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U.S. Travel for Foreigners

Look for Free Camping

Hola amigos, Jose Felipe Antonio here with my second article about tips for Europeans wishing to acquire a camper rental in the U.S.A. The more I write about these experiences, the more I realize how many Europeans love traveling in an RV.

As you may remember, I’m a Spaniard who loves to travel. I recently discovered the joy and convenience of traveling in a camper van rental from Cruise America — which is why I am writing this blog post.

My Dutch girlfriend chuckles when she hears me refer to it as an RV; she would call it a camper huren. Oh, and I picked up just enough of the German language in high school to know that there, they would call it a wohnmobile mieten. However you refer to it, it means having a very lovely time in a very lovely place.

One of the most important things to decide when you’re planning your RV hire for your holiday in the U.S., is where you will be staying. There are thousands upon thousands of caravan parks in the United States, and before you get started, you should decide just what type of camp ground you prefer.

If you choose to stay in an established RV park, you will probably end up paying $20-40 per night, which is way less expensive than staying in a hotel. Some of the nicer campgrounds have amenities such as showers, lavatories, cable TV hookups, water, sewer and power hookups. Many of them have shops where you can purchase basic groceries and camping and fishing supplies, and some of them even have swimming pools.

You can also do what’s called boondock camping. This is where you stay outside of a conventional campsite and just park wherever you choose. The reason you can do this is because the caravans for hire by Cruise America come with water tanks for drinking and showering, toilets, and generators that produce electricity for your comfort. There are also tanks in which one can store the wastewater until a dump station is found.

If you are on a budget, (and who isn’t?) you may want to take advantage of the free camp sites that are available. It’s nice in the U.S. because there is still land that is set aside for the public to use at no charge. It’s available to everyone, whether you are a resident or a visitor.

How to Locate the Best Free Campsites:

  1. Go to the place that most appeals to you scenic-wise.
  2. Look for National and State parks, mountains, beaches, canyons, forests, grasslands, deserts and lakes. These are the places that are most appealing to campers.
  3. It’s often public land such as Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and National Forests that border these parks.
  4. Learn to identify and look for the small road signs that indicate that you are entering public land.
  5. Stop in every time you see a National Forest office or a BLM office, or a visitor’s center. They may offer free maps of the area, special points of interest, road conditions, etc.
  6. The majority of BLM sites and forests have affordable campgrounds where you can set up. In addition, they usually have free dispersed camping, which is where you will most likely find the most scenic spots to break camp.
  7. If you are camping in the boondocks, look for sites that have been previously used. You will recognize them by fire rings or other evidence of use.
  8. Don’t be surprised if you decide you want to stay camping longer. It tends to make a holiday season more fun if there are wide-eyed kids around.

Remember that it’s always a good idea to practice the kind of camping where you “leave no trace” of having been there. Be sure to take your garbage with you and throw it away in the proper place. Also, if you come across garbage that someone else has left behind, please take it with you as well. It’s kind of a “pay it forward” rule of camping. Always make sure the area is left looking better than it did when you arrived.

Adios for now, and happy camping!