RV Hookups & What Are They
Don’t worry I never heard of RV hookups either until I bought my first RV, but…….. RV Hookups power the modern amenities of RV life. These crucial components of modern motorhomes are not exactly necessary, but they do make RV life more enjoyable. Allowing campers to enjoy the comforts of home while out on the road. Almost all modern motorhomes, campers, travel trailers & 5th wheels come with RV Hookups. So what exactly is an RV Hookup?
RV Hookups are the components that control the water and electrical functions of your camper. Allowing you to power up the electrical comforts of your motorhome, and utilize running water to take showers, use the bathroom or wash dishes as you would at home.
Cost of RV Hookups
If your motorhome isn’t already equipped with RV Hookups it’s most likely an older model. Meaning it would probably be cheaper to buy a modern camper versus paying to install RV Hookups in an older motorhome. Besides the initial cost of installing RV Hookups, which is factored into the overall price, the only fee associated with RV Hookups is the nightly fee an RV Park or campground will charge you. In today’s world thats usually around $50 a night. I’ve seen some campgrounds offer free RV Hookups or as little as $25/night, but I’ve also seen RV Parks that charge more than a $200/night.
The average cost of RV Hookups at an RV Park or Campground in America is about $50-$65 a night, but expect to pay more at luxurious campgrounds. During peak season (June-August) rates could be even higher, but in the off-season (Nov-April) rates could be even lower. The average nightly RV hookup cost is around $50 a night at a developed campground or RV park.
Cost of Weekly RV Hookups
One way to lower the cost of RV Hookups is to stay longer. Most RV Parks or campgrounds offer discounted weekly or monthly rates. The longer you stay the bigger the discount. There is no universal weekly campground or RV Park discount rate, but generally speaking most weekly rates include 2-3 free nights. For example, if the RV park normally charges $55/night that would be $385 for a 7-night stay. However, if you took advantage of their weekly rate of only $250 you save $110. You can look at it as two free nights or a nightly rate of only $35. Either way, it saved you money.
The average weekly rate for full hookups at a campground or RV Park is around $250
Cost of Monthly RV Hookup
To lower the cost of RV Hookups you can get a membership through ThousandTrails & SAM GOODY to take advantage of group discount rates at participating campgrounds and RV Parks. Another way to drastically reduce the cost of nightly RV hookups without a membership fee is monthly rates. Almost every campground or RV Park in America has a monthly rate and in most cases is thousands of dollars cheaper than paying the nightly fee for 30 days. If you read my RV Buying Guide your jaw probably dropped when I wrote about two campgrounds I found in Wisconsin charging more than $9,000 a month for RV Hookups. Yeah, they included free jet ski rentals, private movie theater, bowling alley, activities director plus a bunch of other things I don’t remember right now. That’s more than I made in a year when I was backpacking around the world for the 3rd time.
Most campgrounds & RV Parks monthly rates range between $400-$500.
Some a are a bit higher and some are a bit lower, but if the average nightly fee is $55 you can save over $2,000 at most campgrounds through their monthly fee rates. And all you have to do is stay longer. The number one rule in travel is– the slower you travel the more you see and the more you save. Especially if your traveling in a gas guzzling RV.
6 Resources To Help You Find Cheap RV Hookups
Sometimes conventional doesn’t work or doesn’t give you the results you’re looking for. Thats a battle I struggle with on a daily basis from my years of longterm travel. Always thinking outside the box frustrates me when searching for solutions only to find restrictions. Sometimes this allows me to find uses for products or services that never intended to be used in the way I use them.
The other day I got an email from one of you asking for help in finding Cheap RV Hookups. I’ve gotten this email a few times, and even more comments on my Find Cheap RV hookups for less than $200 a month article. I’ll admit I blew most people often assuming they didn’t read the actual article, but then after receiving this email I went back and read it myself. I realized I took a lot of liberties assuming you knew what I knew, and then wrapped it around a bunch of fluffy content that nobody wanted to read. So today I’m going to break it down step by step on how I find cheap RV hookups.
Use Internet Platforms That Were Designed For RVers/Campers
- Trover – a remarkable travel app that doesn’t get the attention it deserves so it flies below the radar. Click this link Trover if you want to learn more about it. But to summarize Trover is a digital guidebook that will never be out of date because it’s populated with user submission & details as they travel around the globe.
- iOverlander is an app that was initially designed for off-road racers has evolved into a “boondockers” bible. I haven’t written a piece on it, but I intend very soon. IOverlander is a dated looking app in desperate need of a makeover, but the functionality is 2nd to none. This little app displays a list (or map view) of free destinations and the amenities they provide. As well as the GPS coordinates, date a user submitted the listing, brief description, photos, altitude & most importantly distance from where you’re located.
iOverlander has the potential of supplying me with a destination that may have free RV hookups, but thats, not the main reason why I use this app. I use these two apps for a variety of reasons, but the main reasons are free boondocking destinations & things to do along my route. They have other capabilities but these are the two I use them for the most. Trover will show me cool waterfalls or places to eat along the way, and iOverlander will show me places to sleep near my new discoveries. Its the perfect partnership.
Connecting RVers with RV Hookups
If you weren’t aware there are actually a few internet platforms that were created solely to connect RVers & campers with landowners willing to rent out their property to you.
www.freecampsites.net was initially created as a hobby by a couple to log their destinations as they find them. A lot of work has gone into creating this website for us RVers, but it doesn’t show. The design is visually unappealing, but the information on this site is pure gold. Like iOverlander, all listings are manually listed by trusted users or the site owners and provide a brief description, location, rating, distance & amenities.
www.campendium.com is the modern version of Freecampsites. More polished & easier to navigate it’s a little easier to find what your looking for. But it also has its limitations. With that said it doesn’t have a “Verizon like” coverage map, and I don’t expect it to grow either. The owner of this website is content with the way it is for now. All the listings I have used have been accurate with their photos, descriptions, amenities & details.
www.hipcamp.com If Hipcamp wouldn’t have contacted me a few years ago I would have never known they existed. Hipcamp is like AirBnB for campers. This platform is designed to let landowners rent out their land to campers mainly for short-term solutions, but I have found a few hosts that rented out to me for a couple months at a time over the years. Its a relatively unknown new platform that has the potential to reinvent Campground & RV Park standards just like AirBnB has done to the hotel industry, but thats a few years or decades away.
www.gamping.com is another one I have heard of but have never used, and it is exactly like Hipcamp. At some point, one of these two will become the top dog or they may even combine forces, but for now, they are relatively unknown. Which is perfect for you to take advantage of the situation. Since the demand & traffic are low landowners, while not desperate, are eager to lock in reservations.
How Do I Find Cheap RV Hookups Using These Platforms
On Campendium or Freecampsites what you see is what you get. Heres the location & here is what is offered at this free camping destination. Pretty simple. When I am browsing HipCamp or Gamping I am looking for a few things.
- Size of land – Some of these listings believe or not are apartment buildings, condos or even houses in the suburbs. None of those are compatible with RV hookups or monthly stays. Sometimes it’s nice to stretch out and get out of your RV for a night, but when I am looking for longterm stays those are not my first choice situations. I prefer listings with large land plots, vacant land, farms, hunting land, a tiny house community. Things along this nature.
- Booking calendar availability – Another determining factor is availability. If a property listing already has reservations for 2 or 3 weekends of the month that host isn’t going to cancel three reservations to accommodate one reservation. If the host’s availability calendar has 10 nights booked over the course of the month I want to be there they are not going to cancel on those existing reservations, and it’s a good sign that host has a desirable property. Meaning they probably aren’t going to entertain the idea of giving a drastic discount on a longer stay when they make more money on shorter stays from other people.
- Time since the last booking – One of my favorite cards to play during the negotiations is “How long has it been since your last booking?” Which I already know the answer to because you can’t make a reservation without seeing the dates available, and simply scrolling backwards tells me when the last time this property was booked. If a host hasn’t had a booking in awhile they may be more receptive to a longterm reservation with guaranteed monthly income. Be aware though if a property hasn’t been booked in a while ask yourself why? Is the rate too high? Bad reviews? Unsafe neighborhood? Undesirable property? Poor description? Bad photos? A lot of things can contribute to why a property hasn’t been booked in a while. Do your due diligence.
- Nightly Rate – Sometimes you find the perfect property, but can’t cut a deal. Did you take into account the nightly rate? If they are charging $200 a night they are not going to agree to 30 days for only $200! I usually target property owners that have listings for $50 or less. The only time I make an exception to this rule is if they are renting out something quirky like a treehouse, tipi or RV!! Then I take a different approach, and try to sell them on “double dipping.” Meaning they can take two reservations for the same time period.
- Length on Site – I wish I could tell you new accounts are more receptive to long-term rentals, but its the opposite. New accounts haven’t dealt with changing the sheets 400 times a year or answering 800 emails a day about their property only to see their listing go unbooked. The older the account the easier it is to persuade a property owner into a long-term agreement.
- Reputation/Reviews – When you deal face to face with travelers & people on vacation for a short duration of time it is next to impossible to get a bad review. I worked in the restaurant industry in high volume iconic destinations around the globe for over 20 years. I know some people are just impossible, but in this type of setting you would literally need to be completely negligent or go out of your way to create a negative experience. So if a listing has a bad reputation or bad review scores I don’t even approach them. I am sure there is an angle to play to win negotiations with these hosts more than other hosts. I just don’t want to be in a situation that I might regret later because I wanted to save a couple of bucks.
After analyzing all of this and emailing hosts back and forth I try to land somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 a month for my RV Hookups. I have paid as low as $50 month, and there have been a few times I’ve paid as much $400 a month. But those times included a private waterfall, hot tub, pool & oceanfront private beach. All to myself.
How To Use AirBnb To Find RV Hookups
www.airbnb.com – is another platform that is designed for short-term rental mainly for 2nd homeowners trying to generate income from their condos, apartments, houses. But anyone with a yard is fair game, and the best time to look for long-term arrangements off of AirBnB is the slow season ~ September to May ~ in the Northern part of the country. I have found great success emailing hosts looking for long-term spots. What’s the worst they can say, No? It’s only an email.
The best ones to email are ones in or near a high volume tourist town. Think Jackson Hole, Whitefish, Stillwater, Custer, Grand Marais, Bar Harbor etc etc. Any gateway town near a National Park or other tourist hotspot like Mount Rushmore.
Refer to the six criteria I listed above to help you find an ideal host & property. Find listings that are renting out unconventional accommodations like campers/RVs, tree houses, tipi’s vacant land, sailboats, caves, etc etc. They tend to be more receptive to this type of arrangement. But just so you know I’ve also found discounted RV hookups in the backyards of suburbs of America from time to time.
Start out your correspondence by introducing yourself and letting them know your not a tweaking meth head looking to squat on their land. If you have a website share the link or even a Facebook profile share your link so they can get a better understanding of you and your personality. That’s usually the deal maker when I say things like, “and to get a better feel for my personality you can visit my public profile at….”
AirBnB is a popular “goto” for travelers nowadays so it’s not as easy as it used to be when hosts were starving for reservations, but I regularly use Airbnb to find RV hookups. Just be personable, honest, kind & transparent. Remember guaranteed income is better than theoretical income. Use that to your advantage.
As an added bonus if you sign up using any one of the orange AirBnB links on this page you will get a $40 credit at checkout on your first listing. Meaning if you come to an agreement with AirBnB host to pay $200 a month AirBnB will only charge you $160 for that first booking when you sign up through my AirBnB links on this page. How cool is that? Instant $40 savings on your monthly RV hookups?
How To Use Facebook To Find Cheap RV Hookups
Another favorite source of mine is facebook especially local groups for the area that I am looking to stay in. Every area nowadays has 3 groups.
1-garage sale or for sale group page (sometimes they are the same page)
3-help wanted page
What these 3 pages are called on Facebook is anyone’s guess, but to find them I would do a search for the town or county in the Facebook search bar to try and find these three pages. After that, if I still hadn’t found them I would search for whatever the area nickname is. Still can’t find it? Find one of the less popular Facebook pages that only have a few members. Your looking for the group that has thousands of members, but sometimes you have to join the group with less than a 100 to find the main vein of the area.
Protocols of Facebook Groups
After you get accepted into that smaller Facebook group of the area make a post saying you just moved to the area and looking for the job/helpwanted/forsale/ Facebook local group page. Someone will give it to you. Everyone wants to be a hero. Someone will help you out I promise.
Once you find the main Facebook group for the area make a simple post selling something trivial or nonexistent. Give it a day and then mark the item as “sold”. You have to do this because some of these groups are fickle & temperamental. If you come into the group posting I’m looking for a spot to rent for your RV you might get booted & blocked. Abide by the rules. Make a meaningless post that shows your willing to do so. It’s the easiest way to make it off the “Nazi” admin’s radar, and it also lets them know your not a scammer.
The Money Post on Facebook
After that make a post saying something along the lines. Who can use an extra $200 month? Or there has to be someone in the area that could use some extra money this month? Or something along those lines. Everyone needs money you will get more responses than you can deal with. I usually respond with a few vague replies throughout the day to keep bumping it to the top without actually divulging that I am looking for an RV spot. Then after it has been sitting for a day and there are enough comments I start responding to everyone. Giving details of what I am looking for and what I am willing to pay.
Facebook has been pure gold for me the last few years. No listings to sort through, no commission to be paid to the website owner for bookings. No verification protocols. Simple easy transactions between both parties made in person. Just like in the old days.
Through Facebook, I have found thousands of cool places to park my RV with full RV hookups. Some have been offered for free or in exchange for some type of easy chore. I have never paid more than $250 for my monthly RV Hookups, and I even stayed for two months in Mesa Arizona one winter. Facebook has been wonderful to me, and I can not recommend this method enough. Between Facebook & AirBnB I’ve been living full time in my RV around the United States for less than $3,000 a year. As a consequence I am also a member to over 10,000 FB groups. Talk about an active news feed!
Facebook Groups for RVers
Another good resource that sometimes takes a little more effort is RV Facebook focus groups. These aren’t groups dedicated to a specific area or destination. These groups more focused on the big picture of RVLife. Everyone there wants to be a hero and come to your rescue, but some of them are batshit crazy. I kid you not. Seriously, padded room crazy, but a wonderful resource for new & old RV owners. You will find answers on how to winterize your RV all the way to the weight of a popup camper. If you have a question concerning RV’s one of these groups has the answer, and I am a member of all of these groups so stop by and say “Hi”. Or leave a comment below.
List of the more popular RV Facebook groups.
How To Find Cheap RV Hookups Through Real Estate Agents
Another great resource I have been starting to use a lot lately is real estate agents. Go to the local real estate office and ask for a list of vacant land owner properties especially for out of state landowners. You can also find vacant land options off of Craigslist under the real estate for sale section.
It is best to get a direct email to the landowner. Because sometimes real estate agents don’t relay your request to landowners because they don’t make commission of off rental deals. So I also have a “fake” real estate email address. I use to email agents and have found this to be a good workaround so far.
I found the best success by inquiring about owner financing listings, or contract for deed listings. These landowners are publicly displaying they are willing to work with people to sell their land. I’ve gotten very creative with this and landed some true gems. I have never paid more than $150 a month. Even had one landowner offer to let me stay for free as a caretaker. To ensure people weren’t hunting on his land. Whatever works, right?
Remember this is just vacant land that nobody is using so negotiations aren’t that tough. I offered to pay the property tax for a year to one landowner, but before I made that offered I looked it up to see it was only $81. A month of RV hookups for only $81? Sounded like a deal to me!
My 6 Cheap RV Hookup Resources
These are the 6 resources I regularly use & how I use them to find private RV hookups for cheaper than you can find at a campground or RV Park. If you have a way thats successful for you to find RV hookups I am sure we would all like to hear about it. Let us know in the comments below. Also, anything that is orange on this site is most likely clickable. And made clickable to help you find more information on a particular topic. Or you can use the search bar in the upper right hand corner to find other related articles. Still can’t find what you’re looking for? Send me an email, or leave it in the comments below. If I don’t know the answer I’ll find it for you. If you want to see more articles on RVLife Click this link, and it will take you to my RV Life category.
I am also thinking about playing with a new slogan for the site. What do you think of, “Let your mind wander and your brain wonder.” Happy RVing everyone!