It can be tough to find a great spot to park your RV. It gets even more challenging when you want to camp on a low budget in popular areas. A Boondockers Welcome membership can help add more options to your camping possibilities. Is it the right choice for everyone? Today we’ll look at a handful of regrets Boondockers Welcome members have shared. Let’s get started.
What Is Boondockers Welcome?
Boondockers Welcome is a membership program for RVers. The program allows members to spend a few nights dry camping on a host’s property. All members must travel in a self-contained RV. This means you don’t rely on amenities.
Each RV should have running water, including a toilet and waste tanks. While some hosts do offer electricity, it sometimes comes with a suggested donation. Plus, they have over 3,100 hosts worldwide, according to their website.
How Does It Work?
Boondockers Welcome works by matching hosts with travelers. Travelers can search the website for hosts in their desired location. Users can filter their search by location, rig length, and amenities. Then they can use a map to browse the options available to them.
Once the user has found a host that meets their needs, they send a stay request for their dates. Hosts will either accept or deny the request. At this point, the host and member can communicate back and forth via the app regarding additional details.
This program works similar to Harvest Hosts but instead of businesses like wineries or museums, you stay at people’s personal homes.
5 Regrets of a Boondockers Welcome Membership
While Boondockers Welcome has some positives, it isn’t without its negatives. Here are a few things that might deter you from the program.
1. Limited Stay Length
Length of stay limits can cause some Boondockers Welcome regrets. Some who become members don’t realize you can only stay at a host’s location for five nights.
Hosts can choose to only allow for single-night stays while others offer the full five nights. While this is adequate time for some RVers, many prefer to camp longer.
2. Remote Locations
Because you choose to camp from the host’s personal property, they may not be in ideal locations. They didn’t purchase their property with RV tourism in mind like RV parks. You’ll find some spots in urban areas and others hours from a populated city.
Because many of the host locations are in remote areas, you may find it inconvenient to get to some services such as fuel and food. You may need to travel a considerable distance to visit the sites you’ve come to see.
Keep In Mind: Finding campsites can sometimes be tricky, find out if you can boondock in a national park.
3. RV Size Restrictions Vary by Host
Not all Boondockers Welcome sites are one size fits all. Some hosts have minimal room. Others may have plenty of space but with limited accessibility, making their property off-limits for larger rigs, causing some to regret their Boondockers Welcome membership.
Those traveling in smaller Class B RVs will have more options than larger rigs. For large fifth wheels and motorhomes, you will have to consider if you can fit your 40-ft rig and if you have room to turn around.
Double-check the length restrictions, so you don’t find yourself in a damaging situation.
Pro Tip: Before heading out with your rig, check out our 5 tips for boondocking with a big RV.
4. Rules Vary by Host
You are a guest on someone else’s personal property. It makes sense that they each have their own set of rules and expectations for their guests.
Some hosts have rules like no generator use, no pets, and in some cases, no children. These rules are often in place to protect their property, respect their neighbors, and even protect the guest.
While you may understand the host’s rules, you might find yourself frustrated if you feel they limit you.
5. Not Using It More
One Boondockers Welcome regret is allowing the membership to go unused like many gym memberships. Even though the program has great benefits, it’s a waste of money if you don’t use it often. Purchasing a membership and not using it can cause frustration for many.
Some RVers join and then fail to use their membership for many reasons. Maybe their travel has been postponed. Other times members can’t find hosts in the locations they travel to, or the hosts they want are already booked.
Is a Boondockers Welcome Membership Worth It?
Don’t let these downfalls discourage you; we still think a Boondockers Welcome membership is worth it. The benefits outweigh the cons. Having the opportunity to stay for cheap or free at a host’s location is hard to beat.
Some sites even have electricity, water, or full hookups. While many do ask for a donation to use these amenities, some hosts refuse offered payment.
You can snag a few great locations where RV parks and public land camping aren’t available. Plus, hosts often have room for more than one traveler at a time, so you might even create lifelong friendships.
Will You Get Boondockers Welcome?
Are you unsure if there will be any locations that’ll work for you? Thankfully Boondockers Welcome allows you to do a bit of research on the general areas of host sites before purchasing a membership. This will save you from signing up only to discover you can’t find a place to stay.
Are you a happy member, or do you have Boondockers Welcome regrets? If you have a membership, will you be renewing it?