From A Campervan To A Campercar: Here's How Lara's Been Managing Her Working Holiday In Australia During The Pandemic
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Last updated - 09:09 AM
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Lara is a half Spanish, half Irish solo traveller who has been adventuring around the world for the last 6 years, mostly around Asia since it's the most affordable on her tiny budget! She's currently in Australia on a working holiday, living out of her converted Camry. To get a closer look into all of Lara's adventures, be sure to follow her on Instagram and subscribe to her Youtube channel.


Why I Started Travelling

I've always wanted to travel the world, my mum was a great cook, and always created dishes from far and beyond! Making us eat with chopsticks since we were little, eating stuffed Greek peppers, Indian curries, homemade sushi, you name it! So I was introduced to the understanding of the variety, differences and culture from a young age. Add to that, I am half Spanish half Irish, so I also travelled a lot back and forth to see my family. I'm also very curious and want to live life to the fullest! And travelling gave me a huge sense of accomplishment and satisfaction of “ doing something with my life ".


Why do I continue doing it? Because it's like heroin. It's addictive. Who wouldn't want to spend their life basically on holidays?

I Love Travelling In Campervans

I like backpacking a lot, but recently, I've lived in Australia for the last 2 years, and travelling in a campervan is a must, since the country is just ridiculously massive. I mean, if you wanted to do the whole thing (loop around the coast) it's about 25,000 km (half the length of the equator to put it in perspective!) so hitchhiking and other forms of transportation are just out of the question.


I love riding around in a campervan because it's a 2 for 1! It's your free accommodation and your transport! It gives you complete autonomy and freedom to not depend on timetables, buses, weather, or people! I do what I want when I want, and also it's so much cheaper, at least here in Australia, it's the only way to travel. You can also plan less and take more. When I was backpacking Asia, I would travel with just a 40lb bag tops, hand luggage basically, whereas living in a van you can have a couple more things, and not have to constantly be packing a bag. It also allows you to visit all the places that are not accessible by public transport. 

I Recently Switched To A Campercar Out Of Necessity

This was a bit crazy. Due to covid, we lost our jobs and weren't able to convert a van. So we decided to convert what we had, a 1992 Toyota Camry. The situation is really what pushed us to do it, but I'm a very creative person and believe where there is a will there is a way! And that everything is possible. Obviously, the standards of comfort diminished living in a car, but I can't complain, I have a house and a method of transportation for 50 quid.


We used mostly recycled materials found in the dump, on the Facebook marketplace for free and on gumtree.  A LOT of people throw out perfectly good timber, so we used pallets, scrap MDF boards, and skirting boards to make the bed. We also used recycled door knobs and hinges, etc.

Tips For Living Out Of A Vehicle 

Just take it easy, don't sweat the little things, living in a van is different. It's small, it's hot, just accept it. It's not a house, so don't expect it to be like one! Enjoy the experience for what it is, not what it could be.


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All About My Working Holiday In Australia

We started off in Perth, converted a van there and then travelled up the west coast to do our farm work. If you are on a working holiday visa it's mandatory to do 88 days of rural work to be eligible to stay for a second year.

We ended up working in Carnarvon, which is a lovely little town, and once we finished up there, we travelled west to places like Coral Bay, Shark Bay, Exmouth and Karijini.


We then went home for XMAS, (which is why we sold the van) and to Malaysia for 2 months on a ridiculously tight budget. 

On the way back to Australia we moved to Adelaide, a small town in the south, expecting to live the sex and the city lifestyle of jobs, cocktails, fun and so on. But then covid hit, fucked everything up really, we lost our jobs, and couldn’t afford the rent of our house, let alone the bills. 

So we converted the car and went to Taroom, an outback town in the middle of nowhere that was looking for workers.

Now after 4 months working, we are on the move again travelling the east coast! ( Brisbane, Gold coast, Noosa, Airlie Beach, Whitsundays, Magnetic Island, Etty Bay, Cairns, and Cape Tribulation). 

BY FAR THE BEST IS THE WEST. 


The east coast is kinda what you expect Australia to be, expensive, touristy, full of surfers, and cafes selling acai bowls 20$ and vegan almond milk lattes for10$. 

I don't think it's worth the hype. If you have money, sure! I mean Brisbane is trendy, it's hip, it's cool, but it's like London. You need money to enjoy it. There is nothing wrong with enjoying these things in life! I wish I could afford them, but personally, that's not what I came to Australia for. 

I want to see nature and animals and the west is a virgin! Wild! Simple! It's just nature and you. By far the national park of Exmouth and Karijini is insane highlights. A must go. They are literally mind-blowing, giving you physical goosebumps. Surfing does not do that for me haha.

Hikes And Sights That You Can't Miss Out On In Australia

Karijini National Park is unmissable. Everyone does the east for the reasons mentioned above, to surf, go clubbing, and live a very hip life, but you are missing the beauty of the country. All in the west!


Food In Australia

Honestly? No offence! Aussie food is terrible. I mean “ traditional “ Aussie food, everything is deep fat fried, chicken parmi, fish and chips, deep-fried oysters with BBQ sauce? I mean, who fries oysters! They don't really have a signature dish, everything is taken from other cuisines. Everything on a menu in the outback will give you diabetes. 

I've travelled a lot, so I know I can come across as a food snob, but the curries in India are unbelievable, the noodles in Asia, Paella in Spain, cheese in France! But Australia? It's a chicken breast, battered, deep fat fried, topped with a slice of ham, marinara sauce from a bottle and topped with cheese ( the cheese is called “ tasty “ that's like the actual name} and it's just..meh. 

BUT THAT BEING SAID, the fruit! OMG, THE FRUIT! My favourite thing to do whilst driving is to spot the little old ladies and farmers selling fresh fruit and veggies on the side of the road. Ten times better quality than in the supermarkets, cheaper, and I personally would rather give all my money to the grower, as opposed to the 10% they get from selling it at Coles. THE pineapples in Yeppoon are some of the best I've ever had.

Managing Costs In Australia

Australia is expensive. It is what it is. I WOULD NEVER be able to afford travelling this country if I hadn't worked in this country. With a working holiday visa, you can legally work and travel, so you are making bucket loads of money, so it's not that painful to spend. But if I was coming just as a tourist it gets pricey.


I normally use Trail Wallet, a great app to manage costs. Normally, I have a really low budget, in Asia, it was about 6 Euro a day for transport food and accommodation, but in Australia, that's the price of a coffee.

Our budget is about 250$ a week for food, transport, and accommodation. Obviously, we have free accommodation and free transport, and Aussie petrol is super cheap but everything is soooo far away!!!  We also always free camp, using camper mate apps and wiki camps.

I am quite thrifty by nature, so I don't really “manage my costs”. If I want to spend, I spend, if I don't, I don’t. I naturally gravitate to cheaper things so I never really go wild on expenses.

Where I Plan On Travelling To Next

I think I'll head back home for a while, covid has made me homesick! I would loooooveee to go to New Zealand, but again, covid. I decide to depend on price of flights and if there are long visa stays, I don't like being in one country for a short time. I would rather be able to feel like I live there for a while!

My Best Piece Of Travel Advice

Fear is normal, being apprehensive to do something outside your comfort zone is even more normal. It's in our DNA to be weary. 

So if you want to travel? Travel with fear, travel with those doubts! Because it will make you stronger, it will make you wiser and trust me, it's better to regret the things you have done than those you haven't.

I think if you want to travel with other like-minded people this is a great initiative of a platform! You will thrive off their stories and motivate you to live your own. I wish you all the best guys!!!

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