Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
My husband is tighter than a wax doll's eardrum. He will pull off on a wide spot in the road for the night before he will pay a campground fee that exceeds fifteen dollars. I am not comfortable with his questionable campsites and it causes constant arguing. We have been asked to leave these sites several times in the middle of the night. It’s scary, to say the least, dealing with people in the dark. I am always sleeping with one eye open. He tells me I read too many headlines and that we are perfectly safe. Safe or not I feel like we are playing “Russian Roulette” every night we spend in a questionable spot. I am all for boon-docking, but he is obsessed with camping as cheaply as possible no matter the risk I feel, perceived or real. Do you think I am overly cautious? I don’t want to be a “Nervous Nelly” but I don’t want to be reckless to the point of ending up in an uncomfortable situation while trying to save a couple bucks.
--Ole One Eye in Ely
Dear One Eye:
Everyone has their own comfort level and budgetary restraints when it comes to camping in various parts of North America. It sounds like you and your husband are polar opposites when it comes to the boundaries of those levels. The secret of a successful relationship is compromise. Meeting in the middle should be no problem in your circumstance. You should sit down and decide what type of overnight sites are off the table. Perhaps it will be rest areas, undersigned wide spots, closed businesses with large parking lots, or any number of questionable spots that might look inviting but come with no invitation.
Secondly, you should accumulate as much information as you can, keep copious notes, invest in reference material, talk with other RVers and become an expert at locating places where you will enjoy camping, feel safe and not break the bank.
I am assuming you are talking about staying in questionable sites while traveling from one destination to another. That should not be a problem if you spend some time doing your homework. Your husband should have no problem staying somewhere you feel comfortable if there are enough alternatives.
Many companies besides Walmart now offer overnight parking as part of their customer service. There are several computer Apps that easily show numerous camping opportunities. With a wi-fi connection you can find directions, rates, images of the facilities and reviews from other RVers.
You can buy campground guide books that specialize in low cost camping that are updated constantly. Keep a calendar or journal of where you have been, places you have heard about from other travelers, places you have read about in travel articles or brochures you have picked up at Welcome Centers.
In the SW portion of the US we use these guidebooks
Click here to visit Frugal Shunpikers Guides to RV Boondocking.
Each one of these guides pay for themselves in a one or two night stay.
You may find you enjoy this type of research. It can be like collecting coins or stamps but make you a lot more money in savings, safety and piece of mind.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink