When travelling and living in a camper van or motorhome you can chose to stay in campsites or free camp in acceptable areas. The facilities you have in your vehicle, namely a toilet and shower, will determine whether you can, or how often you can camp for free.

Sections

Campsites vs Free Camping

Campsites offer the greatest amount of facilities and the greatest security but cost money. To stretch your funds and increase your travelling time you can consider camping for free, or 'free camping'. I personally do both. I often free camp for several days, parking in acceptable areas such as beach car parks, using the toilets and (normally cold) beach showers. Every few days I go to a campsite. Whilst in the campsite I wash my clothes, top up my fresh water, dispose of my waste water and do anything I need to whilst I am them. This is a great way of reducing your camping costs.

Either way is good for meeting people. If you are incorporating water sports into your trip, such as surfing, windsurfing, kayaking, etc. then free camping by the beach offers a great advantage as you can watch the conditions of the sea and wind and get in the water whenever you like. You'll also meet more people practicing your sport.

Cities

Driving and staying in cities is more difficult with a large vehicle such as a camper van or motorhome. See our guide to cities.

Tips

See our camping tips section.

Essentials

Be sure to see our camping trip essentials guide.

Comments (6)

  • Glide's picture

    I think Darren is right!,, try both types of camping to see what u like best!
    It all depends on the cash u have,, if u can afford to pay for campgrounds they are nice but with my trips I've found that it take away so much cash that it doesnt allow me to do other things.
    In the U.S. there are many places to camp for free such as Nat Forest, BLM land etc as well as walmart or other large retail stores for a night or so but just use them as an overnite parking,, no lawnchairs, coolers etc sitting out around ur camper,,, sooner or later the police will show up an run u off!
    And it will ruin it for the rest of us,, I've just used it when I was to tired to drive or when I get into town in an area I want to camp but to late at nite to search for a camp spot.
    There are plenty of websites to help u find free camping,, some lets u search by state to narrow it down easier,, from what I've seen Colorado has lots of Nat forest land and many snowbirds use Az as a fulltime winter location,,, I've spent 1-2 nights at a boat ramp, just park in a way that doesnt hinder the locals from using the area your going to park,,
    The main thing is dont draw attention to yourself!,, ask for permission,, walmart, cracker barrel etc,, spending alittle cash will help such as on your way out from buying afew grocerys or dinner just ask manager and most likely he will stear you towards a spot away from the main parking lot or even tell you of a nice spot he knows of in town where others have had luck camping,,, but to be real who wants to park in a parking lot with people all around anyway.
    Boondocking for me is the key to be able to travel on my disability income if I had to pay campground prices I wouldnt be able to travel much but if I use say Nat Forest land or other Gov land you can stay up to 14 days before u have to move to another area,, usually just 20 miles will do it and set up camp again,, all it takes is a little planning ahead an it really isnt hard to know where ur gonna call home.
    Good luck with ur trip and B safe!

    Aug 07, 2013
  • Kyle Golembiewski's picture
    Kyle Golembiewski (not verified)

    My girlfriend and I are hitting the road in August and I'm curious if we should be planning on staying at campsites more than boondocking. Her and I really wanna see the beauties of the United States so however we can do that safely is important.

    Thanks to anyone who responds!

    Kyle Golembiewski

    Jul 07, 2012
  • Darren's picture

    Hi

    I would recommend doing both to start with. See how you find each style of camping, then decide from there.
    I prefer boondocking, or wild camping as we call it in Europe, but like to visit a campsite once a week to freshen up the vehicle, and do laundry.

    Have a great trip.

    Jul 09, 2012
  • Bernhard's picture

    We are planning to visit Bulgaria this summer with our three kids and are looking for a reliable campervan hire in Bulgaria. Does anybody out there has experience campervan rentals in Bulgaria and could forward some contacts.
    Thank you very much in advance, kind regards,

    Bernhard

    Mar 12, 2012
  • Campervans Lover's picture
    Campervans Lover (not verified)

    Here in Australia it depends on where you are. There are a number of free and cheap ($5 per night) campsites around the country. You still have to be careful. The wild animals in these parts are the feral humans.

    Apr 21, 2011
  • rv camping's picture
    rv camping (not verified)

    well money counts but security counts more. so if we pay a amount to campsites than we are fully secured, not only from thieves but also from wild animals.

    Mar 31, 2010

Leave a comment

User login