Solo travelling is a choice being made every day by intrepid Australians. Whether you’re single, a bit of a loner, or just following your dreams, there is no reason why you can’t pack up and go caravanning on your own.
Caravan, Pop-top or Motorhome?
To be independent and self-sufficient when travelling on your own, you’re going to need a rig that suits your needs and that you can manage on your own. Your choice will depend on many factors, including your capabilities, budget and how you intend to use it.
- You might find a camper-trailer is easy to tow, but will you want to have to put it up in pouring rain?
- A caravan offers plenty of space, but needs to be set up, hitched and can be frustrating to reverse.
- A motorhome seems like an easy option, and is one that many solo women choose – there’s no need to worry about stabilising or hitching it to your car, it’s easy to park and reverse, and you don’t have to go outside at night or in the rain. On the other hand, it’s a beast when you want to duck into the shops or go for a short day trip, and there are a lot of roads you just won’t want to take it down.
- A campervan is compact and easy to drive and park, but offers only the basic sleeping and living arrangements – you are reliant on external facilities for everything else.
Knowledge is Power
The best way to be prepared for anything that might happen to your vehicle or caravan when you’re on the road alone is to invest in some driver training courses before you leave home. By the time you’re done, you’ll have a thorough working knowledge on how to:
- handle your rig in all weather and road conditions
- change a tyre
- look after your vehicle and caravan, separately and together.
Solo But Not Alone
You might choose to travel solo, but that doesn’t mean you have to be completely solitary. Many travellers – solo or otherwise – doing the Big Lap find they keep meeting up with the same people along the way, so there’s always a chance you’ll see familiar faces at Happy Hour.
- Find an occasional travelling buddy. If you’re heading into unknown territory, find out if others are going your way and make arrangements to travel together for a while, or at least keep in touch while on the road.
- Join a club. It doesn’t sound like a ‘solo’ thing to do, but being part of a club means you’ll meet other travellers, learn the ropes and pick up a few pointers. It might even be worth going away with the club for a few weekends while you get familiar with your rig.
- Become part of the Solos Network. Around 13 per cent of the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia’s members travel alone, so a special interest group has been formed to support them. They hold rallies, outings, charity safaris and even organise to travel together in convoy from time to time.
Tips for Solo Travelling
- Join in at Happy Hour – it’s an easy, relaxed way to meet fellow travellers, pick up some tips and hear about places to visit (or avoid).
- Carry safety gear and a sat phone for when your mobile is out of range.
- Take good, up-to-date maps and plan your route each day. Install a weather app on your smart phone and tune into local radio stations for weather/fire/flood warnings and updates on road conditions.
- Shopping for one gets a little harder when you’re on the road. A lot of produce is only available in packages and that presents storage problems when you don’t have a freezer, particularly for bread, meat, chicken, even vegetables. Buy unpackaged items when you can from markets, fish co-ops or road side stalls. Alternatively, arrange to go shopping with fellow travellers sometimes and split it so you end up with less waste.
- Stay aware and go with your instincts about whether a person is to be trusted. If you ever feel uncomfortable, just quietly pack up and leave.
- Have family or a friend with whom you keep in regular contact. Even if it’s an elderly parent, it’s good to have someone who’s tracking your progress and knows where you should be if anything happens.
Travelling solo can be a wonderful, challenging and rewarding adventure. Expect anything, tackle it with humour and a ‘can-do’ attitude and you’ll have a great time.
Still deciding what sort of RV you’re going to buy? Take a look at our buying guide according to budget.