Grey campervan with lights on parked on side of road near forest.

Solo Campervan Travel: Tips from a Van Life Expert

If you’re a solo traveler, it can sometimes be hard to navigate living a life on the road. Over the last three years, I have spent a lot of time living and traveling in my campervan. I’ve learned a lot of important things about how to plan, prepare, and travel safe. As an experienced traveler and camper, I want to share with you my insights and top tips for solo campervan travel.

Solo Campervan Travel Tips

Plan and Prepare Before You Travel

It’s much easier to have your route, campsite, and trail planned out before you hit the road. As a solo traveler, you have to do all of your planning and prep before you go because once you get behind the wheel, there’s not much you can do besides stop alongside the road to reconfigure your route.

One of the hardest parts of traveling solo is having to figure out a Plan A, B, or C when the campground to which you’re travel is too crowded or doesn’t feel right. You should always have at least one backup plan for your trip as a solo traveler so you can switch over to a new route quickly.


Always have at least one backup plan that allows you to easily adjust your route or destination campground.

I use apps like Google Maps, AllTrails, and OnX Maps to keep track of where I’m going. I always download the area on Google Maps and then use other apps for tracking specific activities such as hiking or off-roading.

Be sure to download a version of the map that you can use offline in the event you do not have a good wireless or data connection. You may also want to print a hard copy for the same reason.

Brown dog walking in front of campervan with passenger door open parked in open desert area.
Image credit: Erin Maxson / TREKKN

Arrive During the Day

Wherever you’re headed, it’s always a good idea to do your best to arrive before it’s too dark outside. I know this isn’t always doable, but I’ve found it much easier to navigate my route without getting lost when I arrive during daylight.

It’s also a great way to get a better feel for your campsite or trail. I’ve arrived at campsites at night to find them overgrown or slanted downhill, leaving me no choice but to go to my Plan B or C campsites.

There’s nothing less fun than having to drive all over to find a campsite at night when you’re tired and it’s hard to see exactly where you’re going.

Your Van is Your Home

One of the hardest things for me as a solo traveler is remembering that my van is also my home. I am always eager to drive full speed up a massive hill or head off the beaten path on an extremely bumpy dirt road that requires four wheel drive.

I am always up for an adventure. If you’re anything like me, the adventure is the best part of living in a van. But, it’s important to know the limits of your van. And, when you’re traveling solo, it’s particularly important to make decisions based on those limitations. Always proceed with caution that if a situation does not go as planned, you are able to get yourself out of it safely.

You want to explore and enjoy the freedom that van life offers. That said, you want to be sure that your home on wheels is well maintained and stays out of the service bay. Moreover, you want to make sure that you can drive your tiny home back to a safe campground – whether it’s a dry camping site or an established RV park – after a day of exploring.

I always carry my Garmin InReach Mini in case of an emergency. With the InReach, I know I will have the means to call for help if the van is stranded or I have ventured into an area without cell service. I also made sure my vehicle insurance policy includes roadside assistance in case I ever need to have the van towed to a service repair shop.

Dark brown dog laying down on rocks near river
Image credit: Erin Maxson / TREKKN

Related Reading: My Best Tips for Solo Hikers and Weekend Campers

Privacy is Important

When you travel with someone or in a group, you don’t really think too much about how you present yourself to others around you, but when you’re a solo campervan traveler it’s important to prioritize privacy.

I always make sure I have curtains to hang up in my windows, set out a second chair at campsites, and never share that I’m traveling by myself. Someone is always on their way to meet me or they’re not far from camp finding firewood, or doing their business. In every rig I’ve been in, I’ve made or purchased “curtains” to make sure that other people peeking in can’t see what I have inside.

As I mentioned earlier, your van is your home. It’s critical to maintain privacy. Do not give anyone a reason to break in or find an opportunity to take something. With little storage, everything in your van is important!

Campervan with interior lots on and doors open, parked at night.
Image credit: Erin Maxson / TREKKN

Related Reading: RV Travel: Theft Prevention and Personal Safety

Check In With Family and Friends

Once you’re on the road, it’s easy to become enamored by all the sights and activities. For the first year I traveled in my van, I didn’t think too much about checking in with family or friends. I had so much in front of me to keep me busy.

But, living a full-time life on the road can be hard. It can become lonely. This is particularly true when you’re a solo traveler. After I returned from my extended road trip, most of my friends were in different stages of life. Once again, I felt like I was on an island.

I highly recommend making friends on the road, as well as keeping in touch with the people in your life you care about most. Taking the time to check in every other week or once a month makes all the difference and also brings you more joy in the long run.

Campervan parked on gravel lot near forest
Image credit: Erin Maxson / TREKKN

Be Prepared, Not Scared to Travel Solo

Traveling by yourself can seem scary at first, especially when you’re out in the middle of nowhere in a van. But there’s so much opportunity and adventure out there waiting for you.

Your safety is always the most important part of traveling solo, but try to avoid over preparation, which can lead to anxiety about the little details. The best thing to do is to start small and build up your confidence from there.

Plan a short local trip as your first solo adventure. That experience can help you learn what works well for you and what doesn’t. You will have a better understanding of whether or not you want to stay in a busy RV Park or prefer the quiet solitude of dispersed camping.

As you plan the next trip, aim for a destination that’s a little father way. Remember what works well for you in terms of meals, drive time, and camp set up. Take those personal experiences into account as you plan each subsequent trip.

I promise every time you step outside your campervan, you’ll learn something new about yourself. You will discover that you’re entirely capable of having a great time on your own!

Safe travels!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *