As fresh and exciting as it can be, van life brings with it a whole new set of challenges and safety concerns.
Life on the road typically involves regularly traveling to different locations — national parks, campgrounds, RV parks, etc. — which requires a much higher level of situational awareness than living at home.
But when you know what to look for and the steps to take to ensure your safety, you can enjoy your free-spirited lifestyle with peace of mind.
Below, you’ll find a list of critical safety and security measures that you can take on the road to protect your valuables, your travel partners, and yourself.
So, without further ado, let’s hit the road!
1. Trust Your Instincts
Learning to trust your instincts is the first and most important part of ensuring your personal safety on the road.
Chances are, if you don’t feel safe, you probably aren’t…
And that’s where being aware of your surroundings comes in. When you stop in a new city, campground, or other travel destination, make sure it’s well-kept, well-lit, and well-populated.
But even if it checks all those boxes, that still doesn’t mean it’s entirely safe. The area could look perfectly fine, but if that voice in the back of your head speaks up, it’s best to play it safe and listen to it.
Think about it this way:
If you don’t think you’ll be able to sleep soundly there, keep driving until you find a spot you can be comfortable in.
2. Invest in a Safe
If you’re living the van life, you’ll need a safe space to keep your passport, cash, important paperwork, and other valuables…
And what better place to put them than in a safe?
Safes are a must-have for anyone living on the road because when your whole life is in the car with you, you have a lot more to lose.
When shopping for a safe, portable models are a great option, but floor-mounted ones are ideal because they prevent potential thieves from walking away with your safe.
3. Set Up for the Night Before Sundown
The less light you have, the less you’re able to survey your surroundings.
The last thing you want to do is try to find a place to stay without any way of making sure the area is safe.
So, whenever you have a destination in mind, make plans to get there and set up for the night before the sun goes down.
4. Keep the Driver’s Area Clear of Clutter
The next few tips all have to do with one thing: Making it as easy as possible to leave somewhere.
First, make sure your driver’s seat and cabin area are clean, so you can hop in and make a quick getaway if needed.
If you have to leave immediately, there’s no time to remove trash, clothes, or other items out of your way.
5. Designate a Spot for Your Keys
Following the same theme, you never want to have to ask, “Where are the keys?” in an emergency.
Pick a spot where you and your travel companions can leave the keys every time you’re not using them, so they never get lost.
It could be the driver’s side cup holder, the glove compartment, or a wall-mounted hook near the driver’s seat to make easy access possible.
6. Park Facing the Way Out
In a rush, you don’t want to have to worry about backing out.
When you set up camp for the night, point your car towards the nearest exit. That way, all you have to do is get in and drive.
7. Make Sure You Have Roadside Assistance
Even if you’re a mechanic, there are some things you just can’t fix on the road…
And when you spend your life out there, having roadside assistance is the perfect insurance for when the unexpected happens.
Most car insurance providers have some form of roadside assistance, but their coverage may not accommodate your lifestyle. On the other hand, companies like Good Sam Roadside Assistance offer plans for cars, RVs, and more.
Do your research and make sure you’ll have assistance in the event of a flat tire, breakdown, or other roadtrip mishaps.
8. Invest in Extra Security Equipment
Most vehicles come with their own locks and alarm systems, but when your entire life is in the back of your car, it may provide peace of mind to take some extra precautions.
Investing in other safety measures like inside cameras, additional door locks, pepper spray, and motion sensor lights can add that extra layer of security you need to feel safe on the road.
9. Download the Rescu GPS Alert App
When you’re in an unfamiliar area, describing your surroundings to a 911 dispatcher isn’t easy — especially if you’re under extreme stress.
It’s much faster to simply skip all the questions and communicate your location to the authorities directly.
Unfortunately, however, the 911 service hasn’t caught up with the modern technology available today.
But with the Rescu mobile emergency alert system, you can do just that — in two taps.
Simply select the nature of your emergency (fire, police, or medical emergency) and tap Send Alert. The app will send your coordinates to the local emergency services and dispatch help instantly.
It’ll also immediately send a message to all your emergency contacts, letting them know that you’ve alerted the authorities.
Plus, if you have a semi-permanent address you like to park at, you can enter it into the app. Then, in an emergency, you can select that address and dispatch responders there right away, without ever having to talk on the phone.
If you’re accustomed to staying at national parks and campgrounds, you know that park rangers and local police aren’t always around. With the Rescu app, you’ll have a fast, easy, and dependable way to report any suspicious activity or crimes that happen in your area.
Combined with the other tips on this list, Rescu will help you create a level of safety that lets you focus on what matters most: Your adventures on the road!
Click below to download the Rescu GPS emergency alert app today for just $10 a month.