I’m on the road solo a lot with our two kids and invariably get the question “Aren’t you scared?” or “Do you feel safe?” It’s a good question!
The short answer is no, I’m not afraid, I was a bit chicken in the beginning though.
As far as feeling safe goes, there are a few things I do to make things safer. And, if I ever land in a situation that doesn’t feel quite right I get outta there quick smart!
The longer answer is, there has been a learning curve.
There was a bit of trial and error in the beginning as I figured out the difference between being careful and staying safe and just being plain old paranoid.
There were definately times in the early days when I felt nervous, but the same goes for the first time I drove solo with the kids from Sydney to Noosa. I reckon it’s pretty normal to feel like that when you jump outta your comfort zone, especially when you’re in protective mama mode.
The version of camping and road tripping that I do when I am alone is significantly different to the version I do when my hubby is with us or we are with friends.
Here are a few tips to help you be and feel safe while out there adventuring solo…
Never publicise exactly where you are.
With the amount of social media around these days it’s easy to know exactly where all of your friends are at any one time without actually being in touch with them.
Be careful not to tell the world where you are heading before you get there. When I’m solo I only post pictures/reviews/social media updates about a place after we have left.
Stick to places with phone reception or get a satellite phone.
I haven’t got a satellite phone but it’s on my list of things to consider after missing out on a few awesome free camps because I didn’t feel safe enough to stay the night without access to the phone.
I like to know that if one of the kids gets injured or something dodgy goes down I can call for help.
Tell friends and family when you arrive safely.
This is another reason I like having phone range wherever we stay overnight, I always message my hubby or a friend and let them know our location for the night.
Have access to offline maps maps and emergency apps.
I need to practice what I preach with the map advice here! The reason I mention it now is that I went camping last weekend and ended up losing reception and any idea of where I was going while halfway down a dirt road in the middle of nowhere.
There are a few different products that give you access to maps offline, and there are also a number of apps out there that help you get in touch with emergency services or give you access to first aid advice.
Check out handy apps for road tripping and camping for some options and also online resources to help you plan your next camping trip.
Introduce yourself to the people camped nearest you and ask how long they are staying.
Yes, I am that annoying person who pulls in to a campground, jumps outta the car and sidles up to you to introduce myself.
I always suss out who’s around and then pick someone normal looking, introduce myself and ask how long they are staying. If they are around for the time I want to be there I just let them know that I am solo with the kids and just wanted to make sure there was going to be someone around while we were here.
I find that everyone has been lovely and sort of takes it upon themselves to keep an eye on you.
If it feels weird, it probably is. Hot foot it outta there!
Trust your instincts, if something does’t feel right it probably isn’t right.
Don’t stay anywhere you don’t feel safe. I know it’s a pain but if something feels a bit suss, pack up and get outta there.
Make sure you have roadside assist, plenty of fuel and that your car is regularly serviced.
Whether it’s old, new or borrowed make sure your vehicle is regularly serviced, full of fuel and check the tire pressure before you go. Nothing sucks as much as being stranded on the side of the road with kids.
Also, make sure you have some kind of roadside assist. The last time it happened to me it was unavoidable, some rats chewed through my engine filter! It was hot and I had to pull over to the side of a super busy road.
Thankfully NRMA roadside assist rocked up pretty quickly and got us all out of there. They move pretty quick if you mention that you have small kids with you too.
Carry a first aid kit.
I’ve got your standard pharmacy first aid kid in the back somewhere but to be honest, the one I made for myself is the one that gets all of the use.
There are a couple of things that I always make sure I have on hand for the kids after getting caught out in situations where I really needed it a few times! Some of my must haves are…
- Oral antihistamine
- Tough strips bandaids
- Betadine ointment
- Nail clippers
- Spray for freezing ticks off (I get Tick Tox from Priceline)
Think about how remote you really want to go.
When I’m with friends or my hubby I actively seek out the more remote places. Theres nothing quite like getting right out into the thick of it.
In saying that, one of the compromises I reckon I have to make when it’s just the kids and I is to stay a little closer to civilisation. I still head out bush but I like to be at least a half hour or less to the nearest small town.
This ties in with mobile reception too, the more remote you get the less likely you are going to have reception.
Don’t let yourself be too exposed either.
I know, I’m now going totally against the last paragraph about not being too remote. But, sometimes, the places where you are more exposed can be just as bad, if not worse.
Think truck stops on the side of the highway or rest stops near the town centre where everyone is staggering home from the local at 2am.
Best to avoid those spots as your chances of coming across dodgy people goes way up.
Check the weather before you go.
Mmmm, this old chestnut. I do tend to disregard this advice to myself on the odd occasion. I guess it depends how resilient you are feeling!
When I decided to drive to the Great ocean Road from Sydney recently I left in the midst of a severe weather warning. It was fine, and it makes for a great story but I probably would have had more fun had I waited the weather out! You can read about that particular trip here 🙂
The other thing to keep in mind is that camping with kids in extreme heat really does suck and can be a bit dodgy, so if it’s looking like a heatwave and you are new to this then maybe take a rain check.
Check out handy apps for road tripping and camping for some options to keep you across the weather or any weather warnings that crop up.
Pick yourself up a compression bandage.
Make sure you have a quality compression bandage just in case you do have a tangle with a snake. Which is super unlikely by the way, but best be prepared in case.
If there isn’t one in your existing first aid kit then chuck one in.
Don’t take shortcuts when setting up your camp.
It can be tempting, when you have a couple of kids charging around being annoying, to decide that the fly doesn’t really need that extra peg or that the awning will be fine with the light pegs etc. Don’t do it.
Make sure that everything is set up properly so you don’t have to worry about blowing away in the middle of the night or dealing with some sort of major catastrophe in the form of damaged gear.
Pick the most kid friendly site.
While every childless person there is probably making a beeline for the nearest cliffside site with sweeping valley views, or the one right on the banks of the beautiful fast flowing river, it’s probably best to try and steer clear of any hazards until the kids are a little older.
If you have decided to head to a caravan park then check out how to choose the most kid friendly site at a caravan park for some handy tips in making the right choice.
Don’t be paranoid.
Enjoy yourself. You have done everything you need to do to be safe. It’s probably more dangerous walking down the main street on a Monday morning, you will be fine! Have fun!!
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