Updated: Nov 20, 2021
When it comes to RV living and traveling, safety is always a concern as you explore new and unfamiliar territory. Is the area safe? Safety for you and your family is a legitimate fear and a topic that comes up often. When it comes to traveling and safety, there are definitely areas that you want to do your research on before venturing into. We just recently visited Chicago and had a great time as a family in the windy city. Here are some tips for staying safe while traveling.
Do your homework when it comes to traveling to big cities. Know the parts of town that are safe and meant for tourists and families and be familiar with the “unfriendly” parts of town. Usually not EVERY part of a city is unsafe. Know where those boundaries are and stick to those areas. Having a plan and being educated is the best place to start and will give you a peace of mind.
2) Find a Buddy
There are many times while traveling you will find yourselves parking in a Walmart, Cabela’s, Rest Stop, or some kind of overnight parking area. We do this quite often and in Chicago and others cities you can find parking lots that will let you stay within the city. We “camped” at the Chicago McCormick Place Marshalling Yard downtown.
Usually while camping, you want your space and privacy. When it comes to overnight parking, we find it more comforting to be the opposite. Try and find another RV or semi truck and pull up next to them. We never like to park alone in these situations and being in a pack tends to be a safer environment. Here in the south, we would use the expression stick to them like a hair on a biscuit. Safety is in numbers.
3) Read Reviews
As part of your research, read the reviews. Before we made the decision to try out the Marshalling Yard in Chicago or even an overnight stay in a Walmart, it is always good to read the reviews of the campers before you. Take advantage of this advice and recommendations from others. The All Stays app is good for letting you know if an area is quiet, secure, and allows overnight parking. We find this helpful in our research. Also, RV Park Reviews is a great place to learn more about a campground and the area. After reading many reviews of pioneers before us who had stayed at the McCormick Place Marshalling Yard, we felt comfortable with this option.
4) Book Lightly
If you are ever unsure of an area and the availability allows it, start with a night or two reservation and add on later. We do this tatic often if the security is a question of ours. When we pulled into the Marshalling yard, we were welcomed with security gates, guards, and patrollers. We noticed there was plenty of parking space and even though we knew we were planning on staying multiple days in the area, we booked two nights to give it a try. That way if we felt unsafe, it got too noisy, or whatever our concern, we would not be out the money of abandoning a reservation.
In this instance, as mentioned above, there was plenty of security and other RVers and we never felt unsafe. It was a noisy area, but nothing a fan or some ear plugs couldn’t muffle out. Although we both could not wear earplugs because at least one of us needed to hear in case of an emergency or our daughter needed something, someone has to take one for the team. Thanks Nathan!
The good thing about being mobile and having your home on wheels is you can always LEAVE! If you ever feel unsafe don’t risk it, just move on. We can only think of one time where we felt like something was “off” and we needed to leave. It was just a bad feeling and would have “probably” been fine, but we didn’t want to chance it. If you ever question a situation it is not worth it and you can always pack up and leave. This is not the norm and in over two years is the only time we have left an area, but it is a good peace of mind that leaving is ALWAYS an option for your home on wheels.
When it comes to traveling and safety, listen to your gut, do your research, and have a plan. Life on the road is an amazing experience. Don’t let the fear of the unknown keep your from living your dream. Fear can be eliminated by becoming educated and using the right precautions to stay safe and protected.