If you have an RV, going out on your first solo trip can be quite the adventure—you’re completely on your own to explore whenever and whatever you like! But don’t let the excitement of hitting the open road on your own distract you from what you need to do to properly prepare.
1. Pack Your Hobbies
When taking the necessary steps to pack your RV, this one is actually something many people don’t think about: Pack some of your favorite activities or hobbies. There are going to be moments when you have nothing to do—weather is preventing you from driving or exploring outside, or you need to kill some time while you wait for things to recharge or refuel—so it’s nice to have some fun activities to keep you busy and keep any loneliness at bay. I always like to have a few puzzles, my ukulele, my iPad and my Kindle—all three can keep me preoccupied for hours on end.
2. Keep Some Reserve in the Tanks
Once you have the fun things packed, it’s time to get your vehicle prepped. Before heading out, I like to make sure my water holding tank is at least 20 percent full. Even if I know I’m heading to a full hookup site, it gives me peace of mind knowing that, should something happen, I’ll have water to drink and use in the bathroom. I also make sure that I have at least five gallons of gas in the reserve. I can’t imagine running out of gas, alone, in the middle of nowhere…
3. Make a Checklist or Two
After you’ve checked the tanks, do a quick run-through inside your RV. I like to have a list on my refrigerator of all the things I need to check before I lock up and hit the road. As a solo traveler, there isn’t an extra person around to help you double check or remind you to do something, so lists can be super helpful. A few key items from my checklist: Lock all windows, shut and lock all cabinets and drawers, switch off all lights, turn off the water heater and unplug any electronics.
You might want to consider a checklist for the exterior items as well. This would include things like checking the pressure for each tire, ensuring the RV doors are locked (always check ALL locks so there is zero chance of the door swinging open on the road), testing your turn signals and brake lights, and making sure you haven’t let your chocks behind.
4. Safety First
Now that you have your fun activities packed and your checklists are complete, let’s talk about safety. When traveling solo, always notify someone about your location and general whereabouts, and a rough idea of when they can expect to hear from you again. I totally get wanting to be “off the grid” sometimes, but you have to be smart about it.
There are a few core things that I like to bring with me any time I head out on my own: Mobile hotspot, solar-powered light, a multi-use tool, wasp spray and a location tracker. These items are essential to my feeling safe on the road.
The mobile hotspot acts as back-up WiFi or additional service coverage in case I’m stuck somewhere without any cell coverage. The solar powered light is necessary because it doesn’t need a power source and it helps save batteries when I’m boondocking. A multi-use tool, such as the Leatherman Super Tool, is great for fixing and repairing multiple different things, without having to carry a full toolbox. I choose to carry wasp spray because it is legal in both the U.S. and Canada (pepper spray is currently illegal in Canada) and it can spray up to 27 feet, giving me ample distance should I need to spray it at an intruder. And lastly, a small location tracker gives both me and my family peace of mind. I use a device and app called Tile, and grant a family member access to its location when I head out on long solo trips. There are some high end Global Positioning System (GPS) trackers and satellite messaging devices if you want to go way out there, but as a solo female traveler, I try to avoid extremely remote areas.
5. The Solo Playlist
The final step for your solo trip has to do with the drive. You may find yourself driving for hours and hours, with no one to talk to. For these moments, I suggest making a long road trip playlist or queuing up a series of podcasts or audiobooks. If you can, try to download everything before you leave so you’ll still have listening access even if you don’t have service. After all, what’s a good road trip without some good music?