Sisterhood of the Traveling Vans
It has been three months since I transitioned to full-time van life and I have had several opportunities to meet up with many Winnebago van owners, including at events like Winnebago's Grand National Rally. At these meetups, I have noticed that I was surrounded by many other single women travelers which has been amazing. I became curious about what seemed to be a very high number of solo women in Class B vans vs. the number of single men I was meeting along the way.
My Van Life Journey
My own van journey started when my job, which used to require frequent air travel, transitioned to a role that primarily left me working from home full-time. I missed the opportunities I had previously had to explore the world. I had what some might call 'itchy feet.' This led me to research various RV options and eventually I decided on a Class B as the right fit for me.
After being a part-time RVer for two years (traveling about 50% of the time), I decided to take the leap to full-time life. Within a matter of months, I sold my house in Denver, rented a small storage unit as a back- up plan, and hit the road. I also upgraded from a 2018 Travato K to a 2020 Travato KL with the Lithium system (read more about Travato here).
Solo Women RVers
During my van travels, I have been intrigued by just how many other single women are joining the #vanlife movement and wanted to learn more about this phenomenon and my fellow female travelers.
At the recent Winnie B Rally at South Beach State Park in Newport, OR, I had the opportunity again to meet several solo women van travelers. Of the 33 vans attending the rally, 12 of these were owned by solo women. I decided to pick their brains about how they ended up traveling solo in a Winnebago van.
What drew these women to a Class B?
- Ease of Handling: A van like a Travato is just shy of 21 feet which means it fits into most parking places. So, when you encounter those 'No RVs Permitted' signs you can decide you are a van rather than an RV (haha).
- Safety: Several women mentioned that they appreciated the ability to be able to drive away with nothing to hook up or slide in. They can easily leave any situation where they might not feel comfortable. Which is great peace of mind, especially to solo females.
- HOA Guidelines: The length of the vehicle, as well as its somewhat stealth appearance, allows many owners with a home base to stay within their HOA guidelines.
What drew them specifically to a Winnebago Class B?
- Floorplans: Winnebago's unique floorplans were a big driving point. A Travato-owner named Carole mentioned that she loves the G floorplan which allows her to more easily bring along her kayak inside instead of having to haul it onto the roof. Since she made her purchase, four others from her kayak club have followed suit!
- Quality: When comparing the build caliber of Winnebago to others offering class Bs, they said they saw the value when comparing the price and quality options.
- Reputation: The women I talked to said they did a lot of online research when choosing their RV. Many of them mentioned the reviews, online reputation, and longevity of Winnebago as major factors when making their final decision.
- Facebook groups: Many of the women stumbled across Facebook groups like Travato Owners and Wannabees which are a great space to read feedback from current owners, review both what people like and don't like about their RV, and get help with any issues they might face while RVing.
The Best Part of Travato Life (For Me)
My personal favorite part of owning a Travato has been the built-in technical support network. As part of the #TravatoNation through the Travato Owners and Wannabees Facebook Group, I have instant access to help around the clock. The support from this community was also one of the main points that the women I talked to came back to again and again. This group is a wealth of knowledge on any obstacles you might face -- especially when you are traveling alone.
The built-in social network has been another critical element in my enjoyment of the van. When you transition to full-time RVing you can begin to lose contact with friends who you may have previously seen on a regular basis. Through the Travato group as well as The Winnie Bs (Winnebago's Class B Social Club), I have expanded my network significantly and found many other like-minded travelers. I know so many other travelers now (many of them also solo females) and have met up with many of them, so that helps to avoid any loneliness I might feel when traveling alone.
If you want to learn more about solo van travelers and connect with others like you, consider following these hashtags: #solofemalevanlife or #solofemaletravel on Instagram. Cheers!