Many solo women travelers talk to me about safety when they’re thinking of buying a camper. There are definitely a few obvious things you can do to enhance your safety but there are a few things you may not have thought about. I spoke with former law enforcement officer and girl camper Ginny Craven along with campground owner Lisa Wilson of Clear Lake Campground. Both had some good tips.
First and foremost, there have been two specific episodes of the Girl Camper podcast that are worth giving a listen to to this end; episodes 28 and 108. Both of those feature Holly Boros and do a good job with some very usable and specific safety tips.
In addition to what Boros said, did you know that almost all campers use one of only a few different keys? While the deadbolt lock is more secure on a camper with many, many different keys the door latch commonly used on motorhomes and travel trailers can easily be opened by anyone who has a pass key. These pass keys are given to dealerships and others in the RV business. Of course, the vast majority of these individuals are scrupulous, but I know I’ve lost my pass key at least once. Who has it now? I don’t know.
Replacing your door latch in your RV with one that is differently keyed is just a minor measure of safety that could go a long way. I swapped mine out for one with a keypad so I can get in with a remote key fob, a personalized combination on the keypad and even an old-fashioned key that I keep with me.
While the door latch on your RV might be something people can get into, the baggage doors are almost certainly keyed the same as every other RV in the park. I spent an hour one day replacing the three baggage door latches with combination locks but there are also other styles of locks that are far, far more secure than what comes from the factory. While the doors of an RV, and the baggage doors in particular, certainly won’t live up to Fort Knox standards, making it just slightly more difficult for someone to get into your RV might mean the difference between them moving on to the next easily-accessible RV or your stuff taking an unplanned journey.
With these combination locks on my RV’s baggage doors, I now keep a spare traditional key in the baggage compartment for the new pushbutton lock I put on the door of the rig. That way, if my keys are lost, I can still head inside when nature calls and you know nature will call loudly if I’m locked out of my RV.
Let’s face it, the RV community is a wonderful bunch of people and vacations, even those with solo Girl Campers, are generally pretty safe. But there are still things that can happen.
If you are a solo traveler, you can use the power of digital technology to help keep you safe as well.
For example, you can set up a private Facebook Group for only you and a very few trusted individuals in your tribe. When you get to a new destination you can check in there in the group, notifying your trusted people where you are and that all is safe. By carefully setting your privacy settings and those of the group, only the individuals to whom you grant access will be able to know your whereabouts. Perhaps, if you add a photo of your setting, this can be further peace of mind all around.
While on the subject of place, you could also use this Facebook Group or a shared calendar such as Google Calendar or iCloud to create an itinerary so your trusted people can also know where you plan to be and where you’ve been. Barring lousy Internet, if you don’t show-up at a prescribed location your trusted people can notify the authorities.
On the subject of place, another thing to do is have a white board or other changeable writing surface to write on inside your RV where you write the name, address, phone number and county of the place you’re spending time including the site number, if relevant. If you do have a challenge and have to call for help, they will arrive much more quickly if they know specifically where you are.
Being safe isn’t just about scary individuals. Weather can wreak havoc like no human can and knowing the county you’re in will help when you tune in with a weather radio. Sudden changes in weather can reallycause trouble and having a weather radio set to your location means it will notify you if there are significant alerts you need to be aware of. We all give side eye to Father Time but Mother Nature can really cause some trouble as well.