Have you considered hitting the road in a motorhome or travel trailer, but you’re just too intimidated by going it alone? There are thousands of “solo travelers” that have thrown their inhibitions aside and jumped into RVing with both feet and we want you to become one! That’s why Camping World has put together a series of articles to encourage those who want to travel but haven’t quite figured out how to do it alone.
Today we’ll take on the overwhelm that comes with the thought of doing everything on your own. Join us and Step Into the No Fear Zone, where we’ll deal with the anxieties that keep solo travelers from the joy of camping.
Fear #1 – I Can’t Drive That Beast
Whether you have a pop-up camper you pull behind a car or a huge Class A bus, every RVer has at one time or another been leery about driving their rig. We are lucky we live in an age of YouTube. You can find everything you need to know (and a whole lot more) about driving an RV in the video footage archived on there.
I was a dyed-in-the-wool tent camper until I stepped up to a Class A motorhome. But having driven nothing larger than a compact truck, I was speechless when the man selling his recreational vehicle threw me the keys and said, “Let’s take her for a spin!”
Once I got over the noise of the huge engine in the cabin (a drawback for some older gas fueled Class A’s), I began to feel like Sandra Bullock in Speed (minus the bomb and Keanu Reeves ☹). It was pretty cool and I realized that if I took my time and learned what I could about this beast, I could handle it (and have a handy back-up career as a school bus driver).
I found a video that taught me how to turn correctly, back up and park these larger motorhomes, and it became obvious that like anything else, knowledge can overcome fear. So, even if you choose to drive a truck pulling a monstrous travel trailer, you can learn the ins and outs of backing up and hitching and unhitching your rig. There is no reason to put off your dream of travel because of a daunting vehicle.
I was worried that I would not be able to do all the things necessary to use my RV when I travel alone. Well, it didn’t take long to realize that no matter where I went, I was never really alone. Someone is always available to guide me into a campsite or help me unhitch my trailer.
The RV community is one of the most generous and outgoing groups of people I’ve come across. I choose to look at my solo travel as an opportunity to not only overcome the fear of doing this alone but to meet more of my fellow travelers and learn to ask for help when I need it.
Fear #2 – It’s Not Safe to Travel Alone
It’s also not safe to go skiing or eat shellfish or swim with sharks. Like almost anything, the more you plan for the unthinkable, the better your outcome. With skiing, you might work out before your ski trip, developing strong legs to avoid injury. When eating shellfish, you might check with the restaurant and ask how the fish are stored and then prepared. When camping you might utilize technology to check out campsites, roads, and businesses.
Will you be parking lot surfing in a less desirable part of town? Is there easy access in and out of your campsite? Have others reviewed the campground and found it safe and comfortable? These are all questions you need to ask yourself.
There are also little things that can make a big difference in your sense of security. For instance, if you are worried about your safety as a single female traveler, purchase a pair of used men’s boots (the bigger, the better) at Goodwill. Place them outside your RV door to let others think that you are not traveling alone. If you worry that as a solo traveler you are more susceptible to crime, carry pepper spray, bear spray, or other legal means of protection. Travel with your dog, who might alert you to visitors. If you don’t have a dog, tape record a large dog barking, then play the recording when needed.
Use your door locks when away from your unit. If it will give you peace of mind, install a dash cam to record what happens when you are not in the RV. I can honestly say that I have not felt unsafe once since I started RVing, and I attribute that to planning and being aware of my surroundings.
Finally, don’t ignore that feeling in your gut when you pull into a campsite and something just doesn’t feel right. Pull out and go somewhere else. You’ll never sleep if you feel unsafe if you head on down the road to a more comfortable site.
Fear #3 – I’ll Get Lonely
If loneliness is a problem for you at home, it might be a fear that is holding you back from camping, as well. However, I’ve got just the remedy, and believe it or not, it’s Camping. It is always surprising to find so many first-time friends when you pull into a campsite, but the lifestyle lends itself to enjoying the outdoors, which is where you’ll find others who feel the same.
I have a friend who travels solo and every time she pulls into a new town she heads directly to the Chamber of Commerce, asking about local groups who share the same interests as her: hikers, bird watchers, gardeners. Needless to say, by the time she leaves each town, she has acquired a brand new set of friends.
Many campgrounds have a vast array of activities provided for their residents, and social media has made it easy to find like-minded people in any area we choose to travel. A more personal way to create a community around you might be to start a campfire, set up a S’mores station, and invite your camping neighbors.
I have found using Skype to video chat with friends back home makes me feel like I never left. Dial up your loved ones while on the road, showing them some of the sights you’ve been enjoying. Facetime with that grandchild and stay in touch with co-workers via text on your phone. Technology really can alleviate loneliness in a number of ways.
I have made some of my closest friends in campgrounds. We meet up on the road occasionally and stay in touch throughout the year because we have this great comradery built around our love of camping and seeing the country from this unique vantage point. Don’t miss out on a wonderful experience because of fear. You’ll find tremendous satisfaction overcoming your reticence about camping as a solo traveler.
Still have fears about camping alone? Leave a comment below and tell us what they are.