Making the Solo RV Travel Dream a Reality
Do you have a solo road trip coming up and want to explore national parks along the way? Or is there a national park in your backyard, but your friends aren’t exactly the outdoorsy types? Well, good news! Visiting the parks on your own is not only totally doable, but it can be a rewarding and inspiring experience, and might even create some unexpected friendships.
Taking a moment to soak in Yosemite/Photo courtesy of Lindsay King
I have been traveling the U.S. and Canada solo for over a year in a Class C motorhome, and you can usually find me boondocking somewhere along the fringes of one of our national parks. I got this crazy idea to live and travel in an RV full-time a few years back, but always thought of it as something I would do “in the future.” However, a couple years ago, I was planning a trip with friends to Banff and Jasper, and thought it could be fun to make it a road trip and stop through Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Glacier National Parks on my way up to Canada. I bought one of those massive U.S. maps, hung it on my wall, and started mapping out a route with push pins and red string. When I had my route mapped out, I plugged it into Google Maps and my heart sank—in order to do the trip the way I wanted and spend enough time in each place, I would need at least a month. My work was pretty lenient with vacation time, but I think a month would have been more than even they were willing to work with. So, I scrapped the road trip idea, but left the map on my wall.
My home on wheels/Photo courtesy of Lindsay King
As I took down the red string route, I started instead marking the national parks I’ve been to (red pins) and the national parks I haven’t been to yet (blue pins). Before this point, I never realized how many national parks there were, and now I wanted to see them all. The wheels started spinning, and I started thinking about what I was waiting for. Why hadn’t I started seriously figuring out how to make this full-time RV dream happen? The truth: I always envisioned doing it with a partner. Unfortunately, most people don’t have jobs that allow them to travel full-time and work out of an RV. If I wanted to bring this dream to life, I had to do it myself. Which brings me to where I am today—traveling the country solo in a little home on wheels, figuring it out as I go. And as a Hello Ranger Ambassador, I’m here to share the tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way to make the most of experiencing our national parks on your own.
As a solo traveler, there are certain things you need to think about more than when you’re with a group. Things like being a bit more careful when choosing hiking trails, packing gear (like a first aid kit!), making sure you have cell phone reception, letting people know where you are and when they should hear from you again, etc. But all of this shouldn’t scare you; instead, it is meant to make you feel more comfortable by knowing that you’re prepared in case something doesn’t go as planned.
Grand Canyon from a lookout point right off the visitor center parking lot/Photo courtesy of Lindsay King
If you’re reading this and thinking that you want to see some cool stuff but don’t want to or can’t do any strenuous hiking, then that’s fine too! There are all kinds of things to do and see without strapping on hiking boots.
As a part of Hello Ranger, I hope to share the basics of everything from boondocking to solo safety, so that everyone feels prepared to visit our parks, even if you’re going it alone!
Header photo: Bureau of Land Management campsite near Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in Moab, UT/Photo by Lindsay King
Lindsay King has been a full-time RVer, along with her two cats, Mowgli and Mouse, for over a year. People usually think she’s either completely crazy or abnormally brave to be traveling alone, but she’s hoping to share how doable full-time exploring can truly be as a solo traveler.