You May be Familiar with Couch Surfing – Introducing the RVing Equivalent: Driveway Surfing.
WireService.ca Press Release – Elora, Ontario, Canada, April 18, 2012:
In North America in particular, many RVers seek out Walmart stores, truck stops, and casinos for free overnight parking en route to their destinations. While they will likely continue to use these businesses, what would it be like to be welcomed by thousands of fellow RVers to spend the night parked on their private property instead?
RVers are known to be extremely friendly and social. Meet a fellow RVer at a campfire, happy hour, or at the RV dump station, and an exchange of addresses with an invitation to visit each other’s home town is more common than not. A new website, www.boondockerswelcome.com, now makes it possible to have friends welcome you for a night or two along every leg of your RV travels.
Veteran RVer Marianne Edwards and her daughter, Anna, have just unveiled the new website, where they provide a place for fellow RVers to meet, arrange boondocking, and provide references for each other. While a new concept for the RVing set, it’s a direct take-off of popular travel websites such as www.couchsurfing.com, www.globalfreeloaders.com, and www.hospitalityclub.org.
Edwards is no stranger to boondocking (self-sufficient RV camping without hookups or any of the services of a paid campground). Through eleven years of frugal RV-travel, she literally wrote the book on finding free camping but it was her experience with visits to fellow RVers’ homes that led to the development of Boondockers Welcome.
The idea for the web-based club came about because, like most in the RV community, Edwards and her husband, Randy Sturrock, invite RVers who they meet on their travels to stop by and visit their home if they pass through southern Ontario. “It has always amazed us how natural it feels to extend such invitations even though, sometimes, we’ve just barely met. Of course, it’s 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!”
Two years ago on a solo RV trip, Edwards found herself looking for a place to park overnight near a popular tourist area. “I passed many a country driveway with an RV parked in it. At one point, with evening approaching, frustrated, and unable to find a suitable, safe, and affordable overnight location, I brazenly drove down one of these farm laneways, introduced myself, and asked this middle-aged couple if they could allow me a small corner to park just for the night. How lucky I was – Cathy and Joe could not have been more welcoming. That’s when it occurred to me: Wouldn’t it be great to know fellow RVers in every part of the country?”
No matter what route they choose, club members can arrange free overnight parking with friends all the way to their destination. More than just a safe place to park overnight, they might begin amazing new friendships, include a bit of social time, and be directed to the “must-sees” of the area. Who better than locals to give out maps and tourist brochures and point out the hidden gems, favorite hikes, best restaurant, or cheapest fuel price?
There must be thousands of RVers like Cathy and Joe, willing to share their driveway for a night or two, in exchange for the same privilege down the road. Members don’t necessarily need to become best friends – just be willing to offer and accept a convenient place to park for a night.
International RV travel can be a frightening prospect even for seasoned RVers. Although early enrollment has been concentrated in North America, the club is open to members world-wide. Edwards suggests that connecting with members around the world will be akin to discovering you have a cousin in every country – one with local RV experience.
Eventually, the mother-daughter team hopes to cover the costs of creating and maintaining the website through a small annual membership fee (less than the average price of a night at a campground), but for a limited time, a free lifetime membership is offered to founding members. The club is open to all RVers, even those who cannot offer boondocking space themselves.
Marianne Edwards is the author of The Frugal Shunpiker’s Guides to RV Boondocking. Since 2007, she’s been sharing insights and advice on her website, www.frugal-rv-travel.com, and her articles have been published in various North American RV publications including Escapees Magazine, RV Gazette, and The RV Times. To learn more, visit www.boondockerswelcome.com or contact Marianne Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’d like more information about this topic or to schedule an interview with Marianne Edwards, please call her at 519-846-0785 or email her at email@example.com.