Tips for Solo Women RVers to Hit the Road
Hi Ladies! This one is for all the women out there that want to go on solo RV trips.
It’s awesome to get out on the road, especially to get away from all the other stress that life likes to throw our way.
So let’s hit the road with these tips specifically for women solo RVers.
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Solo Women Safety in the RV
The first thing that everyone gets all crazy about is security and whether a woman traveling alone is going to be safe in her RV.
For some reason, though, people rarely ask the same questions of men. It’s like they are programmed to think they can defend themselves.
Guess what ladies? So can we!
Most people looking to do harm look for the weakest link. They don’t want to attack people that will fight back, whether physically (which is why men don’t fear as much) or even if it means detailed descriptions to police later.
So look people in the eye. Challenge them if need be. Most people will back down once they know that you can positively identify them.
More often than not, if you don’t have a victim’s mindset, you won’t be a victim. Don’t be a victim. Confidence rules the day!
Pass on the Men’s Work Boots
One piece of common advice for solo women RVers is to get a pair of large men’s work boots to leave outside your RV. I don’t know where this started, but I sure am tired of hearing it. How often do you see work boots left outside the RVs in the campgrounds you go to?
Never! Yeah, that’s what I thought. I think that if you put a pair of boots outside your RV, you are just highlighting the fact that you are alone. Highlighting that you feel that you need a guy to take care of your safety and there isn’t one with you.
Self Defense Courses Make You More Confident
One thing that almost without fail will make you more confident is if you take a self-defense course.
Knowing the methods to protect yourself will give you confidence to deal with situations as they may come. The good courses also help you to identify common situations and how to avoid them.
That confidence in how you carry yourself can go a long way to deterring would-be attackers.
They can also be great workouts, so bonus!
Watch Out for Fellow Solo Women Travelers
One thing that I always try to do is to help out my fellow solo women travelers. Women are often going to feel more comfortable with other women, so if you see one needing help, lend a hand. Even if it just means someone to wait with until the tow truck arrives.
Or if you see another solo woman in danger, go up to them and pretend to be their friend until the perceived danger passes.
Safety in numbers.
Limit the Alcohol and Drugs
Unfortunately, you may want to limit the amount of alcohol and drugs (legal or illegal) that you use. (Not condoning any illegal drug use but recognizing that it does happen)
Both alcohol and drugs will impair your judgment and delay your reactions. If you black out or pass out, you may be completely defenseless and an easy target for someone.
Alcohol and drug use will also impair your ability to drive your rig to escape a dangerous situation, if one comes up.
Have Solid RV Security Measures
Some common solid RV security measures include:
- Lock your doors and windows, especially at night. And make sure that you have upgraded dead bolt locks that don’t use the same key that everyone else in the campground has.
- Secure anything valuable outside, like bikes, portable generators or satellite dishes, with heavy duty chains attached to the frame of your RV.
- Keep the driver’s seat clear in case you need to quickly get in to drive away. This is really important if you are stealth camping in a van or boondocking in remote areas.
- Have a good national cellphone provider and keep your cellphone charged. This is also important for weather alerts, not just calling for help. If you are boondocking in more remote locations, you’ll want to get a cellphone booster for added coverage.
- Turn on the motion sensor settings on the WheelWitness Dash Cam so you have video of who is coming and going from your RV. Seeing cameras may deter some criminals. And while it may not stop an intruder, you’ll have video evidence to help identify them later on.
RV Security Systems
There aren’t quite the security systems for RVs like you would find in a sticks and bricks home. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some options out there for you.
This system, in addition to having high temperature settings to protect your pets, also has low temperature settings to protect your pipes in winter, GPS tracking in case your RV is stolen, and power warnings if the unit loses power. In addition, you can add Bluetooth sensors like door and window sensors to alert you when someone comes in, via text and audible alerts to both wake you up in the middle of the night and to scare away an intruder. And motion sensors if someone is in your trailer when you aren’t there.
The DeWalt Mobile Lock system also has a cable lock that can be added to secure generators, bikes, and other gear and will alert you when unlocked or the cable cut. Imagine that someone is trying to steal your generator while you are asleep inside. You get an audible alarm and a text alert right away instead of waiting until morning to find out that you don’t have any generator power. That would be a problem if you are out in the middle of nowhere boondocking!
This starts with a monthly fee of $19.95 which is suitable for most American based RVers.
It’s one of the best all-around RV security systems that I’ve seen.
Firearms Are Optional
Some people will say to get a firearm, a hand gun, of some sort for personal protection.
I’m not going to tell you that you should. Or that you shouldn’t. That’s definitely a personal question for you to answer. However, if you do carry a firearm, only do so if you are trained in firearm safety and know how to use the gun. Even after your initial training, you need to practice shooting regularly.
The last thing that you want to happen is to pull a gun out in a dangerous situation and then have it turned against you. Or to accidentally fire the gun and injure yourself or others.
If you do decide to carry, then get a concealed carry permit so that you can legally carry it. Many states will require training, including live fire and classroom instruction, as part of the permitting process. Even if your state does not require this training, it is advisable to get this training regularly, even as a refresher.
Firearm Safes for the RV
Also, make sure that you have a place to secure the gun when you are not carrying.
The SpeedVault Handgun Safe is popular since you can bolt it into one of the cabinets and you can quickly get into the safe if need be. It does have to be installed vertically, but you can mount it from the left, right, or back.
If you don’t have a good mounting place for the SpeedVault safe, then try a horizontal safe that can lay at the bottom of your closet or other cabinet. SentrySafe has a flat two gun capacity safe that means you can store an additional handgun, ammunition, or other important papers while you are traveling.
Do note that many campgrounds, private and public, have rules against firearms. In fact, many NASCAR sites will search your trailer before you can enter the infield campgrounds to ensure that you don’t have firearms or other prohibited materials. This is in addition to local, state, and federal rules about where you can carry a gun.
If you are going to carry a gun in your RV, make sure you follow all the laws and rules.
More Firearm Safety Tips
One thing that I do not recommend is that you put stickers on your RV that highlight the fact that you may be carrying a gun. In other words, I recommend against putting “protected by Smith & Wesson” or “NRA supporter” type stickers on your RV.
This may act to attract some of the danger that you are seeking to protect against. Handguns are easily sold on the black market for cash, making them attractive things to steal. If a criminal sees these stickers on your RV, they are likely to think that you have a gun inside and may be more willing to rob you, looking for a sure score.
The stickers will definitely make your RV more attractive to burglars when they can see that you are not present.
One thing that I have found effective is if you casually mention gun related stories in your discussions with new RV campground neighbors. Stories about going to the shooting range and how awesome of a shot you were the first time you picked up a gun. Or a story about how you went with your mother so you could both get your concealed carry permits at the same time (true story – I did that). Or that time you went to a friends’ ranch and got to shoot all the cool guns they have.
In other words, just enough to give someone pause on whether you are carrying a gun or not. I’d never bring it out to show someone, but you can definitely leave enough doubt that they will leave you alone.
Other Personal Protection Options
Many people will recommend that you carry pepper spray with you.
If you are going to carry pepper spray, then get this one that also comes with a practice canister. Like with firearms, if you are going to deploy this in a dangerous situation, you need the memory muscle in place to react quickly. You don’t have the time to read the directions to figure out how to use the pepper spray.
A personal alarm is also a non-lethal device that can help you attract help in a dangerous situation. This one has a loud alarm when triggered – 130 dB! And a flashlight that you can use at night.
While most RVs don’t have alarms, if you have a personal car with an alarm (whether because you are towing a trailer or towed the car behind your RV), then keep the keys handy at all times. You can trigger the car alarm on your vehicle if you sense danger. This will attract attention, especially at night in quiet RV campgrounds, and hopefully scare away any intruders.
Non-Specific Self-Defense Tools
OK, that headline is really horrible. But the point is that many self-defense tools aren’t marketed as self-defense tools.
Take for example, your garden variety baseball bat. Take a swing at an intruder and you’ll do some damage. And you can go down to a local batting cage for some exercise while you are on the road.
Similarly, your kitchen cast iron skillet can do a real number on someone.
Another option are hiking poles. In addition to fending off attackers of the human variety, it is also useful when walking your dogs when other dogs or wildlife come at you.
The point really is that in a pinch, you can use a variety of items around you to protect yourself. And if you are afraid of guns or don’t want them in your RV, these are better options.
Take Your Dog RVing with You
Speaking of dogs, they are great options to increase your safety.
Even a small “yappy” dog is great because they make noise. Remember, criminals want to get in and get out and who better to stop them that a noisy dog?
Maybe a large dog that is intimidating in and of itself. But I think that a lot of small dogs are more likely to react negatively than a big dog. So while the bigger dog may have more intimidation factor, a small dog can be great.
Plus they are great companions for the RV trip. They like walks in nature (all the smells!) and you have to go with them (yay! exercise!) Many are great cuddlers and heat sources during the colder RVing trips too.
For more tips on RVing with dogs, check out the Ultimate Dogs’ Guide to RVing.
Trust Your Gut
Remember to always trust your gut.
It is okay to leave an area or not talk to someone if you feel unsafe.
You are not required to give your time, your attention, and your presence to anyone or any situation which makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
Always trust your gut in these situations and leave if necessary!
Watch Where You Park
One of the things that I have recently welcomed is Harvest Hosts.
Harvest Hosts lets me find places to park overnight that are not Walmarts. I mean, sure, Walmarts are great for overnight parking spots on long trips. But I don’t always feel secure in their parking lots. I’ve had times that I have had the tingly spider sense ping in more than one such situation.
I’ve never had that issue at Harvest Hosts. In fact, it has been just the opposite. I’ve always found welcoming hosts and great accommodations.
Don’t Be Afraid to Solo RV
The truth is that you are more likely to be attacked by someone you know than someone you don’t. Strangers are rarely going to attack and there are more good people out there that are willing to lend a hand if necessary.
Learn How to Drive Your RV and Setup Camp
Whether you are driving a van, driving a large Class A or towing a trailer or fifth wheel, you’ll need to know how to drive your RV and get your rig setup for camping.
And then you’ll have to setup camp and then break it down when it is all said and done.
When it comes to driving, it’s OK and even preferable to go slow. Don’t let the long trail of cars behind you push you to go faster than you are comfortable with. Better slow and steady rather than jack-knifed and stopped.
See Also: More RV Driving Safety Tips
Learn Maintenance Too
If you are going to be a woman solo RVer, you’ll need to learn basic maintenance for your RV and how to do inspections. A good DIY spirit, plus YouTube videos, goes a long ways.
You’ll also need to learn enough about complicated systems (think engine, electrical) to at least be able to call BS on some unscrupulous maintenance guy. So even if you can’t complete the fix yourself, you know enough to not get taken advantage of. Don’t be afraid to say that you need to verify that (again, YouTube to the rescue) or to get a second opinion.
Tips Not Just For Solo Women RVers
Even if you are not out there solo RVing and you have a partner that you travel with, it is still important that you learn all the basics.
You never know when you’ll want to take a trip on your own and your partner won’t be able to go (because of work obligations, for example). Or your partner will get sick or injured while you are out RVing.
If you can take care of breaking down your campsite and then driving the RV home, that will be one less stress to deal with during a stressful time.
If you are going to go solo RVing, it’s going to help to have a sense of community behind you.
In general, the RV community is one of the most welcoming and helpful communities I’ve ever been a part of. People are always willing to pitch in to help guide you into your parking spot, help with learning how to take care of your RV, and provide some heavy lifting, if necessary. Many are so welcoming that you’ll find people to have cocktails with or go to dinner with, if you want company.
I’ve got a tailgate group that I regularly travel with, although not all my RV travels are with the group.
There are several groups of fellow solo RVers that you can join.
And women’s RV Facebook groups to give you support. I love the supportive nature of the Fabulous RVing Women Facebook group.
I also highly recommend that you join Facebook groups that are specific to your RV manufacturer. That way you can pose RV make and model specific questions and get answers quickly that will help you. You’ll also be kept aware of the common issues and potential recalls.
These groups are awesome for finding fellow travelers for excursions and general support. Take advantage of them.
Women Solo RVers: Go Have Fun!
Women, don’t be afraid of RVing, even on your own. Go out there and have fun.
You’ll learn so much about yourself, including that you can do a whole lot more than you ever thought yourself capable of.
Yes, you can drive this thing! And back it up! And empty the sewer tanks! And see some amazing parts of the country! And meet amazing people! (I am woman! Hear me roar!)
Be sure to come say hi if you see me on the road!
Do you have tips for fellow women solo RVers? Comment below!
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