Preparing for a Long Trip

Posted on: 07/08/2013

Brendan & Elly Ingram

Lap of Australia

Brendan and Elly Ingram form Lap of Australia, a two-year off-road adventure traversing the entirety of Australia to experience the best 4WD travel destinations Australia has to offer.

In 2011 Brendan and Elly Ingram decided to hit the road for one big trip before they settled down, the couple setting their sights on a trip around Australia after discovering the cost of 8 weeks overseas was the same as spending 12 months exploring Australia.

The couple have been on the road for three months, with the majority of their adventure ahead of them as they currently make their way up the Queensland coast.

How they organised their home life

Brendan and Elly sold their NSW home in 2010 and moved to QLD where they rented until 2012. However, even without mortgage repayments they still had a lot of ‘stuff’.

“We sold as many belongings as possible via eBay and garage sales before moving the rest of our belongings back into storage in NSW. We then continued to sell various bits and piece on eBay while our belongings were in storage.” Brendan says.

How they planned their route

As their name suggests, Lap of Australia was about planning for the around Australia trip.

“The most important thing in the planning of our trip was that we needed sequences of locations to line up with the right time of year for the climate of that region.” Brendan says.

The two explorers used a Hema map of Australia to flesh out their journey, finding where each area was and calculating the distances between attractions to time their stopovers. After they had planned the initial route, the couple then moved on to purchasing maps and atlases for specific regions for more detailed planning.

Expert Tip

“There is a saying in travelling circles that says ‘We pay a lot of money to look like we’re living poorly.’ Be aware from the beginning that travelling costs more money than you might think (and like). However it is still less than what you would have spent in your old life, and you will be richer in every part of your life and person by getting out into the country.” 

The Hayden Family

Highway Dreams Around Oz

The Hayden's run their own touring travel website and online community that draws on their many experiences as a family discovering off-road Australia in a 4WD.

The Hayden’s are a young family of five who bucked the ‘settle down’ trend to discover the road less travelled as a family. On the verge of buying a house in 2010, a forced redundancy sparked their pursuit of their current ‘gypsy lifestyle.’

Only taking time out of their travels to welcome their son Leo and baby Isabella into the world, the Hayden’s have experienced the vast majority of Australia’s iconic regions and towns with over 70,000kms on the odometer.

How they organised their home life

Before departing for their epic adventure, the Hayden’s were renting in Coff’s Harbour. After selling or moving everything into storage, they were ready to pack the 4x4 and camper trailer then head off.

How they planned their route

For the Hayden’s, the major motive for travelling Australia was to visit the many amazing destinations on their bucket-list: Uluru, Kakadu, and the many excellent wine regions on offer throughout the country to name a few. They made these major destinations the foundation of all their plans, making the rest of their decisions on-the-road to keep themselves flexible.

“We are glad we discarded the bulk of our detailed planning we started with and opted for a more stress-free approach of planning as we went. There are so many variables, diversions and options that it is practically impossible to plan down to every last detail. A bucket-list, a diary and a general direction (and awareness of seasons) are all that we reckon is required – we didn’t want to spoil our trip with a congested itinerary,” Anthony says.

Expert Tip

“The most important thing we have gained from living on the road is a new appreciation for simplicity; the ability to get by in day-to-day life without all the gadgets and luxuries that we thought we could never live without. It has been very rewarding to get back-to-basics, learning to improvise with what we have and of course experiencing lots of great things with the family.”

Mike & Jane Pelusey

Hema Map Patrol Explorers 

Mike and Jane Pelusey are Hema Map Patrol explorers and independent authors and publishers in their own right. They have travelled to many of Australia's most iconic and lesser known 4WD destinations as part of their job as travel authors.

Mike and Jane Pelusey have lived the travel lifestyle as writers, photographers and Hema Map Patrol explorers since 2000. This means they regularly embark on trips longer than three months, usually spending around half of the year travelling somewhere in Australia while running their business on the road. The Peluseys have authored and contributed to many Hema Maps atlas and guides, while also being responsible for field-checking certain regions of Australia as Map Patrol explorers. 

How they organised their home life

As homeowners who are often on the road, the Peluseys have maintained their home presence in a variety of ways:

- Leaving their home empty and getting relatives to check on it once a fortnight or so

- Renting their home during particularly long stints on the road

- Getting house-sitters for shorter periods on the road.

The Peluseys insist that the point of having some sort of presence at home is important to avoid the tell-tale signs of an empty house: an overloaded mailbox, leaving rubbish bins out for too long and gardens getting overgrown as some examples. With automated payments for their mortgage, rates, water, power and insurances, the Pelusey’s can make themselves free to travel Australia at the drop of a hat.

How they plan their route

Usually with commitments to guide them, the Peluseys sway between organised trips and spontaneous journeys. 

“We usually have some dates that are set due to meetings, interviews or events so they are set on the planner. Having the purpose of articles, books and field trip research gives us goals. How we get there and in what direction are often left until we get on the road.” Jane says. 

However, after many years on the road the Peluseys have learnt that you need to do some research before arriving at a major destination. “Check school holiday and event dates for the state you are in, because they do vary. Once, we arrived in Wagga Wagga on the one weekend when they were holding the Clay Pigeon Shooting World Championship. There was not a square inch to pop our small van.” Jane says. 

Expert Tip

“While you are away, you will miss social events. That can make you a little homesick for just a short time. Remember you are having much more fun than others back home. We solved this by making sure we go out once a week if we are in a town.”