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The Frugal RV Traveler Newsletter, Issue #007---Boondockers Welcome
April 19, 2012
Introducing: Boondockers Welcome!
Wouldn't it be great to know fellow RVers in every part of the country? No matter what route you chose, you could arrange free overnight parking with friends all the way to your destination. A new website makes all that possible and it's fun, easy, and free! And guess who is behind it? Here's a hint: it's someone who I hope you have come to trust.
Boondockerswelcome.com is not just another web site, not just another RV forum, and not just another list for RVers to add their favorite boondocking finds. It's a unique online community - a place to connect with like-minded RVers, correspond with them securely through private messages, use interactive maps to search for boondocking locations, and extend and accept invitations to spend a night (or two) parked on each other's property.
The idea for the Boondockers Welcome Club came about because, like most of us in the RV community, Randy and I have invited countless RVers that we met on our travels to stop by and visit us in our hometown. In return, we've been invited to stop in if we're passing through their neck of the woods. It has always amazed us how natural it feels to extend such invitations even though, sometimes, we've just barely met. Of course, this is probably because hosting fellow boondockers is so easy - there's no need to clean the bathroom, make up the guest bed, or plan meals - RVers are always self-sufficient guests!
This community is being built by its members. It's a brand new idea and will take time to grow to its full potential but I'm happy to report that, after only two weeks, we already have an amazing number of boondocking locations right across the continent! We are THRILLED with the response; we've only just begun but the momentum is gaining fast.
We hope you'll join in to be part of the fun and meet other RVers around the country (and the world) including, of course, Randy and me. Through this new club, ours is just one of the many personal invitations to boondock on our property for a few nights while you explore our hometown: Elora, one of the prettiest small towns in Ontario.
RVing in Foreign Countries
Have you considered traveling by RV outside your own country but are afraid to do so? International RV travel can be a frightening prospect even for seasoned RVers; one of the interesting aspects of Boondockers Welcome is that it is free to grow in whatever direction the membership takes it. We've set no limits and hope to eventually see hosting locations spread across the globe. Connecting with members around the world will be akin to discovering you have a cousin in every country - one with local RV experience.
Of course, in other countries, most aren't familiar with the word "boondocking". In Europe, Australia, and New Zealand it's known as "freedom camping" or "wild camping". Even the terms "Recreational Vehicle" and "RV" are not used. "Campervan, campercar, and motorhome" are more common.
In some countries, just pulling off the side of the road in your motor home is, for the most part, legal and quite common. In others, it's a little more complicated.
Germany offers a lot of designated places (nearly every village has at least one) where campervans can park and stay the night for free. These are marked with a small sign that has a picture of a campervan on it. Some are really nice and located in rural areas with beautiful scenery. Others are not much fun - very near the main road of a town. On the whole, however, they provide a spot where a campervan can legally be set up for free.
Below are some helpful resources for foreign RV travel:
Camps Australia Wide (the 6th Edition) is a comprehensive travel guide to the best free and low cost camping spots, rest areas, station stays, national and state parks , country and remote caravan parks throughout Australia. Although on the "pricey side", this guide comes highly recommended and it will pay for itself quickly with money saved on campgrounds
In my last newsletter I highlighted Harvest Hosts, a membership club offering a free night of camping in the parking lots of wineries and specialty farms. While relatively new in North America, this idea has been around in Europe for a long time. Equivalent programs operate in France as France Passion and, in Italy as Fattore Amico.
Another resource is campingcarinfos.com. Click on Rechercher une Aires (aires being free or nearly free overnight places sponsored by the village). The web pages are in French but, in some browsers (i.e. Google Chrome), a pop-up tool bar can be set to easily translate them.
Here is a mini-guide for Stellplatz, the German translation for legal boondocking sites.
UK Motorhome Forum has an active section dedicated to wild camping and motor home-friendly parking. It's listed under the Travel and Touring headline.
Part Two of the California Boondocking Guide: The Mountains and Coast
This Frugal Shunpiker's Guide is still in progress and almost ready for the final edit; it's a packed ebook - approximately 50 pages longer than my other guides. I admit to being a one-woman show and that, on a beautiful spring day, sitting at my computer isn't high on my priorities list. The release of www.boondockerswelcome.com took precedence these past few months. Now that it's up and running, I will concentrate on getting that guide out to you before the busy summer travel season.
Frugal Finds:Mexico RV Buddies In keeping with the theme of international RV travel - rather than pay for an expensive caravan to Mexico, meet up with like-minded RVers to create your own.
Canadian/USA border crossing - official list of prohibited items.The official USA Homeland Security web site is the place for Canadians to check for updated lists of what you are and aren't allowed to carry as you cross the border.
New favorites on my blogroll include:
Gypsy Larry: A provocative writer, philosopher, and photographer with an amazing story. I'm hooked!
To Simplify: All I can say is, you have to visit this blog! Glenn Morrissette is an amazing and talented professional musician, decent amateur photographer, and excellent writer. His blog, his art, and his life philosophy are a joy and an inspiration to all who are living or contemplating a simplified lifestyle.
Our Take on Freedom:: Yair and Ayo are in the middle of an exciting experiment in lifestyle design (escaping the 9-to-5 before 25). You can tell from their blog and, actually, from just looking at them, that they're totally aware they're leading "charmed lives".
Kernut the Blonde: Here's someone you have to meet: Kernut is blonde, delightfully whacky, and on the road.
Until next time, Randy and I wish you all happy and safe travels and hope your spring adventures are unfolding perfectly. Cheers!
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