Author: Kirstie Bedford
Solo travel is on the rise, particularly for women.
Recent stats by TripAdvisor, which surveyed more than 3,200 Australian women, found more women are choosing to travel alone than ever before.
Nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) reported that travelling alone had changed them, and the majority of women surveyed felt more independent and free when travelling alone with many saying they gained confidence.
Eighty two per cent of respondents said the main reason was simply to 'get away from it all', they also prefer to operate under their own schedule without worrying about others.
Margaret Cook, vice president of the Campervan & Motorhome Club Solos Network, herself an avid solo traveller for more than eight years, says her network now has, 750 members, and it's "a growing market".
Many people can no longer afford housing and turn to moving around in RVs of all shapes and sizes. People also travel solo due to the loss of a partner or the breakdown of a relationship, or just to see the sights."
She says the main reasons to travel are the independence and confidence you gain.
You can please yourself where you go and how long you take and belonging to a group such as the CMCA Solos Network allows you to meet up with like minded people to share experiences and have fun, either at the twice a year rallies or at chapter meets around the country.
"Many people think joining a group like the Solos Network means it’s a singles group but this is not so. It gives you support and friendship and attending rallies gives you opportunity to go to seminars on interesting subjects, do tours at a very reasonable cost, or just sit and chat to people in similar situations."
Margaret says the only downside is dealing with problems which may arise with the RV, but she says most solos are quite resourceful and do manage on their own.
There are of course some things you should do before planning your solo journey, like ensuring you have good insurance, and plan where you'll stay in advance. Staying in caravan parks will prevent you from feeling too isolated.
Here are a few other things to consider for your next solo adventure:
- Find the RV that suits your needs. Choosing a smaller vehicle will mean it's easier to drive, and set up
- Make sure you have the security you need while on the road, and if you ever feel unsafe, simply jump in your RV and move on
- Understand the vehicle. Remember to always check it has plenty of water, fuel and air in the tyres
- Start with short trips and put everything to the test. Rule of thumb is don't travel more than about 200 - 250 kms the first time. That way it gives you a chance to get to know how it is to drive, and feel more confident in subsequent trips
- Take regular breaks – you need to look after yourself as you’re the only driver. Pull over, have a stretch, or a cuppa and something to eat
- Carry a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) with you. When activated, it transmits a message that’s picked up by passing satellites and relayed to emergency services. Only to be used in an absolute emergency, it’s handy and weighs considerably less than a satellite phone. If it has an inbuilt GPS locator, even better