Between soaring property prices and the abundance of beautiful places waiting to be explored, the van life is very appealing. For many, the thought of owning a motorhome is an exciting one. People love the sense of freedom and flexibility that come along with motorhome ownership. But, it’s not for everyone, so we’re here to help you weigh up the pros and cons and decide if living in a motorhome is for you.
Property prices are on the rise, and for many, homeownership is getting further out of reach. This reason alone is enough to consider van life.
Being able to live a relaxed life, remove many of the ties to material things, and live freely while having your own place to call yours are all big reasons why others have chosen this lifestyle.
If you’ve been on a campervan holiday before, you’ll know how much freedom it gives you. It’s so easy to travel around and discover new sights, sounds and tastes every day. Living in a motorhome full time, however, is different from just spending a few days on the road. It’s a lifestyle choice that isn’t for everyone, and for some, it can be a big life change.
If you’re considering making the move, then consider these pros and cons first.
Living in a motorhome can be a dream come true. Here are just some of the benefits.
The thought of buying a home now feels out of reach for many buyers. With the cost of property rising so quickly, the competition has become far greater than ever, and the goalposts for saving a deposit are shifting every day.
The national median house price in Australia is now almost $995,000, and many of the more affordable houses are often small and compact with limited space. In comparison, the average price of a motorhome ranges from $110,000-$150,000, and it gives you the flexibility of staying in one spot or exploring new places.
Of course, there are ongoing costs like staying in camping sites or maintenance, but this is also true for homeownership and paying off a mortgage, utilities and when things break. A motorhome can be an affordable choice for living, even for a few years.
If your circumstances mean you don’t need your motorhome for a period of time, you have the option to rent it out to holidaymakers. Thanks to sites like SHAREaCAMPER, your motorhome can be a source of income when you’re not living in it.
They work in a similar way to owning an Airbnb or holiday home. Intrepid travellers can book online, then rent out your camper for several days at a time while you earn money for each day they have it.
If you need to park up for a couple of months or only have a temporary place to store your motorhome, it’s an ideal win-win solution.
In a motorhome, you can change your scenery as much or as little as you like. You won’t need to pay the earth for a million-dollar view or spend thousands renovating a home. With a motorhome, you can simply sit outside the back door and take in a gorgeous sunset overlooking beautiful beaches and forests and get to see as many wonders of Australia as you can fit in.
You’ll have the opportunity to take longer holidays and enjoy the flexibility of going with the flow and living a life full of adventure. If you work from your van or have a flexible stream of income, you can explore new places every other week.
Wake up somewhere new every day, and if you don’t like a spot, you can simply move on to the next one.
Meeting others along the way gives plenty of opportunity for sharing travel stories, tips and tricks, and discovering hidden gems.
You’ll meet other campers, hosts, hikers, families, and you may even choose to travel with new friends. Some will become friends for life.
Joining the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia gives you access to privately-operated and low-cost RV parks. It also provides you with discounts to many of the commercial caravan parks, retailers, roadside assistance and insurance providers.
KEA will provide a one-year CMCA membership to all our new customers who are not already CMCA members.
Much like the trend that influenced many to move into tiny houses, having a smaller footprint can be a real source of pride for many motorhome owners.
You’ll generate less waste, consume less energy, and need less ‘stuff’ because you have less room to store it.
When you get outdoors, being in nature surrounded by beautiful scenery right outside your window can only improve your mood. You’ll learn to adapt to living simply or, in some cases, off the grid. There will be times things don’t go to plan, but you’ll learn how to fix things and figure things out as you go.
Van life isn’t for everyone. Here are the main cons of living in a motorhome:
Motorhomes have more than enough room to get away on holiday. They’re compact and usually have a sleeping area, kitchen and eating area, as well as room for suitcases. But would you struggle with a lack of space to move around as a permanent living solution? If you live with your partner, you need to consider if you will both have enough space to play, relax and live.
Living comfortably in a van requires a relatively minimal lifestyle. If you have a lot of things, the space will seem cluttered. The key is to downsize your possessions before moving into your motorhome.
Switching to the van life is a prime opportunity to sell some of the things you’ve acquired over time. Every little dollar will give a little boost to your savings too.
If you have things you just can’t part with, packing up the things you won’t need for a while and putting the excess into storage is a good solution. However, you will have additional costs each month for both storage and insurance.
Living in a motorhome means navigating the roads with a larger vehicle. When you master it, there’s no better feeling than heading out for an adventure with the freedom to go where the wind takes you, but learning to drive a campervan can be difficult at first and sometimes even stressful.
The turning circles will be different so getting around tight corners and into parking spaces needs a different approach. The vehicle is longer, so you need to take a much wider arc as you turn. Blindspots and differing visibility of the back and side views will take adjusting to, but equally, being up higher gives you a much better view of where you’re going.
Speed and ability to accelerate will be slower than you’re used to, and you may have impatient drivers behind you. A motorhome is also slower to stop, so you need to give plenty of room in case you have to brake suddenly to avoid a collision.
You also need to remember the height if you’re parking anywhere with a lower ceiling or going under low bridges. You don’t want to get stuck with the van wedged tightly. Remembering how wide the vehicle is can be equally important to ensure you stay within your lane, don’t go too close to parked cars or need to park and still allow room for yourself or other drivers to get in and out of the vehicle.
Give yourself time to get used to driving your new ride. Practice will build up your confidence, and you’ll be driving like a pro in no time. Read more tips on driving a motorhome safely.
Living in a motorhome means less privacy than living in a house. When you’re parked up in a holiday park, you will be visible to others. This might not be the same.
Consider how visible you will be when you’re getting changed or having a quiet moment to yourself. This might not be what you’re used to, but it’s all part of the change of lifestyle.
Van life is very much a lifestyle. It won’t be suited to everyone, but if you love a simple, uncluttered life, it might be for you. If you have an adventurous streak to go and see the world around you, you’re halfway there already.
Parking up in a caravan site means you have a ready-built community of like-minded neighbours and meeting new faces who come and go regularly.
If you’re staying on someone else’s property, this can keep costs down, but consider where you would go next if you could no longer park there.
Van life gives you the freedom to live life your way. Are you ready to make the move yet?
Start a wish list of what you would like and what you really need, and what your motorhome will be used for. Think about space, layout, cupboard space, budget, and what you’ll be able to drive confidently.
Our certified KEA dealers can then help show you around some of our models, and see if they’ll suit the lifestyle you want to achieve within the budget you have, and share advice and insights with you.