Where’d We Stay 2018

What a great year of travel! 2018 took us from Texas to Arizona in a roundabout way through 16 additional states. We visited many, many wonderful places while making numerous new friends along the way.

Our style of travel is relatively slow paced yet spontaneous enough that we don’t like to make reservations or have specific plans for more than a day or two ahead of time. We prefer to stay overnight at locations that are fairly inexpensive, or even better, free. Solar panels charging our battery bank eliminate the need for hookups which in turn provides more options for overnight stays. Our motorhome is on the small side at 25 feet long and just shy of 8 feet wide making street and driveway parking more available than if we had a much larger RV. 

We enjoy staying at a variety of types of overnight accommodations. Below is a breakdown of all the different site categories we stayed at during 2018 along with statistics including free vs paid nights, number of unique locations, total cost of sites in each category and our average nightly cost.

Overnight Locations Breakdown

Friends & Family

0
Nights

# Free Nights – 56
# Paid Nights – 0
# of Locations – 5

Friends & Family

TN, WI, MN, MT – It’s always nice visiting friends and family in the RV as you can visit and then return to “home” at night. Free parking makes it even better! 

Total Cost – $0.00
Average Nightly Cost – $0.00

Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

0
Nights

# Free Nights – 47
# Paid Nights – 0
# of Locations – 7

Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

UT, NV, AZ – We found BLM land next to Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands, and Zion National Parks, Lake Mead Recreational Area and near Kingman, AZ, most of which offered 14 days of free overnight parking. We plan to stay on BLM property in Arizona for much of January and February of 2019 as well. 

Total Cost – $0.00
Average Nightly Cost – $0.00

Casinos

0
Nights

# Free Nights – 29
# Paid Nights – 17
# of Locations – 10

Casinos

MT, WI, IN, WA, OR, NV, AZ – We enjoy staying at casinos and seek them out for both a quick overnight stay and also as an extended stay depending on the individual casino rules. Most offer asphalt parking surfaces, security and garbage receptacles. We’ve even happened upon one that offered free electricity for up to three nights. Nice! The seventeen paid nights were spent at a casino in Wisconsin where we spent time helping with a home remodel. The casino does offer free dry camping but during our July stay the weather was unbearably hot and humid causing us to seek the comfort of electricity for air conditioning. It was well worth the $15 per night cost to be comfortable!

Total Cost – $255.00
Average Nightly Cost – $5.43

Boondockers Welcome

0
Nights

# Free Nights – 41
# Paid Nights – 0
# of Locations – 13

Boondockers Welcome

ID, ND, MS, TX, UT – We LOVE the Boondockers Welcome program and the members that participate in it. It’s so nice to meet new friends, learn about the area from locals all while having a nice place to stay. Boondockers Welcome is a paid membership program with fees ranging from $15 to $30 a year, about the same as one night in a campground. What a deal!

Total Cost – $0.00
Average Nightly Cost – $0.00

Army Corps of Engineers (COE)

0
Nights

# Free Nights – 0
# Paid Nights – 40
# of Locations – 6

Army Corps of Engineers (COE)

TN, MS, TX, WA – COE campgrounds are our choice when looking for a paid stay with electricity. Locations are almost always near a lake or other waterway and are usually in a rural setting. Site fees are reasonable and senior/access/military federal passes are honored offering those holders a 50% discount on camping fees. 

Total Cost – $457.00
Average Nightly Cost – $11.43

Other Locations

0
Nights

# Free Nights – 33
# Paid Nights – 1
# of Locations – 6

Other Locations

AZ, OH, MS, IN, MT – Sites included stays at a visitor center in MS, RV manufacturers in OH and IN, a Shopko Hometown in MT, and at Above and Beyond RV Repair in Apache Junction, AZ where we had an electric upgrade completed. All sites were free except for one night at the Airstream factory in Ohio which cost $10.00.

Total Cost – $10.00
Average Nightly Cost – $0.29

RV Resort

0
Nights

# Free Nights – 0
# Paid Nights – 31
# of Locations – 1

RV Resort

TX – Our one and only private campground/RV resort stay ever was a month spent in Donna, TX during January. The resort was nice but month long resort stays are not our style at this point of our lives. In addition to the monthly cost, the resort meters electricity which was an additional $48.72 fee. 

Total Cost – $299.00
Average Nightly Cost – $9.65

National Parks

0
Nights

# Free Nights – 14
# Paid Nights – 9
# of Locations – 7

National Parks

MT, ND, TN, MS, WY – We stayed inside Glacier (MT) and Teddy Roosevelt (ND) National Parks and at three national park sites along the Natchez Trace Parkway in MS and TN. Senior, military and access pass holders for National Parks receive 50% off of camping fees making for very reasonable overnight stays. 

Total Cost – $98.00
Average Nightly Cost – $4.26

Walmart

0
Nights

# Free Nights – 17
# Paid Nights – 0
# of Locations – 10

Walmart

WI, LA, TX, ID, UT, AZ – It’s great that select Walmart stores offer free overnight parking for RVs that are looking for a short stay. We do patronize the stores we overnight park at both as a thank you to them and because we can conveniently wheel the shopping cart right up to the RV to unload it vs hauling the bags to the car and then unloading them to the RV. 

Total Cost – $0.00
Average Nightly Cost – $0.00

Harvest Hosts

0
Nights

# Free Nights – 16
# Paid Nights – 0
# of Locations – 14

Harvest Hosts

MT, ND, IN, OH, KY, ID, OR, UT, AZ – Some of our most memorable overnight stays over the last 2.5 years have been at Harvest Hosts locations. We enjoy stays through the program at wineries, orchards, farms, and museums. As of just recently, 329 golf courses have been added to the program giving travelers even more options for overnight parking. Harvest Hosts is a paid membership program that is open to everyone with self-contained RVs. Our cost for the program in 2018 was $44 for regular membership and $22.50 for a prorated golf course add-on membership. We highly recommend the program to others!

Total Cost – $0.00
Average Nightly Cost – $0.00

City Parks

0
Nights

# Free Nights – 9
# Paid Nights – 0
# of Locations – 2

City Parks

TX – We stayed at city parks in Corpus Christi and Tomball, TX. Both offered free parking and the Tomball, TX park also included full hookups. What a great find! See more on this awesome park here.

Total Cost – $0.00
Average Nightly Cost – $0.00

Cabela's

0
Nights

# Free Nights – 5
# Paid Nights – 0
# of Locations – 2

Cabela's

WI, OH – Cabela’s are great overnight stops as many locations offer overnight parking along with having a dump station and fresh water. 

Total Cost – $0.00
Average Nightly Cost – $0.00

Yearly Totals

0
Nights

# Free Nights – 267
# Paid Nights – 98
# of Locations – 82

Yearly Totals

Total Cost – $1119.00 
Average Nightly Cost – $3.07

Spending an overall rate of $3.07 for fees throughout an entire year is very reasonable in our book. To put that in perspective, we paid $11.00 per day just for property tax in our former sticks and bricks home. 

Our goal for 2019 is to reduce this expenditure even more as we plan to increase our percentage of time boondocking. We also plan to increase stays at Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome sites during the summer months as we travel through Canada and around the New England states. We hope you join us for another year of great adventures. See you then!

Thank you for hanging out at Off Our Rocker RV.

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2 thoughts on “Where’d We Stay 2018”

  1. Ron and Barbara

    Very nice recap you guys. This really helps us to figure out what we will do when we finally get on the road full time. Again, reach out to us if traveling to New England and you are welcome to camp here on our property and enjoy the lake. Keep up the good work. We started thinking that the small Vegas would be cool but a little nervous about the size and ground clearance. Then we started thinking a bit larger class A, then small diesel pusher and now leaning back to smaller like you guys saying “what do we really need?” We visited all of them and now I guess we will agonize back and forth until the time gets closer. You are an inspiration to watch either way.

    1. Thanks for the compliment on the post! We will be traveling to New England this summer and would love stop for a visit. Maybe seeing how we live in our 25 foot long Vegas will help you decide if it’s the right RV for you. I know we are biased on rig size, but we do hear from more people wishing they had a smaller RV than those wanting something larger.

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