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Help! Moochdocking Is Harder Than I Thought

Help! Moochdocking is Harder Than I Thought

RVing gives you the freedom to travel anywhere. Sometimes, it even lands you near friends and family for a bit of moochdocking.

Today we’ll take a closer look at moochdocking and how it can maximize your RVing travels.

Let’s get started!

First, What Is Moochdocking?

Moochdocking is when you park your RV in the driveway or yard of a friend or family member. 

You’re using some of their resources for power, water, and possibly even dumping your RV’s tanks. So you’re “mooching” off your family and friends for a place to park your RV, hence the name.

Where Can You Go Moochdocking?

That depends on where it’s legal. Some homeowner’s associations or local ordinances might prohibit RVing. As you plan your moochdocking trip, you should always confirm the owner has permission to let you stay.

You don’t want your family and friends to receive a fine for hosting you.

RV parked at a driveway.
Moochdocking is parking your RV in a friend or family members driveway and camping there.

Benefits of Moochdocking

Moochdocking comes with several benefits. Let’s take a look at a few and see if moochdocking is right for you!

It’s Free! (Mostly)

Your friends and family will be excited to host you and likely not ask for any compensation. This can help save money on camping fees. However, it’s important to be respectful of your host’s generosity.

It’s always nice to offer to help compensate your friends and family as a token of appreciation. You may offer money, a nice dinner, or some other gift. Don’t ruin a friendship or relationship over a few nights of free camping.

You Can Keep Your Privacy

One of the perks of traveling in a home on wheels is that you can take your bathroom and bedroom wherever you go. This can help you and your hosts to maintain some privacy during your stay. You don’t have to worry about an uncomfortable situation waiting for a restroom or shower to open up. Instead, you can use the facilities you take with you on your adventures.

RV parked at friends house in desert.
Enjoy the privacy of RV living without the stress of booking a campsite while moochdocking.

You Get to Visit Family and Friends

There’s not much better than getting to spend time with your friends and family. This can be especially true when your travels take you near friends and family you haven’t seen for a long time. You can catch up with them and get to experience parts of their lives. You no longer have to wait for a class reunion or the holidays to see the people you love the most.

No Need to Worry About Booked Out Campgrounds

RVing has become tremendously popular in recent years. With so many new RVers, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find campsites. While the local campground may be booked solid for the rest of the season, your family and friend’s driveway won’t be in high demand. 

RV parked at small campsite for dry camping.
Being well prepared makes moochdocking an easy, enjoyable experience.

Moochdocking Can Be Hard If You’re Not Prepared

You should keep in mind that moochdocking can be incredibly difficult, especially if you’re not prepared. Many times moochdocking will mean you’re dry camping, which is camping without any hookups.

There’s a good chance, especially if your host isn’t an RVer, that you’ll need to arrive with empty tanks, as there might not be a place to dump them. You may even need to arrive with a full fresh water tank.

You should always verify what the plan is when it comes to powering your RV. If your host doesn’t have a spot for you to plug in, you’ll need to have a plan for your power needs. If you’re planning to moochdock during extreme weather, you may need a power source to keep your RV comfortable.

Extreme temperatures in an RV can be miserable. Whether it’s extreme heat or cold, if you arrive unprepared, you’re going to have a terrible experience. Make sure your hosts know what you need, and everyone is prepared.

Pro Tip: Being well prepared for moochdocking will make it much easier! Still overwhelmed by the idea? Here is why we think you should Forget the RV Park, Give Moochdocking An Old College Try.

Here’s How to Make Your Moochdocking Experience Easier

There are a few things you can do in advance to make your moochdocking experience a smooth one for both you and your host. Let’s take a look!

Get a Backup Power System

No matter how much time you’re spending in your RV, you’re going to need a power plan. You may inquire with your host about plugging your RV into their house. You should always offer to compensate your hosts for any power or water usage during your stay. However, not every host can handle an RV’s electrical requirements.

If you’re not able to plug in, a solar setup is your next best bet. Solar power to charge your batteries and run the appliances in your RV is much quieter than a generator. You don’t want to annoy your hosts or their neighbors. Doing so may prevent future moochdocking invitations.

RV parked with solar panels out.
Have a backup solar setup to use while moochdocking.

Avoid Moochdocking During Extreme Temperatures

Another great way to make your moochdocking experience easier is to not moochdock during extreme temperatures. It can be challenging to stay comfortable in an RV during extreme heat and cold.

Being uncomfortable can quickly ruin your moochdocking experience and also put a strain on your host. If your host allows you to plug your RV into their house, they may wind up with an expensive electric bill. 

Learn How to Conserve Water

You don’t want to be wasteful, especially when you’re using a family or friend’s resources. If you’re not able to fill up your water tanks at their house, you also don’t want to run out of water during your stay. If you don’t have a way to put water back into your freshwater tank without packing up, you’re going to be in for a big hassle.

Make sure you have plenty of water or a plan to get water for the duration of your stay. This can help ensure you’re not wasting time trying to fill your tank during your stay.

Close up image of RV water tank.
Be careful to conserve your water while moochdocking.

Learn How to Find RV Dump Stations

There’s a good chance you’re not going to be able to dump at your host’s house. If that’s the case, you’re going to need to know how to find RV dump stations. It may be at a local campground or truck stop. Some community sanitation departments offer access to a dump station.

Arrive at your host’s house with a plan for how you’ll dump your tanks if you need to dump them during your stay. There may not be a convenient place to empty your tanks, so you’ll need to utilize your host’s restroom and facilities to avoid having to dump your tanks.

Be Sure Your RV Will Fit Before Attempting to Park

Before you try to squeeze your RV into your host’s driveway or yard, make sure it will fit. You don’t want to derail your plans when you discover your RV won’t fit. It can be even worse if you damage your host’s property or your RV while trying to squeeze into a tight spot.

If your host isn’t an RVer, ask for pictures and even measurements of the spot to confirm you’ll fit. 

Big RV parked in a small driveway.
Make sure your RV is not too big for your parking space when moochdocking.

Alternatives to Moochdocking

If moochdocking isn’t something you want to consider, boondocking is a great option for inexpensive camping. Boondocking means camping on public lands. These spaces can provide lots of room for maneuvering large RVs. You may even be able to stay longer than you would have felt comfortable parking in your family or friend’s driveway.

If you’re just looking for a quick overnight spot to sleep, many businesses allow free overnight parking in their parking lots. Walmart and Cracker Barrel are two of the most popular options for RVers. However, it’s important to note that you should always confirm your ability to stay.

Some local ordinances prohibit overnight camping in parking lots. You risk getting asked to leave in the middle of the night or possibly even receiving a ticket if you unknowingly violate an ordinance.

Pro Tip: Become a boondocking pro with our 5 Simple Boondocking Hacks for Summer Camping.

Moochdocking Doesn’t Have to Be Hard

If you do your due diligence and prepare for some of the common issues, you’ll have a great experience. The more you can use your RV, the more you’ll understand how you can use your RV and have a minimal impact on your host.

Have you ever accepted a family or friend’s invitation to moochdock on their property?

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