We wrote a blog about our budget early on in our year of full timing in a camper and found it remained pretty accurate for the entire trip, but also be sure to check this page for some specific resources we found useful for finding places to sleep (and dump tanks) on the road.
For more information on how to use these resources in planning daily itineraries, hop over to our itinerary planning page!
Free Camping Resources:
We LOVE free camping for many reasons. For one…it’s free, so duh! Additionally, we love to be off the grid and found our most beautiful campsites during our year of traveling were boondocking/dry camping sites. We tended to meet more people this way as well! Campgrounds are full of people, but we rarely connected with folks. We tended to only stay at campgrounds as a way to fill up on power/water and dump our tanks.
Here are some great resources for finding free camping!
- Boondockers Welcome: Not completely free if you consider the small membership fee, but an AMAZING resource. Some of the best people we met on our trip were hosts, who allowed us to camp in their yard or driveway for a night or two. Many invited us in to enjoy dinner or conversation.
- Harvest Hosts: Again, this organization charges a nominal fee, but the connections you get to the free places to stay makes it worthwhile. Harvest Hosts provides members with a growing community of farms, wineries, museums, restaurants, golf courses, etc where campers can camp for free. There is of course the expectation that you will patronize the host, but we never have any problem wanting to buy farm fresh veggies or wine!
- Campendium: This is a great site for finding completely free camping on a map of the area you’ll be visiting. It also includes user reviews so you can decide if the spots are worth it – we especially always appreciate the notes on cell service and road conditions!
- FreeCampsites.net: This site is VERY similar to Campendium. We used both because they often had different information or reviews with important information!
- BLM and National Forest Land: Most great spots to boondock on BLM or National Forest land will be noted in the two free camping sites listed above, but know that you are legally allowed to camp anywhere on these properties as long as you follow the rules!
Cheap Camping Resources:
When we did decide to come in off the grid, we always tried to find the most reasonable price for a campground; campground fees can add up quickly! Here are a couple of resources that we found the most helpful!
- Passport America: We used our Passport America card A LOT! We almost exclusively stayed at Passport America campgrounds because they were usually 50% off. There are a few restrictions at some campgrounds for weekends and holidays, so just be sure to read the details for each site while planning.
- FreeCampsites.net: In addition to providing information on free campsites, this site also offers information on pay sites, so you can compare and contrast pretty easily.
Good Sam Club: Including because we found it helpful on the rare occasion that we couldn’t find a Passport America site. However, Good Sam only provides a 10% discount and they only usually partner with the more expensive campgrounds. We originally thought it would be worth it for the free dump station use at the Camping World stores, but it turns out that most stores don’t have dump stations. We think the organization is shady.
Dump Station Resources:
Sometimes what you really need is for your camper to take a dump! There are a few good resources for finding just the dump stations.