Love the open road? Here’s everything you wanted to know about becoming a grey nomad

No doubt by now you’ve seen or heard of friends and family who have gone on amazing nomad journeys, and

No doubt by now you’ve seen or heard of friends and family who have gone on amazing nomad journeys, and maybe you’re wishing you could join them? We hear a lot from our readers that they want to be a grey nomad but don’t know where to start.

Firstly, there’s no right answer on where to start – but there are a number of handy things you should consider before getting on the open road.

Here’s our top tips for any first time grey nomad.

1. Consider where you’ll stay on the road

Most grey nomads shrug it off and think “we’ll sleep in the caravan!” but you need to do it legally otherwise you could be slapped with a fine. Staying in caravan parks is great, however it can add up after a while. Luckily, national parks and rest areas are typically free, and have toilets and showers in some instances.

National parks

For more information about access, availability, facilities and attractions for the national parks in tourist information centres, you can go on the relevant national park office’s website or call them. Here are the National Park websites for each state:

ACT: click here
NSW: click here
NT: click here
QLD: click here
SA: click here
TAS: click here
VIC: click here
WA: click here

Rest areas

Each state has its own policy about overnight stays at rest areas but most have free maps showing where the rest areas are and what facilities are available.

VIC: click here
NSW: click here
QLD: click here
SA: click here
TAS: click here
NT: click here
WA: click here

2. Keep connected

Becoming a grey nomad can be one of the most freeing experiences of your life and thanks to modern technology, it’s no longer the isolating and (sometimes) lonely activity that it once was. Using devices like smart phones, iPads or tablets, and laptop computers, keeping in touch with family and friends on the road is a button-press away.

Here’s some options:

  • Blogging – keeping an online blog to post stories and photos of your trip
  • Viber and WhatsApp – free calls, text, and video messaging
  • Instagram – share your videos and pictures with your friends and family in real time!

Other gadgets to take with you

3. Be sure to see your doctor

Even if you’re feeling great right now, things can change, and you never know what could happen on the road. Even though your stresses may fall away once you hit the road, you should still make sure you’re in tip top shape if you’ll be away from medical care.


  • A full check up with your doctor and assessment of any medications. Ask for advance prescriptions if possible, or organise to have script faxed to a destination
  • Get your eyes checked.
  • A full examination and clean of your teeth and save the toothache later!
  • Purchase a fully equipped first aid kit.
  • Get travel insurance and make sure an ambulance call-out is included in the price.

4. Redirecting your bills and letters

It’d be nice to just never have to deal with bills and letters but even when you’re on the road, they will still come!


  • Change your address to that of a trusted relative if you will be selling your home
  • Give a trusted friend or relative access to your mailbox to collect mail if you’re not moving
  • Organise a re-direct on your mail to a professional mail forwarding agency. They can send the letters to any post office near to where you are in Australia.
  • Organise direct debits from your accounts
  • Set up internet banking

5. Finding the perfect caravan

Before anyone sets off on their dream nomad adventure, they need to have one thing… the right vehicle! So before you make any decisions about your nomad caravan, ask yourself these questions, write down the answers, and you have your baseline criteria for finding the perfect rig!

  1. Where do you want to go?

In Australia there in places that are quite hard to get to. This means that if you want to explore places off the beaten track, you’ll need a caravan that can get there. Some are two-wheel drives and others are four-wheel drives.

  1. What car are you going to use to tow the caravan?

If you have a car already and you’re definitely not considering another one, the load capacity for towing will determine the upper weight and size limit of the caravan you can get. A four-wheel drive is generally the most appropriate vehicle for towing caravans however the size and towing capacity varies from model to model so make sure you know the capacity for your car before purchasing a caravan.

  1. What are you going to take with you?

It sounds like something you don’t want to think about until you’re ready to leave, but this is incredibly important in choosing the right caravan. If you’re going to be enjoying adventure activities like kayaking, cycling, fishing or something like skiing, you will need a place to store all of your equipment.

  1. Where will you store it?

There are times when you’ll want to stay put and wherever home base is, be it at an caravan park, in your garage, outside the home or somewhere else, you’ll need to make sure it can fit. Measure the potential storage spaces and use these as limits to how big it will be. It is also important to consider the locations you will stop at on your journey – some holiday parks may ask for more money for bigger vehicles.

6. Some advice from people who’ve done it

Janne and Geoff Hardy set out on their grey nomad journey and it’s one of the best things they ever did. They shared a few words of wisdom for us in this blog post.

“One of the most important things to realise is that you can’t just drive and drive every day. Firstly, few people could afford the cost of fuel. Secondly, you won’t see much if you are focused on where you are going rather than where you are. Thirdly, you’ll miss the two most important reasons for being out here: the people and the communities you find along the way… because you’ll just shoot through”, they said.

Also, here’s what to pack!

Tell us, will you be setting off on a grey nomad adventure soon? Where will you go?

  1. And travelling in America if the picture is to be believed!

    • Ten years ago three of my mates and a couple of other blokes were in the southern gulf states of the US doing a three week fishing trip. Some of the stories I’ve heard highlighted a lot of things we Aussies don’t realise. They hired a large motorhome as they were going to tow a boat while they were there.

      The price was very competitive but then when they were picking it up they found the vehicle did not come fitted with any sort of linen, bed coverings, utensils etc . Yes they could lease them from the hirer, however they were lucky that day as the woman who was signing them up said “go to Walmart and buy what you need and give it all to charity when you leave. It is cheaper that way.”

      So it is the old thing of Caveat emptor – “let the buyer beware”.

      Do your research well. Have a good holiday.

    • In my wanderings in the past 15 years I have seen a lot of ladies doing the solo thing and it is getting easier every day with all of the gadgets and specialised maps/info material which is available. Good luck with your adventure. 😉

  2. Aahh!! Why would I want to do that?

    My first wife and I had 22 months in 76 & 77 caravaning around Oz. Had a ball. B|

    • Bruce I’m thinking of doing the nomad thing in the next 6 months. In your experience is a woman traveling on her own better off with a mobile home or caravan..

      • I feel that a motorhome is a much more convenient option. You don’t have to go through the drama of hitching and unhitching and a motorhome is much easier to get into parking bays. I can be having a cup of tea just a few minutes after arriving at a destination, I don’t have to muck around setting up a caravan. I also think MH’s are more secure, you don’t have to leave the vehicle if you want to leave somewhere in a hurry should the need ever arise.

  3. if it’s about Australians. why show a Left hand Drive. are you saying we should take Drive holidays Overseas

  4. My husband wont carry a camera how would he be taking his house lol…but we did a lot of Australia when young & have travelled the world & always going interstate,but he wouldn’t take his house,anyway he would drive me nuts,he likes freeways me too,but I also like off the beaten track…

  5. Except she is driving from the left seat….there is going to be a serious incident in Australia.

  6. I hope to buy a Motorhome this week and do a bit of travelling. I just need that blasted Lotto win lmao

  7. Done our round trip when a lot younger. Look at some in their huge 4×4. And huge caravan….This is my Opinion only….But some are far to old. And yes we’re in our 70’s. No way would I do it now.

    • Couple I saw the other day from Victoria, he got out of the vehicle, could hardly walk. Know we don’t like to admit were getting older. But we are.

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