People tend to have concerns when I disclose that I am a solo female traveler. I tell these concerned people the same things. I do my best to avoid sketchy situations, I have a weapon if needed, and I trust my instincts. Obviously, anything can happen to anyone, but please do not let the fact that you are a woman deter you from solo traveling or living in van/mobile living space. Here are some tips for any woman who is nervous about hitting the road as a solo female traveler.
Don’t be afraid because you’re female
I’d be lying if I said living alone in a car isn’t sometimes a scary thought, but I do not feel more vulnerable because I am a woman. I have pretty much always had a similar attitude regarding solo female travel. When I was meeting newer couples RVing on the road they would say, “You’re traveling by yourself (gasp)?!”. I really don’t fully understand where this mentality comes from, but it’s not true. If someone assumes that I am more vulnerable than a man, that’s just simply false.
Trust your instincts
We’ve all heard it before, that you should always “trust your gut,” this is extremely true when living in a van. For example, don’t ever stay at a place that feels not quite right to you and don’t continue talking to people if you feel they have malice intentions. Recently, I was outside Telluride, CO attempting to boondock in national forest land. When I settled in and went to lay down, I began to develop a terrible feeling. The best way to describe it was a racing heart and just a great fear, but I couldn’t tell you exactly what I was fearful of. I love the national forest and have spent a lot of nights boondocking in the national forest, but something just didn’t feel right, so I left for the night and found another spot that “felt” better. Read more about some challenging situations for me on the road here.
Piece of mind is always worth it
If you are a rule follower like myself, then RV or van parking where you’re not supposed to can bring on some anxiety. It would be quite disappointing to get a knock on your window from law enforcement or by a local neighbor who is bothered by your presence. This is why my first choice is always boondocking, but my second choice is always paid camping. Campgrounds can be pricey and crowded, but there are other options out there as well. I have met people on craigslist who let me camp on their land for weeks at a time for a fraction of a campground fee. There are also sites like hip camp which are basically Airbnb for camping! Thus my point being, a few bucks is always worth a good night’s sleep and a piece of mind!
Protection, get some
Whether you’re a female traveler or not it’s always a good idea to have some type of protection for yourself. I carry protection to assist with 4 legged or 2 legged assailants. One, I have bear spray; two, I have a flashlight taser. I definitely feel safer with these items but I must say, I have never even had the thought that I might need to use one of these items.
Have an emergency bathroom
Depending on your rig, you may or may not have a bathroom. I would recommend having something in case of an emergency. I have a small portable toilet that stows behind my driver’s seat. It essentially is a bucket, so I prefer to use public restrooms. Sometimes when nature calls it’s the middle of the night or you’re on a long stretch of road with no restroom in sight. In these situations, it’s very nice to have a toilet inside. Here is the portable toilet I use. It’s the smallest one I have found and with the lid on top, it can easily have a second use as a seat!
Most people want to help
In today’s world, there seems to be no shortage of news stories about people hurting people. This can bring on more fear and doubt about hitting the road. After a year of van life as a female traveler, I’m finding that a lot of people want to help. I’ve had multiple offers from people to shower, do laundry, or even spend a night in their driveway. People tend to be inspired by a life on the road and tiny living and show genuine interest in learning about my van and my lifestyle.
So ladies, if you have dreams of hitting the road, go for it. Use Instagram, Facebook, and other social media outlets to connect with other female solo travelers, like me!
Would you hit the road alone, tell us your thoughts!
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