Boondockers Welcome: Make RV Travel Easier, More Affordable, & Make New Friends!

youtubeIf you’ve stayed on the private property of fellow RVers as you’ve traveled around the continent, then you already know about the awesome Boondockers Welcome membership program!  This program is similar to Harvest Hosts, but rather than local businesses, the Hosts are friendly RVers who own property and live all across the North American continent.

If you are like us and travel before/after many campgrounds are open for the season, a combination of Boondockers Welcome and Harvest Hosts has opened up a huge selection of safe and fun places for us to stay the night.  When we added these unique options to our roadlife toolkit, we found that we relied less on Walmarts, casinos, and truck stops…and got a better night’s sleep.  We’ve had a blast meeting some very friendly and welcoming Hosts during our journeys, and look forward to more as we head from the midwest to Washington this spring…and on to Alaska this summer!


Boondockers Welcome locations from coast to coast

As campgrounds are filling up more quickly these days, this program has grown in popularity – with more new Hosts and Members joining each month.  For the price of just 2 nights at a typical state park or 1 night at an RV park, you can get an annual membership!  An annual membership is just $79, and you can get 15% off with this link and promo code "BWFRIENDS15."  Make your next RV road trip even more fun by meeting like-minded people across the country as you travel!

How does the BW program work?

You pay the modest annual membership, then you get to stay for free at any of the nearly 3000 Hosts across the continent, as well as make some new friends and get the added benefit of some local knowledge about the area if you plan to stick around and explore.  There are no hidden fees or requirements.  It’s truly as good as it sounds!


Many hosts near cities

Where are Hosts located and how do we find them?

Hosts are spread across the US and Canada, often close to cities where it’s harder to find campgrounds.   Using the Search by Route function on the website, you can add numerous stops or destinations, and even search for Hosts within a specified number of miles along your route.  Hosts love to share their local knowledge, and maybe a story or two over dinner and cocktails!  


Hosts within 10 miles of route

How long can we stay?

Your length of stay depends upon the rules of each different BW Host. Some Hosts offer just one night, while others offer up to 5 nights. Guests are limited to a maximum of 5 nights in a 90-day window with the same host, for insurance purposes.  So, if the host offers the maximum 5 night stay, this could be spent in one go, or broken up over several shorter stays.

Can we bring pets?

Nearly all of the BW Hosts permit pets on a leash. You can set “Pets Allowed” as one of your preferences (under Filter & Results) while you are searching for Host locations on the map. If a Host location allows pets, this will appear in the “Suitability” section on the Host profile page with specific instructions. Please respect that you are on private property and do not allow your pets to run free.

Do Hosts offer RV hook-ups and/or are generators allowed?

About 75% of Hosts offer hook ups at their location. Hosts may ask to be compensated for costs if a guest chooses to use any provided hookups, as long as free parking without hookups is an option. Hosts are encouraged to include their expected compensation in their house rules, but these must be reasonable and only cover costs.

Each Host has their own rules about generators. Check the “Suitability” section of the Host profile page to see if they allow generators. You can also set this as one of your preferences (found under “Filter & Results” on the Browse page of the app) while you are searching for Host locations on the map. Many of our Hosts are fine with running quiet generators sparingly. You will need to be respectful of other RV’s or neighbors who are nearby.  Keep in mind that adding solar power to your RV makes staying with Boondockers Welcome Hosts and Harvest Hosts even easier!


Preferences & Filters

What types of vehicles are allowed?

Guests traveling in self-contained RVs are allowed – including motorhomes, campervans, travel trailers, fifth-wheel trailers, pop-up campers and truck campers, as long as they are self-contained.  However, NO tents, minivans, cars, or pick-up trucks will be allowed to join as guests.   You can check each Hosts site to see pictures of what their parking area looks like.

Note:  If you use a porta-potty, it must remain in your vehicle and be dumped elsewhere.  If you need to find water refills or dump stations, The Dyrt PRO is a great camping app that allows you to find these services around the country by using the app’s filter function.

How do we reserve a spot with a Host?

If you are already familiar with the Harvest Hosts program, Boondockers Welcome works very similarly. Choose a city/area in which you’d like to stay, select a Host, then read the Host’s Suitability and House Rules on their profile page.  Select the date of your stay (same day requests are allowed with many Hosts) and then click the orange “Request to Stay” button. Note:  If requesting a stay on the app, click the bolded “Online Stay Request” text. This will prompt you to fill out the rest of the request process.  Hosts typically get back to you the same day.


Sample BW Host Page


Suitability & House Rules

How do we sign-up for Boondockers Welcome?

Fill out the sign-up form online, pay your annual membership, download the app, complete your preferences section, and start searching for Hosts along your route!  It’s that easy…and simple.

Where can we find the Boondockers Welcome app?

Currently, you can access Boondockers Welcome program via the Harvest Hosts app, as the two programs have recently merged. Download the free Harvest Hosts app via Google Play store or the App Store. Via this app, you can browse interactive maps, use the route planner, search by region/state, use the “hosts near me” search function, read Host reviews, view images and parking spot details for each Host, receive discounts for other RVing programs, and get a monthly newsletter with all new Hosts who have recently joined.


HH & BW app

We sure hope you love the Boondockers Welcome program as much as we have!  We prefer to travel without advanced reservations, and now with nearly 3000 more unique overnight locations in our roadlife toolkit, we simply don’t need to.  We hope to see y’all on the road…be sure to honk if you see Hamlet!


Added Sites

Questions? Comments? Please add your thoughts below.

Shari and Hutch
Author: Shari and HutchEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
In 2012, Shari Galiardi & David Hutchison left behind careers and a comfortable home in North Carolina to travel with the vintage camper trailer they lovingly restored, outfitted with solar, and named "Hamlet." What began as a short break from careers and responsibility quickly turned into a love affair with roadlife. They have parlayed their higher education backgrounds, desire for life-long learning, and thirst for adventure travel into writing, photography, video production, and public speaking gigs from coast to coast. Known to their friends as simply Shari & Hutch, you can learn more about their full-time, solar-powered adventures on their website at freedominacan.com.

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