Written by the Getaway Couple Rae & Jason
There are many reasons one may choose to hit the road solo with their travel trailer or RV. Solo RVing can be a very rewarding and relaxing experience. However, traveling on your own can present a few challenges that you should be aware of. You should always be prepared before hitting the road so that you are not caught by surprise when issues arise. While Jason and I do not travel solo (obviously), we felt this topic should be written about, so we went straight to the source. Below are seven of the best tips for RVing solo sourced from single travelers in the RV community.
1. Keep Family and Friends Informed
For your own safety, you should always give someone a rough itinerary of your plans. Let family or friends know where you plan to travel and when you plan to be back. If you will be gone for several days, it is a good idea to check in with them at least every couple of days to let them know that you are OK.
This tip is especially true if you are a solo female as family tends to worry more when females travel alone. Some travelers even use apps on their phones that allow their family to check-in and see their location. If you have an iPhone, it is extremely easy to share your location with another iPhone user. Jason and I do this with our family members, just in case they aren’t able to get in touch with us, they can still view our location.
Kimberly from RV Tailgate Life often uses social media or blogging to keep her family updated. She states, “As a solo woman, my family gets worried and while I'm a strong, independent woman, I find it is often easier just to placate them than to fight them. So, I routinely post on social media (whether through my personal accounts or my blog accounts) and regularly check in with the parental units. I usually give them a rough outline of where I'll be heading next although they understand that it is always subject to change at a whim. The longer that I travel on my own, the more comfortable they get with me traveling and don't bother me quite like they used to.”
2. Practice with Your Rig
When traveling alone, you won’t have any help when driving, maneuvering, or setting up. You will have to drive the RV and back into that space at the campground all on your own. If you don’t have much practice with your rig, these things can be difficult for solo RVers.
You may be able to practice some things like setup and takedown in your driveway at home. Make sure you know how to operate things like slide outs and awnings. Also, make sure you know how to hook up electricity, water, and sewer. With the resources available to you online, RVing solo couldn’t be easier. There are plenty of YouTube videos, blog articles, and groups that are loaded with information to help you feel confident about operating your rig before you hit the road.
As for driving and maneuvering, practice makes you much more comfortable. Try to find a large open area like a parking lot to practice your driving skills. Set up some cones to mimic a campground spot and practice backing into it. Also, don’t forget that you can always ask your campground neighbors for some help if you need it!
3. Utilize Technology to Your Advantage
There are many devices available today that make solo travel much easier than it was in years past. Take advantage of these devices to make things easier on yourself. One of these devices is the backup camera.
Backup cameras are basically an essential for RV travel on your own. For men or women RVers traveling alone, a backup camera can make backing into your spot a breeze. They make it very easy to see the rear of your rig, and they allow you to put your rig into the perfect spot on the first try.
Modern day rigs also have many features that make RV life a little simpler for solo travelers. Things like remote operation of awnings or slide outs can help with setup and takedown. Also, automatic leveling jacks or other smart devices can make things easier on you. If your RV or camper van is not equipped with these features, most of them can be added as aftermarket accessories. We highly recommend SnapPads for solo RVers since they are permanent jack pads for your RV; this way you won’t be running back and forth between your jack and the control panel to line up your pads properly.
4. Ask For Help When Needed
This tip is quite simple. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. RVers tend to stick together and help each other, and most are willing to lend a helping hand any way they can. If you can’t figure out how to work something or just need an extra set of eyes, your neighbors likely won’t hesitate to come to your aid.
Here’s what Nicola Belisle had to say about asking for help: “It’s ok to ask for help, any help. I lost a pendant that was priceless to me so I asked for help in the Xscapers Facebook Group and a guy with his teenage son came with a metal detector and found it in minutes. Don’t be afraid. Be confident. This is your journey, your road, travel it as you want to.”
5. Find Your Tribe
Traveling solo may become lonely for some, but that is why it is important to find a group with similar interests for support. They may do group activities, take group trips, or just stay connected via the internet. Being able to share the experience with those connections makes things a lot more fun when going on adventures. Many areas even have a local RV club where you can get involved.
There are groups out there for almost any interest you can think of. Whether it’s solo men, solo women, people who enjoy geocaching, or individuals looking to camp at all the national parks, there is a group out there for you! The help and encouragement you receive from your connections in these groups can be invaluable to your experience.
Take the advice that Tyler Williams offered about finding your tribe: “Find your tribe and do it. As a solo traveler, it can be easy to be discouraged to get out and explore, but two big things ring true - everyone does things at their own pace, so you have to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. Finding your tribe helps you connect with like-minded folks that you can connect with on your terms. That can be Xscapers, or even clubs relating to your interests, work, hobbies, etc. And the second is to just do it - don’t let others discourage you.”
6. Plan For Everything
With proper planning, you can avoid a lot of surprises and help your trips go more smoothly. Routine things like stopping for gas or food can turn into a major ordeal when you’re alone. Planning out the details of your trip can certainly help avoid these kinds of issues.
Go ahead and plan the route you will take to your destination. If you’ll need to stop for gas, you can use tools like Google Maps to look at gas stations and determine which one has enough room to accommodate your rig easily. There are also apps like iExit and GasBuddy that show what’s on every exit as well as reviews from customers regarding the facility. This is a great way to see if a gas station has truck lanes, diesel pumps, or clean showers if you need them. The same thing goes for restaurants. Modern day technology allows us to virtually travel on most routes before we ever step foot into the vehicle. Take advantage of this!
Joe Maliszewski stresses the importance of planning in his comment, “Plan, plan, plan and plan some more. While underway you can't be looking for a place to get gas, find a rest area, a place to spend the night. Is the awning high enough to fit? Can I make the turns as necessary? Take a driving course. Most folks sit in amazement (and probably thinking this guy is for sure gonna hit something!) as I unhook, and back my 36' motorhome into even the tightest spots on the first try.”
7. Have Fun!
While this tip may be last on the list, it should always be at the front of your mind. Whether you are a full timer or an occasional traveler, make the most of your time away and have fun! It’s easy to get caught up in the issues you might face, but know that you are able to overcome any obstacle the RV life might throw you. Do things you’ve always wanted to do and make memories that will last a lifetime. Even if you are on your own, get out there and find some adventures!