Rise of the ‘digital nomads’ set to shake up the Big Lap

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Digital nomads heading for caravan parks
Why not? 'Digital nomads' are heading for the Outback, PIC: Australia Property Guides

With international travel firmly off the agenda for most Australians for the foreseeable future, entirely new groups of travellers are likely to discover the caravanning and camping lifestyle.

While grey nomads have become accustomed to sharing van parks and campsite with ‘families’ during the school holidays, the pandemic-inspired changes to the way we live may see them having to get used to more company ‘year round’.

The advent of Covid-19 and the need for social distancing has seen people encouraged to work from home rather than the office, and this trend looks set to become a be a fact of life, long after the virus has been defeated.

And as younger people embrace a ‘work from anywhere’ lifestyle, it will inevitably mean a rise in the number of ‘digital nomads’. For many, all that is needed for a productive working day is a laptop and a reliable internet connection.

In the US, recreational vehicle manufacturers are already taking this trend into account when designing new RVs.

Dean Corrigal of Leisure Travel Vans told Business Insider magazine that 30-40% of emails his company has received come from customers inquiring specifically about the vans’ mobile office capabilities.

“It’s a huge amount of first-time buyers sending request emails to us … people that want to work from their RVs are right behind that,” he said. “I think it’s a huge growing segment, and the longer this Covid-19 thing lasts, the more the RV industry is going to go forward and push in sales.”

Motorhome maker Winnebago told Business Insider that additional features it was looking at incorporating included improved soundproofing, quieter power systems and ergonomic seating.

“Work from home is now one of the big boxes that product development has to check when they’re considering a new product,” said Winnebago vice-president, Brian Hazelton.

He said that, even prior to the recent boom, demand for office-style amenities was growing.

“As we learned more about the Class B van business, we started to see those demands for connectivity,” he said. “That customer group was really pushing us to do … a lot of those things before the Covid pandemic started.”

Airstream CEO, Bob Wheeler, said the ‘digital nomad’ trend was definitely changing designs.

“We tried to look at some of our floor plans and say, ‘Where could we carve out a dedicated work area so you don’t have to clean up your workday in order to have a meal at the dinette table?'” he said. “You don’t need a five-foot-wide slab desk in your travel trailer, but we find that when we talk to people about the option to have this area where they can set up and leave their work set up, and still live in the rest of the trailer, that’s really appealing.”

  • Do you think younger ‘digital nomads’ are going to become a much bigger presence in Australia’s caravan parks and camping grounds? Have you already started to notice them? Comment below.
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