase. If you are able to “try before you buy” this is a great way to determine whether you are a caravan or motorhome person, and will give you a good insight into what life on the road is really like. Determining what sort of traveller you are will also help in making your decision… are you more about the journey, or the destination?
For us, we're a young family who are keen to explore 'off the beaten track' as much as much as on it, so we knew a caravan was the perfect fit. However narrowing down your selection from hundreds of different manufacturers and models can be daunting. We attended a Caravanning Queensland Expo and enjoyed being able to look inside a large number of vans to get a feel for what we liked and ultimately what we wanted to include in our new home on wheels. Our Windsor Genesis 220MD certainly ticks all the boxes and is a great balance of comfort, style and practicality, catering perfectly for our full time family lifestyle.
7. GET EDUCATED
Before we hit the road we booked into a towing tuition course and highly recommend this as a great tool, especially for those new to caravanning like we were. An easy half day course can teach you all the basics of towing and reversing your van, provide important safety information around hitching and unhitching, and will leave you feeling much more confident when you get behind the wheel.
The Caravanning Queensland website is a great resource of education and information including what you need to know before you purchase a van, towing weights, care and maintenance and other tools to support your RV lifestyle.
8. PLAN YOUR ROUTE
There is no shortage of fantastic resources to help you plan your big lap of Australia route, and with so many variables to consider including weather patterns, seasons, your departure location and travel timeframes, this is a step that you will want to spend a good amount of time and energy on when planning.
Our best advice is to map out your high level route and itineraries, leaving enough flexibility in your schedule to allow for discovering hidden gems, lingering longer in favourite spots, local recommendations, or any other set-backs that could mess with a finely detailed schedule. It’s about finding the balance and making small adjustments as needed to keep you on track and enjoying the ride.
9. MUST HAVE TOOLS
We would recommend creating a checklist for your hitching and unhitching, set up and pack down, to ensure you don’t miss any of the crucial safety steps involved in these processes. These checklists have become some of our most valuable tools on the road.
Also having a small grab bag of essential items packed and ready to go in an emergency situation is a fantastic idea, and another tool that will keep you safe and happy on the road.
10. MUST HAVE APPS
In today’s digital world we're spoiled with choice when it comes to useful apps to complement our lifestyles, and there are plenty to choose from when it comes to travelling the big lap of Australia. From maps, GPS, weather, free camps and caravan parks to fuel, things to do, route planning and photo management, there are plenty of options for every kind of traveller.
The Feel Good Family are proud Brand Ambassadors for Windsor Caravans. You can follow The Feel Good Family on their Big Lap Around Australia by visiting their website www.thefeelgoodfamily.com.au and subscribing to their YouTube Channel.
Are you looking for the perfect home on wheels to embark on your own big lap of Australia? Get in touch with us at Windsor RVs today!