Hello! I'm Kaori Sakai, also known as the "van girl," and a car camping aficionado!
Whenever I talk to my girlfriends about my camping in a car alone, I always get asked if it's not too dangerous for a woman to go camping alone. Luckily, though, I'd never had any problems. Although to be honest, I was a little intimidated just before I went car camping for the first time (I was alone, too) and I kept imagining scary scenarios happening. But as I went through my checklist of precautions, I realized that I was more ready that I thought.
Especially, I like staying in a camping car because I can spend a comfortable time like my room.
Realizing the importance of preparation, I decided to write this article and share with you my car camping tips. If you're a woman, these tips are for you!
Seven tips to avoid problems
1. Don't go solo unless you have to
It's always better to bring your boyfriend or one of your girlfriends with you. This definitely lowers the possibility of any crime from happening. But if you must go solo, at least put stuffed animals by the window to make it look like you have some company.
2. Hang a shade curtain to block the view
Make sure that you hang a shade curtain over your window to block the view from the outside. This adds a layer of safety because strangers outside won't know how many people are inside, and of course you have complete privacy and can change clothes easily.
3. Always take your smartphone when you go to the restroom at night
The least safe place is surprisingly not your car but the restroom. If possible, go with another person. But if not, take your phone with you so you could at least contact someone immediately if anything goes wrong. Maybe you could even set your phone ready to make an emergency call just in case. Your phone could also be used as a flashlight because the path is often very dark at night.
4. Increase the security level in your car
These are 3 things that you should make a habit even before you start car camping:
1) Lock all doors as soon as you get in
2) Do not leave the key in the ignition
3) Put valuables in a safe and easy-access place, and always keep your money in two places
(1) can prevent intruders in the first place while (2) and (3) can minimize any damage if an intruders does get in. In fact, leaving the key in the ignition may even result in the theft of your car itself. You also reduce the risk of losing all your money by putting them in different places.
5. Park your car in a safe place
The common advice is to stay in well-lit places and avoid corners that are hidden away from people's view, but even if you parked on roadside or at roadside stations, you might still not get proper insurance or help should you run into any trouble. That's why I think using Carstay's parking space booking services is perfect especially for solo women travelers. Carstay has a whole database of available campgrounds or parking lots that you could rent with the added bonus that the owner is near the place (so you feel safer). In addition, Carstay offers insurance for possible damages and other problems. I highly suggest that you protect yourself with this amazing service! (I always use Carstay when I go car camping!)
・Find parking with Carstay now: https://carstay.jp/en
6. Keep in contact with people you trust
If you are going to stay alone in a car, it is recommended that you tell your family and your trusted friends that you plan to go car camping and where you are staying. It's also a good idea to bring a battery-powered charger to keep your cell phone fully charged so you can be in touch in case anything goes wrong. That said, there are many facilities where you can borrow an external power supply and Wi-Fi at most Carstay stations, making your trip safer and more comfortable!
7. Learn self-defense and combat skills
Last but not the least is making yourself a weapon! I'm saying that you should know the basics of how to protect yourself not only for car camping but also for your daily life, so start training those calves now! I like to visualize the ways to escape an attack and the ways I can make myself stronger.
3 Things to Make Yourself Comfortable
1. Prepare for the cold
Women feel cold easily, so make sure you bring winter clothes and gear! Personally, I like to wear thick socks and pants when I go to bed in winter to keep my lower body warm, as my feet tend to get cold easily. I also bring some heated pads and thermos just in case it does get really cold!
2. Organize your stuff
It can be a real hassle to look through your luggage at night because of the limited lighting. I recommend having some storage pouch bags to organize your stuff. In addition to keeping things orderly, I think you should put those that you might need at night in places that are easily accessible.
3. Stay at a facility with a washroom
Removing makeup, brushing teeth, putting on makeup... hygiene is just more complicated for women. That's why I suggest choosing a parking facility with a washbasin to do all this. Do keep this in mind when you're browsing on Carstay.
The sink at RV Park Miura is really clean.
These are the tips every girl needs to know about car camping. Everyone regardless of sex and gender should be able to enjoy car camping, so be sure to take all necessary precautions before you get behind the wheel! Happy car stay!