I am an avid RV enthusiast who understands that my life and my safety depend on the condition of my coach's equipment.
These days it is not unusual for women to go it alone in their recreational vehicles. In fact, in the past few years there has been an upsurge in the number of women who have chosen to travel this way, either because they prefer this lifestyle or because they have lost a life partner and want to continue to be able to enjoy it.
Many people assume that in order to own, live, and/or vacation in a motor home, camper or travel trailer, you must have a partner who can help you with the driving and other chores. While that may make things a bit easier, it certainly is not necessary. When it comes to traveling in an RV, women can pretty much do everything men can do. However, they may have to do it more carefully and, once in awhile, seek assistance from fellow travelers. The purpose of this article is to provide information to women who choose to travel alone in order to help them have a better and more enjoyable experience.
Been There, Done That
I have written extensively about owning, traveling and living in motor homes and campers, and feel that anybody who wants to participate in this lifestyle can easily do so.
I know this because in 1986, after my young husband and I had sold everything and had set out to start a new life as full timers, he unexpectedly passed away.
I knew nothing about our coach or maintaining it and had never driven it but my circumstances forced me into learning what I needed to know.
I was “stuck” living in our 35 foot fifth wheel travel trailer and had to survive.
At first I was terrified, but eventually I realized that learning to drive and to care for the trailer forced me to overcome challenges I would never have thought possible.
What happened turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me.
Learning to Drive and Maintain Your RV Is a "Must"
My story should serve as a lesson for all women, widowed, divorced or single, who want to become RV enthusiasts.
If a young widow with no driving or mechanical skills whatsoever can learn to function in a recreational vehicle, anybody can.
Many people are intimidated by the size of travel units, but the truth is that learning to drive and maintain one is not that difficult.
It takes time and effort, but if you know someone who already owns a unit, he usually will be more than willing to teach you the basics . If not, there are many RV ownership classes available that can help you to learn what you need to know. Your local dealership can help you to find them.
The point here is to get someone in the know to teach you what you need to know before you try to take a trip.
The rest is a matter of practice.
With fewer than five lessons, I learned how to hook up my fifth wheel, drive it to two different vacation locations and park it with no problems.
Once I did these things, I was ready to travel anywhere.
The Benefits of Solo RV Living
I discovered that there were many benefits to this new way of life.
- I was safer in a campground than I would be elsewhere because I lived very close to neighbors, many of whom were more than willing to watch over and help me.
- I had no lawn to mow.
- My expenses were low.
- I was mobile.
This last benefit gave me the option of working, living and traveling wherever I pleased. It gave me a great feeling of independence and also upped my self confidence significantly.
Solo RV Travel Does Have Its Downside
While there are many good things about traveling alone, there are a few serious issues solo women should note. For example:
- Long trips can be lonely and sometimes boring.
- If there are mechanical problems along the way, they can ruin vacations as well as bank accounts.
- Safety should be a priority because predators are everywhere, especially in truck and rest stops, and solo women are prime targets.
- Help is not always available, and this can lead to dangerous and/or uncomfortable situations.
- Those who get sick or become injured, may find it difficult to get help.
Some of the best ways to deal with issues such as these are to:
- Carry a charged cell phone with you at all times.
- Make sure you have one that has good national coverage.
- Drive for shorter periods of time each day.
- Learn to do minor repairs yourself.
- Check and make repairs to your coach prior to every trip.
- Carry protection, such as mace, at all times.
- Always stay in campgrounds that provide 24/7 security.
- Park in sites that are very close to the locations of other RVs.
- Never allow strangers to enter your coach.
- Keep your doors and windows locked at all times.
You can also travel with a trained attack dog or even keep a blow up doll that looks like a man visible through the windows of your coach. You should never take your personal safety for granted, and doing these things will protect it.
Join a Travel Group
One of the things that stops many singles from enjoying RV travel is the fact that they do not want to get “stuck” out on the road by themselves. This is no longer a problem due to the fact that there are now numerous singles groups for RV enthusiasts.
These folks travel together, plan vacations or meet up at various spots around the country, and they have a great time doing it. Their purpose is nothing more than to help one another enjoy the benefits of motor home and camper travel.
They get to enjoy all of the wonders that the United States has to offer, and they can do so with a sense of security and camaraderie.
Whether you are widowed, divorced, or single there is a club somewhere out there that will meet your personal needs. Here are just a few of them:
A quick look will let you know immediately which one is for you, so do not hesitate to become involved. It may be the best decision you ever made.
Try Before You Buy
If you are new to the RV lifestyle, you should know that not everybody does well with it, because although it can be highly rewarding, the only way to know if it is right for you is to try before you buy.
I would suggest contacting a friend or relative who is willing to allow you to practice with his or her unit until you are comfortable, then rent a unit for a week to see how you do.
I also think it would be a good idea for you to do some research by reading articles such as this one, visiting online RV forums, and spending some time talking with a few owners. The information and advice you gain from doing these things will go a long way towards letting you know whether the vacationing by yourself this way will be a good idea.
Single Women Can Enjoy RV Vacations, Too!
If you have never vacationed or lived in a motor home, travel trailer or camper, you are missing out on one of the best travel experiences possible.
My article, "The Best RV Road Trip Destinations in America" will give you some insights about the joy doing so can provide.
If you are alone in the world, this is a good way for you to meet a huge variety of people, see the country and have some fun.
Thousands of single women enjoy this lifestyle, and there is no reason why you can't do the same.
RV Women | YES YOU CAN!!
Questions & Answers
Question: What do you do if you're out on the road and don't have a reservation for the night? That is one of my fears as I consider retiring and RV living as a single.
Answer: Not to worry! Always keep a campground guide and cell phone with you. Many campgrounds don't require reservations. Also, always stop traveling by mid afternoon so that find a spot will be easy. Finally, if all else fails, you can stay in a Walmart or Truck Stop parking lot! There are tons of options and thousands of campgrounds from which to choose. So that you don't find yourself in this situation, always plan your travels before you leave home.
Question: Should I tow and what would be the most intelligent size for my Nissan mid-size?
Answer: Yes, it's always a good idea to tow, but you didn't say whether you want to tow a car or tow an RV. I'm assuming you want to tow a car. If so, you need to check with the car manufacturer to find out how much your Nissan weighs and also whether it can be towed with wheels on the ground or if you must use a dolly. Not all cars can be towed wheels down. That information will help you to decide what type and size of RV to purchase. This is very important because RVs have tow weight limits, so you want to make sure that whatever you buy can handle the weight of the car. Conversely, if you are talking about towing an RV with your car, you'll still need to match RV weight with tow vehicle weight. This is extremely important because if the weights don't match, you could damage your equipment.
Question: Do you know of a contact for a Women's RV Club in Canada? Unfortunately, I am unable to go into the U.S. due to insurance expenses.
Answer: Call the Explorer RV Club (Phone: 1-800-999-0819). They may have a branch of their club just for women. They're the largest RV Club in Canadca.
Question: What is the best travel trailer for senior woman?
Answer: A fifth wheel. They are much easier to hook up to and drive than a pull trailer.
Question: Can you recommend an affordable starter RV for my daughter and me?
Answer: I recommend a smaller, used travel trailer because it would give you more security than a pop-up and more room than a slide-in camper. Just make sure that your tow vehicle is weight-rated to pull the load.
© 2015 Sondra Rochelle
Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on February 03, 2015:
colorfulone: Too bad you didn't get full use of your RV...but it's never too late! Join a club...travel...see the country...enjoy! I have done most of these things and have no regrets.
Susie Lehto from Minnesota on February 03, 2015:
I had an RV for a short time, and did not find the time to hit the road then, so I sold it. It would be so much fun to be able to travel about in an RV. Being apart of a club just might be a lot of fun, and a great way to make friends out of strangers.
Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on January 25, 2015:
Hi Theresa: You would be surprised at how strong adversity makes you. I learned to do things I never would have thought possible because I had to survive. Part of my new ebook, Second Chance (by Sondra Biggart on Amazon) goes into great detail about this. Frankly, I think you have put up with much more adversity than I ever had, so you're a pretty strong lady yourself! Thanks for the read, comment and share, and I hope you are doing OK.
Theresa Ast from Atlanta, Georgia on January 24, 2015:
Never really thought about traveling around alone before....I did not know this part of your personal story. I think I might have just curled up in a ball. Hope all is well. Sharing.