My first RV was a 29′ Class C. Not wanting the expense involved with parking at different campsites overnight as I traveled with my family, we parked in Flying J or Walmart parking lots. Driving was easy enough, but it was just so darn hard to park.
Then I discovered how convenient it was to own a 19′ van style Class B, Roadtrek RV. I loved it. Such freedom. I could park it in any regular car parking space.
Buying older RVs, I was always afraid of the engine failing on me. So I usually sold them after a couple of years. Then I’d get the itch again and have to find a way to earn enough money to buy another RV.
I was always pretty good at starting up a business at the drop of a hat. So this time, I ran an ad in GroupOn and started teaching piano lessons. The money I earned from teaching piano, along with saving my social security checks, was starting to add up. Within a year, I had accumulated just about enough money to at least start looking at RVs that were for sale.
When my kids found out what I was up to though, they convinced me to get out there and travel the world. They were right. And so I did. Along with traveling overseas though, in the back of my mind I never lost sight of wanting to purchase an RV to travel in throughout the USA again too.
After spending four very strategic months enjoying traveling to eight different countries, by staying with host families in order to not deplete all my savings for an RV when I returned.
I spend this past winter once again saving all my social security checks to recoup the money I spent overseas. In March of 2019 I purchased a beautiful 22 foot 2004 R-Vision Travel Lite 236 model RV.
I considered purchasing another Class B van style RV or converting a van I could live in while on the road, but I really wanted something a little bigger that could accommodate me taking family and friends along with me occasionally on some shorter trips.
The accommodations for most of the overseas traveling I did was provided for me through work exchange programs I belonged to. How could something like that work for me while traveling in an RV?
Even though there are several hosts within the United States that are members of the work exchange programs I belong to, I didn’t need to stay in their home. I would only need for them to have enough room on their property where I can park my RV for overnight stays. Most likely, those would be farms.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and low and behold I found a membership site called HarvestHosts.com and another one called boondockerswelcome.com.
Aside from these great membership resources, there are also several other resources available such as freecamping.net, and the apps OvernightRVparking, RV Parky, Campendium and FreeRoam.
Travel Centers, such as Flying J, Pilot and Loves can be found along most interstate highways. But not many Walmarts allow overnight parking anymore. I think it has more to do with city ordinances than store policy. Cabela’s still usually allows overnight parking, some Lowe’s, Home Depot’s, Cracker Barrel and Costco’s too, but you need to go in and ask their manager first.
I also understand there’s a lot of BLM (Bureau of Land Management) places where you can set up camp for up to 14 days at a time. For me, unless there are other RVers nearby, I wouldn’t feel comfortable or safe being out there, all alone on a piece of land in the wilderness, by myself like that. I’d rather stay at a first come, first serve campground that offers free camping for up to 14 days.
If you are a senior, you can purchase a National parks yearly or lifetime park pass to receive free park entry plus half off of camping fees at all National parks campgrounds, which are reasonable to begin with. I also believe the Passport America membership card gives you half off many RV parks, but I haven’t gotten around to getting that membership card yet, mainly because I haven’t found it necessary to do so.
I’m not opposed to staying at a campground. I just can’t do so every night because even $10 or $20 a night all adds up. Speaking of campgrounds, the option of becoming a camp host is appealing. Sometimes I think it would be nice to settle down for more than one or two nights in one location. It would certainly help stretch the amount of money I pay for fuel.