What is Boondocking?
Boondocking is free camping, generally out in the boondocks.
If you know me, you know that I love saving money where I can, and frugal wins really get me excited. A lot about living in an RV can be expensive, especially if you’re moving around a lot, so I was so excited to learn about Boondockers Welcome before we hit the road.
Boondockers Welcome is a service that facilitates communication between RV travelers and hosts who are willing to let them stay on their property for free. They have a website with a nifty search tool that allows you find hosts, read more about them, their accommodations, and their reputation on the platform; and then ultimately request to stay with them. There are a huge variety of host locations on the platform, with varying levels of amenities from just a field to park in to complete RV spaces with full hookups.
Boondocking generally refers to the practice of “dry” camping out on public land with no amenities – and a lot of people really enjoy that experience. BW gives you a kind of hybrid experience – instead of being alone you have a host, and instead of a complete lack of amenities, you may find a variety of hookups and cool features at your host’s property.
Hosts are usually everyday people willing to have you stay at their home/property in your rig (and most of them are other RVers). If you have a nice space where an RV would fit and you’re willing to host, then you can create a hosting profile for free. In order to request a stay, you have to sign up and pay for a guest account, which has an incredibly reasonable annual fee of $25 (and you get a discount if you’re set up as a host).
If you’re an RVer who is interested in the service, feel free to use my referral link to sign up – if you do, I will get a bit of compensation when you subscribe (otherwise, just check out boondockerswelcome.com).
Before our first work destination was decided, while we were still moving east and bumming around this summer, we used Boondockers Welcome to stay with 5 gracious hosts, and we loved the experience. We stayed at some places for only 1 night on our way to another destination, and longer at others. Our longest stay was 4 nights in central Maine with a cool family who actually headed out on an RV trip of their own while we were still camped out in their driveway. All of our hosts have provided us with some form of electric hook up, and many of them offered water, WiFi, and other amenities as well. It was also nice to have a local’s intimate knowledge of the areas we stayed in. Our hosts were all very friendly, and it was great to have people to connect with and get to know while traveling. They all invited us back to stay again, and gave us positive reviews as guests. Phoenix absolutely loves staying with hosts from BW, because he can make new friends, and he is usually allowed to roam a bit and play his favorite fetching game (we call it “kick”) in people’s yards and fields.
Staying at a BW host’s house is a totally different experience from staying at an RV campground or resort. You generally don’t have any neighbors (aside from your host), and most hosts are interested in socializing and getting to know their guests. Not only is staying with a BW host a more intimate, private, and fun experience, but as I mentioned earlier, it is generally free! Some hosts ask for small amounts of money to cover electricity costs (if they are providing a hook up), while others generously offer a completely free stay. Strategically staying with BW hosts during our travels helped keep our “campground fee” spend reasonable while on the move, and we met some great people along the way.
When we have finished with our full-time travels, we definitely plan to offer a host location for others to use – I absolutely love the idea of hosting guests and helping them feel welcome in Northern Colorado.
The platform has consistently grown since we first joined in mid-2018, giving guests more and more options across the country. We just booked another stay, and we are looking forward to our 3 nights with a host outside of Savannah, Georgia on our way south to St Marys at the end of this month!
Thank you to all of our past and future hosts! Would you host travelers and RVers in your driveway?