When traveling full-time in a campervan or an RV, campground costs can really add up. If you’re paying about $30 per night for a campsite, that’s $900 per month! That’s a lot of money if you’re trying to RV on a budget.
That’s why it’s important to explore free camping opportunities like Boondockers Welcome.
Boondocking, or dry camping, is when you park your RV without hookups. Usually, boondocking is free, and you can do it in a variety of spots. Many folks try camping for the night at Walmart, casinos, public lands or rest stops.
But there is another way! Boondockers Welcome is an online network of homeowners who provide free camping. All you have to do is pay the annual fee, which is as much as one night at a campground, to get access to these sites.
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 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 1,700 hosts and is growing fast! There’s a strong likelihood you’ll be able to find a campsite somewhere along your RVing route. A quick glance at the map shows hosts all over North America and Europe.
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 does Boondockers Welcome work?
Signing up for Boondockers Welcome 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.
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.
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 $30 for a year, or $75 for three years. Imagine how much you’ll save avoiding those RV campgrounds.
How to book a free 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 scrrenshot. 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 grill or bring your dog. This all depends on the homeowners’ comfort level and neighborhood.
Be sure to look at the Suitability and Amenities area to make sure the property is a good fit for your RV or van.
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.
The site is also not meant for tent camping or sleeping in your car. If you plan on reclining your chair in your SUV, this service is not for you.
Remember, your RV or campervan must be self-contained.
Conclusion on Boondockers Welcome
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!
Check out these related stories:
Want to find FREE camping?
Download my FREE boondocking starter guide right now: