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  1. #1

    Default Solo Trip - Safety?

    Hey there! I'm planning to do a 2-3 month roadtrip across the States/Canada in spring next year and am wondering if anyone can give me some tips on staying safe or let me know your experiences of a solo roadtrip. I'll be a single 22 year old female travelling alone, which is what worries me a bit (worries my dad more so). I was planning to do some camping and what not to save on money, but I've heard that can be very dangerous depending on where you are. Thoughts, feedback??? Thanks so much!

    Also, I'm wondering if anyone's ever done a solo trip and met up with people through ride share boards to give them rides. How did this work out? Ever had any bad luck/experiences? Or good ones? I wouldn't mind trying to find company on the road for a few hours if someone needs a ride along my route, but I wouldn't just pick up a random hitch hiker on the road. Wonder if the ride share forums are safer?
    Last edited by Jessi Bo Bessy; 08-17-2007 at 11:06 PM.

  2. #2

    Default

    It's a question we hear on a semi-regular basis here, and rightly so, you need to be prepared.

    Take a look at the following two threads:

    First solo road trip and scared as hell
    First solo road trip was a complete BLAST!!!

    They are the pre-planning and post-trip reports from birdybird's recent roadtrip.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Safety

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    As Craig pointed out, we occasionally get posts from women about to set off on their first solo RoadTrip expressing concern about their safety. The best advice we can give is to use common sense. If a given place or situation makes you uncomfortable, leave. Keep in mind that everywhere you'll be traveling is somebody's hometown. Look around. There will be solo women all over the place no matter where you go. Do you feel unsafe at home? Do the women you see around you on the road (presumably near their home) look like they feel unsafe? The same common sense safety tips that apply to everyone apply in your case as well, but not much more.

    AZBuck

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jessi Bo Bessy View Post
    Hey there! I'm planning to do a 2-3 month roadtrip across the States/Canada in spring next year and am wondering if anyone can give me some tips on staying safe or let me know your experiences of a solo roadtrip. I'll be a single 22 year old female travelling alone, which is what worries me a bit (worries my dad more so). I was planning to do some camping and what not to save on money, but I've heard that can be very dangerous depending on where you are. Thoughts, feedback??? Thanks so much!

    Also, I'm wondering if anyone's ever done a solo trip and met up with people through ride share boards to give them rides. How did this work out? Ever had any bad luck/experiences? Or good ones? I wouldn't mind trying to find company on the road for a few hours if someone needs a ride along my route, but I wouldn't just pick up a random hitch hiker on the road. Wonder if the ride share forums are safer?

    Hey Jessi
    This is birdybird- I"m the one whose links were posted in reply to your post. First off, welcome! I know you will find the support you need. I got some really great advice/support/encouragment from fellow female solo road trippers. Look for lhuff and her recent post of her 14 day solo road trip- it is awesome, inspiring and should put your mind at ease re: safety and solo roadtripping.

    Now, I only took a 3 day solo road trip for my first time around, so it doesn't quite compare to your planned trip but I had the very same concerns about being a female traveling alone. Initially, I was planning on driving from NC to Idaho alone, but after some thought, I decided to solo a little shorter of a time for my very first solo trip. And, as my follow up post shows, it was a fantastic trip.

    I can tell you that I did have safety as my number one priority so I definitely "played it safe" when it came to planning for the trip alone. I drove mainly on interstate ( which, regardless of what others may say, was really really beautiful and I didn't feel like I was missing out on any sights) I drove a rental car, but that was mostly because I flew out from NC to Colorado and drove to Idaho, so I had to rent. BUT, I did opt for a larger car because....I dunno....somehow, it made me feel "safer"- probably just psychological- bigger car, tougher lady...?? I don't know, but it made me feel safer somehow. I also planned all my overnight stops ahead of time and made hotel reservations in advance. And, even tho it did cost a bit more, I tended towards choosing the mid to higher end range of hotel chains...Now, others on the forum have stated that it is not necessary to make advance reservations and, perhaps on my next solo trip, I won't feel the need, but being a novice, it made me feel safer to know where I was stopping and where I was staying. I spent several months plotting my route. I did stray off of interstate several times to see sights, and in Utah I did cut up through Salinas from I-70 up to I-15 into Salt Lake....very pretty route, by the by...

    One of my good friends gave me very sound advice about safety. Basically, she said that I only needed to use the same basic safety precautions that I"d use anywhere else. That, anywhere I go, will be somebodys hometown, and ( barring traveling through S. Central LA or something) I"m basically as safe there as I"d be anywhere. I mean, when I'm walking to my car at the local mall, I am always paying attention, to some degree, about my surroundings, about strange looking people, etc, etc....It's really no different out on the road- using common sense is really all you need. Basically, if somebody gives you the creeps, walk away....don't give out personal information...don't broadcast the fact that you are traveling alone....but also, don't be afraid to talk to people if they seem on the up and up and seem genuinely curious ... While I was only on the road alone for 3 days, I never once felt threatened or scared. For the most part, everyone I saw was traveling as well, usually a couple, a family, or a small group of friends traveling. Interestingly enough, the only time I felt awkward traveling alone was when I would stop to eat somewhere....I don't know why, but that is when I tended to feel the most "vulnerable"...sitting alone at a restaurant. But, when I think about it, I don't usually eat alone at home so....that's likely why it felt so strange....

    Other random tips that I can think of........try to keep the gas tank full or nearly full. Carry a cellphone. Let people know what your itinerary is and check in each evening. Carry water and some snack food. If you stop somewhere and you feel strange, unsafe in any way, then just keep on moving...there's always other places to stop..

    I did TripTik through AAA, and that was really helpful in making me feel more secure about directions. But, I didn't really use them after the first day since the map really did just as well....
    So, my very very longwinded reply in a nutshell??? DO IT!! You will NOT regret it. I only wish I hadn't waited so long to do it!! Next year, I plan on flying out to San Antonio ( I have friends moving there) and driving up through New Mexico, Arizona, up through Las VegasNevada, into California, up into Oregon and the across east into Idaho and end in Boise. I believe my husband may do a few of the days at the front end with me because I want him to experience the Grand Canyon with me, but then I plan on doing it solo from Las Vegas onward.

    There is so much to see in this big beautiful continent of ours. So go for it! I have a postcard on my fridge that says " Life is short and the world is wide"....and how true it is! So plan away, my dear! You will have so much fun, I promise. Whether you do it solo, partially solo or with a friend or two...you will have the time of your life. My family all thought I was "crazy" too...and were very vocal about their misgivings and doubts about my ability to do this short little 3 day trip alone. And, I proved them wrong....!!!

    Good Luck! Keep posting here for support, encouragment and tips ....

    Birdy
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 08-22-2007 at 09:17 AM. Reason: added some white space

  5. Default

    Hey Birdy, Jessy,

    I'm Aline and I'm planning to go on my first road trip in February from Florida to California. I just want to say to Birdy how much I appreciate your posting here and how in encouraged me even more to do it! As a novice I have just started digging information here on the site and hope to gather as much info as I can so I know I will be more prepared to go on my trip!

  6. #6
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Nothing different

    I would like to point out that I don't adjust my level of awareness or do anything different than I do at home. Like Buck said, every place in the US is someone's hometown.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Go for it!

    As a fellow female, solo road-tripper, I can say that you'll be safe if you do follow common-sense and the same personal safety rules you would use at home. I'm glad birdy weighed in. It was thrilling to watch her go from being very cautious and unconvinced she could travel solo, to doing it and having a great time at it.

    Just some practical advise:
    * A nationwide, no-roaming cellphone plan will keep costs down and make it easy for you to make regular contact with someone. If I've left my husband at home, I usually talk to him a few times during the day. I let him know I've left and am on the road. The road I'm traveling and where I figure I'll be ending up. Any significant stops I'm planning along the way. I'll call again if I've totally veered off my intended route and am going down a different road. And then I'll call in the evening to let him know where I'm stopping for the night. Just in case, it sure doesn't hurt to have someone know this stuff. And, of course, I just like to share with him my adventures along the way.
    * Have AAA or Allstate or some other emergency road service coverage.
    * Carry emergency cash someplace in your car. The spare tire area can be a good choice. An extra credit card hidden in your car isn't a bad idea either. One for emergencies only in case of a breakdown or something so you can get it fixed and get home.
    * If you're camping and feeling a bit antsy about doing it alone, camp near a family with kids. What you give up in the way of quiet can be off-set by feeling a bit more secure. And it's always fun to strike up conversations with others anyway and families are usually pretty friendly.
    * Check out the "Gear Up" section for posts about what to pack for emergency supplies. There's tons of good advice there. At the very least, carry extra water and food, a blanket, flashlights with extra batteries, a 1st aid kit.

    Enjoy! You're gonna have a great time.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 09-21-2007 at 10:59 AM. Reason: link to our on-going list discusssions

  8. Default Thanks For The Encouragement

    I'm headed from DC to CA in March. First time out and I'm relocating all in one fell swoop. I figure I'm grown, where do I wanna wake up, and CA sounds nice. And if not I can go to FL and check that out. I am looking for travel buddies, but if the universe deems I go alone, I will. But thanks for the extra advice, there are many great people in the world who will help you, and I can't wait to meet them.

  9. #9

    Default

    Hi Gondo
    I am doing Seattle to Baltimore !
    Good luck with your travels !!!

  10. Default hi birdy and jessy and everyone

    i just want to acknowledge birdy for your roadtrip tips, i sure can use them. I am also going on my first solo roadtrip from anchorage to seattle in mid-March of this year and to tell all of you the truth I'm scared. but i'm going to do it. any advice will be greatly appreciated.

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