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A caravan to call home

Caravanning

Whether you’re looking for a holiday away from the daily grind or a longer adventure as part of your retirement plans exploring this great southern land is a must.

From the aqua blue waters of the Great Barrier Reef to the breathtaking burnt red of our rich, dusty centre, caravanning is a great way to explore Australia.

It’s certainly a popular choice. Since 2013 the number of caravans registered in Australia has grown by over a third1. And, Queenslanders are more likely to own a caravan than any other state.

And it’s not just for the older generation with 30 to 54 year olds making up 47 per cent of the caravan and camping visitor market2.

Caravanning by age

  • 20-29 year olds - 16%
  • 30–54 year olds - 47%
  • 55+ year olds - 30%

Happy campers

It’s no wonder caravanning is becoming more popular. The Caravan Industry Association of Australia’s ‘Real Richness’3 study found that Australians who go camping are “more satisfied, happy, optimistic and energised than those who do not go camping”. From the study, campers said that camping makes them “more productive, more grounded, more in touch with nature, healthier and gives them the time they need to gather their thoughts. What’s more, they are also less stressed, frustrated, bored and lonely.”

The study also revealed that in the past two years, 7.1 million Australians, in various groups of travellers, have gone on a caravanning or camping holiday.

1 Caravan Industry Association of Australia ‘Trade registration report’ 30 June 2017
2 Caravan Industry Association of Australia ‘Latest Caravan and Camping Visitor Snapshot’ 28 June 2017
3 Caravan Industry Association of Australia’s ‘Real Richness’ study. “Camping” included holidays in swags, tents, tent trailers, camper trailers, caravans, campervans, motorhomes and cabin accommodation.

Investing in a caravan

If you want to join the caravanning ‘scene’ and you’re thinking of investing in a caravan, you’ll want to weigh up the considerations and costs. Many people rent first. It gives you the chance to try before you buy. Then, when you go ahead and buy, you’ll know what features to look for.

Buying a caravan is a big investment. Not just because of the upfront cost. You’ll need to budget for ongoing maintenance, registration and insurance. And, there’s the cost of the holiday itself. Fuel is a major expense and can be much higher in remote areas. There’s also the cost of camping fees, activities such as tours and National Park entry fees.

For some, there may be an opportunity to fund your trip by renting out your home while you’re away or, if you’re going on a longer trip, doing some occasional work along the way

Grey Nomads

‘Grey Nomads’ is a term used to describe people who are usually retired or taking a career break and travel around Australia. Some take over a year to circumnavigate the country. Or, another popular option is to travel north in winter each year to avoid the cold in the southern states and enjoy some warmth.

Even if you’re not retired, the Grey Nomads website is a great resource to help plan a trip, look up upcoming events, read blogs and interviews about other people’s experiences and information on the destinations they’ve visited. There’s even a classifieds for buying and selling caravans and volunteering opportunities.

What are the perks?

Buying your very own home on wheels has its perks.

  • You can go anywhere you’re comfortable to drive.
  • You can leave anytime.
  • Everything can be customised to suit your preferred style of caravanning, such as bigger water tanks or other luxuries.
  • Unlike cars, which depreciate rapidly the second you take ownership, caravans are more likely to retain their value should you decide to sell later on.

So, it’s time to stretch those caravanning legs, but where to first? The options are endless. You could drive around the Australian border, criss-cross through the centre or base yourself in one place and plan shorter day trips. Or you could follow specific points of interest, such as wine regions, beaches or historical country towns.

So, start making tracks.

Contact your financial planner to help manage your big investments and make your aspirations a reality.

Super opportunity for downsizers

After 1 July 2018, if you’re over 65 and sell a property, there may be a new opportunity to contribute more to super. If passed by parliament, you will be able to use some of the money from the sale to make a ‘downsizer contribution’ to super (for example, if you decide to 'downsize' to a caravan!). The property does not need to be your current home. It can be your or your partner’s former home as long as you or your partner have owned it for more than 10 years and lived in it at some point in your life. If you’re thinking of selling a property in the near future, please speak to your financial planner first to see if this opportunity is right for you.

Source: PortfolioWatch, November 2017

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