If you are buying or hiring a campervan to take an epic journey around Australia, you probably want to know if you can camp for free. While parking on the side of the road is illegal in most places, there are still ways you can find free spots to park your campervan for the night. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Utilise the couchsurfing paradigm
"Couchsurfer" refers to people who travel the world, staying on people's couches rather than paying for hotel rooms. Typically, the people who offer to host couchsurfers are ex-backpackers or armchair travellers, interested in being around someone interesting. No payment exchanges hands.
However, just because you have a campervan doesn't mean you can't network with other couchsurfers. Use the internet to find people who are willing to host couchsurfers, and ask them to let you park in their driveways, business parking lots or land for a few days.
2. Ask farmers
Hospitable people don't just hang out online. You can also find them just by knocking at their doors. Driving past a long farm and feeling tired? Try to find the farmhouse and ask if you can park on a corner of their land for the night.
3. Trade parking for labour
In addition to just knocking on a farmer's door and offering to trade work for land, there are many other places that may be open to this type of arrangement as well. Many people trade accommodation for volunteer work on organic farms in particular, but if you post flyers or online ads, you may be able to find people who want to trade land for labour.
4. Explore home exchanges
As you are on the road in your campervan, consider doing a home exchange with someone else. In most cases, a home exchange involves you staying in someone's house for free while they stay in your house for free. You both get a holiday, and you both save on accommodation. With a campervan, you may need to adjust the process a bit -- for example, you could let the other person stay in your house for a few days, and in exchange, they could let you camp on their land.
Alternatively, you could even barter for free places to stay on your journey from people who want to take an RV holiday. Basically, you drive up to the town you want to explore, you stay at their house for free for a few days while you explore and in exchange, they take your campervan for a few days.
5. Recharge at campsites
While staying places for free can be amazing, if there are no hookups, you won't have power for your campervan. If you have an auxiliary battery, it will work overnight in most cases, but after that, it needs a recharge so you have to get on the road.
So that you can get an extra long recharge and dump your waste water, plan to stay at a campsite with services once in a while.