The four most important things to do before becoming a grey nomad 57



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The nomad dream is one that so many Australian people, single or in a couple, want to fulfil at some point throughout their life. A particularly large number of these people are actually in their 60s and above – claiming the name, “grey nomads”. It’s an exciting prospect, living a life free of commitments to explore this great country (or others) and relax, but the one question that people have is: where do I start?

From the grey nomads who have blogged for us, who we’ve met, who we’ve interviewed and who we’ve spoken to, we’ve found that there are four really important things that they need to sort out before they can hit the road.

1. Downsize 

Making the decision to become a grey nomad means making the decision to move out of the family home – temporarily or permanently. There are a few things that people can do. You can sell the home, clear it out and live only in the caravan with no permanent “base”. You can clear out the home, buy a caravan and rent the home, so you still have somewhere to come back to. Both of these options require downsizing on a fairly large scale. Before Janne and Geoff began their grey nomad journey they had to go through the downsizing adventure – you can read about it here. The other thing you can do is downsize into a smaller home like a village or retirement community and have a base there so you can easily lock up and leave knowing your house and belongings are safe and secure. This is something that you have to work out what is best for you.

2. Fund it 

This is the tricky step – how do you fund this dream? Because although the costs of running a caravan are significantly lower than running a household, they are still expensive. You have to budget for things like the purchase of your caravan, insuring it, electricity and gas on site, filling the water tanks, maintaining it and keeping it roadworthy, then on the road there is food, accommodation (powered sites with full facilities) plus lifestyle costs including technology, telephones, internet, activities, park entry fees, road fees (in some cases), storage back home, mail redirection and fuel. As long as you know all of the costs associated with being a grey nomad and you’ve budgeted and planned accordingly, you will be fine. If you’re concerned then take a look at this comprehensive list of things to remember by clicking here.

3. Plan it 

This isn’t planning your dream trip around Australia, this is planning the logistics. Where does your mail go? How will you pay bills? Is internet banking set up? Have you got all of your important documents copied with a family member and with you, have you given power of attorney to someone you trust in case of emergency? Before you go anywhere for any amount of time, you need to make sure everything is in order. A great checklist and some handy websites can be found by clicking here.

4. Buy it 

This is the most exciting step – buying your caravan! This in itself is a minefield – what do you look for? What is important? What do you need? There’s a couple of guides to help you make sure you make the right decision for you. Here are five questions you need to ask yourself before you choose a caravan – if you can answer all of these then you have a starting point when it comes to having a list of needs and wants.


If you’ve got your living arrangements sorted, the budget planning done, the logistics and planning done and you’ve found your perfect vehicle then you’re ready to head off on your dream adventure.

Tell us, do you have ambitions to try living the grey nomad life? Share your thoughts in the comments below… 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I would love to be a grey nomad but unfortunately I have no one to travel with

    5 REPLY
    • Why not do some not so far travelling by yourself?smaller camping grounds are full of interesting people to meet.

    • If u could ,buy an all in one van so no need to reverse park as you do with a caravan would be so much easier, like a mini winnebago. Have a go, we met most interesting people. Like Kate said small trips to start. Or join a travelling club.

    • Thanks ladies I don’t think I would be game enough to travel on my own,I have been overseas a few times but always with friends or family

      1 REPLY
      • Hi Sue Ellen,
        I am keen to purchase a campervan next year and travel. Perhaps we could plan a trip together, each of us having our own small campervan, therefore we have companionship, but still have our own space. I would feel more comfortable having a travelling companion.
        let me know if at all interested.
        Kind regards, Dianne

    • Hi Sue, my sister is 58 and travels on her own all over the world and in Australia. She recently hired a campervan and spent 6 weeks travelling through far north Queensland alone. The advantage of hiring a van is minimal outlay and 24 hour backup from the hire company, you encounter any problems. She had a wonderful time and had no problems. Give it a go, nothing to fear but the regret that you didn’t try it.
      Cheers Michelle

  2. It took us three years to decide on our van. We finally bought a fifth wheeler as they are safer to tow. Another thing to think of, room enough for both of you to have some personal space. This was important to us. I would also suggest that you do your dream trip without delay while you are physically able to do so. Many of our friends put it off and then weren’t able to go because of illness.

  3. We are doing it. Planned for over three years. Then retired & off. Been on the road for 3 years. We have managed on just the combined pension. Strict budget but it works. This includes tithe, private health, phone & Internet, food, fuel, R & M, rego & ins. Clothes, & occasionally save a little as well. Currently in the Riverland SA following the Murray towards Echuca.

  4. An absolute MUST in your planning is a list of current medications, enough script repeats & medications to get you going into the more remote areas. I am a nurse & we constantly get ‘grey nomads’ either coming in on weekends looking for scripts or medications they have run out of. Small rural/remote hospitals can’t always supply these. We only have a doctor on call for emergencies.
    The other reason you need a list of your medications is because if you become ill we need to know your meds & history!

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