Boondocking – the adventurous activity of taking an RV where real nature lovers typically prefer to bring a tent and cook on a campfire – is nothing new, but the recent 21st Centuryisation of bringing RVing back into the suburbs is.
And this is what I’ve been doing. Not because I like to sleep in car parks but because it is free.
There are plenty of sites – Allstays.com is probably the best – that can help you. Here are some tips I’ve picked up from experience.
- Plan – or call – ahead. You don’t want to arrive and find that your chosen site doesn’t allow overnight parking.
- Be choosey. Most places that will let you stay overnight will be next to an interstate and the road noise will keep you awake when you don’t want to be. If a town has options look for the one that is further away from the highways.
- Find somewhere level to park. If you can’t then make sure your head is uphill to your feet.
- Overhead parking lot lights have their pros and cons. They give security but can light up the interior when you’re trying to sleep.
- Be mindful of using your generator. You’ll want power at night but others around you might want peace and quiet instead. Except for truck drivers: they run their engines for hours – especially if they are pulling refrigerated trailers.
- Restroom facilities can be used. But a small purchase at your overnight stopping point will help make it easier for the next arrival.
- Clean up after yourself. A litter-strewn car park isn’t nice for other boodockers, customers or staff and it’s likely to cause policies to change.
- Know where the bona fide RV-friendly campsites are. You can’t rely on the hospitality of retail America forever and every week or so you’ll need to dump your tanks and take on fresh water.
- Remember you’re in a car park. While it’s convenient for you to stop overnight it is still a car park and shoppers aren’t going to care if they are disturbing you.
- Don’t advertise where your stopping. If you are making your location public then turn off your tracking before you arrive.
Jeremy is the sole driver, writer and photographer on Order66RoadTrip.com. He has plenty of experience doing all three having toured the US, Europe and North Africa searching for Star Wars filming locations, written about Star Wars for several books, magazines and websites, as well as providing photographs for a numerous Star Wars websites and publications over the years.