There are thousands of Retired RVers who are traveling solo, and probably thousands more that dream of living the RV lifestyle but are too afraid of going solo, or just don’t know how to get started. I know when we began to think about RVing full-time, even though we weren’t going it solo, we were scared and very inexperienced!
We had no idea where to start! And when we would tell friends and family what we were considering they thought we were crazy (ok, maybe we were a little crazy). But we were ready to step out of the box where we lived all of our lives. Leaving the norms behind, we both retired, sold our house, bought a truck, a fifth wheel and hit the road. We had absolutely NO experience RVing! NONE! Never towed a fifth wheel or owned or rented an RV. Yes, it was scary, but it felt good. So, don’t let the naysayers stop you from living your life!
This article is a Guide for Seniors considering RVing Solo. This guide will cover things like how to prepare for RVing, the pros and cons of solo RVing, places to visit, and what things to avoid when solo RVing especially when you’re a senior. My hope is, once you get informed and knowing that you’re not alone because you will now be part of the RVing Community. Before long, you will say; I can do this! Don’t let Fear Stop You!
Tips for Seniors thinking of RVing Solo
Tip 1. Join a Solo RV Club or a Club that has a Solo RV Branch and Attend Seminars
Joining an RV clubs should help you get over the fear of being on your own. Another concern why most seniors do not RV solo is because of loneliness or safety concerns, which is at the top of the list which deters most people from RVing solo. Joining these clubs should provide you with a super network of support and information to help you overcome these barriers.
Another way to prepare for a solo RV life as a senior is to attend seminars. During the seminar, ask as many questions as you can. Do not be shy and trust me, there are many RVers at the seminar who probably have the same questions in mind. I’ve also listed some of Solo RVing Clubs like Loners on wheels, RVing Women, Escapees Solo. and many others. I will have a link to the Clubs to Join posted at the end of this article.
Tip 2. Have a Reliable RV
If you already own an RV, be sure to have your RV thoroughly checked by a professional. If you have yet to purchase an RV, do your research about choosing the right RV for you(Top Rated Brands of RV’s listed below). If purchasing a used RV, take it to a reputable RV mechanic for a complete checkup. Having a reliable RV will save you the stress of dealing with breakdowns when traveling by yourself on the road and save you money in the long run. Of course, that doesn’t guarantee things won’t happen, because they will.
Tip 3: License
If you’re going to be driving a large rig, such as a class A, you might be required to have a special license depending on the state you’re in. So, make sure you do your research. If necessary, take lessons from a professional to enable you to get the appropriate license. For Detailed Information and Requirements about CDL License click here
Tip 4: Practice
Before going out to solo RV, you will definitely want to learn how to hook up your RV. Ask friends or professionals or where you purchased your RV. Once you feel confident about what you learned, practice setting up on your own with no external help. We purchased our fifth wheel at a dealership in Florida. They were very helpful in showing us how to hook up, run the furnace, A/C, emptying the tanks, etc… I made sure to videotape it with my phone. Yes, we watched it many times. Believe it or not, turning the A/C on was one of our issues! For us, having someone show us was helpful, but actually setting it up ourselves gave us the confidence we needed.
Tip 5. Be Safe by keeping your RV Well-Maintained
Properly maintaining your rig will help prevent the problem of breakdowns in the middle of nowhere. Don’t forget about your tires, always check your tire pressure before every road trip(Tire Guide – click here) scheduling a yearly RV maintenance checkup should lower the chances of having these surprise breakdowns during travel. If your RV is properly maintained you will feel more secure out on the road.
For a complete guide to maintaining your RV, I added a link at the end of this post.
Tip 6: Trust Your Instincts
If you aren’t sure about a place or you do not feel comfortable sleeping at a place, then there is no reason to stay there. There are other places down the road you could explore, even if it’s a nearby truck stop. Also, if possible, try to park your RV so you can drive straight out. This is a trick most long-time RVers use, and that is- you do not want the situation or an emergency where you must head out, but you’ve been impeded by others. Also, if you are parked in the sand or on a dirt road, keep in mind the weight of your RV. Getting stuck is easy, getting unstuck is not. Be sure to have good tow service for emergencies. I’ve included a list of Towing Companies with links below.
This is tip can be extremely helpful if you find yourself in an emergency situation or plan on leaving first thing early the next day while other people are still sleeping. If you’re faced in the direction you plan on leaving and nothing is impeding you, then it’s a matter of jumping in the driver’s seat and driving away.
Things to Avoid When RVing Solo:
1. Leaving Your Doors Unlocked
I know, this is a no brainer, but important enough to mention. This is the number one thing to avoid especially when boondocking. Avoid leaving your doors and windows open at night. I also recommend having new locks installed on your RV right after you purchase it. And know where your keys are at all times!
2. Be Aware of your surroundings
When parking in the middle of nowhere especially when boondocking. Probably 99 times out of a 100 you would be fine. If you just don’t feel right about your surroundings, LEAVE! If there are other RVers nearby, maybe introduce yourself before you decide to stay.
In most scenarios, you will make friends. In case of an emergency, these neighbors can be really helpful. You can ask them if they do not mind checking up on you in case there is a problem or if they hear any weird noises, and trust me they will be more than happy to help.
3. Do Not Advertise that You’re Alone
This is one mistake to avoid as a solo RVer. Always pretend that you’re traveling with somebody. Say you’re stopping at a gas station and you’re going in to get food, pretend to wave at your RV as though you’re saying bye to somebody. I will mention again, Be Aware of your Surroundings! Just good practice, not just for RVing.
Pros of Solo RVing:
- You get to meet new people
Unlike RVing as a couple or with someone where you both can keep yourselves company for a long time, solo RVing gives you the chance to meet other people. Since you feel lonely sometimes, you will be pushed to go out there to just talk to fellow RVers around, and in that process, you get to know them.
- It is a great way to do what you want
Unlike Rving with another person, where their opinions might count and prevent you from doing stuff you might want to do. Solo RVing gives you the opportunity to explore places you like at your own time and convenience with no external influence.
Cons of Solo Rving:
- It gets Lonely
As much as you have the freedom to do what you like, you might get lonely sometimes when you’re on the road and you have no one to chat with. To help alleviate this, I highly recommend you get yourself a pet, they could also help provide extra security. Just curious, have you ever seen the Dick Van Dyke episode when Rob went fishing and left Laura home alone? Her imagination got the best of her, Millie the neighbor decided to stay the night. They started hearing noises and the rest you’ll just have to watch. One of my favorite episodes. Back to RVing, a pet can help when you start to hear funny noises in the night. Probably more helpful than Millie the neighbor.Security Dog
Since you’re a senior and you’re all alone, you might be vulnerable when it comes to security. So, before setting out make sure you have security measures in place. Let family or friends know your plans. Keep your phone charged. Always keep your gas tank full before stopping for the night.
It might be tiring – Doing everything all by yourself can be really tiring and even annoying.
Places to Never take your RV(if your vehicle is longer than 21 feet)
- Going-to-the-sun-road (Glacier National Park) – Very steep and winding road. Logan Pass is the highest point on the Going-to-the-Sun Road at 6,646 feet. A ranger will stop you if your RV is too big.
- Downtown San Francisco California – Too crowded and hilly for RV’s. Just not a good idea.
- Tuweep (Grand Canyon) – The most famous views of the Grand Canyon are shot from the Toroweap Overlook, near Tuweep Campground. To rugged for RVs and Campers.
- State Route 1, California – Very beautiful, also most nerve-wracking! It runs along most of California’s coastline, above extremely steep cliffs. Rocks and boulders frequently fall. Class A or travel trailer longer than 45 feet is prohibited.
- Dalton Highway Alaska – Primarily used by commercial truckers, known as the haul road. This road is 414 miles long. Helicopters patrol twice a day for accidents.
Must See Places to Visit
- Oregon Coast
- The Canadian Rockies
- Crater Lake Oregon
- Albuquerque New Mexico – International Balloon Fiesta
- Zion National Park in Southwest Utah
Leave a comment of your favorite RV destination!
Top 3 Rated RVs for 2019
RV Parks for Seniors:
- Golden Vista Resort, Arizona.
- Alligator RV Park, Florida.
- Bensten Groove Resort, Texas.
- Camp Twin Rivers and Cabins, Colorado.
- Camp Williams Resort, California.
Towing Companies for RVs
Solo Clubs to Join
Discounts for RVers
- Passport America – $44 yr – 50% discounts on participation campsites
- Boondockers Welcome – $30 yr – Free overnight parking on private property- make new friends, share stories, save money.
- Harvest Hosts – $79-119 yr – Free unlimited overnight stays for self-contained RVers – Wineries, Farms, Museums, Golf Courses
- Good Sam – $27 yr – discounts on participating campsites and gas
A quick recap of the tips above, and things to avoid:
- Join an RV club
- Have a Reliable RV
- Do you need a license
- Be safe, and keep your rig well maintained
- Follow your instincts- Never leave your door unlocked
- Do not advertise that you’re alone.
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