Boondockers Welcome – How It Works & Top Regrets

airstream camping

Are you looking for unique camping experiences?  How about FREE camping? When you become a member of the BW community, it’s like having 3000 friends across the US & Canada that will let you moochdock on their property!

Read on to discover what to expect from Boondockers Welcome and if it is right for you.

What is Boondockers Welcome?

Boondockers Welcome is an RV membership program that gives you access to free campsites across the US & Canada. Most hosts are fellow RVers, offering camping on their private property at no charge. Once you have a membership with Boondockers Welcome, you can search the database to find a host and request a stay.

One of the key benefits of Boondockers Welcome is that most hosts offer hookups. Sometimes free, other times there is a nominal fee. Not having to provide your own electricity, water, and other amenities can be a real bonus. Guests are limited to a maximum of 5 nights with the same host, in a 90-day window. This can be one 5-night stay (if the host agrees), or several short stays.

How does Boondockers Welcome work?

Becoming a part of the BW community is easy, from signing up to navigating the site or app. You can do that in four simple steps;

  • Become a member

When you sign up for the program, you will be redirected to the payment portal for the membership fee. To enjoy all the guest privileges of the Boondockers Welcome community, you’ll pay an annual subscription fee of $79 or offer your property as a host.

After subscribing, complete your profile to begin using the platform.

  • Find a host

BW is a subsidiary of Harvest Hosts which offers similar services. As a member of either of the communities, you can search for available host locations and communicate with the property owners on the mobile app.

Altogether, you can select a suitable host from over 5000 available locations on the listings.

  • Reach out to the host

When you find a host, contact them to know whether the host is open to receiving guests on the dates of your trip. If they agree, you can park your RV on their property on the designated date(s).

We advise that you contact your host again a day before your arrival to ensure that the arrangement is still on. You are required to give your host at least 24-hours notice when plans change and you can’t make it.

Boondockers Welcome Host Location Amenities

Over 70% of the host locations available on Boondockers Welcome have amenities that you can use during your stay. While some would allow you to enjoy the hookups for free, others may charge a token amount to cover expenses.

You can easily identify which amenities are available on host locations by the icons represented on a host profile and text description. Some of them may indicate;

  • Availability of water in the location
  • The cable icon showing the amp outlet available at a host location
  • Pull-through parking availability
  • The maximum number of nights you can stay
  • RV size limit
  • The number of RVs that can be accommodated at once
  • Tow vehicle parking
  • The dollar icon indicates whether donations are needed for hookups
  • RV dump availability
  • Campfire rings

Other information you will see on the profile include the house rules, a brief description of the host locations, and the sustainability rules.

Boondockers Welcome Reviews

Boondockers Welcome guests and hosts leave ratings and reviews on each other’s profiles, allowing one another to share their experiences. If you are looking for feedback, simply check out the host or guest profile to see what people have to say. That can go a long way in erasing one’s mind and making a decision.

You can also check out reviews on the Boondockers Welcome Facebook Page to see user testimonials about the platform.

Boondockers Welcome Community

As a BW member, you can enjoy the company of other RVers easily because Boondockers Welcome is more of a community than a service platform. When hosts accommodate guests, it is usually a case of a boondocker meeting another dry camper. Usually, a person who hosts a guest may end up a guest on the visitor’s property someday.

Boondockers Welcome has a Facebook group for its members where people drop reviews, share their thoughts, and employ the expertise of other RVers. Being in such a place feels very comfortable as you can easily engage other RVers, share ideas, get some insights, and catch up on the latest BW offerings.

Boondockers Welcome Cost/Pricing

For guests, Boondockers Welcome has only one subscription plan which is a yearly fee of $79. The membership allows you to stay in as many host locations as you can among the 3000+ available in a year for free. Your host will indicate on their profile whether or not you need to pay for any utilities used during a stay.

Host membership is free on Boondockers Welcome. You can register as a host on the platform without paying a dime and enjoy some of the privileges of a guest. You also stand to gain some extra rewards for your membership and hospitality as time goes on.

Boondockers Welcome Discount Codes

Boondockers Welcome is extremely affordable at $79 / year and is not presently offering discounts. If for some reason you discover that BW is not for you, there is a 3 month money-back guarantee.

Pros of Boondockers Welcome

Becoming a member of Boondockers Welcome presents many benefits to you as a host, guest, or both. See some of the perks of joining the Boondockers Welcome community below;

  • You have access to stay with hosts all over the US and other locations for free.
  • Boondockers Welcome hosts usually provide hookups and other amenities
  • The website and app are user-friendly
  • You can meet with and socialize with fellow Boondockers during your trips and vacations.
  • The Boondockers Welcome community generally consists of friendly, trustworthy, and relatable people.
  • Your hosts may allow you to stay for up to 5 days within a given 90-day window of time
  • The member app provides all the information you need about host locations, including the amenities available and the dos and don’ts laid down by the property owners.
  • You can read reviews left by previous guests and hosts to make informed decisions.
  • Boondockers Welcome is a cost-effective way to find a quiet RV parking space, camp safely, access hookups, and build friendships.

Regrets of a Boondockers Welcome Membership

On the flip side, Boondockers Welcome has some factors that you may see as disadvantages like;

  • You may have to pay your hosts when amenities are provided for using water, sewer, and other hookups.
  • You may have a few options to choose from when guest locations are sparse around your trip destination.
  • Although Boondockers Welcome stays are free, you still have to pay an annual membership fee.

Boondockers Welcome Locations

Currently, Boondockers Welcome has over 3000 hosts spread out in the US and Canada where you can stay in any of those host locations for free. You can access additional 2500+ host locations if you add a Harvest Hosts membership.

The interactive maps and search filters on the Harvest Hosts app will assist you in finding a host in your area(s) of interest.

Booking a Stay

Booking a stay on Boondockers Welcome is easy.  All you have to do is;

1.     Search for a host in your trip location.

You can do that by using the search box on the mobile app or Boondockers Welcome website. The various filters will help you to narrow down your search and find a suitable host faster. Some of the filters you can use include, travel dates, destination, hookups, RV size, pet policy, and more.

2.     Select your host

After narrowing down the host listings, choose the most suitable host location for your trip. Click on each host location to find additional information on them before sending a request for a stay. You can see the host names, reviews, availability calendar, and more useful info to help make a decision.

3.     Send a request

Your host needs to know that you wish to stay on their property on a select date. Therefore, send a request to the host location requesting the trip dates and filing other information as required on the form, then wait for a response. The host will usually reply within 24-48 hours.

Is Boondockers Welcome worth it?

$79 is a small price to pay annually for all the perks you get as a BW member and it beats most other camping options for many reasons. One of them is that you get to stay on a private property which often feels safer than random dispersed camping.

You can enjoy a hassle-free, fun stay at a host location for nights as a member of the Boondockers Welcome community. The hosts are friendly, usually RV campers themselves, and can make your stay a memorable one.

In the end, a one-night stay at a private campground could easily cost more than a yearly BW membership

RV Gas Cost & how to get Cash Back on Gas

We cannot generalize the gas needs of RVs because they get diverse gas mileage depending on their route, size, engine, and cargo. Nevertheless, the average gas RV gets 6-10 miles per gallon, while a diesel motorhome will be in the 8-14 mpg range.

If you love boondocking a lot, the expense of fuel alone can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s so important to take advantage of opportunities to reduce RV gas bills to avoid cutting short your adventures.

One hassle-free way to earn cash back on fuel is to download the Upside app. App users can earn cash back at more than 50,000 locations nationwide. Save $0.15 per gallon on your first purchase with invite code XXS7F.

Boondockers Welcome alternative: Harvest Hosts

Harvest Hosts is one of those platforms that provide services similar to that of Boondockers Welcome which is not so surprising since both share common ownership.  As a Harvest hosts member, you can access over 2500 locations where you can:

If you intend to stay for a single night at a host location, and don’t need hookups, then Harvest Hosts is a great option. Like Boondockers Welcome, HH requires you to subscribe annually to enjoy the privileges.

Boondockers Welcome vs Harvest Hosts

See the differences between Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome below;

 

Harvest Hosts

Boondockers Welcome

Vehicles allowed

Self Contained RVs

Most RVs – even those requiring hookups at many locations

Duration of stay

One night

Up to 5 Nights in a 90-day period

Hosts

Hosts include wineries, farms, museums, and local businesses

Fellow RVers and willing Hosts

Amenities

Less than 15% of hosts provide amenities

Over 75% of hosts offer amenities


Best apps to use along with Boondockers Welcome

RV life- RV GPS and Campgrounds

When you cannot find suitable host locations on Boondockers Welcome, you can always go to RV life to increase your options. The app is designed to locate over 20,000 campgrounds, RV resorts, and parks available in different countries.

You can also use RV life to find the best route, depending on your vehicle specification while on your trip. Other tools available on the app include, activities suggestions, weather forecasts, and cellular coverage.

You can find out more about RV life here.

Campendium- RV & Tenting camp

Campendium helps campers find over 10 thousand free camping sites in the US, Canada, and Mexico. It has an app that is super easy to navigate at zero cost. Some of the campgrounds that can be found via Campendium include;

  • RV parks
  • National parks and forests
  • State parks and BLM
  • County and city parks

You can also access other info like cell service reports, campsite photos and references, trail maps, public land map overlays, and more. Click here to learn more about Campendium.

Outdoorsy

You do not have to own an RV before setting out on an adventurous dry camping trip because you can rent one at Outdoorsy. The RV renting platform is one of the most popular places to rent an RV for your trips.

Outdoorsy has over 15000 users who willingly rent out their RVs for an income from the platform. You can also join the RVers to earn passive income or rent an RV to jumpstart your Boondocking experience.

Learn everything you need to know about Outdoorsy here.

Boondockers Welcome FAQs

●       What is the benefit of being a Boondockers Welcome host?

Boondockers Welcome hosts automatically become a member of the community when they volunteer. They do not need to pay $79 annually like guest members to use the platform. The hosts also enjoy some special bonuses.

●       How many locations does Boondockers Welcome have?

Boondockers Welcome has over 3205 host locations in the US and Canada. Members can decide to stay at any of the locations available if their hosts accept their stay request

●       Who bought Boondockers Welcome?

Harvest hosts acquired Boondockers Welcome in May 2021. The platform which also provides similar services as Boondockers Welcome has since merged both companies and even offers joint services to  users.

●       How do you join Boondockers Welcome?

You will need to subscribe to the annual membership plan on Boondockers Welcome before accessing the platform. The membership costs $79 per year.

Featured Image Credit: RV Hive / flickr