When traveling full-time in an RV, campground costs can really add up. If you’re paying $30-75 per night for a campsite, that’s $900-$2,250 per month!
That’s a lot of money if you’re trying to RV on a budget.
Boondockers Welcome is a platform that helps you find cheap RV camping. The site connects RVers with homeowners who host campers on their property.
You pay an annual fee, which is as much as one night in some campgrounds, to have access to thousands of private campsites all over the United States.
In this post, we’re going to tell you how Boondockers Welcome works, how to find campsites and guest rules.
What is Boondockers Welcome?
Boondockers Welcome is an online portal that connects homeowners with RVers. Homeowners who would like to host RVs sign up online to offer their driveway or property for cheap RV camping.
Boondockers Welcome is a site for RVers made by RVers.
According to the website, “Boondockers Welcome is a venue where RVers can connect and welcome each other to camp on their property, with no expectations of being paid in anything more than gratitude and a pay-it-forward spirit.”
Plus, a self-contained RV is easy to host! There’s no making the bed or cleaning the bathroom afterward. RVs make the best guests.
So far, Boondockers Welcome has over 2,500 hosts and is growing fast!
There’s a strong likelihood you’ll be able to find a cheap RV campsite somewhere along your RVing route. A quick glance at the map shows hosts all over the world!
You might wonder why people would allow RVers to park on their property for free.
The truth is, there is a lot in it for the homeowner.
They meet new people, learn about RVing, and get discounts to use Boondockers Welcome. If a homeowner runs a store or has a business, it’s an opportunity to sell products to an RVer.
Many homeowners say they’ve met lifelong friends by hosting RVers through Boondockers Welcome. So, it’s a win-win situation for both parties.
How to Sign Up For Boondockers Welcome for Cheap RV Camping
Signing up for Boondockers Welcome to get access to cheap RV camping on private property is easy, but you must have a self-contained RV.
That means you can do everything inside your RV such as cooking, using the bathroom, etcetera. An RV toilet and holding tank is a must. You also must have a grey water tank.
To buy or activate guest privileges, you must confirm you have a self-contained RV.
You can use this service if you have a campervan or a custom build. Boondockers Welcome may ask to see interior photos to make sure your rig is self-contained.
It’s also highly recommended that you show pictures of your campervan’s interior so the hosts know you are self-contained.
Once you have guest privileges, you have unlimited stays on private property. Some RVers have used this website to camp their way across the United States!
Boondockers Welcome is incredibly affordable. It’s just $50 for a year! Imagine how much you’ll save with cheap RV camping rather than staying at those expensive RV campgrounds.
How to book an RV campsite with Boondockers Welcome
To find a campsite, all you need to do is use the Search Hosts function on Boondockers Welcome, as seen in the above screenshot. You can sort results based on date, location, number of nights and RV length.
Keep in mind some homeowners cannot accommodate long RVs. Make sure your RV fits the property before sending a message to the host.
When searching hosts, you can see what amenities they offer, like hookups or WiFi. Some homeowners don’t mind if you set up lawn chairs, use an outdoor RV grill or bring your dog. This all depends on the homeowners’ comfort level and neighborhood.
TIP: Some homeowners will offer you RV hookups, like electricity and water. If so, they may also charge you to use these resources. It’s up to you whether to accept or decline.
General Etiquette for RVers using Boondockers Welcome
When you’re camping in someone’s driveway or elsewhere on their property, remember to be kind and courteous.
If the homeowner’s profile says not to use a generator, then don’t!
It’s important to be respectful of the property owner’s wishes, as they are letting you stay for free.
Homeowners won’t ask you to pay for your campsite. If you want to show support, leave them an awesome review on Boondockers Welcome if you enjoyed your stay.
If they have a small store or business, you could purchase something to show your support and give thanks.
Boondockers Welcome is not meant to host RVers who are looking for jobs or moving to the area permanently. It’s meant as a means for traveling RVers to find free campsites along their route.
Most hosts expect you to be on their property for 1-3 nights. Don’t overstay your welcome when using Boondockers Welcome!
Remember, your RV or campervan must be self-contained.
What RVers and Hosts are Saying
A lot of RVers love using Boondockers Welcome to find cheap RV campsites. Here are just a few testimonials from people who loved the service and from hosts who love RVers:
“Just wanted to thank Boondockers Welcome! My wife has severe Alzheimer’s as such I’m pretty tied to our house/hill. We are in a rural location and don’t get many visitors. Now with BW I get to interact with the nicest people sharing my hill and my passions (astronomy & motorcycles). BW has really helped my mental health so thanks again.”
-A Boondockers Welcome Host
“In the beginning the motivation for joining was economical but we quickly found out that meeting our amazing hosts and other guests was a far greater motivation. We have stayed at some amazing places and met some amazing guests.
In the end, I heartily recommend that all Boondockers join BW. It’s an amazing organization, serves a very worthwhile purpose and allows you to meet others with similar interests to you.” – member
-“Larry and Rose Ann”
“We have stayed in state parks, public type land, RV parks, and with Boondockers Welcome sites.
By far, we prefer the stay at Boondockers Welcome. We meet many like-minded wonderful folks. You often stay at awesome sites in farms and private property that are the nicest in the country, in my opinion. We can’t image traveling any other way.”
Conclusion on Using Boondockers Welcome for Cheap RV Camping
Boondockers Welcome makes finding a free RV campsite easy. You don’t have to scroll through endless apps to find BLM land for boondocking.
Plus, you can avoid the noise and crowds of Walmarts, rest stops, casinos or other big box stores.
Not only can you camp for free on people’s private property, but you’ll also make new friends!
Often, homeowners are social and want to meet fellow RVers. You never know – you might all end up sitting around a campfire in a cozy backyard, sharing RV stories.
If you’re on an extended camping trip in your campervan or RV, campsite costs can really add up. Boondockers Welcome makes a long-term trip much more affordable and pleasant.
Enjoy your boondocking!
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Kristin Hanes is a journalist who founded The Wayward Home as a place to learn about alternative living. She currently lives on a sailboat and in a Chevy Astro van, and has written articles about alternative living published in Good Housekeeping, Business Insider, Marie Claire and SF Gate. Read more about Kristin here.