Boondocking in Texas
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RV Boondocking vs. RV Campgrounds

Full-Time RVing With A Plan B

We’ve mentioned it more than a few times in our blogs. When you live full time in your RV, you’ve got to be flexible, and you’ve got to have a plan B. If you’re boondocking, a plan B and even a plan C isn’t a bad idea. There was a stretch of about 6 months straight where every single time we arrived at our plan A destination, something prevented us from staying. It became a joke between us. Comments like “why even have a plan A since we know we’ll end up at Plan B” were often overheard in our RV. Some of the causes were weather, road construction causing closures, and government shut downs just to name a few. 

You can read how we spent $48 in camping fees in 2018 here!

Life is About Chapters

In 2018 we boondocked our way across the USA. We spent a total of $48 in camping fees for the entire year. You can read our blog about it below.

Boondocking – How we spent $48 in Camping Fees For The Whole Year of 2018

We were determined to show everyone it really can be done in a big rig. We made some sacrifices along the way, and skipped a few things we might have stopped to see had there been boondocking near by. We had been told by so many people that we’d never be able to boondock full time in a big rig. And if we did, we’d spend most of our time in Walmart parking lots, rest areas and truck stops. We knew we could do it different. We wanted the beautiful lake side, or amazing mountain views. And we got them! We did it! 

With all the above being said, 2019 we were on a little bit of a different path. Boondocking is still (and always will be) our preferred method of our Full-Time RV life. But flexibility and Plan B is the key. 2019 brought the purchase a few inexpensive memberships to help us boondock still, but also gave us another choice in inexpensive camping.

Boondockers Welcome

Priceless! The best of boondocking, and meeting new people. This small yearly membership allows you to stay on private land that the owners have opened up for us. Usually between 2 and 5 nights. Sometimes they have hookup’s and sometimes it’s just land. You can make a reservation and talk to the land owners straight through the Boondocks Welcome website

Passport America

We love Passport America. There are a lot more restrictions than we originally thought, but we saved more than the annual membership in less than a week of staying in campgrounds. Currently their membership is only $44 per year. And you receive half off every single campground in their list. Which isn’t just a few! There are quite a bit of them all scattered throughout the USA. Well worth the small annual cost. Tip: Hop into a campground for half price for a night to dump and fill vs. paying for a dump fee. Last year we were trying to find a place to dump our tanks and get water. The local campground was charging $10 to dump, which is very typical. But if we stayed all night, hooked up to power and water it was only $12.50 with our Passport America discount. Kind of a no brainer on which one we chose. If you use our affiliate code, it gives you an extra 6 months on your initial membership!! Plus, gives us an extra $10. C-742152. Thank you!

2020 Brings A New Chapter

As 2020 approaches – yep! More changes. The most incredible, wonderful, beautiful kind of changes in our opinions.  We are going to become grandparents for the first time. We are both completely in love with a child we haven’t met yet! We are so excited we can hardly stand it. With our oldest daughter becoming a mom, we quickly realized that traveling to and staying on the east coast would be challenging. Yes, we found some amazing boondocking locations on the east coast, but they are very limited, and completely non-existent in many areas. If you need a specific area, sometimes that can be more challenging to find boondocking. Weather is challenging on the east coast, both in summer and in winter.  Monthly campground fees have skyrocketed in the last few years, and the cheapest monthly campground fees we could find were still ridiculous, and astronomical. Plus, they still charged electric use. We can supplement since we have solar, but needless to say, still way out of our price range. So again, plan B comes into play. With a lot of research, we decided to become a Thousand Trails member. We will boondock every single chance we get. Campgrounds are not where we want to spend our time. They are over crowded, loud, and drinking coffee in the morning overlooking a lake vs. the neighbors slide is much more appealing. But what we do want is to have the freedom to be grandparents. Supporting our daughters, being involved with our grandkids, and watching our kids become parents is and always will be our number one joys. Chapters, right? This is our new chapter. Traveling to the east coast, and being close enough to the kids even for a few months at a time is important to us. And that isn’t feasible spending $1,000 a month in campground fees. Especially since we’ve planned for me (Stacy) to fly back to the east coast at least once in-between our driving there. I’d rather spend $500 on a plane ticket, then I would $1,000 a month a campground. Just makes sense for us. 

Why Thousand Trails?

Thousand Trails is definitely a membership we highly recommend. In fact, you can almost say we did the research for you. Ha! I may have researched this to death! I joined groups, read the endless rules/contract they have, and talked to many people who have the membership, and ones that didn’t renew memberships for various reasons. The relentless questions were asked, and thank you to our friend Rob Kenny who sold us the membership for all his patience. No matter which plan you choose in Thousand Trails, you can’t go wrong. If you plan to be on the east or west coast, Thousand Trails can be such an asset. It’s a lifetime membership, with a small annual renewal. But you can stay 2-3 week in campgrounds for free, and depending on the membership, go from campground to campground always staying free. No strings! I promise! If you’re looking to save a heap of money on the membership, I recommend Rob Kenny in Oregon. Best benefit of all … there is no tax in Oregon! Rob has been talking up Thousand Trails for years. Even before he worked for them. He’s not a salesman, he’s a friend who will inform you, answer your questions, and be honest about it. He listens! He takes no short cuts, and follows through, continuing to answer any questions, give suggestions and any help along the way even after your purchase. Plus, the Irish accent doesn’t hurt! Ha! Whether you purchase your membership from Rob or not – Call or email him with any questions you might have. He will have the answer. He’s passionate about Thousand Trails, and he will definitely do you right!

Please consider using our code by contacting Rob and letting him know we recommended you. You won’t be sorry!

Rob Kenny can be reached at 503-457-7267. Or his email address is robert_kenny@equitylifestyle.com

Yes! You may say it’s expensive, but not if you really break it down. When you’re looking to spend a few months in a campground that is costing $1,000 a month, you start to look at things differently. For the cost of this membership we have to spend 3 months in a campground. Not 3 months a year. Just three months to re-coop our money back. Give or take depending on the cost of each individual campground. Still, completely worth it in our situation. 

Final Thoughts

So in the end, this full time RV life is about chapters, flexibility and definitely about Plan B ~ no matter what type of overnight camping you choose. One isn’t more right over the other. Everyone has different needs, different agendas and different goals. And every one of those changes from time to time. Sometimes it’s becoming new grandparents that can give you a whole new perspective on your Plan B. But it’s an amazing Plan B.

Our opinions are just that. They are raw and they are honest. We hope you use our codes above to secure your own membership if you decided to go that way. If you don’t use ours, use someones! Pay it forward! You pay no more by using our code. And either way, we thank you! Truly and honestly, thank you!! Whether you’re just here to read another blog post, or you decide to reach out and purchase one of the memberships, you are appreciated! We wouldn’t want to be on this journey without each and every one of you. Your support, encouragement and love is appreciated more than you know. 

And don’t worry … we’ll still share all our epic boondocking locations with you all. That is still our preferred method of travel and always will be. But just fair warning, you might be seeing a lot of baby pictures coming across our feed in the near future. 

2 thoughts on “RV Boondocking vs. RV Campgrounds”

  1. Congratulations!!! Grandparenting is the best! We’ve been spending a lot of time on the east coast and it can be quite expensive, not as expensive as California, but still pricey. We love our Passport America and have stayed in some beautiful campgrounds with it. Best of luck to your daughter!

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