How To Decide When To Go On Your Big Lap

by Meri Gasem

It’s no longer the question of if you’re doing the Big Lap, but when you are doing it. With everyone around you talking about their Big Lap plans and experience, you can easily get tempted to make the leap. However, the Big Lap is not a matter of an impulse decision. It has to undergo a more extended preparation period so you enjoy it at its maximum.

So when should you go? If you’re feeling ready to get the preparations going and leave your everyday life behind, hop on board! But if you’re doubtful about the timing, we have a short outline to help you decide.



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Related: Big Lap Essentials: 24 Things You Need To Crush Australian Van Life

Should You Go and When?

If you’re stuck and leaving everything behind for a year of roaming through Australia seems impossible, give yourself a ‘when’. It can take you two or ten years from the moment you decide to go to the moment you pack the caravan. Choosing a set date in the future for your Big Lap is essential; otherwise, you’ll lose hope of ever going. Having a ‘when’ will keep you working towards the goal as well, like saving, looking for a remote job, looking at caravan prices, models, camping gear, etc. Here’s how to pick the best timing, according to some significant milestones in life.

When You Can Afford It

Money is what stops many people from travelling, and it’s the crucial reason many give up on the Big Lap. However, the Big Lap is not a luxurious trip reserved for the wealthy. Of course, having a $100,000 caravan with the best appliances is nice, but people do the Big Lap in rooftop tents, sleeping at free camps most of the time. You don’t need a brand new 4WD when you can cross the Outback with a $10,000 vehicle too.

We’re not saying the Big Lap is cheap; you should make some intelligent decisions beforehand to provide for yourself and your family on the road. But there are Big Lappers that hit the road with as little as $12,000.

Ensure a safety net in the bank, rent or sell your house and other unnecessary things, buy a used caravan instead of a new one, get a flexible remote job you can do on the road, and done!

When The Kids Are A Proper Age

Taking your kids on the Big Lap is one of the best gifts and experiences you can give them. Seeing the beauty of Australia at a young age will set them up for exploring it in-depth as they grow up. Ideally, you’d do the Big Lap when your kids understand and can enjoy the travels, but there are many lappers with babies and toddlers.

It’s totally up to you what you imagine your Big Lap to look like and how you want your kids to remember it. Pre-school kids are often more eager to explore compared to toddlers who need more attention and downtime.



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Before The Kids Start School

If you want more relaxed travel, you can opt to go before your kids start school. Tackling the Big Lap with your kids is a fantastic opportunity to connect better as a family, introduce a passion for travel to your kids and help them gain more social skills as they’ll meet many new friends everywhere you go.

But if your kids are already in school, it doesn’t mean the Big Lap is off the table. Travelling with teenagers and kids already in school is doable with homeschooling. You can easily fit travel and learning on the road. 

You can read the experiences of other parents travelling Australia with kids here.

Before Getting A Real Job

There certainly are jobs that are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity or serve as a stepping stone in your career. However, spending a year around Australia is ideal before setting yourself up for a successful career. Devoting yourself and your time to get a job you’d love to do for the foreseeable future is certainly done better after you’ve done your Big Lap. It’s not a written rule that you can’t get your dream job before or during your lap, but there are more opportunities once you’re not limited to remote positions.

When You’re Sick Of Your Job

The corporate world can come with a considerable burden, especially if you got your real job right out of school or university. Ditching a job, you’re no longer happy at and doing the Big Lap before looking for another is good for your mental health. Life on the road can help you decide what makes you happy and what you’d love to devote your days to. You’ll have enough time to think about career changes, requalification or pursuing your hobby full-time.



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Related: 42 Things You Need To Know About Living In A Caravan Full Time During Your Big Lap

Best Time To Hit The Road

So you’ve decided to hit the road, and it’s only a matter of choosing the time of year you’d like to leave. However, there are a couple of points you need to consider before. First, creating an itinerary will be tremendously helpful as you can pinpoint the major events and seasonally opened places you would like to visit. Your location also has a saying in choosing the best time to get on the road. Let’s help you decide the best time!

The Ideal Season

The season in which you decide to start the Big Lap depends on your weather preferences.

March to May and September to November are pleasant for exploring South Australia. During these months, you’ll avoid the overbearing heat and heavy rainfalls in this region.

The best time to travel through Victoria is during autumn, from March to April, but even the summers are bearable due to the sea breeze. June to October is an exceptional time to be in Victoria because of the whale-watching opportunities, but it can be very chilly.

If you want to relax on the beaches of New South Wales, go there from December to February, but if you’re going to explore the Australian Alps, go during the snow season, from June to October.

Western Australia is wonderful during spring, while the Northern Territory is most bearable from May to October. Queensland is to be avoided during the rainy season from October to May since humidity can get over 75%.



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Your Current Location

Where you’re currently located can dictate the exact time you choose to start your Big Lap. That’s why creating an itinerary is helpful. Make peace with the idea that you’re not going to hit every state at the best time possible. There’s no right or wrong time of the year, but some places are better to be explored at certain weather conditions. Spring can be good for many parts of Australia, but it can also be rainy in some. The south coast, for example, is perfect any time of the year, and if you’re starting from there, you don’t have to think twice!

After Important Dates

Leaving your home for a year or more means you’ll probably miss some important days in your family and friend’s lives. Make sure to get the exact dates of the future events you wouldn’t want to miss, like weddings, graduations, births, etc. Some moments are once in a lifetime and you might resent missing them. Life on the road comes with so much excitement but minor disadvantages too.

Don’t sacrifice your mental health to get on the road as fast as possible or stay because you don’t want to be judged for missing a cousin’s wedding. Get used to the idea that you might miss some events, and that’s fine, as long as you’re feeling good about it.

Before Or After School Holidays

School holidays mean one thing for Big Lappers – crowds. There’s no way to avoid all four school holiday periods, but you can avoid hitting the road right when they begin. You can also plan to explore more remote places during the holidays to avoid the jam-packed attractions.

Free camping is hard to find during school holidays; even caravan parks can be full.

Around Major Events

There’s an overwhelming amount of unique, fun and unmissable events in each part of Australia, such as the Adelaide Fringe Festival, for example. But fitting them all into your Big Lap itinerary is nearly impossible.
Shortlist the most appealing ones to you and schedule your Big Lap start date around them. Leave room to reach the destination in time for the event and explore nearby afterwards.




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Related: 96 Things To Know About Your Big Lap

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