Grey Nomads setting the ‘van-life’ trend.
It’s no surprise that seniors are the trailblazers when it comes to the caravan lifestyle. Some travel as a hobby, while others pack up and head off for full-time life on the road. However, a lifestyle traditionally enjoyed by grey nomads and retirees is fast becoming adopted by younger demographics and travelling families – many of whom are embracing their new-found workplace flexibility which has enabled more and more Queenslanders to adopt the van-lifestyle.
In fact, never before has a caravanning lifestyle been more popular in Queensland and Australia. There’s been a 275% increase in the number of new recreational vehicles (caravans, campervans, camper trailers and motorhomes) registered in Queensland in September 2021, compared to the same period in 2020[i], representing unprecedented growth for the industry.
Aussies now able to literally work from wherever
Post covid work from home norms are now enabling traditional business owners or white-collar professionals to ditch the office altogether, or at least for extended periods of time, and travel the countryside – and all while maintaining their usual day jobs.
This way of life is not new for Chris Buck, CEO of Brisbane City Childcare, who is a trailblazer of this lifestyle and veteran of what is fast becoming known as the ‘Hybrid Holiday’, combining business and pleasure while on the road.
Having intermittently run his business from the road for the past 18 years, well before it was the norm, Chris and his wife Margaret have successfully been able to enjoy everything Australia has to offer – all while running their business off the beaten track.
Nowadays, thanks to technology and van customisations, Chris says it’s possible to work in the corporate world and run many businesses from almost anywhere in Australia.
Chris’s van is equipped with an off-grid power supply and gets internet connection from most locations across Australia. For times when he can’t connect, he also has an onboard satellite phone.
The economic impact of life on the road
Jason Plant, CEO of Caravan Trade & Industries Association of Queensland, says that the pandemic has prompted many Aussies to reinvent the way they live and work, which has seen a rise in the number of Queenslanders enjoying ‘van-life’ and the benefits are far-reaching.
“Not only has this boosted the caravanning industry, but it has positively benefited the Queensland visitor economy more broadly,” he adds.
According to Mr. Plant, the benefits of adopting ‘van-life’ and exploring our own backyard – whether it be a weekend away, working holiday, or major life adventure – doesn’t end with the stunning scenery or personal adventures, it also helps support small businesses and regions within Queensland and Australia who rely heavily on tourism.
According to the report, these visitors spend more than $1.6bn whilst they travel which in turn supports local economies, job creation and regional communities.
“For anyone interested in the caravanning lifestyle, the Gold Coast Expo is the perfect place to explore the vast array of products on offer, meet with experts, and get inspired for the adventures that await,” he says.
Caravanning Queensland’s Let’s Go Gold Coast Caravan and Outdoor Expo will be held at Metricon Stadium from Friday, March 4 – Sunday, March 6, with gates opening at 9:00am until 5:00pm Friday to Saturday and 4:00pm Sunday.
[i] Caravan and Camping State of Industry 2021