Traveling Solo in a Campervan
By Kim Merryman
As a public school employee, I get all the vacation time my students get (Summers off! Winter break!), but most of my friends and my boyfriend don’t have nearly as much time off. I can’t stand to waste my free days, so I started traveling solo when no one else could join me.
I tried tent camping alone a couple of times. I didn’t get great sleep and spent a lot of the night worrying that bears might pull me out of my sleeping bag because I forgot to put my vanilla scented chapstick back in the car.
Escape Campervans offered the perfect solution. I could camp alone–cozy, warm, and safe in my locked camper van with curtained windows and as much smelly chapstick as I wanted. Since we are all itching to spend time outside of our homes but travel options are limited right now, it’s a great time to take a trip on your own.
Traveling Solo Requires Good Planning and A Current Map!
Before you head out on your solo adventure, here are some tips for a safe, worry-free getaway in an Escape Campervan.
Try and plan ahead
Escaping without a plan and hitting the open road sounds like a dream for some, but when you are traveling solo, a bit of planning can make for an easier, more relaxed vacation. Plan your route and book a few campgrounds ahead of time so you don’t have to stalk campsites in the dark alone. Make sure you have a backup place to stay if you don’t find a safe one off the beaten path. Also, leave some time for a spontaneous adventure!
Download and buy maps! When you are out on the road, your phone might not be getting service right when you need it. Avoid getting lost by downloading maps of the areas where you plan to spend time. It’s always helpful to have an old-fashioned road atlas.
Make sure others know where you’re going
You’ve already endured watching 127 Hours, you don’t want to live it, too. Let a close family member or friend know your route, campgrounds, any hikes or adventures. I usually email someone an itinerary before I leave, and then I text my mom or my boyfriend with the trail name right before I head out for a hike and as soon as I’m back.
Have a goal or a project in mind to give the trip purpose and meaning
- I like to bring a book to read at night and finish before my trip ends. Find some great road trip books on our blog.
- Write a daily poem, a few chapters of that novel you’ve been meaning to write, or journal about your adventures.
- Sketch or paint those epic views.
- Make a mileage goal for your trip’s hikes
Bring your fur baby along while traveling solo
For an extra cleaning fee, you can bring up to two pets in the van from October to June. I always bring my dog, Brick. He warms up the van on cool nights and he wards off the lonelies.
Check out our tips for traveling with your pet in an Escape campervan.
Bring plenty of listening material
Make sure to download some of your audio material. Many times you won’t have the service you need to stream.
Download a variety of things to listen to. I always make sure I have an audiobook, something that will make me laugh, a new podcast series to try out along with my usual podcasts, as well as new and standby music to listen to.
Early to bed, early to rise!
Being alone outside in the dark can be creepy. When I’m on my own, I make sure I have cooked, eaten, and cleaned up before dark so I can cozy up in the van with a book before coyotes start howling. I like to get up with the sun, too, and have plenty of time for adventure before my early dinner.
Break up the solo time by visiting or meeting up with friends or family on your route
I drove a circuitous route from San Francisco to Denver solo this summer. It was a long time to be alone, so I broke it up by seeing friends along the way. I stayed my first couple of nights at a campsite with friends in northern California. After some solo time in Oregon and Idaho, I kept social distance by sleeping in the van in my friend’s driveway in Salt Lake City, then I headed to Colorado for some high altitude camping and saw some of my family there. It was a perfect mix.
Test the waters first
I was nervous for my first trip alone, so I only booked three nights to see if I liked solo camping in the van. Escape frequently offers long weekend deals, so snap up one of those for your first solo trip.