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The van life – with your dog

driving skills your dog

Summer holidays are just around the corner and many people will be packing their vans for a trip. Van sales are booming and so are pet sales. In Australia, we already have more household pets than people, so you will probably be taking your dog on holiday too!

Van sales and conversions are booming

Caravan sales are hot. There are 15-month delays in buying new ones, even though many new models can cost over $100,000. The secondhand market can barely keep up. Meanwhile, caravan owners need to buy a fairly heavy vehicle to tow the ones that need towing.

  • The Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA) has over 70,000 members
  • 772,627 caravans and campervans were registered in 2021
  • Over 20,000 recreational vehicles (RVs) are manufactured in Australia each year
  • Jayco upped production by 35% this year to 13,800 RVs.

Meanwhile, there are lucrative van conversions to be done. Businesses who can do a typical van conversion -gutting and replacing the interior with beds, mini sinks, toilets, fridges and built-in seating – can ask $50,000 to $100,000.

Van life on steroids

The craze for RVs goes beyond Australia. The #vanlife hashtag, for what it’s worth, has over 10 million posts on Instagram. In America, one commentator claims the pandemic has put the van life industry on “steroids”. Big companies, like Amazon, are investing in the same commercial delivery vans that vanlifers also prefer to buy.

Some people like to give their vans names. They range from daft to clever, but you can never get far away from a pun: Home Sweet Roam, The Towaway, The Happy Glamper, The Map Trap, RV There Yet.

Even as more people start to travel overseas again, it seems unlikely that appetite for RVs is going to wane. Meanwhile, our love of pets is increasing too.

(Can you find the top 7 dog names in this blog?)

Are you taking your dog?

Around 69% of all Australian households have a pet and nearly half own at least one dog. In fact, we bought a fifth of all pet dogs during the pandemic. It’s not a cheap option – dog owners spent $20.5 billion buying food, vet
services, and healthcare in the last year!

It’s only natural you want to go camping with your dog. But do you how to go camping with fluffy Luna? Here are a few more unusual tips for a happy dogs life.

1. Is your dog cut out for camping?

Dogs, like people, are not always suited to camping. Some may get anxious and stressed and aggressive or yappy dogs may bother other campers. Only you know your dog, so you decide whether to take Charlie with you or check him into a pet hotel.

2. Set up a trial run

Rather than throwing her into the deep end, find some ways to prepare Bella for camping. A big part of the trip will be travelling in the car so make sure your pooch is comfortable having a ride. Maybe go away for a weekend first.

3. Do you know what to pack?

Of course, some people like to take piles of stuff and others like to travel light. But Bobby will definitely appreciate the familiar items, such as favourite toys, food and bedding. Another interesting tip is to take a physical print of Max with you. People who know these things say dogs can get lost on holidays and it’s valuable to have a good, clear photo to show people.

4. Is the campsite dog friendly?

It may seem obvious, but different campsites have different rules about pets. Some offer dog bathing facilities or off-lead areas, while others forbid them entirely. If you intend to go on hiking trails or secluded beaches, remember Coco is not allowed in National Parks or conservation areas.

5. Good campsite etiquette

Camping is a communal affair so it’s important to respect other campers. Not everyone likes dogs (must be barking mad). So keep Buddy on a leash and by your side as much as possible. And as they always say, scoop your poop!

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Corrina Baird

Writer and Researcher, greenslips.com.au

Corrina used to lend her car to her kids and discovered what Ls, Ps and demerits mean for greenslips. After 20 years in financial services and over 9 years with greenslips.com.au, she’s an expert in the NSW CTP scheme. Read more about Corrina

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