Vanlife Safety

Vanlife safety tips from a solo female traveler.

Photo by Janelle Paciencia

Something I get asked all the time is: “Do you feel safe traveling alone?”

The answer is “usually, yes”. Part of the reason why I feel comfortable on my own is because I’ve picked up a few safety tips along the way.

I want to share what I’ve learned as a solo Black woman on the road and hopefully this can serve as a resource for anyone else who is considering solo vanlife.


1. Park in well lit areas

2. Don’t park yourself in - make sure you can both back out and pull forward if you need to drive away

3. Get some “safety tools” (pepper spray, a taser, etc.) and MAKE SURE YOU KNOW HOW TO USE THEM

4. Take a self defense class - I took one for free at my local public library

5. Conceal your location - don’t post your *exact* spot on the innanet until you’re gone

6. BUT make sure at least one person knows exactly where you are just in case

7. Sometimes you have to sacrifice scenery for security - more than once I’ve pulled up on a spot that just didn’t feel quite right and left to go find a brightly lit parking lot instead

8. Know where your keys are when you go to bed

9. Keep your gas tank at least 1/4 full at all times

10. Keep your registration and insurance in a brightly colored envelope in your glove compartment so you can find it quickly if you’re ever pulled over

11. Call 911 to confirm you’re being pulled over by a legitimate police officer - they are supposed to call in to dispatch to report that they are stopping you

12. Take care of everything outside your van BEFORE you get to your parking spot. Then when you pull up, stay inside so that you aren’t advertising that you’re a woman alone.

13. Strength in numbers - park where other vans are parked. Check out the iOverlander app for beta.

14. Park where you have cell service

15. Trust your gut always - if it feels creepy, just leave


I don’t practice all of these all the time but I do have them rolling around in the back of my mind so if safety is ever a concern, I know what to do.

I’m sure there are plenty of other tips that y’all have so drop those below! 👇🏾👇🏾👇🏾

Stay safe out there. ♥️ 📸: @janelle_takesphotos aka @janelleadventures | 📍Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Creek territory

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