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7 apps and services that can help you save money on your next camping trip.
7 apps and services that can help you save money on your next camping trip.

If you have been traveling in an RV for a while you know that campground prices can be really expensive. Especially when they add up while you are on an extended vacation or traveling full-time. Here are some of the sites and apps we have found that can help with the expense of camping:

- Boondockers Welcome
- Passport America
- Good Sam Club
- National, Provincial, and State Parks
- iOverlander
- Harvest Hosts
- AllStays

Boondockers Welcome

OK, ok, that was obvious, right? Well if you haven't checked us out yet, what are you waiting for? Here's a great testimonial from a new member on how Boondockers Welcome helped her save money: 

"My boyfriend and I were planning on traveling the July 4th weekend to somewhere in Mississippi. We had made reservations at a campground in Columbus, MS last week for the price of $150 for 3 days. I woke up the morning we were to leave and happened upon this website. I found a place in Preston, MS that looked like a little piece of heaven on earth and perfect for what we wanted (peace, quiet, able to run our dogs, electricity) and decided to risk the $50 membership fee. LITERALLY less than one hour later, our host accepted the request and even called to confirm. The best part was that after chatting we realized that he has family in the same place as I do in Virginia and a relative who is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from our hometown in Virginia.

I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend this site! So instead of spending $150 today on lodging, we spent $50! Who could ask for a better July 4th present!"

Submitted July 2020 by member "holleyjacobs"

 

View at a Little Rock, AR campground
View from a campground in Little Rock, AR, just $18/night with Passport America discount

Passport America

You can save up to 50% on campsites by using this service. You do have to pay a yearly fee for Passport America but it's nominal compared to the great discounts you can get on some really nice campgrounds. I have found some unique campgrounds through this service at great rates. One disadvantage to this service is the restrictions on when you can use your discount. Mainly it's during peak season and on weekends, but if you're flexible with your travel plans it's a great option. 

Good Sam Club

Good Sam Club is another membership-based service in which you can find some great campgrounds at a discount. They seem to have fewer restrictions than Passport America but the discount is a flat 10% rate at participating campgrounds (there are over 2,400 that participate). In addition to saving at campgrounds, you can also save 10% at Camping World and Gander RV & Outdoors, plus you can save on gas at Pilot Flying J locations. 

 

View Banff National Park
Banff National Park, campsite fees are around $30/night with electric hookup (CAD, so that's about $22 USD) 

National, State, and Provincial Parks

Campgrounds at National, Provincial, and State Parks are not only beautiful but they are also pretty inexpensive compared to most commercial campgrounds. Campsites book up fast though, so do your research and prepare ahead (way ahead!). Some campgrounds will release their campsites for reservations a year in advance and you should be prepared to jump on the date you would like to stay pretty close to one-year away. Also, cell signal can be non-existent in a lot of these parks so if you work from the road, they may only be good options for the weekend. However, the beauty that surrounds these campgrounds and the ease of getting around the park (because you are already a good bit in the park) make these really great options if you want to explore the park. 

iOverlander

We mention this app in our "Top 5 Camping Apps" post but it is definitely one of the best ways to find free parking among other necessary amenities. If you like finding campsites off the beaten path, iOverlander is the perfect app for you. The app even works off-grid making it a must-have for avid boondockers. 

 

Harvest Host Alpaca Farm in New Mexico
Feeding the alpacas at a Harvest Host stop in New Mexico

Harvest Hosts

Harvest Hosts is a great way to combine a unique experience with a safe place to stay. For $79/year you can stay for free at over 1,100 wineries, breweries, farms, and attractions. You can usually only stay one night, and there aren't generally any hookups, but you can walk away with a pretty cool experience. 

AllStays

This app is similar to iOverlander in that you can find discounted or free camping locations but you do have to pay $9.99 to purchase the app. A nominal fee when you consider the many ways the app helps save you money. AllStays has a robust search feature that you can use to search for free camping by either forest, overnight parking, public lands, rest areas, or Wal-marts among other locations. 

There are lots of other services and apps that provide free and discounted camping options. What are some of your favorites?

Boondockers Welcome Logo

Boondockers Welcome is a community of RVers that provide overnight stays with each other for free while traveling through an area. We help RVers to travel more economically and find options when campgrounds may be full. It’s a great and safe way to meet fellow RVers or for people curious about the RV lifestyle to learn from members, while also providing a safe place to park for one night or up to five nights.

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Comments

  • Edc1951

    Edc1951   

    I really like Campendium.com. I know you have it as one of the 5 favorites apps but that is ONLY on iPhones. It's not yet an app on Androids. Their Free Camping section has a great map.
    BWadmin

    BWadmin on 07/21/2020 1:01 p.m. moderator  

    Agreed! That is a downside that they don't have an Android app but their website is pretty easy to use on mobile devices. Thank you!
  • GerryB54

    GerryB54   

    In addition to a few of your above apps, I also recently downloaded RVParky and find it useful.
    BWadmin

    BWadmin on 07/21/2020 1:01 p.m. moderator  

    Yes, RVParky is a great app. Thank you for the suggestion!
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