Van life is popular not just for the fact that it allows you to travel to different places every day. This movement promotes ultimate freedom, especially from expenses that can financially drain you, such as utilities and rent. It allows you to connect more with nature and appreciate its value as you explore new destinations. And most of all, it teaches you how to be more self-reliant and live with less.
However, van life isn’t only about making fun memories and exploring new things. You should also think about your safety at all times, especially if you’re a female traveler. Van life safety is not something you can neglect. You can jeopardize your entire adventure just by being careless. To help you with that, we’ve listed a few tips on how you can safely travel as a female van lifer.
1. Visit a mechanic or auto shop
Double-checking the condition of your van is crucial before you hit the road. Visit a local auto shop or mechanic to have your van checked. If you are driving an old vehicle with worn-out tires, visit a shop with auto tire-changing equipment. The correct tire changers can guarantee proper installation, giving you a safer and better driving experience.
You’d also want to check if you’ll need a battery replacement to prevent your car from breaking down while you’re on the road. Other things to check are your van’s lights, fluids, engine, and spark plugs.
2. Be careful in picking campsites
You should not have a problem if you travel to places with dedicated campsites. But if you’re planning to go a bit far off the grid, you need to be extra careful in picking your camping spot. Nonetheless, it’s better to go off the grid if you’re traveling with a friend, especially if you’re a first-timer.
When traveling solo, you can choose established campgrounds during your first few weeks or months. You can go to a forest service campground or a state park. If you’re still a bit uncomfy sleeping on sites with fewer campers, you can camp anywhere where groups or families are camping together.
3. Invest in van security tools
The first safety equipment you should have on your van is a fire extinguisher. Ideally, you should have one near the passenger’s seat and on the back of your van. Buy the size that’s ideal for you. Next, invest in extra security locks for your van. They are available in different sizes and shapes and typically cost around $10 to $200. Opt for those that suit your preference and budget.
Besides that, you can also invest in Bearlock, which is a popular anti-theft tool. This safety system immobilizes the vehicle by locking the gear level and can only be unlocked with a specific key. Depending on your brand or make of the car, a Bearlock will likely cost you about $250. Other security tools to invest in are motion sensor lights, RV security cameras, and a GPS tracker.
4. Know and recognize your limits
A wise traveler knows her physical and emotional limitations. Determine the level of exertion your body can take, from driving to outdoor activities. Do not physically strain yourself and take a rest when you need to. If you have health problems, it’s essential to consider those when planning your travel time and activities.
When it comes to your emotional health, think about how often you can switch destinations. Having routines that focus on self-care is a great way to reduce feeling stressed out and tired, especially if you’re driving for long hours. If having a travel buddy is mentally beneficial and makes you feel safer, go with one.
5. Take a self-defense training
Self-defense classes are more useful than you might think. Taking a self-defense class cannot only teach you the skills and techniques on how to protect yourself against physical threats. But it can also boost your confidence, physical and mental wellness, and situational awareness. For some travelers, learning self-defense helped them convince their parents that they could survive a van life. You can opt for offline or online training, whichever suits your budget. Some classes can last for a few hours, while others take several days.
Choosing a van life can be a rewarding experience for any woman. It teaches you to live intentionally, sustainably, and with more freedom. If you still feel unsafe after doing all these steps, consider going with a close friend or family member. Unless you prefer living and exploring alone, van life can be more exciting if you get to share it with a loved one.