Earlier this year, TripAdvisor released findings from its global Women’s Travel Survey that revealed that as many as 81 per cent of Australian women were planning to travel solo in 2015.
Lyn Rees, the president of one of the largest social and support groups for RV ‘singles’, the Solos’ Network run by the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia, says this trend is reflected in the club’s membership growth in recent years.
“At the moment we’ve got between 700 and 800 members (of the Solo’s Network),” Rees says. “I would say it has grown probably at least 30 per cent (over the past five years).”
She cites various reasons for this, including ill-health or separation causing a break-up of existing RV ‘couples’, as well as more single women like herself finding the RV lifestyle an increasingly attractive alternative due to rising domestic living costs and the security and comfort offered by modern recreation vehicles.
She says around half the members are either new to the RV lifestyle or are existing solo travellers that decide to join the group.
Some are forced to travel alone because partners don’t want to come along, while others like herself, decide to live on the road full-time.
Rees has travelled and lived in a Toyota Hiace campervan and currently a Mazda-based Winnebago motorhome for the past four years.
She initially rented out her home but later sold it, and now relies on free camping and the hospitality of other solo travellers as well as her two daughters to stretch her savings.
She says one downside of solo travel is having to pay the full overnight rate at caravan parks.
“I do go to caravan parks sometimes but as a solo traveller we tend to get charged the same amount of money (as couples). You don’t get a discount for one person.
“If they changed that and did a (reduced) rate for a solo traveller I would go to caravan parks more.
“I never thought I’d be doing this,” she explains. “I just made up my mind one day… I’m working seven days a week and I was by myself… it’s the best thing I ever did, it’s an amazing lifestyle.
“I must admit I don’t miss the home.”
The national marketing manager of Sunliner Motorhomes, Candice Brittain, says the Melbourne manufacturer has also noticed more solo travellers purchasing Sunliner campervans and motorhomes, particularly women.
“We are definitely seeing more single women than we are single men,” Brittain says.
“There seems to be a growth in women who want to travel and motorhomes are a safer option than caravanning, as if there are any security issues they can simply jump in the driver’s seat and drive away.”
Also driving growth is the rise of ‘glamping’ social media sites aimed specifically at females and more general informational sites for solo travellers.
However, she believes there’s a need for the RV industry to educate the new breed of female buyers, many of which have never used an RV before.
This article was first published on caravancampingsales.com.au.