So You Want to Go Solo RVing?: 25+ Tips for Single Campers to Have Fun and Stay Safe
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Solo RVing is one of the most intimate ways to explore the country and experience its outdoor and cultural offerings. The lifestyle nudges you to step out of your comfort zone, ultimately building your self-confidence and giving you a sense of achievement.
Of course, the first solo trip has many unknowns. But after a few outings, you’ll soon fall in love with the freedom of going where you want, when you want, and for how long you want, without being swayed by the tastes, preferences, and prejudices of a partner.
This guide on RVing alone will give you all the tips and wits you need to have a safe and fulfilling solo RV adventure. We will cover everything from choosing the best RV for a single person, and preparing for the journey to picking a destination. In addition, we will discuss safety measures, managing risks, combating loneliness, and female solo travel tips.
Are you on the verge of purchasing an RV, but never traveled in one before? Rent an RV before buying one. An RV rental is the perfect testing ground to see if you enjoy the lifestyle and learn what type of camper suits your travel needs.
What is Solo RVing?
Solitary RVing means traveling in a recreational vehicle without the company of other people. RVers choose to travel alone for many reasons. Some just prefer the freedom and solitude, while others want to take a break from everyday society so they can rediscover themselves.
Also, there are RVers who don’t have a spouse or friends with matching travel interests, so they prefer to go alone. Or maybe your partner can’t take that much time off work. Other solo RVers are single and see no need to wait until they find the perfect traveling companion.
Why Solo RV Travel is Good for You
Here are some benefits of solo RVing:
- Freedom – You get to travel on your own terms. Going wherever you want, whenever you want, at the pace you want, without having to coordinate with anyone else.
- The Promise of Solitude – RVing solo provides a sense of isolation and tranquility that is hard to come by when traveling as a group.
- You Have the Option to Make New Friends – You are more likely to notice others and interact when you are alone. Of course, you also get to choose whether you camp far away from everyone or come in closer for some company.
- You Learn to be Self-Reliant and More Responsible – Since you aren’t relying on others, you’ll gain a lot of RVing and life skills. This will help you become a good problem solver, independent decision maker, and confident.
- Greater Awareness of Your Surroundings – When RVing by yourself, you become a keen observer of what’s going on around you. This helps you indulge in local culture and take more spontaneous detours that will enrich your experience.
- No Conflict and Dealing with Annoying Habits – Being confined in a small space with someone often brings out the nasty side of us. Thankfully, RVing alone means you don’t have to put up with annoying habits. No backseat driver, no one breathing down your neck, and no arguments over toilet seat position, music choice, activities, etc.
- Other Pros of Solo RVing – It’s cheaper, longer times between dumping your holding tanks, lots of time to pursue your favorite hobby and you can experiment with new activities without being swayed or judged.
Some Challenges of Solo RVing
Traveling alone in an RV has some downsides. These are the main cons of solo RVing:
- Loneliness – The main challenge of RVing alone is that you will experience a degree of loneliness even if you love to be by yourself. You won’t have someone to motivate you or share your experiences with.
- You Have to Consider Personal Safety – With solo RV traveling, you’ll feel more vulnerable compared to when you have company. So you always have to be alert.
- Emergencies can be Hard to Deal With – Sometimes, it’s useful to have someone else with you, like when you are sick or your vehicle breaks down. When traveling alone, you won’t have that support system.
- Little RV Living Tasks can Pile Up Fast and Take Longer to Complete – When you are RVing alone, it’s tough to tackle and keep up with all RV-related tasks. From maintenance, hitching, setting up and breaking down camp, navigation, laundry, cooking, doing dishes to grocery errands. You’ll also miss having a navigator, a spotter to help you back up, a co-driver when you’re tired, or someone to share costs with.
Tips to a Successful and Fulfilling Solo RV Trip
Here are the best tips for solo RVing. We’ve broken them down into different sections.
Tips on Deciding the Right Camper for Solo RVing
Here’s how to select the right RV for solo travel:
1. Consider the Solo Travel Lifestyle You Want Before Picking an RV
Every solo RVer has different goals. Some want to roam around the country, others want to put down roots in one location for an entire season. Some prefer staying at high-end resorts, while others want to boondock off the beaten path. To avoid buyer’s remorse, you’ll need to do lots of research, soul searching, and actual testing. Here are some key considerations when looking for the best RV for single person:
- Travel Goals – Is your goal to discover new places every day? Look for a nimble rig that allows you to move faster. Want to stay in one destination for extended periods? A small to mid-size RV with comfort amenities may be a better fit. Further, decide whether your hobbies or work is a top priority. If you work on the road, you’ll need an RV with a workstation. Those who want to plan their trips around their outdoor hobbies may appreciate the large storage space of a small toy hauler.
- Size and Mobility – Consider an RV that allows you to break camp fast and move to a different place in case you feel threatened. Large towables may be a disadvantage in this situation. Plus, large RVs will be a problem when you want to back up or park without an extra set of eyes. And, of course, the larger the camper, the harder it is to maintain, clean, manage, and tow/drive.
- Floor Plan and Comfort – Very few RV floor plans are designed for solo travelers. Your best bet is to look for options designed for couples. Must-have amenities include a dedicated bed, full indoor kitchen, wet or full bath, and lounging space. If you’ll be having a companion once in a while, you may want a sofa or dinette that converts into a bed.
- Budget – How much are you willing to spend? Camping trailers are usually cheaper than motorhomes (RVs you can drive). Also, the smaller the rig, the more you’ll save on gas.
- Destination and Camping Preference – If you plan to wander off-beat, you’ll want something that is off-road and off-grid capable. If you plan to glamp, invest in a newer model since many private campgrounds have RV age restrictions. If you’ll be winter camping, get a 4-season model.
- Solo-Friendly RV Features – There are modern features that can make solo RVing easier. They include backup cameras, dash cams, automatic leveling, power awning, remote-controlled systems, and an integrated system monitor. You may also appreciate tinted windows, pet-friendly features, and accessibility-enhanced options if you have a disability.
2. Choose Among These Best Campers for Solo RVing
If you want to narrow down your options, here are the best RV types for solo travel:
Also called a Class B RV, a campervan is the best RV for solo travel if you want flexibility. Here’s why it makes sense:
- They offer just the right amount of space and amenities without going overboard.
- Highly maneuverable and easy to drive.
- Easy to set up and tear down at the campsite. In case you sense danger, you can just hit the ignition and take off without stepping outside.
- More stealthy if you don’t want to draw attention to yourself. Plus, it can double as a daily driver.
- Many of them have some off-road capabilities.
- There are lots of resources on the internet to support the whole van living lifestyle.
- The main con is the high cost of purchase.
- Some top campervans for solo RVing are Winnebago Revel, Winnebago Travato 59G, Thor Sequence 20J, and Leisure Travel Vans Unity MB.
A trailer that’s less than 25 feet long with a dry weight of less than 5,000 pounds can also be a good fit for single person RV living. Here’s why a trailer is a solid choice:
- You can leave the trailer at the campsite and use your tow vehicle to drive around and sightsee.
- When you leave the trailer at a boondocking site, you don’t have to worry about possibly losing your spot to someone else. With a motorhome, your spot could be occupied by another person.
- Less expensive and maintenance costs are lower.
- Numerous designs, models, and floor plans to choose from. Options range from quality and expensive Airstreams and fiberglass campers to inexpensive white box trailers.
- On cons, getting used to towing takes some practice. Also, setting up camp is a bit more involved. Additionally, there are physical tasks like hitching and unhitching, so it may not be the best RV for a senior woman or man.
- Great options include Forest River RV Forest River Rockwood Mini Lite 2506S, Grand Design 17MKE, and Airstream Bambi 16RB.
Pickup truck campers are the most versatile RVs, and they are the right size for a single person. These small camping shells are mounted on the back of a pickup truck.
- They are small, yet equipped with the basic RV features.
- They are the best option for those who prefer aggressive off-road adventures.
- If you are camping in one spot for a while, you can demount the camper from the truck. Then you can use the truck for tougher recreational outings or as a daily driver.
- You can tow a boat or utility trailer behind the truck.
- Very maneuverable and easily fit in the average parking lot, gas stations, narrow national park roads, and small campsites.
- Driving is as easy as handling a regular pickup truck.
- They are cheaper than most RVs and hold their value much better than the typical camper.
- Don’t require much maintenance and they have excellent fuel economy.
- On cons, they have limited living and storage space, and many don’t have a bathroom. Further, if you have a physical disability related to the legs or back, getting in and out of the camper and climbing up/down its cab over bed can be difficult. Also, loading and unloading the camper is more demanding than hitching a trailer.
- Some excellent options are the Lance 650, Eagle Cap 1200, NuCamp Cirrus 620, and Northern Lite 10-2EX LE. They all have a shower and toilet.
3. Rent an RV Before You Buy
With so many unique RVs, it’s hard to figure out what will fit your needs. The best way to narrow down your options is to rent different RV types and floor plans and go camping for days or a week A peer-to-peer RV rental platform like Go RV Rentals enables you to hire and try any class of motorhome or trailer so you can test the waters before you spend big bucks. Renting helps you work out the features you love most, what you need, and what you can live without.
Preparation for a Solo RV Trip
Use these tips to prepare for solo RV travel:
4. Become Self-Reliant
Before you start imagining winding roads and picturesque vistas, learn some RVing skills. Master how to use navigation tools, plan routes, and perform basic diagnosis, repair and maintenance tasks. Additionally, acquire skills in operating all RV systems, conserving resources, and performing first aid. You’ll also want to practice towing or driving, backing, and parking. Moreover, understand insurance policies and research the best resource for finding accurate RV travel information. The more knowledge you have, the more confident and safe you’ll be.
5. Consider Attending an RV Boot Camp
These are in-person training courses led by a panel of instructors with extensive RVing experience. Pros walk you through everything you need to know to maintain and operate your rig. The 2-3 day lessons cover plumbing and electric systems, weight and load management, repair, and maintenance. You also get to learn tire safety, propane safety, towing operations, and driving. The experts can also provide guidance on choosing the right RV for your situation. Groups that offer these invaluable courses include Escapees, FMCA, and RVSEF.
6. Gather Your Mental Stamina
Don’t let fear hold you back. Travel anxiety can quickly take the fun out of the trip. As you develop practical RVing skills, don’t forget to work on mental strength and resilience. Know that fear is a normal human emotion. It’s a feeling, not a fact. A great way to shake it off is to draw inspiration from other solo RVers. Check out some firsthand accounts of solo RV campers in forums or travel blogs. Most had reservations when beginning, but have never experienced safety issues. In fact, they’ve come to love and fully embrace the lifestyle.
7. Create a To-Do List and Check it Off Frequently
You’ll need to be quite thorough when planning your first solo RV trip. A travel checklist can help you be more efficient, meet all your travel goals, and reduce last-minute panic. It reminds you of all necessary to-do tasks before the trip, during the journey, and after you reach the destination. Here are some tasks to add to a departure checklist (Make sure you also create an arrival list):
- Reserve a campsite and find an emergency campground
- Clean and service the RV
- Create a list of essentials to pack
- Check tire pressure
- Check brake lights
- Retract awning, lower antenna, and lock slides
- Put away outdoor gear and furniture and close exterior storage doors
- Fold away entrance steps
- Remove levelers and wheel chocks
- Empty waste tank
- Disconnect and put away the power cord, drinking water hose, and sewer hose
- Secure drawer latches, fridge doors, and items that may move around.
- Hook up the safety chain if towing (You’ll need a special checklist for the hitching process)
- Clean up the campsite, leave no trace, and extinguish the campfire
8. Download RVing Apps
There’s an app for everything RV-related. From trip planning, navigation, RV maintenance, security, and tracking weather hazards to finding points of interest and RV community. Moreover, there are tools for unearthing dispersed camping locations and emergency urban parking lots. Some apps will even help you tour a site remotely before visiting. Check out our complete guide on 70+ RVing apps.
Choosing a Solo RVing Destination
Here are tips for solo RV travelers regarding picking a destination:
9. Start With a Local Destination and Make the First Trip Brief
When you’re just getting started with RVing alone, consider visiting somewhere close to home. Head to a destination within 100 miles of where you live and camp there for a few nights. To build confidence and have peace of mind, you can head to a campground you’re familiar with. As you gain experience, go on longer journeys and extend your stays. Also, aim to arrive at your campsite before 3 pm.
10. Go to a Well Developed Campground
Dispersed camping is a skill that takes practice to master. From navigating off-road terrain to managing water and waste. Before you become a confident solo RVer, book an RV park or campground with full hookups. Camp on weekdays when it’s less busy so you can have the space to figure out different components of your RV without attracting stares from campground neighbors.
Safety Tips When RVing Alone
Safety is your first priority when traveling alone in an RV. Here are tips for Solo RVing safely:
11. Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Always do some research before picking a destination or campsite. Does the area have lots of crime? Are the locals unfriendly? Are there bears and other dangerous wildlife? Also, consider the probability of wildfires, floods, and storms. RV forums and campground review sites are great resources to investigate campsite conditions. And when at the campsite, practice situational awareness.
12. Pack Emergency Supplies
When RVing alone, pack supplies that will help you address emergencies and be more independent. That includes a first aid kit, triangles, safety vest, jumper cables, flashlight, fire extinguishers, spare tire, repair toolbox, and a multitool. Also, bring documents, paper maps, a compass, non-perishable snacks, plus a credit card with a high limit. Don’t forget to invest in an emergency roadside assistance plan, tire pressure monitoring system, and towing mirrors.
13. Bring Safety and Self-Defense Systems
For personal safety, solo RVers pack pepper spray, bear spray, a whistle, baseball bat, tasers, stun guns, and even firearms with non-lethal ammunition. Train to use the weapon or spray so you aren’t scrambling in the moment. Other items that will increase overall RV safety include motion-sensing lights, alarms, and security cameras. Notably, laws around weapons differ from state to state and even city to city. So be in the know.
14. Display Self-Confidence
Your sense of confidence is the biggest defense you can carry. It deters unwanted attention and intimidates anyone who doesn’t have sincere intentions. Walk confidently with your head up, make eye contact, look alert, don’t display a worried look, and be deliberate and decisive in your actions. Also, don’t tell strangers any information that could compromise your safety. Of course, you’ll also want to act as naturally as possible.
Tips for Managing Risks When RVing Solo
The following tips will help you get out of a dangerous situation:
15. Follow Your Instincts
Always listen to your inner voice. Never ignore this survival mechanism. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t stay in that situation. Turn the key on and go somewhere else. If things look like they could escalate, a simple smile, thank you, and walking away might be a lifesaver. Also, don’t follow the same routine every single day. Switch it up.
16. Let Someone Know Your Travel Plans
Another of the best solo RVing tips is to leave a detailed travel itinerary with someone back home. Tell someone you trust where you’re going and how often you’ll be in touch. Ask them to follow up if you go too long without checking in. You can also share your location with Google Maps. That way, people will know how and where to find you if they don’t hear from you.
17. Make Responsible Decisions
With great freedom comes great responsibility. If you have health issues, it’s wise to camp in areas that enable you to contact emergency services and receive a reasonable response time. Also, don’t drive when tired or sleepy, manage finances wisely, and don’t get intoxicated. In addition, avoid being out and driving after dark.
18. Have a Contingency Plan
Before hitting the road, run through various worst-case scenarios and think of ways to adapt. Whether accidents, security threats, theft, natural disasters, or health emergencies. Here are a few tips for coping:
- Always find two alternative campgrounds or overnight stops along your route in case you are unable to reach your preferred destination on time. Or if you have to leave your camping area due to a security concern. A campground may even cancel a reservation last-minute.
- Get contacts of nearby hospitals, police stations, roadside rescue, and other emergency services.
- Purchase a watch that will send an SOS and exact GPS coordinates to your designated contacts or 911 when you’re in distress.
- Carry a satellite communication device, so you’re not dependent on cell signal.
- Stash some emergency cash somewhere safe in your RV.
- Bring physical and digital manuals of all your RV systems, in case something goes wrong.
Tips to Overcome Loneliness When Solo RVing
Traveling alone is a beautiful thing. But no matter how much you love your own company, there are times you’ll feel the need to interact with others. Here’s how independent RV travelers can battle loneliness and boredom:
19. Get a Dog
Dogs are not only great travel buddies, but they can also offer security. They alert you when they pick up a scent of something or someone approaching. Some will even scare off wildlife predators and fight human intruders. Notably, traveling with a dog has drawbacks. Especially if you plan to visit places with pet restrictions. Like national and state park trails.
20. Connect with Fellow Solo RVers
Another of the best tips for solo RV travel is to find like-minded people. There are plenty of people who live the solo lifestyle, and they often organize meet-ups. You don’t necessarily have to travel with them all the time. Many groups have an events calendar. They get together for a while, then go their separate ways. It’s a great way to make life-long friends. Here are some resources to find these groups:
- Solo RV’ers iRV2 forum
- Wandering Individuals Network (WIN)
- The Escapees Singles Club
- Loners on Wheels
- RV Singles Facebook Group
Another excellent place to find friends is RVing occasions like rallies, RV club events, RV shows with overnight camping, and RV educational classes.
21. Pick an RV Park With Lots of Fun Activities
An RV park with multiple amenities creates opportunities for you to interact with other RVers. Facilities like clubhouses, game rooms, swimming pools, sports courts, and campfire pits bring campers together. Some have organized events like karaoke, live music, ice cream socials, pot-luck, movie nights, night-time walks, and even organized sports leagues. Only want to meet people of a certain age? There are plenty of adult-only or senior-only RV parks out there.
22. Book Group Tours
One more tip for solo RVing is to book group tours. Whether urban walking tours, hiking tours, river cruises, float trips, fishing charters, or whitewater rafting excursions. Some of your favorite memories and meet-ups will be created on these group adventures. Coffee shops and restaurants with communal tables are other great places to meet people.
23. Keep Up With a Hobby
To stave off boredom, give yourself something to pursue. There are plenty of hobbies to pick up. From mountain biking, rock climbing, kayaking, surfing, fishing, snorkeling, photography, painting, cooking, and whittling to collecting artisan pieces. Volunteering can also help you interact with great people.
24. Bring Distractions
It’s nice to have some distractions for those slow days when you aren’t traveling or pursuing your hobby. Pack books, puzzles, one-player games, or a music instrument. You can also take an online class, do RV workouts, download podcasts, listen to music, and watch your favorite TV shows.
25. Link Up With Your Family and Friends
Speaking with your loved ones can help alleviate feelings of isolation. Use video call tools to share intimate moments with family. The face-time feel will help you realize how not alone you are, which keeps your well-being in the best condition. Plus, you won’t miss out on the lives of people you care about.
More Tips for Solo Female RV Travel
Here are some extra tips for Solo women RVers:
- Join a female-specific solo RV club like RVing Women.
- Never allow strangers to enter your RV.
- If you find someone overly flirty or harassing, walk away quickly.
- Visit destinations with a reputation for being safe.
- If you prefer a small RV, get something that has a toilet, so you don’t have to go outside at night.
- Buy two lawn chairs to make it appear you aren’t alone.
- Avoid boondocking alone in the middle of nowhere. Preferably, stay in a spot where you’ll have several neighbors.
- If you’ll be boondocking a lot, consider a motorhome. It’s easier to set up and easier to maneuver. And when you need to make a quick exit, you can get from the bed to the cockpit without going outside.
- Keep the keys in an easy-to-access area when you go to bed.
- Always lock your door at night and during the day when you’re away from your RV.
- Keep your pepper spray, taser, or weapon on you if you’re stuck in a sketchy place.
- Carry a charged cell phone with you at all times and consider a cellular booster.
- Avoid walking around with expensive gadgets that may draw attention.
- On a long road trip, start looking for a fuel stop when the gauge reads half empty. Don’t push your luck. The next gas station could be too far away or even closed.
Solo RV Travel: A Liberating and Rewarding Way to See the Country
Sure, traveling alone has its hurdles. But the flexibility, independence, and sense of achievement it provides is what makes it so exciting. While it’s easy to get occupied by the risks, it’s best to focus on the positives. Imagine the freedom to explore an area without feeling rushed, going on spontaneous detours, and having the wide open spaces all to yourself.
We hope these tips will help relieve your fears of RV camping alone.