The Van and Bus Life Survey by Nomads Around Australia is the largest study of nomadic living trends in Australia.
This year’s survey received excellent support from our van and bus life community and we are very thankful for everyone who completed the survey. In total over 732 van, bus, car, caravan, truck, and boat lifers completed the survey.
We received participants from all over the world including Australia, New Zealand, USA, and Europe.
A prize of $500 was offered as an incentive to take part in the research and the winner can be seen at the bottom of this article.
Key findings of the research include:
The Vanlife Profile
The survey found that van lifers are found predominantly along the East Coast of Australia, with 77% of respondents currently hanging out in New South Wales, Queensland or Victoria.
47% of survey respondents drive a van, while 20% drive a 4×4 and 13% a bus. 74% of Van lifers earn $50,000 or less per year.
25% of van lifers hold a uni degree, 24% a certificate or diploma and 14% are trade qualified. The majority of survey respondents are aged between 25 and 34 and there’s a pretty even split between men and women van lifers at 52% and 48% respectively.
The Vanlife Family
We found that 20% of van lifers live solo and 26% of van lifers have children. Of those with children 58% have two kids or less, while 11% have five kids or more!
On the pet front, 34% of van lifers travel with pets, and 35% travel with plants. Dogs are the most popular type of pet!
What do vanlifers drive?
According to the results of the 2019 van and bus life survey, the most popular vehicle for a home on wheels for our respondents is a van at 47%, followed by four wheel drive (4×4 or 4WD) at 20%. 13% of respondents live in a bus.
The three most popular brand of van life vehicles are Toyota, Mitsubishi, and VW.
The most common van for van life is the Toyota Hiace followed by the Toyota Coaster.
Where do van lifers sleep?
For many, deciding where to pull up and get some shut eye is the biggest challenge to van life!
So how do vanlifers deal with this in reality?
We found that 1 in 5 respondents stay for free (IE: don’t pay anything) for 200 nights or more per year!
Free campgrounds, national parks, paid campgrounds, driveways, and car parks are the top 5 most popular places to stay.
How much does vanlife cost?
Life on the road can be amazing, but how much does it cost?
The survey shows that the cost of vanlife can vary widely. 61% of respondents spend $200 or less per person per week, while 11% spend over $400 per week per person.
The cost of maintaining a home on wheels also varies quite a bit with 44% of vanlifers spending $1,000 or less last year to maintain their vehicle while 8% of respondents spent $5,000 or more.
The most frequent monthly fixed costs are subscriptions like Netflix Spotify, follow by health insurance and National Park passes.
66% of van lifers have a monthly fuel bill of $500 or less, while 12% spend $200 or more per week.
What do van lifers do for work?
Living nomadically is a way of life and the results highlight exactly that with 57% of respondents working less than 30 hours per week! Bearing that in mind, 50% of respondents earn less than $30,000 a year and a massive 74% earn $50,000 or less a year!
The most popular way vanlifers make money is through remote or freelance work (16%), followed by hospitality and tourism (10%).
How much does a van conversion cost
Alright, now we get to the business end of the survey – the conversion! The van conversion is important for so many reasons…
… but here’s what we found.
68% of respondents converted their own rig, with one in three spending less than $2,000! That’s a very interesting and encouraging finding because it shows that it is possible to get into van life with a very minimal cost!
Another interesting finding is that more than half of respondents (58%) took 6 months or less when asked how long does it take to convert a van!
Of those that weren’t 100% confident doing their own conversion, 12V electrics, carpentry and everything were the three biggest worries!
Where do van lifers shower and toilet?
Where do vanlifers shower is another common question. Our survey found that showers at the beach, gym and petrol stations are often used. And baby wipes are a popular choice when a shower can’t be found!
On the toilet side of things, the front tyre and a cordial bottle both made the top 10 most common places vanlifers go to the toilet!
What events do van lifers attend?
48% of vanlifers went to an overnight event in the last year. Festivals of all types were widely frequented by our respondents, as were family and friend gatherings, doofs and vanlife gatherings.
Regional Burning Man festivals (IE: Burning Man, Burning Seed, AfrikaBurn, etc…), Confest, Splendour in the Grass, and Rainbow Serpent were the top attended festivals by our van life respondents.
We’re very grateful to everyone who have helped support the 2019 Van and Bus Life Survey. Without your help none of this would have been possible.
Sharing of Content
Please feel free to share any of the results from this survey including the charts shown above – Charts can be downloaded here.
All we ask is that you attribute this research to Nomads Around Australia and include a link to www.NomadsAroundAustralia.com when sharing online.
About Nomads Around Australia
Nomads Around Australia is an online resource for our nomadic living community. We create entertaining and useful interviews about people living in vans, buses, trucks, boats, four wheel drives, and basically whatever their chosen style of nomadic living is.
To watch the different series we have created so far, visit our website at www.NomadsAroundAustralia.com
Winner of $500