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Group Connects With “Offsite”
Bypass boring and sometimes expensive RV campsites. Members of Boondockers Welcome can choose from more than 1,500 free parking spots offered by hosts around the U.S., Canada and a few international sites.
  “My husband and I had been RVing for almost 20 years and loved boondocking, an RV term for parking away from established campgrounds,” says Marianne Edwards, co-founder, Boondockers Welcome. “Our best memories were the people we met. Often they would invite us to visit if we came through their area, telling us we wouldn’t need a campground. I thought it would be great to have a network to connect RVers.”
  When a niece told her about traveling around Europe and using the website couchsurfing.com, the concept came together for Boondockers Welcome.
  With the help of a daughter, Edwards set up the RV co-op. Visitors to the website pay an annual $30 subscription. This allows them to create a profile for hosts to review before responding to a request for a visit. Even before subscribing, website viewers can review potential host profiles about the site and available amenities.
  Non-members as well as members can agree to host. If they want to use the site when traveling, hosts pay a reduced membership of $15. However, each time they host another member, even the smallest RV, they earn 3 months free membership. Hosts can decide who they accept based on profiles, as well as when and for what length of stay.
  “The idea is to have places to stop for a day or two when travelling,” says Edwards. “Host sites are not intended as a place to set up camp for 3 weeks and call it your family vacation.”
  Edwards was well-suited to start the website. Over the years of travel she had established a blog about RVing. As a result, when she announced the site, she quickly had 300 members.
  “We host members ourselves and really enjoy the interaction,” says Edwards. “Some don’t know until they arrive that I am the person behind the website. We’ve had guests from England and British Columbia and have become very good friends with guests from Texas.
  “The only requirement of members is that they be totally self-contained,” says Edwards. “Some hosts may have water or an electrical hookup, while others simply offer a place to park. The great thing is that hosts can interact with visiting members as much or as little as they wish or as they have time to do.”
  Edwards asks interested FARM SHOW readers to contact her through her website.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Boondockers Welcome (www.boondockerswelcome.com).

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2019 - Volume #43, Issue #1