Subscribe      List an Event or Business      Invite a Writer      Write for WN      Writers      Other Locations
list an event      1 million Australian readers every month      facebook

Grey Nomads & Coronavirus

Home > Adelaide > Accommodation | Escape the City | Health and Fitness | Travel
by Roy Chambers (subscribe)
Lover of all things interesting and new
Published March 26th 2020
This is what grey nomads need to know about Coronavirus
The grey nomads, they travel across the continent in their caravans and campervans, stopping here and there. In the countryside, they feel safe from Coronavirus, but there are risks in this lifestyle during a pandemic. If you are grey nomad or know one, then read this article.

Image courtesy of Ian Sutton @ Flickr
Image courtesy of Ian Sutton @ Flickr

About the grey nomads

The grey nomads are retirees who have usually rented out or even sold their home and bought a caravan or campervan. Their retirement is spent travelling the wide brown land of Australia, going where the weather and mood inspire them. They congregate mostly at showgrounds that let them stay for free, but often stopping at suitable campgrounds elsewhere.

Image courtesy of Tamsin Slater @ Flickr
Image courtesy of Tamsin Slater @ Flickr

This relaxed lifestyle often makes them the nicest and friendliest people you will meet while travelling. They are not in a hurry to be anywhere but have the desire to go everywhere. They have no urgent business and are not inspired to be connected. Which is why I am concerned for their welfare and why some steps need to be taken to protect them from Coronavirus and stop the spread of the pandemic.

What is the problem with Coronavirus

With a disease there is a concept called a vector. That is, a pathway for transmission between people and in the community. Now imagine a person packs their car, goes to a campground, stays to themselves, practices good hand hygiene, then returns home. They are not going to be a vector or pathway for transmission. Even if they do get the disease, they will just return home with it.

But with grey nomads, and backpackers for that matter, they go to a location with many people who are also travelling. Because they are social and probably meet people they already know, this increases their chance of exposure to Coronavirus and the chance that they will transmit the disease if they have it.

But the big problem is that they and others will then travel on to the next site, spreading it widely, and each location doing the same. The result is the disease can use these grey nomads to move quickly across the landscape, often entering small communities that have had limited exposure.

The other problem is healthcare

Small towns have limited healthcare resources. This means that a Coronavirus outbreak can stretch even a reasonably sized town. Because of the need for care, patients often need to be evacuated by air to large towns or cities with the appropriate healthcare facilities.

So what should the grey nomads do

The ideal solution is to return home and go straight into isolation. Of course, many of them are renting out their houses, so maybe they either need to stay with family or try to self isolate where they are. Yes, you can cross state borders to return home, they just require that you go into 14 days self-isolation.

Image courtesy of John @ Flickr
Image courtesy of John @ Flickr

Yes, I understand that staying in a caravan and not going out is not a pleasant experience. It is still possible to sit outside and read a book, the main issue is with social distancing. That is, keeping away from others as much as possible.

There is a temptation among the grey nomads to try and escape the pandemic by heading to remote communities. But really, the only effective way is to head to an isolated location, not join other travellers at the same campsite. The result of travellers getting together in rural areas has been that the disease is spreading with them.


If you are a grey nomad you really need to consider finding a way to get off the road for a while and to isolate yourself from other travellers. If your loved ones are doing the caravan retirement thing, now is the time to talk to them and help them find a solution.
Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  123
Share: email  facebook  twitter
Why? Grey nomads are at high risk of spreading Coronavirus
Your Comment
Disgusting profiling of Grey Nomads. Backpackers got a mention. They are the group far more responsible for the spread of this virus but the media has managed to keep that profiling to a minimum. A huge group widely publicised flouted the New social distancing laws. Why don't you profile them

I was expecting the term Baby Boomer to be inserted into the pot of vilification

Having been one of your early subscribers and reading for years, and often taking my family to events written about on Weekend Notes I will now Unsubscribe as obviously it is aimed at The Entitled generation and not the general community.

Yes, protect the Entitled ones from Grey Nomads. (I'm NOT one)

by kordu (score: 0|7) 388 days ago
It’s not the grey nomads - who spread the virus. It’s people who do not selfisolate! People who blame other people for not keeping a distance when however it is their problem of convenience to not practice isolation!

I think it’s not fair to say it’s the grey nomads - as they will avoid contact to other get infected. The rest of us should ask: am I actually staying at home and doing more than my best to stop covid-19? Am I leading by example?

So stay at home whoever, wherever you are, is my take!
by Hadassa (score: 1|19) 388 days ago
Some backers are mending fences some are fruit picking and for sure some are doing the wrong thing
by cutie (score: 0|4) 387 days ago
We intended travelling 8n our van from the beginning of March for the rest of the year.
Last Sunday we packed up and headed for home ( Victoria). We arrived 9n Wednesday.
Luckily we could do that but fulltime travelers don't have that option. From my experience I want to say that grey nomads are fully aware of the situation and are doing their very best to self isolate however and wherever they can
by heath54 (score: 1|23) 388 days ago
If the grey nomads are a problem. Back packers must be a horror story.
by phill (score: 0|4) 387 days ago
Top Events
Popular Articles