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What is Moochdocking? A Guide to Free RV Parking and Etiquette Rules

Published on August 3rd, 2023 by Chelsea Gonzales
This post was updated on March 26th, 2024

Moochdocking is a term that we are hearing more often in the RVing world. But what is moochdocking?

Why would you choose it? How do you go about it?

And what are the etiquette rules associated with it?

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In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about moochdocking.

Then you can go into your first moochdocking experience totally prepared.

Let’s get started!

What is Moochdocking?

Before we go further, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page. If you’ve never heard the term before (and honestly, even if you have), you may be wondering what on earth moochdocking is all about. After all, this isn’t a word that tends to come up in everyday conversation.

Basically, the word moochdocking is a combination of the words “mooch” and “boondocking.” The definition of this silly word? To mooch off of somebody by boondocking on their property.

Of course, nobody wants to be seen as a mooch (or at least not too much of a mooch). That’s what this guide to moochdocking is for. We’re going to help you enjoy moochdocking to the fullest without making your hosts feel as though you are taking advantage of their generosity.

Motorhome moochdocking on someone’s land in the snow. (Image: Skyler Smith, Unsplash)
Moochdocking = “mooch” + “boondocking” (Image: Unsplash)

The Benefits of Moochdocking

Okay, so now you know what moochdocking is, but you may still be wondering why somebody would choose it over staying in a campground. There are actually a number of reasons for this. In this section we will discuss some of the most common reasons RVers choose moochdocking sites over other campsites.

Camp for Free

For starters, moochdocking is free (or at least close to it). Considering that the cost of private and public land campsites can reach $50–$100 in some areas, this is a pretty good deal. If you’re a traveler on a budget, moochdocking might be an excellent way to save some money on vacation while seeing all of the amazing places on your bucket list. 

Stay Closer to an Attraction

There are some parts of the country that really don’t have a lot of RV parks. In some cases, you may find yourself staying an hour or more from a particular attraction you’d like to see. If you can find a place to moochdock that is closer to the attraction, you’ll save quite a lot of driving time. 

Spend More Time with Friends and Family

In many cases, RVers end up moochdocking on the property of a family member or a friend’s driveway. If their homeowner’s association doesn’t have parking restrictions, it means you can spend more time with those loved ones while in the area. They are there when you wake up in the morning and when you go to sleep at night. A quick coffee together or fun board game session is just a knock away. 

Make New Friends

If you end up using a stranger’s property for moochdocking—more on finding those spots later—you might just find yourself with a new good friend. Most moochdocking hosts look forward to spending a bit of time with the campers they host, and many are RVers themselves. Make a point of getting to know each host, and make plans to meet up with those you click with during your travels. 

Motorhome parked and moochdocking in residential driveway
If you know someone with RV parking, you can moochdock!

Where to Find Moochdocking Campsites 

Obviously, moochdocking is pretty fantastic, but how do you go about finding places to moochdock? There are a couple of ways to go about driveway surfing. Read on to learn more. 

Check with Friends and Family

First, if you have friends and family who happen to have property (or even just a long driveway) in an area you wish to visit, contact them. See if they might be willing to host you for a few days. In this case, we recommend offering something in return. A bit of money, bottle of wine, a home-cooked meal, or even a night of babysitting would work just fine. 

Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome

We don’t often have friends or family along our travel route. This is where RV club memberships like Boondockers Welcome and Harvest Hosts save money on camping fees. Both of these awesome RV parking discount clubs connect willing hosts with eager moochdocking RVers. Sometimes the hosts will offer some hookups (in exchange for a small fee); other times you only get to enjoy free overnight camping. Restrooms for overnight parking is a rare bonus. Fill your freshwater tank before arriving (or have your composting toilet ready_.Either way you save money on campsites.

Being a Good Guest: The Unspoken Rules of Moochdocking

Alright, now that you know where to find moochdocking spots, the last thing to cover is what to do when you get there. Following these unspoken rules of free camping on someone else’s property will help ensure you are a good guest that hosts want to invite back. Don’t be a true “mooch” who will never be invited back.

Park Where You’re Told

First, make sure to park your RV where your host directs you and nowhere else. If you have a tow vehicle, be sure to ask where you can park it. Some hosts aren’t keen on having someone drive on their grass, and that should be respected. 

Ask Before You Use Something

Usually, a host will tell you exactly which facilities you’re able to use. If they don’t offer a certain amenity and you want to use it, be sure to ask for it. This applies to the water spigot and electrical connection, obviously, but it also applies to things like the dumpster, sewer, and internet WiFi. 

Keep the Volume Down

Clearly, you don’t want to be annoying. For this reason, it’s important to be aware of your noise level and keep it down as much as possible. If you must run a generator, make sure it’s okay with your host and then stick to running it in the late morning, afternoon, and/or early evening. Avoid playing music or turning the TV volume up after 9 PM and before 8 AM.

Clean Up After Yourself

This probably goes without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway: Always, always pick up after yourself. Never dump your tanks on the ground. Take all of your trash with you (unless you’re given permission to use the dumpster).

Don’t Overstay Your Welcome

Lastly, do not overstay your welcome. The best way to do this? Agree on an amount of time you will stay before you arrive and then stick to it. Asking to extend your stay—or worse, staying without asking—is a good way to upset your hosts. 

With this guide to save money on RV camping, you should be able to jump into the world of moochdocking with confidence to see if it’s for you. We’re betting you’ll love the ability to see new places without breaking the bank. The relationships you’ll build along the way are definitely a major bonus! 

This post may contain affiliate links or mention our own products, please check out our disclosure policy here.

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