Something interesting—and quite surprising—happened as I began to prepare the posts on the pros and cons of solo RV travel. Often, I start a post with a brain dump. Basically I write a list of ideas that might fit into the post. In a post like this, where it is literally a list, the brain dump actually becomes the bones of the post. As I created a list of pros and cons of solo RV travel, I found so many more cons than pros.

Like I said, interesting and super surprising. In fact, I came up with four cons for every pro. It certainly gave me pause.

There is enough to say about both lists but today will be the cons. Come back next week and I’ll share the pros.

The Cons

In a nutshell…

One of the reasons I haven’t done this list sooner is I felt it’s such an obvious list. Plus, turns out, it really isn’t much different from living a sticks-and-bricks life as a single person. In a nutshell, the solo traveler bears the brunt of everything—the responsibility, the finances, the doubt and fear, the dreaded maintenance. And so on. In a smaller nutshell, the cons are simply wrapped up in the definition of solo: alone. (Though not to be confused with lonely.)

I found the cons fit into two general categories: the practical cons and the emotional ones.

The Practical Cons

As a solo RVer, I drive and I navigate. The top of my cons list is that one person is required to do two jobs when it comes to driving. Oh, how nice it would be to focus on a single task. To only be the driver. To only be the navigator. And the fact (at least for me) is I cannot really do the two jobs at once.

Since we don’t go anywhere unless I drive, the con is that as a solo RVer, there is No Navigator.

I use the word in the most liberal sense, not merely someone to say, “Turn right at the next street.” Although having someone to say, “Turn right at the next street,” would be lovely. The picture in my mind of a navigator looks something like this:

  • Determine the best place to stop for gas. There is an app called Gas Buddy that RVers rave about. The crowd-sourced tool finds the best price on gas in an area. I’m not a good multi-tasker so looking through my phone while driving is not an option. Not to mention, it’s dangerous and illegal in many states. So when the tank reads low, I pull over and fill up. Then kick myself when, five minutes down the road, I see gas for 10 cents less per gallon.Photo by Julie Johnson on Unsplash
  • I love those welcome to this state, this county, this town signs. Very few—almost none-have a place to pull off to snap a picture. And if they do, you don’t know it’s coming up so in a heavy rig you don’t have distance and time to pull off. On highways, it seems especially dangerous to pull off anyway. It means I miss a lot of images I’d love to capture. A navigator could easily snap a photo as we drove by welcome signs and other cool things out the passenger window.
  • And then there are the little tasks a navigator could do: change a CD in the dark, open a bag of sunflower seeds and grab the cat when she decides to walk across the dash. You get the idea.

No cost sharing is a con to be sure. The price for campground fees, gas, vehicle and rig maintenance and insurance remain the same whether there are one or two travelers. Though food and entertainment costs are more with two people. In other words, two people do not double the cost of full-time travel. Maybe it’s 30 percent more. If you then assume the income/savings doubles with two people, the travel fund would last a lot longer.

The Emotional Cons

Photo by Nonsap Visuals on Unsplash

A second set of eyes can be so helpful in RV life.

As a newbie RVer, I struggle with the things most newbies struggle with. How nice it would be to share the struggle, to have another mind to bounce ideas off of and to seek solutions with. It would be so convenient to have a person to jump out of the van and serve as a guide when maneuvering the rig. How much faster and easier it would be to have another person during the process of hooking up, unhooking, backing up and pulling out.

Photo by Chetan Hireholi on Unsplash

Eating alone is the one thing that can make me feel lonely.

It’s a con that a solo RVer doesn’t have the benefit of another set of eyes. This con is practical, but when stress is high it is very much an emotional one as well.

You’ll see in the pros of solo travel next week that I love going on adventures alone. For some reason, I don’t feel the same about eating out. I do not enjoy eating alone in a restaurant. When I research an area, I rarely look at restaurant recommendations.

Now on the financial side, this is awesome. I’ve heard RVers say eating out is one of their hardest spending habits to reign in. At the beginning of RV life, they eat out like they are on vacation which is neither good for the bank account or the waist line. I don’t have that problem. Still, on occasion and as a nice change, it would be a treat to have a meal with another person in a unique or highly-recommended restaurant in an area.


I never hiked alone until I got a dog. I know a dog–especially a lovable goofy Lab like mine–provides a false sense of security. My brain knows this. But my body relaxes when I hike with the pup. I feel safer. Maybe because it doesn’t feel like hiking alone.

The first time Solstice and I went on a hike without another human, I felt a little trepidation. Firsts always do that to me. No matter what I’m doing. But after that I was fine. I loved not limiting myself to finding an available friend to come along. I could go when I wanted and for as far or as short as I wanted.

Photo by Elijah Hiett on Unsplash

No one to turn to and say, “Look.” It’s a definite con of solo travel.

You can imagine an Alaska hike. It is as stunning as you can imagine. But, while I loved the freedom of going alone, I would often find myself wishing another person was around for the simple pleasure of pointing and saying, “Look.” Do you see what I see?

There is something about sharing an amazing view or an amazing experience that makes it more. Richer. Fuller. It validates the experience somehow when it is shared.

I tried turning to Solstice and saying, “Look.” But it’s just not the same. Besides, the only time she would care is when we happened upon a blueberry or raspberry bush. That was a “look” she loved because she knew we were about to share a snack.

Again and again, I’ve felt the same let down—lack of validation—on the road. It’s almost like a sense of loss. I have thought a lot about the reason for this. Been thinking about it for almost a decade now. I’m not sure I know the reason.

The only thing I’ve come up with is that maybe asking, “Do you see that?” is just a masked way of asking, “Do you see me?”

What are your thoughts on the Cons of Solo Travel? Can you offer any insight into the need we have to say, “Look,” to another human being?


To see products recently purchased by readers or to browse and shop at Amazon, follow either of these links. Huge thanks for your support.