Using the Site

Answers to questions about using the web site

I can't seem to login.
If you forget your user name, you can enter your email address instead. If you forget your password, use our password reset tool, which will email you a one-time login link and then prompt you to change your password.
How do I use the site once I'm registered? I can't find the things I'm looking for.

The User Dashboard it the central location for everything to do with YOU. Go there first whenever you login. Other than searching for hosts, everything else you need to interact with the website is linked from this page.
From the Main Dashboard tab you can read and respond to reminders from us or messages from fellow users, read all past messages, see requests you've sent to hosts, the favorites you've bookmarked, and follow the links to add or update all aspects of your account and profile. If you are a host, you'll also have a Host Dashboard tab. Go there to update your availability calendar and see upcoming hosting requests from guests.You can also edit your host location details from there.

How do I cancel a scheduled stay?

Once a stay request is accepted by the host, we expect both host and guest to try to honor the scheduled visit. But we all know that sometimes life gets in the way.

Either party can cancel a scheduled stay. Go to your dashboard (when logged in) to find it or click on the link in the confirmation email, which will take you directly to the cancel page. Of course, if it's short notice, the other party may not get the email on time. We've given you the other party's phone number so you can also follow up with a phone call.

Important Note to Guests: Our hosts graciously accepted your request for a free stay on their property, and some may have scheduled their own lives around your anticipated stay. Please don't cancel with less than 24-hours notice without a very good reason. We reserve the right to cancel guest privileges for members who have a higher-than-average number of last minute cancellations.

If The Host Cancels: Hosts shouldn't need to put their lives on hold to accommodate a traveler. They may have an unexpected commitment, so please don't leave them a bad review because their plans changed. Keep in mind that they offer their location purely out of generosity with no reward other than your gratitude and kindness. As such, guests should always have a backup plan. Although some hosts may let you come even if they're not around, knowing the location of the nearest Walmart is a good idea, just in case.

How do I know if I'll find a host to suit my needs?

Even before you join as a host or buy a guest privileges subscription, you can search the site and read all the details of each host location.

Use the filters in our search tool to show only the locations that can accommodate your RV size and are near the destinations on your route. Try searching without a specific arrival date for the best results. This is especially important if you're planning a trip weeks in advance. Often hosts won't accept stay requests for dates in the distant future.

Add additional filters, too, if you like, but remember, the more "needs" you filter for, the fewer results will show in your search. So, if you don't really need a water hookup don't check it, then try again. Results can change daily as hosts update their availability and new hosts join.

Our hosts aren't operating campgrounds, so don't presume your request will be accepted just because they have not marked a date as unavailable. For the best results, be sure to include enough detail on your profile page so that hosts get an idea of who you are and feel comfortable accepting your request.

Is there an app?

Not yet, but we're getting closer. We'll make a big announcement to let you know when it's ready.

Can I get notifications by text instead of email?

Yes. This is a new feature (added in February, 2018). If you joined earlier, you will need to edit the personal details section of your User Profile. Add your mobile number and activate the option to"Send SMS notifications of messages". You'll continue to receive an email notification as well.

May I post my phone number on my profile? I don't check email daily.

Our policy does not permit you to list a phone number or email address directly on your profile. This is for your safety. Profile pages are public and anyone who sees your number online could call, pretending to be one of our members. When initial contact is through the site, you can click on the user name of the sender and be sure they are, in fact, connected to that profile

The phone number and real name of both host and guest is made available to both parties involved once a stay request has been submitted and accepted. But you may certainly exchange phone numbers in your messages earlier if you want to chat before formally accepting a request.

Where do I go to post a recommendation for my host or guest?

You'll be prompted to add an honest review after a scheduled stay has been confirmed as completed.
There's a link to the review from in the message. You can also find it on your dashboard or go to their profile page and click "Leave This User a Reference". To get to a member's profile page, simply click on their user name in messages you exchanged or any place else you see it.

You will also be notified when someone adds a recommendation about you. Please read it immediately and contact us if you notice personal or location information is divulged that you'd like deleted or changed.

How do I change my profile, password, or email address?

Log in and go to your user dashboard. From there you can link to and edit all the information on your account. If you're a host, go to Host Locations on your user dashboard to update your availability calendar or change any details about your location.

Why should I create a user name?

You're welcome to go by your own name, making it easier for RVing friends you already know to identify you. We only suggest a nickname as an extra privacy feature if that's important to you.

What does the "Response Rate" for each host mean?

In order for this site to work effectively, hosts need to respond to stay requests from guests, even if they cannot accept them. This allows all users to be able to plan their travel efficiently.

Once a host has received several requests from other members, a response rate is calculated, indicating both what percentage of incoming requests they have responded to, and what the average length of time was before the host replied. This information allows guests to be realistic in their expectations of receiving a response in a timely manner from a host.

Why can I not make stay requests for longer than 2 months from now?

Each host sets their own preference for both minimum and maximum request notice so, for some hosts, it may be even less than 2 months. However, the website permits no more than a 2-month maximum.

This is because: The farther in advance a request is made, the more likely it is to be cancelled and yet the location is tied up preventing others from requesting it. We don't want hosts to feel they have to plan their lives around guest requests. And, finally, we don't want it to be as difficult for travelers to book a stay with a host as it is to get a campground reservation during peak times.

Please remember that hosts aren't operating a campground, nor do they make any money from hosting. We suggest you check back closer to your trip dates. By then, several more hosts may have joined too, opening up new locations to choose from.

How is the response rate calculated?

When a host receives a stay request, they have 48 hours to reply to that request. That reply can be accepting, declining, or just sending a message asking for more information - any of these counts as a request having been responded to.

If a host doesn't respond at all to a stay request within 48 hours, the request will expire, and the host's response rate will be negatively affected. Requests that are responded to with a message asking for more information do not expire, hosts or guests then have however much time is necessary to sort out details and either accept or decline the request.

Why is my response rate low when I've responded to every request?
Perhaps you've phoned or emailed directly rather than reply through the web site. Our system has no way of taking that into consideration. To ensure a good rating:
  • Make sure you respond in some way to a stay request within 48 hours. You will get a reminder email after 24 hours.
  • Either "Accept" or "Decline" the request, OR "Send a Message" to the guest. When sending a message, always do so in the "Reply" box at the bottom of the incoming message, or reply directly from the email notification you received about the request. Don't start a new message thread.
  • If the sender provides a phone number or personal email and prefers that you call instead, that's fine. Just be sure to also accept or decline the stay request through the site before the 48 hours are up, or send a message responding to the request ("Okay, I'll call you.").
  • If someone sends you several requests, please respond to each of them.
  • If you feel that your response rate has been erroneously calculated, e.g. a message expired because you forgot to accept it but you'd already arranged it with them on the phone, just contact us to let us know and we'll correct it.
What happens if a host has a really low response rate?

When a host's response rate drops to 50% or lower, they're sent a warning message. If their response rate drops to 25% or lower, their location is deactivated and cannot be reactivated until they have contacted us to sort out any underlying issues.

Why has my account been disabled?

One reason may be that emails to the address on file have bounced. We need a valid email address in order to forward messages from members. If this happens, please contact us.

I've moved. How can I change my host location on the map?

Login, find Host Locations in the User Dashboard. You can update the address and any other details there.

Does Boondockers Welcome sell or share my personal details?

No. All of your details are required solely to allow the site to function and for informational feedback for the web site administrators alone. That's us, Marianne Edwards and Anna Maste. Other members will only see your chosen user name and approximate location if you are a host. All account information is only for our eyes and will not be shared or exploited for any reason.

We do, however, share full names, physical address, and phone numbers between a specific host and guest once a stay request has been formally submitted and accepted through the web site.

Where do I get my free ebook, discount codes, and other member bonuses?
These are available to all members with active guest privileges. You'll find them in the Member Bonuses page which has a link on the left side of the User Dashboard.
How can I find the profile of another member?

When you receive a message from a member, their username appears in a couple of different places. Each one is a link and clicking on their user name will take you to their profile. All stay requests, both future and past, as both a guest and host, are also accessible from the user dashboard, and contain links to the profiles of the users involved.

Where do I find my bookmarked locations?
A link to the Favorite Hosts page can be found on the left side of the User Dashboard. Note that if a host has deactivated their listing, they will no longer appear here.
Why do I get an error message when I reply to a request directly from the notification email?

Replies to emails from the site must come from the email address that is associated with your account. This is necessary so our site can know which member the message has come from.

If you respond to email using a different address than the one associated with your account, you can try one of two things:

  1. Change the email address on your Boondockers Welcome account to the one your mail is forwarded to.
  2. Change the "from" address on your reply to be the email address associated with your Boondockers Welcome account. This may require special configuration for your email client. Here are some resources to help with this process:
I'm a host. Is there a calendar where I can see upcoming requests I have from guests?

Yes. To view it, log in, go to your User Dashboard and choose the Hosting Dashboard tab.

I am a host. Where do I update my availability calendar?

You can do this and edit and any aspects of your host location listing under the heading, "Your Host Locations" , which you'll find below your profile photo/avatar, on your User Dashboard. On the form, click the blue edit button beside the section you want to update, then save the change.

My stay request has expired. May I repeat the request in case 48 hours didn't give the host enough time to reply?

Traveling members need and deserve a prompt reply so they can make alternate plans if necessary. A host's response rate is negatively affected unless they reply within 48 hours but they can still respond to your request (by a message) even after it has expired. They'll have a reminder in their mail about it, so please don't send a second request unless you've heard back from them. There may be extenuating circumstances keeping them from responding and each expired request will further deplete their response rate.