RVing is one of the very best ways to travel. You get all the fun perks of road tripping, plus all the cozy comforts of home.
But unfortunately, RVs can be pretty susceptible to break-ins. And since thieves know you’ve brought your life along for the ride, you could become an attractive target.
10 Tips for RV Safety
(Psst: Lots of these are applicable at home, too!)
1. Be aware of your surroundings.
Your very first line of defense is your own power of observation.
No matter where you are, keep your eyes and ears open and be on the lookout for suspicious-looking activity. When in doubt, pack up and leave, or at least go inside and lock your doors. Your instincts are probably better than you think they are — and even if you’re wrong, you’re better off safe than sorry, especially since you probably already have everything you need inside your rig!
2. Plan your trip up front.
Being spontaneous while traveling is fun, but it does carry risks. You might arrive at your hastily-chosen destination only to discover there are no campgrounds with vacancies, for instance. And while dry camping in a parking lot is doable, it makes you more vulnerable to theft and burglary — or just simple inconvenience, should someone decide you need to move.
Planning ahead of time, even if only a couple of days, gives you the chance to research and book a spot at a park or campground at your destination. You’ll also be able to look up the area’s good and bad neighborhoods and crime rates.
3. Keep it lit.
You know what I mean.
If you’re parking overnight or dry camping outside of a designated campground, choose a well-lit area. Travel plazas that allow overnight parking are ideal. You want as many other RVs around as possible, so you don’t stick out like a sore thumb (or a giant arrow to thieves saying, “Good stuff in here.”) Walmart parking lots work in a pinch, though keep in mind that some locations specifically disallow RV boondocking. You could also try casinos, schools and churches, or even a local police station if you find yourself in need of rest with nowhere else to go.
And if you’re setting up camp, break out that cute string of paper lanterns for your awning. They’re functional as well as decorative!
4. Keep emergency numbers handy.
Let’s be honest: most important phone numbers — like your doctor’s office, pet- or babysitter’s — are probably already programmed into your cell phone.
But make sure to pick up any destination-specific phone numbers, like the campground’s front office or security team, and keep them somewhere close at hand.
5. Be friendly.
One of the best ways to keep yourself safe from bad guys is to be a good guy.
Introduce yourself and make friends with the other campers around you, and make sure the campground’s administrative folks know your face. That way, if you leave for the day, your rig will be surrounded by people who actually know and care about you — and who might be more likely to take a glance from time to time to ensure everything’s as it should be.
6. Lock your doors.
This seems obvious… but make sure you lock ALL of them.
I once found myself locked myself out of my motorhome and was unsure what to do until I discovered that the smaller, less-conspicuous driver’s side was unlocked — and apparently had been for longer than I could remember. Thinking about how many nights I slept alone inside with a wide-open door certainly gave me a shiver or two!
7. Lower your blinds.
When you’re inside your motorhome, feel free to enjoy the view — but when it’s time for adventure (or bed), make sure to lower your blinds.
There’s no need to advertise how nice and burglary-worthy your RV’s interior is.
8. Leave your valuables at home, or at least hide them well.
Your outfit for dinner will look fine without precious jewelry. And if you don’t actually really need your expensive electronic gadgets while you’re on vacation, decrease your risk of having them stolen by leaving them at home. (Bonus? You won’t be tempted to spend time in front of a screen instead of exploring a new place!)
But if you work remotely — or if your RV is your full-time home — it might be impossible for you to forego bringing your valuables. Use common sense and avoid storing your expensive stuff in spots visible through your open windows, and secure them when you leave your rig for the day. Many creative hiding spots translate well to RV living, or you could consider buying yourself a safe. (Just make sure to have it professionally installed… otherwise, it’s basically like gift-wrapping your goodies for a thief!)
9. Get roadside assistance, or make sure your RV is on your existing plan.
I can’t tell you how many times my AAA membership has saved my butt. I’m not an unsafe driver, but it’s the road, and stuff happens — and it’s pretty great to know help is on the way when your battery dies or you discover a nail in your tire.
Although price varies by market, you can usually get a year-long membership, even at the upgraded tier including recreational vehicles, for less than $200. And if you’ve ever needed to hire a private tow truck, you know just how good a deal that really is.
10. Consider upgrading your insurance.
You’re already required by law to have collision and liability insurance on your RV, so work with your plan provider to see whether it would be worthwhile to upgrade your policy. Some plans cover loss or theft of the motorhome’s contents, kind of like renter’s insurance. You may also need an upgraded policy to ensure coverage of vehicular peripherals, like your awning.
Stay safe out there!