Boondockers Welcome is an amazing RVer membership that goes beyond providing overnight parking for travelers. We joined Boondockers Welcome back in 2017 and have zero regrets. Not only is it affordable, but it is easy to use and a great way to see the country on a budget.
Find out how Boondockers Welcome connects landowners and RVers and what you can expect from this one-of-a-kind membership.
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Why is Boondockers Welcome a Thing?
Marianne Edwards and her husband boondocked a lot and they would meet other RVers during their 15+ years of RV travels.
They found themselves inviting these RVers to stay on their property…and those same RVers would then invite Marianne and her husband to also stay with them.
After years of this, Marianne and her daughter Anna created Boondockers Welcome in the hopes of creating a network and community of like-minded RVers. It would be a place where RVers could meet, exchange information, and provide one another a place to stay.
Boondockers Welcome has since grown and is now owned by the same folks that own Harvest Hosts. According to the Harvest Hosts website: “We’re a network of wineries, breweries and distilleries, farms and attractions that invite RVers to visit and stay overnight with no camping fees!”.
How Much is a Boondockers Welcome Membership?
A yearly membership for Boondockers Welcome guests is only $50. Once you have a membership, you don’t have to pay your hosts for your stay.
However, if you find yourself staying with someone offering water and electricity, it is courteous to offer to pay a nominal fee for your water and electrical use. Some hosts will ask for an extra $5-$10 for electricity, but you will know this ahead of time and decide on another host or just go and not use the electricity.
There are very few, if any, yearly memberships that are so inexpensive and that have no additional fees. This is a really great opportunity for anyone that is RVing on a budget.
Depending on your RV lifestyle, you may be able to RV full time and pay only $50 per year for your RV site!!
Where are Boondockers Welcome Hosts Located?
There are Boondockers Welcome locations throughout the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, and a handful of other countries. You can search host locations (before purchasing a membership) by clicking here.
Once you start RV camping, you will find out that low-cost RV campsites are not always easy to find. This is especially true in urban areas. Boondockers Welcome helps RVers find legal boondocking opportunities in the middle of the city. Don’t worry, if rural is more your speed, you will find plenty of Boondockers Welcome hosts too.
Is Boondockers Welcome Safe?
If you are new to boondocking, this is a safe and fantastic way to get started.
You are staying on your host’s private property. If you run into any emergencies, you have nearby help.
Hosts with Boondockers Welcome are locals, they know the area and they can help you find recommended places to visit and where to get any needed items (groceries, fuel, doctors, etc.).
With Boondockers Welcome, you don’t have to worry about staying in parking lots or rest areas. I’m not saying Walmart isn’t a safe place to overnight, but staying at someone’s house or on their land, someone you have chatted with and feel comfortable with always feels safer.
What Kind of People Host Boondockers?
Many, but not all hosts, are RVers themselves. One thing is for sure though, Boondockers Welcome Hosts are nice people that want to provide a safe and inexpensive way for RVers to rest on their travels.
We have been able to get to know other RVers and to make new friends using this membership. Our hosts became more than random people that let us park on their property.
We have made friends in Virginia, New York, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Maine.
Boondockers Welcome simply gives you a safe place to park with welcoming folks. It reminded us of the good that is out there and proved that the RV community is warm and welcoming. It’s wonderful to feel such camaraderie and love when you are so far from home.
We don’t want everyone to think that they will develop friendships with their hosts. Not all hosts want to socialize with their boondockers. We have been hosted by folks that provided a spot for us to park and did not engage us at all. They weren’t rude, they just gave us plenty of space to do what we needed and they did whatever they normally did. So, set your expectations for nice people that you may or may not become friends with.
What Kind of Vehicle Can I Camp in?
Boondockers Welcome is intended for travelers camping in a self-contained vehicle.
A self-contained vehicle is set up to allow the following to be done inside:
Your vehicle must have a toilet, sink, and a built-in grey water tank.
You are not allowed to boondock in the following vehicles:
Do Boondockers Welcome Hosts Have Amenities?
Boondockers Welcome hosts all provide different amenities. Some will only provide you with a spot to park. Remember, Boondockers Welcome is all about dry camping – camping without water, sewer, or electricity. Sometimes though, the hosts provide some amenities and hookups.
Before you book a host, you will know what they provide. Each host profile will list what amenities, if any, they provide. If it isn’t listed, do not expect it to be provided. If you have any questions about amenities, make sure to ask the host before booking.
Here are some of the experiences/amenities we have been provided with:
- Friendly horses greeting us in the mornings
- Invitations to local events
- Access to hiking trails
- Kayaks provided for our use during our stay
- Water and electric hookups
- Dump Station
- Hosts acting as our tour guides
- Picnic table
- Freshwater fill-up
- Sky lanterns
Pretty cool, right?! Yeah, those were some really amazing moments, but most of them were total surprises. We just expected somewhere to stay for a few days, but experienced so much more. We are so very grateful for those amazing hosts, or should I say, friends!
Is Boondockers Welcome Big Rig Friendly?
Some Boondockers Welcome hosts can only accommodate very small units on the street or in their driveways, while others can host multiple big rigs.
The Boondockers Welcome website allows hosts to specify how many RVs they can accommodate and the maximum RV size they can host.
When you are searching for a host location, you will be able to enter your rig length and tow vehicle length. So, there shouldn’t be any surprises. If you have any questions, always reach out to the host before booking.
How Many Nights Can I Stay?
Boondockers Welcome is intended to provide RVers a safe place to park for a few nights (1 to 5 nights). Each host profile will show the maximum number of nights they are OK with.
When you are searching for hosts, you must select the number of nights you would like to stay. If you aren’t sure, you cannot leave it blank so enter a duration of “one” to see all the hosts in your desired location.
If you need a longer stay, you can always ask the host if they are flexible, but don’t plan on extending your stay or finding locations where you can stay for weeks at a time.
Are There “Campground” Rules?
Yes! Each host profile will include “House Rules” and “Suitability”.
Beyond the “House Rules” and “Suitability”, make sure to follow basic RV camping etiquette. Basically, it all comes down to respect. Be the guest that you would like to host.
Basic Etiquette to Follow
Do not make arrangements with a host that cannot accommodate your RV. Property owners that are hosting via Boondockers Welcome know how much room they have and what type of RV they can have on their property. If they say they cannot fit anything bigger than 35 feet, that’s the maximum size they can fit.
Do not take advantage of your access to water, electricity, or wifi. Even if you are paying a nominal fee, use amenities as if you were paying for them a la carte.
Please observe quiet hours! If you are running a generator, please do so between 8 am and 10 pm unless otherwise instructed by your host.
Always disclose who you are traveling with – 4 adults, 2 adults and 5 kids, 3 indoor senior kitties, etc. We found the perfect place, a cattle ranch. Then we found out that due to liability, they could not allow us to stay with our children. The last thing you or your host needs is to have to deal with an issue like this once you have arrived.
If you are staying with children and pets, make sure they are not running wild on someone else’s property. Even if they say “oh, the kids are fine” or “yeah, your dog can run around” keep an eye on them for their safety and the safety of others.
What Else Comes with my Membership?
Along with all the awesome things I have already mentioned, your membership comes with discounts!!
You can get discounts for the following:
- RVillage Rallies
- RV Boondocking e-book
- Harvest Host Membership
- RV Trader
- RV Mobile Internet Aficionados
- Fulltime Families Membership
- RV Health
- AND MORE!
What if I Have a Bad Experience?
No one can absolutely guarantee that you won’t have a bad experience. This is true in every single thing in life, right?
However, Boondockers Welcome is a small company and they are very much interested in maintaining a good camper and host experience. There are real people behind this company that care about their customers.
Every host profile has guest reviews. These reviews are submitted by former guests and can be positive, negative, or neutral. This can help you get a feel for the kind of host and property you are researching before you book a spot.
If you have a bad experience, you are encouraged to submit a complaint.
Per the Boondockers Welcome website: “Our policy is: first complaint, we’ll make a note; second complaint, issue a warning; and third complaint, revoke guest privileges.”
As always, trust your gut. If you don’t feel right about a location, do not book it. If you don’t feel right about a spot while you are there, leave.
How do I Host on my Property?
If you have a property and would like to host via Boondockers Welcome, make sure you understand how the membership works, what your responsibilities are, and what you can expect as a host.
There is a fee for hosts, but with host rewards, host memberships are offered at 50% off the guest membership and you can earn additional discounts. Details about host rewards are available here.
Also, make sure that you know the rules and regulations in your area. Just because you have space on your property for RVs doesn’t mean that you can have people staying in their RVs on your property. Some HOAs don’t allow RVs on the property at all and even some city and county ordinances won’t allow RVs for more than a day or two.
So are you ready to join?
I have nothing but positive things to say about Boondockers Welcome.
One day, when we have land again, we will be honored to provide a place for RVers to stay. Until then, we will collect memories and friends visiting hosts across the country!
If you are interested in other ways to save on RV sites, check out this post: How to Save on RV Parks and Campgrounds.
Please let us know if you have any questions and what your experience has been if you are already a member. Thank you!