The number of women traveling by RV alone is increasing. We've been camp hosts and talked to thousands of campers. The question,"Is it safe for a woman to RV alone?" often comes up in our conversations with women traveling by themselves.
As with a man traveling alone, a woman traveling through an unfamiliar area must be cautious. The old expression, "there's safety in numbers," is still true. Even though campgrounds are not a criminal's first choice, it's still a good idea to camp with other people.
Here are the common things we've learned about RVing solo.
The First Line Of Defense
Keep the doors locked. It should be obvious. Whether you're in a travel trailer or RV, keep the doors locked.
We got a great tip from a woman who RV's solo. She changed her RV's flimsy door locks to a digital lock. If you aren't familiar with digital door locks, here's a link to Amazon. It has a lot of information about digital locks.
The lock he put on her RV impressed us. The camper told us she isn't mechanical-oriented, but she did the work herself.
She said her biggest fear was someone approaching her at night while she fumbled with her keys. And the lock she bought solved the problem.
The lock has a key fob, so she can unlock the door as she walks up to her RV. And the lock has a keypad entry. Even if she loses her keys, she can get inside her RV.
After talking with her, we installed the same locks on our RV's two doors. Installation was easy and the locks work perfect.
Get A Dog
Dogs aren't only a man's best friend. They love their women people too. Even if you aren't a big fan of dogs, they're loyal companions. And no one wants to mess with an angry dog. Even a small dog's bark gets attention.
We've traveled for years with our pet Chihuahua. Her name's Jordan and she doesn't understand the word fear. She's detected a couple of mice who got into our RV. And she's alerted us to a couple of coyotes who were wandering around our campsite.
And when people approach our RV, she always barks.
Most of the women we've met who travel alone have a dog.
Put A Light On It
A flashlight isn't only a way to light up the path to the camp bathrooms. It's essential for staying safe. Our flashlight includes a strobe feature. The strobe is disorienting, so it could give you an extra second to get away from a bad situation.
Flashlights with a strobe feature used to cost over $100. Now you can buy them for under $20 each.
Turn The Outdoor Lights On
Outdoor lights make an RV safer at night, but they drain an RV's batteries. We've found a better solution. We've added outdoor solar-powered motion-activated lights. They are one of the best items we've added to our RV. We've put them over our entrance doors, and we're adding a couple more for the opposite side of our RV.
I don't like coming home to our RV at night when the area outside the trailer is dark. I didn't worry about someone hiding and hurting me, but I hate fumbling for the keys to open the door. And in foul weather, I want to get inside our RV as fast as possible.
I'd seen info-commercials about solar lights for over a garage door. They looked bright so I bought one and put it over our RV's front door. That was 3 years ago, and it works like the day I bought it.
When I bought mine, it cost $19.99 plus shipping. I've never regretted buying it. But today, you can buy a pack of 4 lights for less than $30! A lot of the kits use screws for mounting. We mounted ours with industrial 3M double-sided tape.
It's an inexpensive way to add another layer of safety to an RV.
Anyone RVing solo may run into someone who is threatening. Having pepper spray is a good defense. You can buy pepper spray over the counter in most sporting goods stores. If you can't find it, you can buy it on Amazon for under $20.
The downside to pepper spray is its small amount of liquid. In a tense situation, it's easy to miss the target. A better solution is bear spray which you can also get from sporting goods stores or Amazon. It's powerful and has a lot of content. And it will blast someone up to 30 feet away.
CAUTION: Only use chemical deterrents in extreme conditions. Local laws may govern when and how various sprays use. You should always check with local authorities about using chemical spray deterrents.
Take A Self Defense Course
Anyone who RVs solo should enroll in a basic self-defense course. I took a class, and it was as much about learning a few basic techniques as it was about what to watch out for. One of the biggest lessons was to run away if you can. And while running, scream as loud as you canScreaming and running instruction took half the class. That's free training from me. The other half you'll need to learn from a master.
Should You Get A Gun
Having a gun is the elephant in the room. If you need one but don't have one, you're called a victim. If you have one and use one, you're called a criminal.
But those are names.
The question to ask yourself is this: if you were in a life-or-death situation, what would you do? Could you shoot another person? The only person who can answer that question for you is you.
If you don't think you could defend yourself with a gun, don't buy one. You can use pepper or bear spray instead, and you won't have to deal with the potential of killing someone.
Trust You Gut
Anyone RVing solo must trust their instincts. If a campground feels wrong, find a different place to camp. If your instincts are right, you will have evaded a dangerous situation. If your instincts are wrong, you'll only be out the time to travel a few more miles to another location.
The question we started with was, "Is it safe for a woman to RV solo?" The answer is yes, as long as she's careful.