blonde woman sitting in front of her winnabego motorhome

Solo RV Travel Safety Tips & Resources
Precautions to take for staying safe on the road.
By: Merrisa Petersen

Although I can sometimes be paranoid, I have not yet experienced a single bad person in the two years that I’ve been on the road. More often than not, people are extremely kind and willing to go out of their way to help. I am constantly reminded of all the good people in the world and have been fortunate to meet some of them. 

While you can’t completely prevent bad things from happening, being smart and prepared goes a long way. Unfortunately, there will always be danger in the world, but I’m not going to let that stop me from living my best life. The incredible memories have absolutely been worth any risk - which I see as a small chance for ending up in a dangerous situation.

There are some bad people out there and it’s smart to be prepared, but I recommend trying to remain optimistic and looking at every situation from a positive angle. We have all been conditioned to believe biases and most of those are just not true. The reality of the situation may be much different than you first assumed.

However, it is still smart to have safety systems in place, just in case, and take precautions to avoid bad situations. It’s especially important to have ways to contact someone in case of an emergency, which is most likely going to be due to an unexpected injury or RV issue rather than a dangerous person.

Safety Precautions When Solo RVing

There are places and situations that are more dangerous than others – especially when traveling as a solo female, so taking a few precautions is key to staying safe.

Here are some of my precautions:

  • Read Camping Reviews: Whether a campground or quick overnight spot in a parking lot, it is important to read through the reviews to make sure no one noted attempted break-ins or other issues. Online travel groups are also great for getting recommendations for safe places to park.
  • Plan Where You Park: Even after choosing a location I feel is safe, I always park in a lighted area and am conscious of my surroundings. I also make sure my doors are locked and I close my blinds before I turn on any lights. I keep my phone and other safety items nearby, too. 

  • Leave if You Feel Unsafe: If you ever feel unsafe, don’t risk it – just leave. Of course, this is easier in a drivable RV since I can just get up and go without having to go outside. So, if you are traveling in a towable or camper, just make sure you have a plan to leave quickly if necessary. Even when exploring outside your RV or hanging out with new people, it  is a good idea to have an escape route in mind in case you end up in a dangerous situation.
  • Share Your Location & Plans with People You Trust: I always tell my mom and my close friends where I am as well as my travel plans. If hanging out with new people, I share their names and descriptions. For extra safety, I also use apps that can easily share my location with a pre-determined contact list if I am in trouble (listed below). Some of my emergency contacts aren’t even necessarily people I am closest to, but they are people I know are on their phones often so would get my message for help quickly.
  • Don’t Share Where You are Publicly: While sharing your plans with your emergency contacts is always a good idea, openly posting where you are located on social media or elsewhere isn’t advised. I usually post photos weeks or months after I have left that area as a precaution.
  • Consider Traveling with a Dog: Having my dog with me definitely helps me feel more safe since she will alert me of any noises and her bark would also help to deter anyone with bad intentions. I do know she would protect me if needed as well. However, the best part of traveling with her is the companionship – it feels less like ‘solo’ travel with a pet!

Safety Resources & Gear for Solo Travelers

Technology really does make staying safe much easier. There are plenty of apps and gear available to help you share your location and protect yourself. Here are a few I use:

  • Garmin InReach: This is a go-to satellite GPS for most RVers because it allows you to be reachable no matter where you end up. If I’m unable to use my cell phone, I know I can still send a message with my location from the Garmin.
  • Life360: This app allows me to easily share my location history with my family and friends. I chose to go with the gold membership that offers additional safety features like crime reports, SOS help alerts, and roadside assistance. 
  • NoonLight App: If I am feeling unsafe, I simply open this app and hold down the button until I am in a safe place. Then, I simply release the button and enter a pin. If I don’t enter the pin, the police are automatically notified of my exact location.

  • Smart Pepper Spray: I feel safer having pepper spray on hand, but this option also sends out an instant notification to my five emergency contacts with my location if I actually have to use it, which is a really great safety feature.
  • Travel Groups: One of the best resources to have when feeling unsure of a situation or when needing help is other people. Not only have I made dozens of traveler friends I can reach out to for advice or assistance, I’m also in multiple groups with knowledgeable travelers who are happy to offer insights. With members across the country, it is also likely that someone would be within driving distance from me if I needed help. There are even groups specific to solo female travelers with a large network of people ready to assist in case of an emergency. These groups and my personal contacts really help me feel safe!

While it’s not fun to think of the ‘what if?’, having precautions in place and resources on hand does make a big difference in keeping me safe and making me feel more at ease. Solo travel is all about gaining confidence in yourself and stepping out of your comfort zone. While that includes learning to be safe when traveling alone, it also means getting used to just hiking or going out to eat alone as well. It all may feel scary at first, but I’ve found that putting myself out there can be incredibly rewarding. 

Comments

User commented on May 13, 2022 8:14 PM
Great advice. I have a Garmin InReach mini which I think is a must. I will check out the smart pepper spray. Thanks!
User commented on May 22, 2022 2:20 PM
Dress Ugly, Look Ugly. I know that will be very hard for you. Dog is great idea
User commented on May 22, 2022 2:26 PM
I'm going to look into the Garmin InReach. Sounds smart. Thanks for all the great hints and advice. Would love to know how to get connected into the solo female traveler groups I've heard so much about.
User commented on May 22, 2022 10:20 AM
I have a siren back up alarm on a remote wireless button by my bed will help scare off any intruder.
User commented on May 22, 2022 11:24 AM
Thank you for all those recommendations, I do travel solo most of the time . I am new at RVing so it’s a learning process. Thanks to all the people that are willing to help and guide the newbies to a safer RVing experience. Also is very good to have a First Aid kit in case of injuries or illness. I am a Paramedic so I travel with mine , I also included IV fluids is case I need to give myself an IV . Safe travels !! Elvis Q.
User commented on May 22, 2022 3:00 PM
Excellent article and great advice. I travel with my Springer Spaniel too!
User commented on May 22, 2022 5:00 PM
I am a woman and have traveled alone for years because my husband would rather camp in a hotel. One night about 2 AM my dog jumped out of my bed and took off to the cab of my motorhome. He was snarling at the window and a man took off running. For about 30 minutes my dog was on guard duty and so was I. When Camper (my dog) laid down to sleep, so did I. The owner of the dog I call Camper was left in a campsite by his owner. After a few days I took the dog home with me. He has been my traveling buddy for 9 years and the only time I ever saw aggression was that night. I never let anyone into my RV and I never go into anyone else's camper. If I want to walk in the woods, I just ask a family going for a walk if I could just follow them because I get lost easily. I stay far enough behind to give the family privacy and no one has ever refused to let me follow them. I agree that people are very friendly and if you need help, all you have to do is ask.
User commented on May 24, 2022 10:05 AM
Great article. Saving it for reference
User commented on May 27, 2022 2:03 AM
That dog would probably lick some "bad" girl if she had a cookie....Rather than bite. Get a 12 gauge and know how to use it..... I've had one issue in 30 years and I just moved to a different loop.. Most of all, keep having fun!
User commented on May 28, 2022 12:18 PM
If you use the bear spray you'll need to get out of the camper quickly. It is duel purpose, bear and scum bag. However, I am always amased at the reluctance to have a pistol near by. If all else fails you could pop one off straight up, if the intruder continues he/she needs to be shot. Pre- plan a spot to shoot a warning spot so your AC will still work. Pratice with it, in the right place put in some ear plug type items and shoot one out the door at night. You will be floored at the noise and flash. If the the intruder continues it is time for serious defense , "in a fight, front sight". Just be aware, you'll be fine. Always, always expect a curious child to find it if not secured.
User commented on June 28, 2022 7:50 AM
This article has set my mind at ease. Being a female solo camper, is an a amazing opportunity to spred my wings and enjoy true peace. Your advice is appreciated. Thank you for this post.