AccommodationTransportation# GeneralAustraliaNew Zealand

How to survive 4 months on the road in a small campervan

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In 2016 we went on a 4 month road trip through Australia and New Zealand. We lived out of a small Spaceships Campervan the entire time. This big car with sleeping facilities has its pros and cons, but we’d choose it again in a heartbeat. In this post you can read how to survive 4 months on the road in a small campervan, from saving money to staying organized. #campervanlife


Essential stuff for living out of a small campervan

Whether you live in a small campervan or a big house, there are some essentials you can hardly live without. We’ve split them up based on what was included with our Spaceships Campervan and what we had to buy or hire on the side.

Stuff included with our Spaceships Campervan

Most essentials are included when renting a Spaceships Campervan. Sleeping facilities are built in the car, on top of two lockable storing compartments. Inside one of these there’s a small fridge installed. A camping stove, cooking and eating utensils, kitchen towels, sheets, and a table and camping chairs come with your Spaceships Campervan as well.


Stuff we bought or hired

You can perfectly live with just these things that are included with a Spaceships Campervan. However, we bought some extra stuff that can come in pretty handy or add just a tad more comfort.

Brecht loves to cook, so we bought some more cooking utensils to be able to do more than just make instant pasta or noodles. We also bought some food storage containers for leftovers or to take lunch with us when going hiking. Ikea is the perfect store for these kinds of things. Brace yourself though, and don’t overdo it. Keep in mind you don’t have a lot of space in your small campervan.

When living in a campervan for 4 months on end, you’ll probably need to wash your clothes and sheets at some point. Most campsites have washing machines and dryers at your disposal for a couple dollars. Ofttimes you’ll need your own washing powder though, and some clothespins to hang your laundry from the provided clotheslines.

Don't forget to buy some salt and pepperDon't forget to buy some salt and pepper
Pancake shakes are perfect for a quick lunchPancake shakes are perfect for a quick lunch

In Australia temperatures often fluctuate around 30°C (86°F) in summer, and sometimes they reach 40°C (104°F) and higher. When that’s the case, an electric fan will definitely prove its worth when you’re trying to get some sleep in your small campervan. Parking it in the shade is a start, but chances are that won’t do.

In New Zealand on the other hand, temperatures can easily drop below 8°C (46.4°F) in the ‘cold weather’ months (between May and September), and even lower at night. We hired an electric heater from Spaceships and used it almost daily.

How to save money on food while living out of a small campervan

While backpacking in Southeast Asia we ate out for every meal. When continuing our travels in Australia in New Zealand, that kind of lifestyle just wasn’t affordable anymore. Instead, we bought some bread and spreads in a grocery store and picnicked in a park or somewhere on a bench for lunch.

In the evenings we mostly cooked our own dinner in the camp kitchen. You can save tons of money by doing this.

Do plan your grocery shopping and make sure you’ll pass one of the big food warehouse chain stores before lunch or you won’t be saving that much in the end. In Australia we mostly did our grocery shopping at Woolworths or Coles, and sometimes at Aldi. In New Zealand we preferred PAK'nSAVE or Countdown.

Ready to enjoy dinnerReady to enjoy dinner
A typical lunch for us in AustraliaA typical lunch for us in Australia
Who wants some burgers?Who wants some burgers?
Cooking with an amazing view in New ZealandCooking with an amazing view in New Zealand

How to stay organized in a small campervan

In a small campervan like our Spaceships Campervan there’s not much room to store all the stuff you’ll need. Things can look messy fast. Here are some tips on how to stay (a little) organized.

The cooking and eating utensils that come with your Spaceships Campervan are stored in a storage box. We put all of the things we needed daily in the kitchen in that box. When heading to the camp kitchen to cook, we just had to pick up that storage box filled with cooking and eating utensils. I guarantee you’ll otherwise have to go back and forth from the camp kitchen to your campervan a couple of times before you have everything on hand to make dinner. That can be frustrating. #hangry

Like I mentioned before, a Spaceships Campervan has two lockable storing compartments beneath the bed. We put our clothes together with a bunch of other stuff in one of those. However, when driving around, things get shaken. Our advice: buy a large bag to keep your clothes in, so they more or less stay in neat piles while driving.

One of the best “investments” when browsing Ikea for things to help organize our campervan where these hanging storage, uhm, things called Pluring. They cost us AU$10 (US$8) for two, and they were definitely worth their money. We put all those things we needed within reach in them, instead of in that quite hard to access storage compartments beneath our bed. I’m talking everything from our toothbrushes, to our chargers, cornflakes, cookies, and towels, you name it.

Want to see what our small Spaceships Campervan looked like while stuffed with our things? Check out this video tour we made of Archimedes, the Spaceships Beta 2S Campervan we lived out of in New Zealand.

Free camping or paid campsites?

When roadtripping Australia and New Zealand in a campervan, you can save some money by staying the night on free camping spots. Rules and regulations on that can differ between Australian states. In New Zealand, your campervan has to be self-contained (have an on-board toilet) for that.

However, we always stayed on paid campsites. The main reason for that is we needed WiFi for our job. We have a WordPress Plugin Business and a travel blog that need to be maintained. Other facilities that come in handy are the camp kitchen, the laundry room, hot showers, and clean toilets.

The ensuite bathroom was larger than our campervanThe ensuite bathroom was larger than our campervan
There are some very comfortable campsites out thereThere are some very comfortable campsites out there

When staying on a paid campsite you can choose between a powered and non-powered site. The non-powered one is obviously cheaper, but we always opted for the powered site. It allowed us to use our electric fan or heater at night, and charge our laptops, phones, and camera.


Need WiFi while on the road?

If you only need WiFi every once in a while, there are other (cheaper) options. Public libraries for example almost always have free entrance and free WiFi, just like most shopping malls. The most visited spot for WiFi while travelling however is probably Starbucks. But you usually need one code per device (on your receipt) and your online time is often limited.

Another option might be to look into WiFi hotspot networks like Telstra Air. We were lucky and could access it for free while in Australia!

Working from our mobile officeWorking from our mobile office
We even found free WiFi in some parksWe even found free WiFi in some parks

We realize it’s tempting to go for a larger, more luxurious campervan. We’d go for the small Spaceships Campervan again in a heartbeat though. With these tips it’s perfectly liveable and there are so many advantages when comparing to a large one. It’ll definitely save you a lot of money to start with! Feel free to head over to our review of a Spaceships Campervan if you need more convincing.


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How to survive 4 months in a small campervanHow to survive 4 months in a small campervan