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  1. Default Camping in minivan and safety for women

    Hello,

    We are trying to get ideas to convert (at least a bit) my minivan to be able to comfortably live for a few months while we drive the U.S. this summer. Are there actual conversion kits? Any ideas, links, suggestions are welcomed!

    We also wanted to get your expert opinion on how safe this travel will be for two women. One of us is no spring chicken (me) so of course I have common sense but I'd like to be able to occasionally stay in a WalMart parking lot etc to save on costs. Over all is it pretty safe? Any suggestions? This will be our first trip ever. I've heard truck stops are ok too, is that correct?

    Once we get this figured out we will need travel help as well. So much to see!!

    Thanks so much in advance for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Your safety is up to you.

    In 2009 I spent 5 months travelling North America in a mini van. The seats were removed, a camp mattress on the floor - took up half the floor - a small cooler and my stuff took up the rest of the floor. I refined it as I went along. I also saw a couple who had built a wooden frame on which to put the mattress, and all their stuff underneath.

    As a solo senior female traveller I have rarely felt threatened over now almost 200000 miles. And when I have, and then thought about it, it was usually something I could have and should have avoided.

    Your safety is in your hands. If you do not feel comfortable, get out and move on. Do all the normal routine checks wherever you are. And when staying in hotels/motels be sure the door has a lock which cannot be opened from the outside, such as the chain lock.

    Truck stops are among the safest places to park overnight. They are 24 hr, well lit and many have extra security. The main thing is, wherever you choose to park overnight, be sure to always speak to a manager or person in charge, and get permission.

    But frankly, you are in more danger on the road, than sleeping in a mini van.

    Lifey

  3. Default

    Thank you! I have a pretty good sense of surroundings and I think I knew the answer before I posted it. This is sort of a 50 th birthday last time to be with my special girl trip and I just want it to be something she'll remember positively her whole life.
    As far as the van goes, I would much prefer an RV but it's not in my budget so I am big d and determined to make this work!
    Any ideas for great blogs etc about minivan camping?

    Thanks again!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by happy01 View Post
    ... I think I knew the answer before I posted it. !
    That does not surprise me. Mature women would be aware of their surroundings, and move on when they are not comfortable. There are many solo females on the road, and where as you may hear stories from time to time, on the whole, if you know what you are doing, it's a great adventure.

    At the hostel in Fairbanks, back in 2009, I met a lovely lady who had a similar set up to mine, and she was 75 years young. At that time I was not yet a septuagenarian, but now that I am I have a little more comfort in my Ford conversion van. At least I have a bed, a proper Dometic fridge and can stand up in my van. I still spend most of my nights at truck stops.

    I am not aware of any blogs, but we would love you to write up a trip report for our Field Trip Reports Forum. Not only do we like to know how you are doing, see your pictures, etc., but it will be of help to future roadtrippers.

    You might like to have a look at some of the vandweller forums, though there are not many mini vans among them. Lots of my ideas came from them. Just put 'vandweller forums' in your favourite search engine.

    Enjpy.

    Lifey

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default A useful link.

    I should have included this in an earlier post, but never thought of it. This publication is my constant companion. Not all truck stops allow overnight parking. In this publication you will see which ones are willing to let you park on their turf. Still important to ask each time you go, even at the same truck stop. In Mahwah NJ there is a Pilot which has a policy of having any vehicles abandoned on their lot, towed. This is understandable. I have seen at many truck stops several cars turn up all at the same time. The drivers then hopped into one car, and used the truck stop for free parking.

    My preference is for the Pilot/FJ truck stops. Not only for their loyalty card (TA/Petro has one too), but from my experience their cleanliness is usually top notch. Their showers are always spotless.

    Lifey

    p.s. the RV version is the same book with a different cover.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    In Mahwah NJ there is a Pilot which has a policy of having any vehicles abandoned on their lot, towed. This is understandable. I have seen at many truck stops several cars turn up all at the same time. The drivers then hopped into one car, and used the truck stop for free parking.
    I can definitely see that in a place like Mahwah - people commuting into NYC using the truckstop as a "park and ride" for their carpool. That's wrong, taking advantage of the truckstop.

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