MILLIONS of older Australians are discovering first class travel on a beer budget.
Grey nomads, or travellers aged 55+, made a total 3.5 million trips in the past year, according to data compiled by the Caravan Industry Association of Australia.
The “nomads” account for nearly a third of the total domestic trips taken.
And their ranks are growing, the association’s data shows.
Furthermore, the association found 85 per cent of grey nomads felt closer to their spouse-partner compared with 65 per cent of non-campers.
And 95 per cent of respondents believed camping reduced stress.
If you feel inspired to ditch the home and hit the road, do your research first.
Would-be “nomads” have much to consider.
This depends, in part, on your level of fitness, as well as your budget.
Grey nomads Graham and Louise Rose, who hitched a trailer to the back of their four-wheel-drive before hitting the highway from their hometown of Bundaberg to Tasmania, urged travellers to consider their level of fitness.
“A downside to having a trailer is we have to pack up everything whenever we move, something which takes time and effort and which people travelling in caravans, or mobile homes, don’t have to do,” Mr Rose said.
Motorhomes provide comfort and style, but are not as portable as a trailer.
This is vital, so think about how you will access the internet on your travels and stay in contact with family.
Many motorhomes come with satellite dishes that provide broad coverage.
For those using trailers, a good mobile phone is essential, especially for downloading essential apps.
There is a blog for grey nomads where those on the road recommend certain apps and websites with useful information.
This includes the Bureau of Meteorology website for weather forecasts, an app for best camping sites and even one for national public toilets.
You will find more information at greynomadsaustralia.com.auor search Facebook for the Grey Nomads homepage.
The more planning you do before your trip, the better it will be.
A trip to your GP is recommended for grey nomads, especially those on medication and who may have repeat scripts.
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If you’re a relatively fit “nomad”, you may be able to work your way across the country.
Greynomadsjobs.com is a website dedicated to the 55+ age group traveller keen on working while touring.
Jobs include free parking sites in exchange for helping out on a farm, part-time work at a country store and volunteer work with camel races in Western Australia.
You may want to initially hire a caravan, or mobile home, to road test your dream.
There will always be hitches but few can’t be overcome.
You may also want to take a training course before you set out, which will provide confidence in towing a caravan, parking and maintaining your vehicle.
Remember to budget for fuel, the price of which can vary widely from state to state and country and city.
You’ve left behind the deadlines, so take time to stop, stay and explore the country.