Recent research by one of Australia’s leading van-sharing platforms Camplify reveals Australians intend to travel for longer periods far and wide across Australia in 2022. Most will self-drive and many (86%) aspire to be on the road for multiple weeks or months. Their key motivations for road trip travel is to feel free, reconnect with people and nature, and spend time in Australia’s most iconic, far away places.
Camplify has identified six key trends shaping how people will travel in 2022, with road trips a key component and a surge of younger people redefining camping as we know it.
1. Aussies plan to travel further, see more, do more and stay longer in 2022.
Aussies will embrace road trip getaways throughout 2022, with their ‘must-dos’ including visits to iconic destinations and quintessentially Australian experiences. As such, travel aspirations are as big and diverse as Australia itself, with many requiring more than a day of travel to reach, and more than a day to fully explore.
According to Camplify’s research, 54% of respondents said they would like to travel in a van for around two months or more in 2022, allowing enough time to see more of Australia and explore bucket list destinations. Priority road trip activities include:
Visiting and watching the sunset at Uluru 55%
Driving down the Great Ocean Road 45%
Exploring outback Australia 38%
Hiking Cradle Mountain 27%
Swimming with whale sharks in Exmouth 26%
Enjoying snow sports in the Snowy Mountains 23%
Spotting penguins on Phillip Island 24%
Snapping a selfie with a Quokka 22%
Seeing a Koala in the wild 20%
Sightseeing with crocodiles 21%
Late summer trips offer would-be travellers cost-savvy ways to stay away longer and travel further while avoiding the most expensive time to travel at year-end. Van hire on Camplify is a cost effective way to explore Australia, avoiding the cost of RV purchase, and as the saying goes, ‘why tent when you can rent?’.
Caravan park and camping spot prices across Australia also almost universally drop after 23 January, according to Aircamp data. After 23 Jan, average ensuite van-park costs drop from an average of $83 to $66 per night (from a peak of $92 per night over Christmas) and generally remain low during February and March. Further, powered sites drop from an average of $58 to $48 per night and non-powered sites drop from an average of $45 to $37 per night.
2. Non-static, self-drive holidays offer people freedom they’ve been craving.
Revealing why people want to road trip travel in Australia in 2022, Camplify’s research showed the priority motivations include:
The freedom of having no set plan (63%).
Spending quality time with family (43%) and friends (20%).
Getting to know ‘the real’ Australia (15%), meeting new people (31%), eating local (39%) and spending time in local communities/supporting local businesses (20%).
Respecting Australia’s indigenous heritage, natural places and wildlife (33%) and learning more about Australia’s culture and history (29%).
Outdoor activities include swimming (24%) and hiking (26%).
Self drive motorhomes offer the ultimate freedom, as well as the ability to quickly pivot between places. One in ten RV hires on Camplify are for motorhomes, which offer a simple solution for fast and easy road tripping.
3. Van life transitions to van lifestyle.
Van stays now represent around 20% of tourism nights in Australia1. In 2022 around 25% of people intend to experience ‘van life’ (for the first time). Being outdoors isn’t just a holiday anymore, it’s become a lifestyle choice for many as people shake off old travel habits and try new things.
The key signals of redefined caravan and camping in 2022 include:
Aussies looking to incorporate a luxe lifestyle to their travel. Many are opting for RVs that include on-board bathrooms, making van stays ‘apartments on wheels’. Demand for Camplify vans with onboard bathroom/toilet amenities increased by 73% in 2021.
Vans-on-demand: no towing or no driving involved, just arrive, unpack and relax. Offering the ultimate hands free camping experience, around 20% of Camplify users now opt for ‘van delivery’, whereby Camplify van owners deliver the chosen van to a specified destination camp site, set it up and pack it down for the hirer post-trip.
As attitudes shift towards flexibility of home-based work, many people are looking to blend remote working with travel or to work from anywhere.
According to Camplify research 74% of Australians are keen to work from a van. Furthermore, 59% of those interested in the possibility believe it would benefit their mental health as well as offer them the chance to explore areas of Australia if their travel was constrained to annual leave days.
4. Pets go on tour too in 2022
This year holidays will include the entire family, whereby dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, fish and guinea pigs will be invited too. Camplify saw a 131% increase in booking inquiries for travel with pets in 2021, and 44% of vans listed on Camplify are now ’pet-friendly’, an increase from 39% a year ago.
There are over 29 million pets in Australia2 and the country has one of the highest pet ownership rates in the world. Approximately 61% of households in Australia own pets, with dogs being the most common (40%), followed by cats (27%).
5. Young people are challenging stereotypes and in doing so, bringing positive economic impact to rural and suburban Australia.
The caravan and camping experience is being redefined by ‘play nomads’ as more young people own, list and hire vans on Camplify than ever before. A growing trend of younger owners and hirers is re-energising and redefining caravan and camping as we know it.
Challenging traditional grey-nomad van-ownership stereotypes, 39% of Camplify van owners are side-hustle savvy Millennials (ie, between 25-40 years old). Recent data indicates 20-30 year olds are the fastest growing caravan and camping owner segment3. By way of comparison, over 57 year olds currently represent 18% of Camplify van ownership which signals more opportunity for older van-owners to supplement their income.
During 2021, Camplify saw an increase in younger generation hirers, including 161% growth in Generation Z hirers (ie, people currently between 21-24 years old) and 75% growth in Millennial hirers (ie, people currently between 25-40 years old).
Beyond travel-related tourism spend by hirers, Camplify van-share side hustles are contributing to local economies across Australia. Most Camplify van owners are located outside of cities (77%), spread throughout regional and rural Australia. Three quarters (75%) of the multi-million dollars of van-owner payments made by Camplify are to van owners located outside of cities, reaching thousands of everyday people living in suburban areas and country towns who own- and share their vans on Camplify.
6. Travel at arms length: People live and holiday differently now.
Welcome to JanuAIRy. Outdoor travel enables people to travel with confidence, despite COVID-19 challenges and will be a key feature for 2022 holidays.
RVs deliver on socially distanced travel and many can go off road or off grid. With RVs providing a mostly or totally self contained option for travellers, van-hire continues to be a popular domestic travel choice as people consider their personal safety and wellbeing while they travel against a backdrop of growing appetite for freedom, outdoor adventures and a desire to reconnect with nature and explore more of Australia.
Flexible cancellation and change policies on Camplify give people confidence that they can change plans if needed. In 2020 and 2021, Camplify saw a rolling trend of increased travel demand once border and lock down restrictions were lifted. Camplify also found that when RV-hire travel was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions or precautions, a similar holiday stay was usually rebooked to a new location or at a later date.
New off grid stay opportunities are also opening up. Delivering on social distancing during anxious times, Hipcamp offers private property campsites, and it tripled their available off-grid locations - and their host numbers doubled - YoY in 2021, as property owners found ways to diversify their income and ‘open the paddock gate’ to motorhomes and caravans.
As Australians begin to embrace the ‘new normal’, travel remains an important part of the Aussie lifestyle, and outdoor options are elevated. Self-contained travel in RVs gives Aussies the freedom to create their own memorable experiences, slow-paced travel to Australia’s bucket list experiences and iconic places while also enjoying the flexibility caravanning provides. Hiring a van on Camplify makes camping and caravanning accessible to all.