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12 Tips for Women Traveling Solo in an RV

| Updated Jul 31, 2013

Aren’t you scared? You are so brave! Do you carry a gun? You go all by yourself?

These are the most common things I hear and am asked when I meet someone while traveling in my Roadtrek Class B motorhome or when I tell folks about my trips.  People are often astonished that I frequently travel alone.

My friend Laura and her Rig.
My friend Laura and her Rig.

I believe that single women, over 50, are one of the the fastest growing groups of RV buyers right now.  We are divorced, widowed, have disposable income and are living longer. We are on the move! It is rare that I don’t run into another solo gal as I travel.

I have stayed in areas where I was completely alone, in crowded RV parks, all types of campgrounds and boondocked, far from commercial campgrounds and off the grid. I have stayed in remote areas and towns. That’s the nice thing about a class B – it goes almost anywhere, which is where I like to go!

Here are a few tips for traveling solo that I have learned:

  1. Let someone know where you are and check in with them. Keep your phone and laptop, I Pad or whatever, charged and get a booster to find a signal when you are remote. There are also satellite phones and emergency trackers available.
  2. If you should decide to carry a gun, have it licensed, check state laws, take the safety classes, learn how to clean it and care for it properly so it doesn’t misfire and take shooting lessons. I know a gal who carries a small pistol in a cereal box with the flap cut for easy access.
  3. Other devices are available. I carry bear spray, but be prepared to also be affected if you spray in an enclosed space.  Wasp spray is very accurate at almost 20 feet and can help deter a criminal. This also less expensive than bear spray. You can get small stunners from Amazon.  I know another gal who keeps a hammer behind her driver’s seat.
  4. Place a pair of large sized, used, men’s work boots or sneakers outside your door at night. This makes it look like you have company.
  5. Bring a big dog.  Those little cute ones don’t scare anybody!
  6. If you hear someone outside at night, flip on the lights and hit the horn. You can even just start up and drive off. Even if you are hooked up- you can fix those later. Safety first!
  7. Make friends with other folks nearby and check in with the campground host if there is one
  8. IMG_6627Don’t advertise to Mr. Thief by flashing money, wearing expensive jewelry or working on your fancy laptop or cameras outside.
  9. Do your research. I use the ALLSTAYS app on my I Pad. I can look at the satellite image to see if where it is, if it looks neat and if there are permanent mobile homes, which I don’t care for. Read the reviews posted by other campers.  Pass on if it doesn’t meet your standards, there is usually something down the road. Plan accordingly. I look one to two days ahead when planning my routes, and check for availability. Allstays also gives phone numbers so you can call ahead to make sure there is a spot available.
  10. When in doubt, get out. Unplug and move on if you get the creeps or the place is in a sketchy area. I have done this and even when the check in folks left so I couldn’t get a refund. Better safe than not over just a few bucks.  Go with your gut.
  11. There are several female RV clubs, like RVing Women, Solo-Net and even a Roadtrek Solos if you are a member of Roadtrek International. You can network and find other single travelers to join you on your journeys. I have done 2 trips with women I have met on the web and had fun on both.
  12. Lock your doors. Although I have slept with my back doors wide open to enjoy river sounds or nice weather (after all, I was previously a tent camper) I usually lock them. Use your judgment.

ALLSTAYS appliction

Don’t let urban myths or generally unfounded fears keep you from seeing the land.  The big city scares me more than the country. Most of the folks I have met while on the road have been wonderful and helpful.

Enjoy your solo journeys!

Mike Wendland

Published on 2013-07-31

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

40 Responses to “12 Tips for Women Traveling Solo in an RV”

June 28, 2016at9:15 pm, Sharon Smith said:

My young daughter and I took off on our first solo trip for spring break in March. We’ve made trips before but mainly stayed in motels. This was our pioneer trip in our new van. We stayed at the KOA in Black Mountain, NC. I asked for the safest spot since we were alone. All was good, until the night before heading home. At around 10:30 p.m. I was awakened by aloud blast from what I thought was inside our van. At first I was unsure of what happened. When I heard the crackle sound of glass and felt the cold night air, I realized someone had shot our side window out. At this point I didn’t know what I should do. If I stay inside they may use the big, shattered window opening to get inside with us. If we just set there we could be setting ducks. If I go outside we risk being shot and/or my daughter being harmed if they overpower me. Even if I call 911 it’s going to take a while for them to get to us. All the while my pistol was safely locked up under the bed we were sleeping on. Fortunately God was looking out for us. The family next to us returned to their camping spot. They had small children, so I stepped out to warn them of the potential danger. The man had a good flashlight and came to our rescue, while his wife took their children in. I called the police to make a report. After a closer inspection it was determined that they missed my daughter’s head by inches! Although I agree with this advice, I can say, there is no prevention or protection for things like this. Just expect the unexpected. I strongly suggest keeping the phone and flashlight batteries charged, know exactly where your weapon is and pray for protection. From now on my weapon will not be under the bed. I had it for protection in case we broke down and had to walk. I now know better than to store it, especially at night time.

April 16, 2016at2:10 pm, rhiebert said:

Great list of things most often not thought of. Maintenance ie. oil changes should be done with quality synthetics to reduce down time and peace of mind that the engine and transmission are protected from the premature wear in hot or mountianous driving conditions.

April 10, 2016at2:18 am, Travlingypsy said:

The fear is more than the reality. I’ve camped all over this country, BC and Alaska and never had a problem. Don’t carry a gun, a hammer behind my seat or any other weird implement that might do nothing since I probably wouldn’t use it anyway. My big mouth has saved me when and if something seems wonky. I’ve camped in a truck in corn fields, behind the general store, truck stops, parks in towns where the people loved fugitives from the mundane. It’s just like where you came from only it takes a little longer to get there. I am with you; cities have scared me more than country. Another good tip; if some weird person thinks you are there for their pleasure act like a jerk, curse, say stupid stuff, and by all means confront them immediately. That will scare them more than anything. And if that doesn’t work go hang out with someone else who is camping near you. They’ll eventually leave. Don’t be wimpy, you wouldn’t be a wimp if someone in your neighborhood was acting weird; you’d tell them to leave. We are just people after all and function pretty much the same all over the country. Remember if you lived in Nebraska you’d feel comfortable camping near your home. It’s exactly the same thing when you travel across the US, just a lot of Nebraska’s spread all over the place. This country is so fascinating. When you travel you’ll get the cultural flavor of the people who settled there. You can walk into a mini mart in Louisiana and hear French accents and dialects, you can find fish smelting in large wooden casks around the great lakes and hear pigmied English on the coastline of SC from the Gullah who speak a language you’ll never understand. What could be better than that? The US is such an interesting place and most Americans have never seen that much of it. GO…by all means GO.

March 23, 2016at7:23 pm, Lise said:

I am always so disheartened when people continue to share bad information, especially in this instance where a woman could really think that the Wasp spray could help and would be put at risk. People. Wasp spray is NOT the answer… it will NOT help you. Don’t believe me? Check this:

January 27, 2016at8:39 pm, Darlene Sawicki said:

If alone and using rest area or truck stop and have to stop; I will go around to side of 5th wheel and bang on the side and Yell, “if you have to go you better get up” to make it appear as though i am with someone. I also try to walk out with someone but the article is true – Trust your gut…Better safe than sorry. I also wear military/Police issue garb because nothing says, “not a target” as well as wearing military/law enforcement issue clothing. I have a Pellet gun which is modified to look like a real gun which I put on the table inside the 5th wheel or at the back of my waist,. Michigan’s concealed permits are not reciprocated in all states…Illinois does not recognize our permit so I don’t camp in Illinois anymore.

January 12, 2016at3:40 am, Ambar said:

Your suggestions are similar to the research that I dug out in the year before I went traveling. Wish I had got this kind of help when I started traveling solo.

May 27, 2015at8:12 am, disqus_dtmPymmIMh said:

As a security consultant, a tip I would offer is:
Purchase a mobile GPS (approximately $700) and place this anywhere in your RV. Anyone with your GPS program Password can go online see where you are currently located. It’s nice that family and friends can follow your travel adventures online.
But the real value added is, *should* something go horribly wrong -your RV is stolen, or you are kidnapped in your RV, the police will be able to quickly locate you or your RV.

April 17, 2015at4:26 pm, Matty Welch said:

I will never pack a gun. Never ever. Wasp spray I can understand. But, really, have you ever been in a situation where you had to defend yourself against anything other than the occasional wasp or spider?

March 30, 2015at7:32 pm, Trish Councell said:

I bought a motion sensor light and separate motion sensor alarm that I can velcro up outside the door if I’m staying somewhere where I might be kind of isolated such as a forest campground. I figurel a 120 decibel alarm will scare the crap out of any prowler ( and me too.) Of course this would be totally impractical in a crowded campground.

March 30, 2015at3:23 pm, Paul Bynack said:

You should NEVER use wasp spray for self defense. It is in violation of federal law and does not work that well anyway. You could end up being fined, sued by your attacker and possibly go to jail. Here is an article on it.

March 30, 2015at12:54 pm, Crystal Adkins said:

So, are you too be around mobile homes or are you unable to distinguish stereotypes from reality?

January 12, 2015at2:24 pm, Linda Taylor said:

I would just add…..make sure your travel vehicle is in tip-top shape starting out; 1) best tires you can buy for your vehicle, serviced and get service on the road, utilize franchise places that you can “stop in” on the way and have things checked (tires esp, I utilize Ford Express Tires[top brands and great cost and service deal], not to advertise but a great deal, you can stop at any Ford Dealership anywhere, and they are everywhere, just for a routine tire check). 2) Every time you stop for gas, do a ‘walk-around” checking body, tires, leaks, etc. 3) Roadside service (I did 19,000mi thinking I had AAA when I discovered my membership ended a month after I left home!!; misunderstanding!! I still would not leave home without AAA!). 4) Keep at least one container of windshield wash; 5gal gas, if long stretches, filled all the time, a jump power source, a few bunge cords and tie-downs, pr of adjustable pliers, duct tape and WD40 at all times. THAT’S NOT TO SAY NOTHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN, HOWEVER, YOU’VE JUST ELIMINATED A HUGE CHANCE OF THAT!!

January 12, 2015at2:08 pm, Jon Dittman said:

Having a hammer behind your seat is dangerous in a crash, unless it is solidly mounted.
Also illegal in California and many other places. As ridiculous as that may seem. Anything like that, baseball bat etc. Is an illegal weapon, felony, if intended for defense, in Ca.
You better have nail bags, take measure, rafter square etc. to go along with it. Gun in a cereal box? Illegal in many states, Ca. being one.

September 06, 2013at12:36 am, susan said:

I will be trekking this winter for the first time and my intention is to do plain air painting along the way. Being over 60 is not like in the 60’s I’m sure….any advise would be appreciated. Also connecting with other painters would be wonderful some of the time.

September 06, 2013at7:06 am, Janet Arnold said:

Hi Susan
I am on the road now. I am a watercolor artist who appears to be on sabbatical since my husbands death. I was just thinking I might pick up my brushes today.
I live in San Diego.

June 25, 2015at10:43 am, elaineallen said:

Just found this Susan and I’m from San Diego and RVer on her own. I’ve got all the paint supplies ready to go. I can do this.

August 15, 2013at12:41 pm, Echo said:

good article, the only one thing i would take issue with on your list is #4. using a pair of men’s boots as a deterrent is almost useless unless your only staying in a spot for one night. but even then? it doesn’t take someone long at all to realize that there isn’t a man around when your doing the driving, hooking up ele and water, not to mention the sewer hose sometimes. if a man doesn’t show his face they are either going to know that there isn’t one or that he is disabled to the point of not being a worry.
the very best single thing that a woman or a man can do while any where, is to pay attention and be totally aware of their surroundings. that goes for men as well. you can be in more danger at home in the parking lot of your local walmart. when home and local in a familiar place, people feel comfortable and relax their guard and don’t pay attention to what’s going on or who is around them.

August 05, 2013at2:05 pm, Sherry T said:

To be on the Roadtrek solo message board, you do not have to belong to Roadtrek International. You must, however, own/drive a Roadtrek ‘solo’ most of the time. Many of our solotrekkers still have significant others and we are both female and male travelers.

August 05, 2013at12:32 pm, Dave said:

Great article on traveling safely by yourself. I would like to offer another suggestion. If you need to leave an area because your comfort level has been challenged and it’s late and you are tired drive to the nearest town and park by the police station or a manned firehouse.

January 12, 2015at2:04 pm, Jon Dittman said:

Except sleeping in your vehicle is a misdemeanor in most/many places.

August 02, 2013at7:07 pm, Judi Darin said:

I also travel alone at 66 and love it. I am not a full timer but really enjoy taking off when I can. I tend to gravitate toward state and national parks instead of privately owned camps. I have never felt threatened, but I did leave a camp ground once when I had checked in late in the evening, paid the fee, and was not comfortable with the “crowd” when I was hooking up. So I unhooked and left without even stopping at the office. My medium size dog travels with me and I trust her to sense danger. I like being alone and find it peaceful and restorative. And to be alone in the wilderness is even better!

August 01, 2013at11:32 am, Peggy said:

Thank you! Great article. I am new to solo rving in my class B motorhome, not a Roadtrek though. I wish my brand had a news letter site like this one. I read every one of your articles, this was just as helpful as others, thank you!

August 02, 2013at1:31 pm, Laura Robinson said:

Thanks, Peggy! Please keep on this website, I think Mike wants to be inclusive for all RVer, not just Roadtreks. Most of the articles are probably relevant to your vehicle. What do you have?

April 17, 2015at4:34 pm, Matty Welch said:

Yeeeah, good luck filtering makes and models, that’s just silly. If someone is here they need information, you should be happy to have them.

August 01, 2013at12:14 am, Bill Sprague said:

Laura, you’ve given great advice for anyone who boondocks. We like to travel well below the radar and like to avoid commercial campgrounds as much as possible. Our kids now scout camping and boondocking spots as they travel and clue us in. Allstays is a great tool and we use that app a lot for motel and RV travel. We find it’s much less cumbersome than the NY phone book size Woodalls. Thanks for a great piece.

July 31, 2013at11:48 pm, Laura Robinson said:

JL, sometimes, when I travel, like my last trip to Michigan, I leave my dog with my folks. I am lucky they enjoy having her. I stayed in a friend’s home for 3 days and we did a lot of sight seeing so I decided not to take her. Plus it was hot and even though my van is air conditioned, I don’t like to leave her for long periods in that small a space. She is very active and pretty much an outdoor dog. I took her to Idaho and it was great, but not to Utah because they don’t allow dogs on many National Park Trails. So it just depends on what type of trip I am taking.

July 31, 2013at11:37 pm, J L said:

I wonder what do you do with your dog when you have errands to do or want to sight see somewhere that would not be appropriate for the pooch? I want to travel with my dog, but worry about leaving her in the vehicle alone when I have to go somewhere where she can not go. I am afraid it would get too hot for her to stay behind.

August 13, 2013at1:10 am, Linda said:

seen this once. never used it. I have cats and a motorhome so I am set.

August 15, 2013at12:30 pm, Echo said:

if you are hooked up to utilities simply leave your a/c on if it’s hot or your heater on if it’s cold. i use 2 portable ele heaters in the winter. both shut off automatically if tipped over. leaving your dog in your rv is no different than leaving him in a sticks and bricks house. if the weather is nice outside, high 60’s to low 70’s and you feel it’s safe to do so, leave some windows open and your fan running. if your not use to rv’s? stop and think, they just like cars can get hot inside if sitting in the sun. protect your furry babies.

November 13, 2014at9:46 pm, Taz and Knobby the Dog said:

I travel in my van alone with my dog all over the country. She actually prefers the van to our cabin…over the years it has become her “safe spot”. Our van is the stealth type without many windows. This comes in handy when I must leave her inside. The windows that remain are covered to keep the solar gain down to a minimum. I have a fantastic fan in my van that has a thermostat on it. I usually set it to start running around the 72-75 degree mark. I open the windows about 2 inches on the driver and passenger door and open a small vent I have down low (this one I put in just for the dog). The Fantastic fan can push enough air though the van to keep it at least the same temp as outside. In dryer climates it is often much cooler than outside because of the shade factor. I keep a water dish where she can reach it of course. Her fav spot to hang out is her seat (the passenger seat). I’ve only come back to find her in front of her vent once or twice where the wind blows directly on her.

July 31, 2013at9:15 pm, Lissa said:

Laura, I also solo RV with a 1988 Class C… and I’m in Missouri! I love it!!! My traveling companions are 2 small dogs 🙂 I really appreciate this article and any other tips.

July 31, 2013at9:01 pm, Maureen said:

Great tips….keep your reports coming!!!!

July 31, 2013at7:23 pm, Linda Rose said:

Yep I get those questions too. When they ask if I travel alone I say “nope I bring my dogs”. And my response to the “you’re so brave” comment is: I’m not particularly brave but I am DEFINITELY Adventurous!! I love all of your suggestions and have used them often myself. Solo traveling means never having to pass up something you want to see because of another persons agenda. I do belong to the RT Solo trekkers and love getting together with other people but sure love choosing my own path very much too.

July 31, 2013at5:28 pm, Lisa said:

Can’t wait to get out there with you, girlfriend!!!!

July 31, 2013at4:59 pm, Kurt said:

I find after reading your article that most all of your comments apply to men traveling alone as well. Interesting read

July 31, 2013at4:51 pm, Laura HP said:

Godd common sense information. There is no reason to wait around for a travel companion… Adventure is in our American DNA. Travel, be smart… Thank you for encouraging all of us to get on the road!

July 31, 2013at4:49 pm, Judy said:

Great article! I’m still hoping to join the RV’ers on the road as soon as I can.

July 31, 2013at4:15 pm, Nancy said:

Another great post. Thanks for the helpful tips.

July 31, 2013at3:58 pm, Laura Robinson said:

I forgot to add that if you aren’t mechanical, there’s plenty of help online with the Facebook, other RV websites, clubs and chatrooms. There are RV dealers/service all over the country and others such as Freightliner that will work on RV’s. AAA, Coachnet and many other programs offer roadside assistance. I am mechanically challenged, but don’t let that stop me from seeing the country!

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