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Post Info TOPIC: Thoughts needed please


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Thoughts needed please


Hi all, I am yet to become an active grey nomad, but this is my dream / goal / bucket list, call it what you will but I will not be defeated wink I am a 60 year old female and will be hitting the road solo when it happens. I will only have enough in Super to purchase a van, which will be my home, and tow vehicle. My plan is to travel on a pension. Do you think this is achievable please? I would love to hear any thoughts or suggestions but please be kind. Also I am currently thinking maybe a 20 - 21ft van, do any solo lady nomads have any thoughts on this please? Any other information / tips / suggestions etc. gratefully received. Thanks in advance.



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KayCeeT


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That is a huge van for 1 person and will need an expensive tug to buy and run.
Hitching and unhitching will be a difficult chore.
I suggest you consider a larger campervan or smaller motorhome that is set up to be totally self sufficient with solar, shower and toilet.
Lower cost to buy and lower costs to run.

What is your current home state?
Cheers,
Peter



-- Edited by Peter_n_Margaret on Monday 13th of July 2020 01:28:15 PM

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Welcome to the gang KayCeeT, enjoy here and out in the playground.

To be able to travel on just the pension you have to keep your costs down as much as possible. I try to travel just on pension and stay in one spot for a few weeks on many occasions. I have a small slush fund but try not to touch it as much as possible.

The most important thing is to enjoy and try not to worry too much but,



Keep Safe out there.

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Currently in Victoria Peter. Thank you for your reply, this is exactly what I need to know smile



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KayCeeT


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Awesome, thank you Doug. That is kind of what I plan to do. Much appreciated smile



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KayCeeT


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Some States have free registration for one vehicle for pensioners. Good reason to only have a single vehicle and if you have no "home base" you can choose where you "garage" and register your vehicle.
Choose a State where the rego is low or free and where there are no annual vehicle inspections.
Cheers,
Peter

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OKA196, 4x4 'C' Class, DIY, self contained motorhome. 880W of solar, 400Ah of AGMs, 310L water, 280L fuel. http://tinyurl.com/OKA196xtMotorhome
 

 



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A 22' ish van is a good size for one person - this is your home every day, every year, for the rest of your life - you need some space.

I live, permanently, in a van of this size and would not seek a smaller one. However it is a significant tow load weighing almost three tons and is beyond the capability of most cars so choose your tow vehicle *very* carefully and seek advice here. FYI I tow with a Holden Trailblazer.

Also, be aware, my total rig is about 45' (14m) long and is not for drivers who are not fully confident in their ability to drive such.

A motorhome is another choice but, if you plan to live in it (as opposed to holiday), has the massive disadvantage that if it breaks down (which vehicles do) you are instantly homeless! With a caravan you simply get it towed to a caravan park and live in it there whilst your tow vehicle is being repaired.

This forum has much knowledge - I suggest you read and question long and hard here before making decisions.



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Agree with Mike H although 19 -20 ft is comfortable and a lot lighter. Do your homework though get a lot of technical and purchasing information (download free) at Caravan Council of Aust. see; www.caravancouncil.com.au/

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Welcome KayCeeT. I travel mainly solo and spend about ten months of each year in my van.  One thing to remember is that although you live full time in your van, most people don't spend a lot of time inside of the van.

 

In warmer weather I find that I am usually wandering about somewhere or sitting in the shade under the awning. I don't cook inside the van and choose to use a butane cooker outside or eat salads and cold meat. In wet weather or when it is really cold I stay inside and either read or watch tv or annoy others on this forum with my latest catastrophe. Besides that, I am only inside to sleep.

 

My van is just under 18' and I tow it with an Isuzu D Max. It is easy to park and set up and pretty easy and economical to tow. I guess if I was travelling as a couple it might be a bit tight on occasions but as I am mainly solo it suits me fine.

 

Just make sure you have a shower and loo onboard and a bit of solar and away you go. Travelling is only as expensive as you want it to be. I eat well, try and buy fresh and avoid the takeaways.  There are also heaps of places to stay that don't cost the earth.  You can find all these in your Camps book and you soon learn of others just from the many people you meet in your travels.

 

Enjoy your travels .

 



-- Edited by DMaxer on Monday 13th of July 2020 05:02:05 PM

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Assuming you are still working. Live today at the same living costs as if you are already on a pension. Factor in running costs, fuel, maintenance, insurance, rego, so you start some sort of benchmark. Keep a spreadsheet sheet for all income & expenditure so you get on top of living costs as quickly as possible.

You need a good size reserve of savings when (not if) things go wrong so you are not stressed backed up into a corner. There are plenty of people in a financial mess currently.

It is easier to save a dollar than earn a dollar.

Sorry to be a bit negative but personally I would rather be cautious. In my previous life, I did large jobs with big gaps between & I learnt to be a very good saver as I didn't know how long is was before the next job. 

Good luck & be diligent with your preparation.



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You can park a 6m motorhome in a shopping centre or anywhere in the street, including angle parking, legally.
A 6m motorhome is 6m long. A 6m caravan is more than double that length so is harder to get into tight camp spots.
Motorhome insurance rates are lower than caravan insurance rates and there is one vehicle to insure, not two.
Fuel consumption for a 6m motorhome will be less than for a 6m caravan plus tug.
Registration is lower cost for 1 vehicle than 2 vehicles.
Maintenance costs for a motorhome will be lower than for a tug plus caravan.
A motorhome will be easier to reverse than a caravan, especially without help.
No hitching or unhitching with a motorhome. You pull up and are instantly ready for a cuppa or a beer.
With a walk through camper or motorhome you can drive away at any moment without unlocking a door or going outside. For a single person that may be an important security benefit.
It seems that motorhome/campervan ownership increases compared to caravan ownership as people get older, for these reasons.
Cheers,
Peter

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Hi Margaret.W.A. pensioners can have one vehicle no licence.cheers .roker



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if your 60 you could still be a few years of the oap unless you have some other form of pension you are budgeting on .

general information posted is all sound an if you stated what your target budget is you might get some replies that would be a bit more specific.
are you looking at buying new or used , do you intend to stay in caravan parks or free camp , do you want to go out back or stay close to civilization, would you be planning on spending time up north or down south, east coast or west could make a sight difference as to a suitable tow vehicle or caravan
you could try hiring a caravan to see what fits you might find a single axle 16-17 foot might be big enough (jayco new less than$55,000 tow away )
or you might find that size to small . 19-20 feet may be the size that suits it is a pain in the A if you buy something to big or to small
what experience do you have camping / caravanning


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The advice given is generally IMHO good value.

I would suggest that a motor home, while being a viable option his distinct disadvantages.

The main one being mobility. That is every time you wish to go ANYWHERE you have to pack up and secure everything then go where you need, only to return to where you were and do it all again the next day or you arrive, sit around in your motor home watching TV for days/weeks and walking distance only, then leave.

The alternative of pushbikes/motor scooter or towing a normal car are not a good option for most, in most cases.

I agree with the principle espoused by Mick Harding, it is your permanent residence, ensure right from the start that it is going to meet your needs.

Modern reversing cameras with duel screens etc. make single person hook up no real big deal, even for individuals, though I certainly would recommend that some training/practice in reversing is a must.

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Hi Peter/Margret .You are 100pc Right.Lot of things to work out.cheers roker.



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Welcome CaySeeT,

Get the size van you want and can afford along with an appropriate tow vehicle. If you are going to live in it full time then it is better to have too much room than not enough. If you have never towed or are not very experienced in towing then I HIGHLY recommend you do a towing course as soon as possible. This will give you confidence in all aspects of towing. Connecting a van is easy if you have a camera positioned to view the towball and for added ease you can purchase a couple mate hitch guide from any of the auto suoermarkets on on EB..y. Visit a caravan show or talk to a dealer about the best tow vehicle for the van you are looking at. But the best advice is the towing course if you have no or next to no experience.

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Fantastic information. Thank you everyone I will take all your suggestions on board. I'm excited and happy to be a part of a great group of people.

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KayCeeT
msg


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KayCeeT,

I agree with Peter & Margaret. For one person, a small motor home is the way to go.

I chose a Ford Transit KEA Freedom because, for me, it provided all the conveniences of a much larger motor home in a small package.

I generally travel from March to October so long periods living in it are not an issue. I usually manage to not go stir crazy.

I can pull into a normal car park, though I do have to watch the height. Approximately 3 mtrs with aerials. (UHF, Internet, Phone, TV)

It has good security. Central locking. If you lock it at night and some one was to try to open a door then an alarm will go off. You can also hop in the front seat and drive off if you are worried. (Just have it ready to go each night)

It is great on fuel. About 10 ltrs to 100 klms.

Its reasonably economical on service costs. I have done 210,000 with no real issues. Just normal wear & tear issues. Made sure it got serviced every 10,000ks. Although handbook says 15000. Gives me a bit of leeway If I am nowhere near a service centre. I now its a lot of leeway lol. Just look after it and it will serve you well.

It is rear wheel drive.

It has a higher ground clearance than other brands(IMHO), that was important because I often go off road and free camp for long periods. Handy for bulldust that often covers a few surprises.

I have upgraded the solar to a full roof of panels and lithium batteries and added a diesel heater.

Now if only I could solve the issue of water. 100ltrs lasts about 2 weeks if used carefully and I drink bottled water. Usually carry about 50ltrs. For me water is not a real big issue because I go to my sisters camp which has several water tanks. We go into town to get water every week usually. They have a landline for an emergency. Special remote one with a specially provided huge antenna. It is 100ks to nearest town. But you can only get fuel and water, beer, counter meal and an extra good cup of coffee. The next town is 100ks further on for groceries and anything needed. I try to use as little as possible of their resources.
I would also like to figure out a way to have a generator. Not enough room and a bit heavy for me. Then I could run the aircon off grid.


You must decide what is important to you. I think that is the important bit. Think carefully about where you want to go and where you might want to go and chose to suit as much as possible. There will be compromises.

I have just read Mikes post re major repairs.  Yep is a problem.  But, if you have a max level roadside assistance package, they will take care of you.  

 



-- Edited by msg on Wednesday 15th of July 2020 03:12:42 PM

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I somewhat disagree with the motorhome idea, if you intend to stay in one spot from time to time. Then they become a PitB, every time you want to go anywhere you have to pack up and reset when you return. This is where a caravan is a better option, when you have setup you don't need to pack up until you leave. If I choose a motorhome then it would be a big bugger with a little buzz box on tow.

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Gundog, thats the beauty of a motorhome, especially a small one. You can just drive away with little effort. There is little packing up required. Usually its turn off the gas. put up the step, stow dishes etc, lock all the cupboards. Ten minutes at most. Easy peesy. May take a bit more with the awning and chairs out.

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Hi KayCeeT, and welcome to the forum

Although I am a married man, I sometimes travel on my own, so therefore know a bit about travelling solo

I will try and answer this part of your question

My plan is to travel on a pension. Do you think this is achievable please?

Opps egg on my face, again
Edit as I hit the wrong button

Yes it is achievable, providing that you are self sufficient, having a toilet/shower on board, plus battery, and some solar for battery charging

I have come across many people, (on an old age/disability pension), in the free/donation camps, I usually stop at

This is what they do, in no particular order

  • They know how much pension they will receive, and have a rough idea, of their future running (rego/insurance/maintenance) cost
    They will save this money (a bit each pension day)
  • They will know approximately how much their food will cost, for the next fortnight
    This cost is different, in different areas
  • What they have left is fuel, and entertainment money
  • They do not travel every single day, and budget their fuel/entertainment/beer/wine money accordingly

Just one word of (my gut feeling, without any proof) my opinion.
No one knows, what the new normal will be, in regards to the Coronavirus

A lot of travellers do/did not have a toilet/shower/grey water tank
When the recent number 1 Coronavirus lockdowns came, the free camps closed, and the caravan park ablution blocks closed

I will not comment too much, on the type of rig to purchase, as we are all different

My opinion, so I could be wrong, is that it is better to purchase a cheap rig, and have cash in the bank, (for the unexpected), than to spend all our money on an expensive rig

Hope that this info is useful to you

 

 

 



-- Edited by Tony Bev on Wednesday 15th of July 2020 11:31:31 PM

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I would look at a 19 footer & agree would be better suited than a motor home if you want to camp for awhile, which you will do after awhile ust for a break. also plenty of work at road houses or iga"s if you wanted.

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gold dandeloin, Why do you say you need a caravan if you intend to camp for a while? I camp for about three months out bush off the grid in my motor home. I don't see any difference to a caravan.

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KayCeeT, Travelling on a pension can be quite difficult. I try to do it. I usually end up spending my old age pension plus about a thousand. Given that I don't smoke, drink, or eat out (not allowed to due to medical condition) and have a fully equipped van to live off grid comfortably you will need to think carefully how you are going to go about it.

Plus, in 7 yrs time, things could have changed dramatically.

I have been travelling for 9 yrs now and really notice the differences. The emphasis nowadays is on self contained so you at least need a port a potty, there are less off grid camps, caravan park fees have doubled, water is harder to come by and quite often towns are not as RV friendly. And now COVID has put a spanner in the works. Who knows what its going to be like in the future.

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msg wrote:

I have just read Mikes post re major repairs.  Yep is a problem.  But, if you have a max level roadside assistance package, they will take care of you. 


The above relates to my statement along the lines of; "If the motorhome breaks down you're instantly homeless".

I don't think the motoring organisations will have very much interest in how/where you live msg; I have top level cover with RACV and although they offer some accommodation assistance it is quite limited. A couple of years back a lady, in some distress, posted to this forum that she was stuck in Perth where her motorhome had broken an axle and the local agent informed her there was not a spare axle in Australia and it would take six months to obtain one from Italy - she had nowhere to live! Motorhomes are fine if you have a home to return to but if you don't they are a major crisis waiting to happen.

KayCeeT:

I have been a full time nomad for about 18 months and have carefully tracked my spending for most of that time. I generally bush camp but probably use caravan parks for about 14 nights per year, my average spend is around $1100 per month which includes *everything*. I live pretty well, eat well and drink too much. If I tried, but not too hard, I could probably cut that down to $800 per month.



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Hey KayCeeT,

As you can see lots of options. I've been on road fulltime now for 3 years and on pension. l only free camp, house sit and have spent one night in a caravan park in the 3 years. 

I hate CP''s and being ex farmer like the open space. I do tend to stay at some camps for a month or two at a time so fuel use is minimal. Living this way l have heaps of money on the pension and don't go without. Like Mike l spend about $1000 a month which means l save about the same.

In some places l've stayed motor home people try to bot a ride into town to do their shopping so the don't have to pack up their camp everytime they run out of something. Most people are friendly so l have no problem helping others. I find my 18ft van and 4x4 does what l need. If l ever get a motorhome l would tow a trailer with a motorbike. 

There are many ladies out there who are just as capable as any man to hitch up their van. Yes, "woman are doing it for themselves" as the song goes. 

Get out there and enjoy, Stretch.

 



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I'm loving that you are all so helpful. Thank you all once again, I can't wait to get out there!

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KayCeeT


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My brother in law in Germany has had both hips replaced & to make life easier installed a caravan mover. It does add weight, but at least it's another option if you go down the caravan route.

https://www.practicalcaravan.com/buying-guides/best-caravan-motor-movers



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We have spent quite a long time touring Europe by motorhome.
It is interesting in the context of this thread.

Caravans are reasonably popular in the UK, but they tend to travel from home to a caravan park and then stay put for the duration of their trip. Free camping is also very difficult, except for Scotland which is more "friendly" than the rest of the UK in that regard.

In the rest of Europe caravans are rare compared to motorhomes and people "travel" more, rather than stay in a single spot for the duration of their holiday.
There are a few countries in continental Europe (like Switzerland, Austria and Croatia) where free camping is very limited or prohibited, but in many countries it is quite allowable and accepted, but usually only for motorhomes and not for caravans.
France and Germany actually have thousands of free motorhome camps and many are established on the edge of small villages and even right in the centre of some towns and cities. In Poland, Germany and Norway, we used city car parks that charged during the day and were free after hours for motorhomes. Some even had dump points to cater for the motorhomes.
Cheers,
Peter

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We are traveling full time in a caravan. The idea of traveling solo in a van, and I mean solo, conjures up a whole series of design changes that could make it easier and less room consuming, and yet still have all of the comfort.
Be aware it can rain, and in the winter you may be stuck inside for a period of time. We have recliner chairs, and I would recommend a good recliner as part of the package.
However a subject not mentioned, is that if the van/motor home is your sole residence, you may be eligible for rent assistance, we claim this and the system gets along quite well with us.

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