Being a Guest

All your questions about how to use Boondockers Welcome while traveling are answered here.

A host is charging for hookups. I thought camping was free?

All hosts must provide boondocking (camping without any services) for free. Hosts are permitted to charge for hook-ups or any additional services if the guest wants to use them. As long as they offer boondocking for free, they're complying with our policies and may list their location as a host site.

Do hosts charge a fee?

Hosts are not permitted to charge for parking. Free overnight parking (boondocking) is the whole idea of the web site. This is not intended to be an income source for hosts.

They may, however, ask for reasonable compensation to cover costs for electric or water if it's used.
Even if they don't, we expect all guests who choose to use hookups (electric, wifi, water, or RV dump) to offer to cover the cost. Use this guideline to determine the amount to offer: https://www.boondockerswelcome.com/faq/being-guest/#how-much-do-i-need-pay-hookups

How much do I need to pay for hookups?

Hosts only offer free parking (boondocking). If they provide hookups they are incurring a cost for your stay. It is a required common courtesy that you offer to compensate the host before you leave.

How much? It's not easy to estimate actual cost; there are so many variables including regional electric rates. Some hosts list a nightly amount in their house rules so you'll know the amount up front.

When hosts don't request an amount and you've used AC or heating, you should offer $5 to $10 per night (depending on the size of your rig). If you did not run your AC or heat, your electric use was probably minimal and offering $3 to $5 per night (depending on the size of your rig) is usually enough

Hosts may also have to pay for water, wifi data, and pumping their RV dump. So, even if you don't use electric, you should offer to pay if you use those.

Our hosts are not in this for profit and they may decline your payment, but using hookups and not offering is not acceptable. Exploiting a host's generosity will result in loss of guest privileges!

Does RV length stipulated by the host include a tow vehicle?

Hosts welcome different types of RVs. The stipulated maximum length refers to the space designated for the RV itself. Your tow vehicle may need to be unhitched and parked separately. If so, most host profiles will indicate that. If in doubt, you can ask when you send your request.

How do I find a friendly driveway where I can park for a night along my travel route?

Once you've decided the general direction and route you plan to travel, use our search tool to find hosts who may have a spot available. Search host locations by destination, available dates, and length of your RV. Add any additional filters that are important to you. Click on the individual pins to view host profiles. Click "Request This Location" to submit a stay-request or "See Host Profile" if you just want to ask some questions first.

All stay requests must be booked through the "Request this Location" button. Once a host accepts your request through the web site, you'll receive their street address, directions, and contact information. They will receive your real name, address, and phone number as well.

The host's response rate will give you an idea of when you might expect a reply. At the moment, all notifications are sent by email. Members will soon have an option to receive text notifications as well.

How far in advance should I send a stay request?

This will vary from host to host. Many don't mind same-day or sometimes even last-minute requests. Some prefer not to commit to a request in the distant future. Each host can set their preference for their request window, and guest requests must fall within this window in order to be submitted.

The web site also limits the maximum to 2-months in advance. This is to prevent host stays from being as difficult to arrange as a campground reservation

Most hosts are RVers themselves. They know that part of the joy of RVing is blowing with the wind without planning too far in advance.

I'm looking for a place to park for a few weeks or a month at a time. Is it okay to ask for a long-term stay? What if I offer to pay?

No. If that's why you joined, you're in the wrong place. You should look for a campground that offers a weekly or monthly discount or post an ad on Craig's List.

Even hosts who are flexible about maximum number of nights only expect requests from RVers who are actively traveling. They offer free parking, but only for a night or two en route or just long enough to see some of the local sights. Do not request to stay longer or request RV storage. Doing so would put hosts on the spot, tie up the location preventing access for other members, and defeat the purpose of the service.

Requests outside of the intent of the service may result in loss of guest privileges.

I've sent a request but haven't heard back yet. How long should I wait before I contact my second choice?

You may hear back immediately or it could take a couple of days. Hosts who have had several requests in the past year will have a "Response Rate" on their profile. It will give you an idea of what to expect. Note however that requests expire after 48 hours if the host has not responded at all. You will be notified by email if your request expires.

Most hosts are RVers too and may be traveling without reliable Internet. Notifications are currently sent by email but we plan to add text notifications as an option in the near future.

You may send requests to multiple hosts for the same dates, but please use common courtesy: reply to messages as soon as possible and, once you've been accepted by a host, cancel other requests immediately.

Is it okay to ask a host to plug into electric or fill my fresh water tank?

Unless your host has posted these as available on their profile or voluntarily offers them after you arrive, it is not proper to ask for "extras" of any kind. Guests should be as non-imposing as possible and show appreciation for what is offered. Requesting more might result in a negative review or even a formal complaint which may lead to loss of your guest privileges.

My RV is 40 feet long. How many hosts can accommodate me?
User our search tool to search for host locations based on size of your RV - you can do this even before paying for a guest subscription. Search without dates to get the full idea of what hosts are available, as many do not open up availability until a few weeks beforehand. If you don't find enough results, please check back later. New hosts are joining daily.
What's the best way to thank my host?

If you're listed as a host yourself, you're able to "pay it forward" . You may even get the opportunity to reciprocate their hospitality when they travel to your region. Whether or not you're a host yourself, a small gift, a thoughtful thank you card, or other gesture of kindness is appropriate.

Most importantly: When your stay is complete, you'll be prompted by the system to confirm that it happened. When you do this, they will be rewarded with credits for guest privileges for their own travels. Also, don't neglect to post a review for them!

If you've used electric or other hookups during your visit, you will also need to offer to compensate your host for any costs. Not all hosts will accept payment but they do expect you to offer and always appreciate it.

Is it okay to make frequent requests to the same host?

As long as both parties are equally enthusiastic about frequent repeat visits, there should be no problem. Just be sure the feeling is mutual. If we have any reason to believe it's not, or if we notice a pattern of frequent requests to accomplish a long-term stay in one area, it could put your guest privileges in jeopardy.