Is RVing Expensive?
Talk to any full-time RVer and they’ll tell you that RVing full-time can be very expensive or very cheap depending on how you do it.
For many, RVing is a way to cut living expenses to pay off debt, work less, or to afford more travel. One way to reduce your RV living budget is by boondocking. But finding sites for free camping can be difficult and time-consuming.
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What is boondocking?
Boondocking is camping for free, typically without any hookups or services, often on public land.
Advantages to boondocking include:
- It’s FREE
- More space
- Beautiful views
- Closer to nature
- Did we mention its FREE?
Disadvantages of boondocking include:
- No hookups means you are limited to your tank capacity Need alternative power source (generator or solar)
- It can be hard to find spots
- Spots may be far away from activities
Of course, you can always park in the driveway of a friend or family member and take advantage of their utilities, something we like to call “moochdocking”. But you risk over- staying your welcome or awakening the angry HOA gods. Yikes! (Been there, done that!).
Finding Free Camping
Maybe you’ve already decided to save money by boondocking, you’ve purchased your generator or installed solar, and you are ready to go.
Finding free camping spots is tougher than you may think. After all, there’s a lot to consider: the size of your rig and tow vehicle, the accessibility of the site, whether or not you’ll have access to cell service, how far the site is from town, etc, etc, etc.
It’s for this reason that we have found apps and websites that are a huge help in finding free camping anywhere.
FREE apps and sites to find FREE camping
Campendium: This website and app is a MUST for RVers no matter what type of accommodation you are looking for. With options to search for only FREE campsites, reviews from fellow RVers, Campendium is a go-to app for many.
freecampsites.net: While this website feels a little outdated, it has proven it’s worth time and time again. You can use it to search the map where you want to go and view both free and paid sites, marked by green or red icons respectively.
PAID apps and sites to find FREE camping:
This gem of an app is our go-to for just about everything on the road. You can look up not just campsites (free and paid), but also find truck stops and retail locations that allow camping overnight in their parking lots (like Walmart and Cracker Barrel). Each type of service has it’s own icon so you can quickly find what you are looking for.
You can read reviews and even find out if a Walmart does or doesn’t allow overnight parking. You can purchase the app for $9.99 or get a membership to use on your computer for around $30/year (which has a bunch more features!) Do NOT hit the road without Allstays.
Boondockers Welcome is a membership site that allows you to find people who have a spot on their private property where you can park for a night or two. You are not required to pay for these spots, but if any hookups are provided there may be a “suggested gift” to the host to help cover their cost. With hosts all over the country and more being added, you may just find the perfect spot and make new friend in the process!
An annual membership with Boondockers Welcome costs just $30.
Those that use Harvest Hosts rave about their experiences with the program. This membership site costs $79 annually. For this price, you have access to a database of farms, wineries, breweries, and museums that allow you to park on the property for one night. Fans of Harvest Hosts love the unique locations and convenience. When you stay at a Harvest Host site you are expected to patron the host- wine anyone?
So whether you are looking for a place to stop for the night or to stay for a couple of weeks, boondocking can save you a ton of money! While Walmart may be a good option for a quick stop at the end of a long travel day, there are many options available to those looking for a good place to find FREE camping.
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