Thursday, January 5, 2017

Is free camping always the way to go when traveling?

Free official spot, best of both worlds
 So far I have gloried in the fact that I have paid next to nothing for free camping on my travels so far.   But today as I pulled out of a texaco station after having to abort an attempt to find a camp spot in the Dragoon Mountains of Arizona, I began to wonder.  In my mind I was thinking, sure, free is always better.   But if you are just looking for a place to crash for a night or even two, sometimes it isn't worth the cost in gas, wear and tear and time to go out into the middle of no where.  I've seen rv parks for 15-39 dollars a night, I probably spent at least 15 in gas to find that campsite in the mountains if you count my return trip.
It was quite pretty, despite traffic
 Now of course there are other factors to consider.  How much are experiences worth to you?   You can very easily find a roadside rest area or parking area, especially down in the southwest.   But it won't be as beautiful as this camping spot.    It's also kinda nice knowing the likely hood you will get a cop knock is low, but you wont in an rv park either so thats kind of a wash.

But this has it beat I think
 Scenery and memories aside, lets assume you are all about efficient traveling.  I think boondocking at a free site, even if it takes more in gas and time, becomes worth it when you extend your stay.    The longer the stay, the better the value.   One trip in, and one trip out costs the same whether you spend 1 night or 14.   In any RV park, even the cheap one for 15$ with full hookups I saw in Iraan Texas, can't claim the same.   The longer you stay the more it costs.

Since I wanted to go to the RTR this year I haven't stayed more than 3 days at any spot, but after the rtr my rate og travel will slow down significantly to conserve finances for just this reason.   But when you are on the road and moving around, the jury is still out whether its worth it to always seek out those free spots.

What do you think?


  1. Nice blog Martin. I say, the more free the better. Why part with hard earned cash if ya don't have to? I'm going to ad your blog to mine. Look me up when ya get a chance;
    Has been nice meeting and getting to know you.

    1. Good point. Been great talking to ya Bud, ill definitely check out your blog!