Personal safety is always important, especially in these days of heightened security awareness. For those of us who travel by RV, it’s imperative to always be aware of our surroundings in order to keep ourselves and our property as safe as possible. This starts with where you choose to park your rig at night.
- If you are staying at an RV park, be it private or public, be sure to take a look around and talk to staff and residents to get a feel for the level of security.
- If you are staying at a rest stop, parking lot, or other roadside area, be especially vigilant. Be sure to stay in a lit area away from wooded areas or other locations that might conceal the criminal element.
- Rest areas are generally safe if you nest yourself amongst the big-rigs. I used to be an over-the-road trucker in my youth, so I am used to the idling of diesel engines and refrigeration units, but you may not be. Although parking for the night in the company of tractor-trailers keeps you pretty safe, it can also keep you awake if you are not used to it.
- Make sure you lock all doors and storage compartments and turn on your porch light. If you have “scare” lights on your rig, turn them on. “Scare” lights are the large round lights mounted high on the sidewall of most large motorhomes and fifth-wheels.
- Be aware of neighboring business and homes that may be able to assist you in an emergency.
- Always carry a cellular and/or satellite phone and try to stay in areas of strong coverage.
- Be cautious but not paranoid, and always perform the “gut check”. If you don’t feel right about staying in a particular place, go somewhere else.
- Even if you are not into gambling, casino parking lots are great places to camp for the night. They tend to have 24hr. security and are either free or very inexpensive. I have stayed in casino lots or RV parks and have found them to be clean, safe, and affordable. As an added bonus, they usually have great buffets and other eating choices.
- Staying overnight in mall parking lots is usually not permitted by law, so I don’t recommend this unless you want to get a knock on your rig door in the middle of the night from police or security.
- The obvious exception to this is WalMart. Overnight parking regulations are made by jurisdiction, so be sure to ask the store manager if it’s okay to stay the night. Look for other RVers doing the same and stay close to them.
Never leave your RV alone in an unsecured or unprotected area. RVing is a great way of life, but it can be ruined by theft, vandalism, or personal threats. Stay safe out there!