Where can I park my RV during a road trip?

Here is how you can park your RV during your trip!

Where can I park my RV during a road trip?

Here is how you can park your RV during your trip!

During your RV trip, you will spend a lot of time on the road. However, you will sometimes need to park in order to sleep, eat or have a break. You may also choose to stay at one place for several days and park your car in order to visit a city walking. Parking a recreational vehicle can be tricky at some point. Depending on the country and the areas you are traveling to, you will have to follow different rules. Here is how it works!

Where do you want to park your RV?

The first thing you need to know is where do you want to park your RV? Are you planning to park in the busy streets of a big city or in a proper camping spot? Of course, the difficulties won’t be the same in those two situations. It will also depend on what type of recreational vehicle you will drive during your trip.

How do I park my RV in cities?

Let’s be honest: cities are not the easiest place to park your recreational vehicle. If you are planning your road trip during busy seasons, you will need a lot of patience. But it is possible ! More and more cities arrange parking spots for motorhomes where you will find a spot more easily.

If you want to park on public roads, you are allowed to just like any other motorized vehicles. However, depending on the country and the city, you might not be able to stay several days at the same place or sleep in your RV. You should definitely ask for information when arriving in the city. 

No matter where you are, be careful to park correctly without obstructing the visibility or covering up signs. You must leave enough space on the road for the cars to drive properly and on the pavement for pedestrians to walk.

Parking your RV in a campingsite

If you want to make sure you will find a spot to park your recreational vehicle, you may want to book a spot in a campingsite. By doing so, you will be sure to have a place to sleep at night. Moreover, depending on the campground, you may have access to water, showers, electricity, etc. 

Of course, this solution is not free but it is a good option to refill your stock from time to time. You can benefit from the campsite’s electricity to recharge your batteries. Moreover, a campingsite is great to meet other vanlifers. You will be able to live in community during your stay. 

Usually, the parking spots in a campingsite are flat and easy to access. Parking will be easier than in the streets. Depending on the type of recreational vehicle you have, we advise you to place a couple of jacks at the rear under the frame to be more stable.

You can also choose to park in nature doing wild camping.

Can I park my RV in nature?

That is THE question! When we think of vanlife, we imagine living in nature, waking up surrounded by trees and butterflies. Depending on the countries you are visiting, it can be done. However, in some countries, you are not allowed to do wilderness camping.

Australia 

Australia is usually seen as a paradise for vanlifers. You can see on social media a lot of people doing wild camping in this country. Therefore, it might seem surprising but in Australia, wild camping is not officially allowed. With that being said, it is widely tolerated.

In order to avoid issues with locals, make sure to not camp on places where you can see a “no camping” sign. Try to avoid camping in the cities streets, on the roadside and, of course, on private areas. 

New Zealand

We have some good news for you! Wild camping is totally and officially allowed in New Zealand. You can park your car and sleep in any parking spot. Make sure to not interfere with the locals life and park correctly. 

You may also want to pay attention to some places. Even if wild camping is allowed, some spots are protected. In that case, you will find a “no camping” sign to inform you. 

USA and Canada

In the United States as well as in Canada, wild camping is allowed. You can park your recreational vehicle in US national forests and grasslands and on the Canadian territory. Like in New Zealand, you will have to pay attention to some places marked with a “no camping” sign. Indeed, there are some protected places or reservations to take into consideration. 

Europe

In Europe, wild camping becomes harder. Every country has its own rules but generally it is not as tolerated as in other continents. For example, in France or in the Netherlands, wild camping is forbidden. 

More rurals places like Scotland are more tolerant about wild camping. If you stay in the countryside and if you don’t install a big camping spot, you should be fine. However, we advise you to ask for information to the local authorities. 

Our best advice to wild camp properly

Since wild camp is not always officially and entirely established, you should adopt some habits in order to avoid difficulties and conflicts. The first thing is to arrive late and leave pretty early so that you don’t interfere with locals. 

To wild camp, your master word should be “respect”. Respect the place, nature, animals and people. Do not spread your stuff everywhere and try to be as discreet as possible. If necessary, ask for permission before settling down. Of course, don’t forget to clean up before leaving.

Finally, be sure not to spread out too much. If you want to do wild camping and don’t know if it is really allowed, at least try to stay discreet. If you are pitching 5 big tents, lighting a campfire and playing some music, it will probably get you into trouble. Otherwise, if you are sleeping in your recreational vehicle and do not bother anyone, you should be fine.

You can also choose to park your RV in a campsite

Marie C.

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Where to camp and stay overnight in your RV in the USA?

Where to camp and stay overnight in your RV in the USA?

While traveling through the USA, you have several possibilities for staying overnight. Depending on what you are looking for, all amenities, free campsites, quiet spot, easy access, connection with local people, there is something for everyone and for every RV. 

Here are some of the most common camping experiences you might have:

Private campgrounds

Those campgrounds are privately managed. Prices vary depending on the amenities available such as firepits, showers, laundry facilities, playground, pools, etc. You can easily find those campgrounds on Google and make reservations.

NPS campgrounds

National Parks Services manages a large numbers of campgrounds located in all their parks. In high season, reservations are highly recommended because spots tend to fill up fast. Those campgrounds have prime location to explore the parks and are usually very affordable. Amenities might include electricity, water, dump and laundry facilities.

Camping on public lands

BLM (Bureau of Land Management)  or the US Forest Services managed large parts of land in the USA and have dedicated space for people to enjoy wild camping or boondocking. Those spots are usually free but cannot be reserved. Some might have firepits and picnic tables. You can usually stay for up to 14 days.

Harvest Hosts (HH)

HH is a network of  over 1000 wineries, breweries, distilleries, farms, museums, and other unique locations where you can park for the night for free. The membership to this network is $79/year and gives you access to all the contact information for each one of those places. Those places host you for free hoping in exchange you might buy some of their products. Some places might allow you to park in the middle of their orchard while other will only offer you a spot on their parking lot. Depending on the type of places, you can have a tour of the farm or museums, and enjoy locally grown food or beverage.

Boondockers Welcome

This website is a community of fellow RVers that allow you to stay for free on their property. It’s a great way to meet local people while traveling and get advice on what to do and where to go. Some hosts even offer to their guests water, electricity and/or dump! The membership is $50 per year ($25 if you are also a host).

Wal-Mart, Cabella and other stores

Camping on the parking lots of some of those stores is allowed depending on the county that they are located in. We recommend that you call the store ahead of time just to confirm. No one likes to be waken up in the middle of the night and asked to leave. Definitely not the most glamorous spot you will find, but this might be a great way to catch some sleep while on a long road trip. We usually use those places when we know we are going to arrive late and leave early. You probably don’t want to spend your entire afternoon on a Wal-Mart parking lot…

Freecampsites.net and iOverlander

Some examples of applications and/or websites that can help you find a campsite or a place to stay overnight while you are traveling. Listings include free and paid options. We personally use those all the time, because it gives you a good idea of the possible campsites around you. Some towns in the USA have a free campground for people to enjoy and you will find them on those websites. Users can leave reviews and pictures for each site. They are very informative on how to get there, what type of RVs can access it or not, is it safe, clean, quiet, etc.

 

When choosing a campsite, we recommend that you think of the type of experience you want to have and the level of autonomy of your RV. Staying at a free campsite for several days with no amenities requires you to be fully autonomous, and monitor and conserve your electrical and water supply.

Alexia McA.

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