Have you ever considered what freedom means to you? Maybe it’s sitting down on a Sunday afternoon to read with a cup of tea perched next to you. Perhaps it’s the financial comfort of buying bottles of wine and greek yoghurt without even looking at the pricetag. For me, and many other women, it’s the chance to travel alone and not feel terrified the entire time. As women, we’re often warned against solo travel or camping alone, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Allow me to introduce my good friend; motorhome travel. Read on to find out how she can help you find peace on the road, including some tips and personal experiences from fellow travellers! Basically, read on to be convinced that you’re next holiday should involve campervan hire.
Why Should I Travel by Motorhome?
We’ll need to consider this in two parts; why should anyone travel by motorhome and why should women specifically do so. So why should anyone, regardless of age, gender or hobbies, enjoy the perks of a motorhome holiday? Firstly, it provides the ultimate freedom, it allows you to go anywhere, anytime. You lose your dependence on public transport or hotel bookings, and instead can decide your route on the day - or not even then,m simply stopping when you’re tired or see a cute spot! You can base your plans off tge weather, how you feel, and simply live in the moment. Doesn’t that sound so freeing? A holiday should be about resting your weary mind, and this can be achieved by throwing out schedules and enjoying the now. To be fully honest, motorhomes can be a bit of a steep initial cost, with renting one in the UK costing between £50-120 on Goboony in low season. However, it is important to consider that this combines accommodation and travel, and will allow you to prepare food yourself and thus save a heck of money on eating out! I like to consider motorhome travel as comfort camping, a way to enjoy the outdoors and exploring, but with a mattress under my back and a cup of good coffee nearby!
Next, why should women in particular travel by motorhome? Well, if you’re like me and dislike packing light, this is the ideal way to bring more luggage! No weight restrictions, and less space restrictions (let’s not go wild, ladies...). You also only have to unpack once - heavenly! You can also bring more comforts from home, such as fairy lights to drape across your awning, a quilt for the chilly evenings, or board games for when it rains. My favourite advantage? It allows you to beat those ridiculously outdated stereotypes regarding women and vehicles. Before you call me the weaker sex, you should watch me change a tire and --. It shoves you out of your comfort zone and the suffocating bubble of female travel we’re led to believe. Motorhome travel allows you to travel alone comfortably, self sufficiently and independently. And the final benefit for women travelling alone in campervans? Safety!
Is it Safe for Me to Travel Alone?
A question frequently on our minds as women. When I mention plans to go trekking in Nepal or even to drive up to a nearby National Park for a spot of camping, I receive shocked expressions. A female travelling alone? Is that even possible? I understand the fear, I even get it from my mother when she hears of me biking home alone after sunset. But the reality is that we can’t let this fear control our entire lives, and especially not our travel plans! We must simply not the fear, and carry on to live our best life. One of the ways to still travel and enjoy it despite this fear is through motorhome travel. I find that having space between yourself and others, which you miss in hostels or tents, provides a real sense of comfort. And being able to lock your doors is a definite advantage over tents. Having your own vehicle means you can leave at anytime, whenever you feel uncertain or uncomfortable. And you can always keep safety items with you!
What are the Best Places to Travel Alone as a Female?
This is a truly difficult question, for several reasons. Firstly, there are so many destinations to choose from, how could we possibly narrow down the best places to travel alone as a female? By focusing on the European destinations for now. Secondly, it’s hard because everywhere can be safe, as it depends more on where you go within the place and how you behave. And thirdly, everyone feels safe through different things and appreciates different places! So for now we’ll just try for our top 3 places to travel alone as a female in Europe based on the safety factor and likeability.
- Scotland. This stunning country has to be on our list, given it’s dramatic coastlines, intriguing wildlife and soaring mountains. You could explore Scotland for weeks or months and still not be done. You’ll encounter many fellow travellers, several of which will be enjoying the motorhome lifestyle as well and be happy to give you tips! You’ll find my article on Scotland road trips here if you’re looking for inspiration. The North Coast 500 is certainly fitting for your bucket list!
- Iceland. Northern Lights, hot water springs, waterfalls, adorable ponies with fringes - do you really need more reasons to immediately head to Iceland? If so, how about that Iceland is considered to be one of the safest countries in the world? There is a huge level of trust among residents of Iceland, with individuals leaving their cars running with the keys inside when grocery shopping and children free to roam the streets. It is also considered to be a major destination for solo travellers, so you’re bound to meet fellow like-minded holidaymakers to spend time with.
- The Netherlands. A severely underappreciated country, and I’m not just saying that because I’m from there! It is a small country, but this just means you can explore it fully, and compare the different regions. The entire country speaks English, with a majority being almost fluent, so you’ll never have communication issues and easily find help when problems arise. They love visitors, and will be happy to point you in the direction of the prettiest windmills, the tulip fields or a good pancake restaurant!
Top Tips for Women Travelling Alone in Motorhomes
My biggest tip and best purchase. Get a good power bank, ladies! I cannot describe what a relief it is to always have a charged phone, ready for anything that could arise. In my years of travelling, I’ve never actually had to make an emergency phone call, but I have always been able to. Sometimes I’ll feel a bit uncomfortable walking around at night or with unwanted attention, so I’m able to call a friend for a chat, and even mention meeting them soon, which makes me feel that bit safer.
And on that note, my next top would be to find whatever makes you feel comfortable and bring it. Is it a whistle or bottle of pepper spray packed in your purse? Whatever it takes, that is okay, it isn’t shameful to need a comfort object when travelling alone. A fun idea is to bring along a fake wedding ring, handy for unwanted attention in bars!
Always bring a physical map of the country you’re travelling in, and keep it stashed away in your motorhome. This is useful in case your app or phone aren’t working, and you may feel uncomfortable asking for directions in certain situations. Also, it can be very exciting to go old school, and feel empowering.
Learn the basics! If you plan to buy a motorhome, I really recommend getting all that nitty gritty vehicle knowledge. There is no feeling more powerful than changing your own tire (yes, women are able to do that too!). If you’re just hiring a campervan or taking a short trip, having full engine knowledge may be a tad excessive. But be sure to ask any questions before the trip and have a list of phone numbers you can call.
Keep your energy levels up so that you’re at your best in any situation. Don’t spend your entire day driving, as you’ll lose focus and be unprepared for dangerous situations. Remember that a motorhome holiday and road trip is about the entire journey, not just the destination, so enjoy the stops throughout it. Keep fuelled up with snacks and hydrated with plenty of water.
Be sure to keep your doors and windows locked at night and whenever you leave your motorhome. Make sure to always trust your instincts, no matter how silly they may seem.
Bring your dog! It is always heartbreaking to leave your beloved pet behind during a trip, and with motorhome travel it isn’t necessary to. It will ensure your trip is fun and that you never get too lonely, plus it’ll keep you active and exploring the nature around. I find it puts my mind at ease, and gives me an extra sense of protection. As even if Fluffy is a complete angel who wouldn’t bite a soul, potential threats may think twice once they see your dog.
Experiences of Other Women Travelling Alone in Motorhomes
Don’t just take my word for it, here are some personal experiences of other motorhome travellers!
"Vanlife is freedom. If you can pair this with working online, you have really found the secret to life. Live simple, travel the world in your van and be free. It’s the best thing I ever did! You should try it. “ - Nikki, founder of Beanies and Bikinis blog
"A campervan is the best thing I ever bought. It gives you a lot of freedom, because you can leave whenever you want to, and head to every place you want to go. In terms of driving it helps that I can drive well and that the van is small. I also feel very safe in the van. I feel safe during camping, especially since I always stay at campsites. It is actually really nice. Giving you the chance to just do what you feel like and live with the rhythm of nature. You also become very independent. You have to make your own decisions, make sure that you have enough water and ensure that your electricity is properly connected. It is very nice to be able to fall back on someone who helps you, but by traveling alone you have to do everything yourself and you grow as a human being.” - Margje, Content Marketer at Goboony
Travelling alone is scary, like really scary. As women, we’ve been raised to believe we can’t ever go travelling alone. We’re surrounded by tales of dark alleys, strangers masked as friends, little pills slipped into our drinks. And these are all real concerns, I am not denying that in the slightest. But just because they can happen, does that mean you shouldn’t go travelling? Should you let the fear of possibilities stop you from opportunities? No, you should not. Go travel, go explore this wide world! It is waiting for you, and the clock is ticking away. Yes, you should prepare, and be safe, be reachable and with a clear enough head to think. Just focus on feeling comfortable while travelling, whether that is through a motorhome or not. If it is, find one on Goboony and test out campervan hire, see if that is your fake wedding ring. If not, find out what does it for you! Is it simply camping somewhere more secluded or staying in hostels? It isn’t about how you travel, but the fact that you go and do it. Show every little girl that women can go camping, women can explore, women can be independent and fearless too!
(You can also find a version of this blog on Camping for Women, check out this great website regarding all things camping related!)