Boondockers Welcome is something that we signed up for on the advice of an RVing friend.
Of course, we had heard of the program for a while. But we had not met anyone who had very much experience with it before.
But our friend could not stop praising Boondockers Welcome enough. She had enjoyed many great adventures using their service and was happy to tell anyone who would listen.
Well, if you have followed us through either our website or YouTube channel, you know that we travel a lot. And you also know that we love to find ways to keep our nightly RV camping costs as low as possible.
By using those two programs we are able to keep our nightly camping costs to low single digits. And that is while enjoying full hookups!
But one of the drawbacks of the Thousand Trails system is that there are some areas of the country where their parks are scarce.
So what do you do to be able to travel in those areas and yet still keep nightly camping costs low?
Well, here is where Boondockers Welcome has been a positive addition to our RV camping plans.
So let me explain how it works and what kind of experiences we have had with the program so far.
What Is Boondockers Welcome?
Essentially, Boondockers Welcome is a collection of people who offer their personal property as spots for RV camping.
In many cases, they are RVers themselves and enjoy meeting other travelers who share their passion for RV travel.
So they offer their property as a place where RVers can stay overnight for free. Yes that’s right, FREE!
Most of the time, the stays are only about 1-3 nights at a time. But there are an increasing number of BW hosts who happily allow up to 5 or even more nights.
Of course, in the majority of cases, there are no hookups for these camping stays. That’s why the name includes the term “boondocking”, or dry camping.
However, it’s interesting to note that many hosts are even expanding their hospitality to include some limited hookups as well. For instance, some now offer water and even electric service too.
If they have these kind of amenities, sometimes they may ask for a nominal overnight fee to help cover their costs. But the point is not really to make a profit on the stay.
It’s usually offered simply as another way to make the visit as convenient for the RV camper as possible.
So in many cases, BW is simply RVers helping other RVers find good accommodations as they travel around.
What Kind Of Accommodations?
The sites that are offered through BW can range quite a bit depending on what the host has to provide.
Each host spells out the kind of camping spots that they have to offer on the BW website. They also list whether or not they have any hookups available, and if so, what kind of hookups they are.
So you can view all of the available sites within an area that you may be visiting in your RV travels.
Then as a BW member, you can even make an online reservation just like a regular campground if you choose.
Typically, most sites can be reserved as far out as about 2 months before the stay. But many hosts also mention that they are happy to accommodate last minute arrangements too.
Our Experiences So Far
Up to now, we have stayed at three BW spots and all of them have worked very well for us.
In each case, we were traveling from one area to another and did not have any Thousand Trails parks available for overnight stays.
So BW was a big help for us in these circumstances. And best of all, it helped us keep our nightly camping costs as close to zero as possible.
Now our rig is not a small one. It’s a 40 foot diesel pusher motorhome and we also tow a Honda CRV. So, there are several BW spots that simply don’t have the room for us.
But happily, there are several hosts that can handle a rig our size, and each stay has worked well for us.
In fact, a couple of our overnight RV camping stays were simply amazing. One was on a farm where we enjoyed a beautiful farming scene right outside our door.
The other was a mini campground that a gentleman had made on his property for fellow RVers.
The sites there were incredibly beautiful and large. And we were surrounded by tall pines that also gave us plenty of privacy.
But all of our experiences with the hosts so far have been incredible too. In one case, the host was out camping themselves. So they arranged for family members to help us get set up on their property while they were away.
The other two hosts were exceptionally helpful and attentive too. They greeted us and made sure that we had everything we needed to make our stay enjoyable.
The Pros And Cons Of Boondockers Welcome
So let’s review and see what features we found were positive as we used BW:
- The cost – in many cases 0$ per night. That’s hard to beat.
- They are located all across the country. So you can often find a place to park your RV in areas where almost nothing else is available.
- You get to interact with and get to know other RVers who have a passion for RV travel.
- You can make advance reservations on the BW simple and easy-to-use website.
- There are enough spots to choose from that you can usually find a good spot for almost any kind of rig. But if you have a smaller size RV, you can have your pick of hundreds of places to stay as you travel.
- A Boondockers Welcome membership is only about $50/year at the time this is written. So just a couple of overnight stays pretty much pays for the cost of the membership.
- They are constantly adding new hosts all the time. So a membership in their program will only get more valuable as times goes on.
So what are the cons of BW?
- Probably the only thing I can think of is that you can only limit your stay to 3 – 5 nights in most cases.
We are very happy with our BW membership. In fact, we consider it a valuable addition to our RV camping plans.
And we also plan on using it much more in the years ahead. It won’t be our main method of camping overnight, but it will come in handy when we need it.
We agree with everything our friend told us about the program. It’s something that almost any kind of RVer would benefit from.
So we are happy to spread the word about our positive experiences with Boondockers Welcome.
Have safe and happy travels everyone!