Money Saving RVing

 

Casino Parking – Free
Overnight Stays

I must confess, we have never stayed at a Casino Parking lot overnight.  We have occasionally stopped and walked around a casino, and have even deposited a few quarters in a slot machine, chalking it up to entertainment expense.  However, we just have never been able to stay interested in the whole scene for very long. This is not a criticism of  gambling nor the establishments.  Everyone to their own fun.  We have been told that there are many casinos that will allow free parking overnight.

Free Overnight Casino Parking

I have been told that you are often greeted by someone from the casino staff that will give you a breakdown of the rules, offer to sign you up in their player’s club, and generally help with questions.  I’ve heard that some will even allow you to stay for more than one night.  Others simply have a designated RV parking area within the parking lot similar to Walmart. We have even heard of some casinos in Oklahoma that have full hookups, and will allow you to stay for free on a first come first served basis.  Since more and more states have gone to legalized gambling, the casinos have become much more numerous throughout the country, and the competition has increased.  This would seem to be bode well for RVer’s, both those who are into the casino scene, and those who are looking to park for free.

Some Casino have their own RV Parks

We do have first hand knowledge that many casinos have gone to a lot of expense to set up good camping facilities with full hookups and very reasonable rates.  On a move from Florida to Texas, we stayed in two RV Parks owned by Casinos and found them to be good facilities with good hookups and the rates were low.  Let’s face it, if a casino can provide you a nice comfortable, secure area with full hookups, you might just stay a little longer.  Of course, they do want you to visit their gaming areas and stay awhile.  At both our stops the casinos ran free shuttles from the campground to the casino.  We chose not to go to the casino, and it was just like staying at any other campground.  We did not feel pressured to visit the casino.

If you have stayed free at casinos

If you have stayed where the lights are bright and the slot machines are clinking and clanging, the roulette wheels are spinning, and the dice are jumping, please tell us of your experience.  We would love to have more information about the subject and so would our followers.

Just fill in the easy form below and tell us all you know about it. We might even devote an entire page to informing others of your experiences.

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Casino Parking for RV’s

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If you just want to stop and sleep for the night, there are a lot of free parking spaces you can seek out. Truck stops have large parking areas, mostly for truckers, but some offer separate RV areas where you can pull in and park overnight. For the sake of keeping a good relationship with truck stops, and also with the truckers that frequent them, a few rules should be made a part of your overnight parking experience.

Try to Use The Services

If possible, fuel up at the establishment as a sign of good will and appreciation for the free parking. Also visit the restaurant and shop if possible. Many modern truck stops offer some pretty great dining (not your stereotypical truck stop greasy spoon). Park at the edge of the parking area away from the traffic flow if possible. Try not to take up a space that a trucker could use. Respect the truckers and they will be more likely to respect you.

Do not use your leveling jacks. It is hard on the asphalt and it has a tendency to irritate the management and the truckers. It also makes it looks like you intend to be there for awhile. Never stay longer than one night unless you have an emergency. Do not extend your slides unless you are next to the edge of the parking area and only then extend a slide to the outside of the parking area if it makes it easier to walk around your bed for example. Make do with the space available with the slides in whenever possible. No awnings, no lawn chairs, no grills. You are not camping.

Free parking means you are simply stopping to sleep for the night and you will be on your way the next morning or when you have rested enough to drive safely. Use generators sparingly. One exception to that would be if you are in a hot climate and the heat coming up from the asphalt is stiffling, you will need to run the AC. You will probably notice a lot of the truckers are idling their engines for the same reason. Your little Onan generator won’t make the noise level any worse. Rule of thumb: If the engine noise is already high, feel free to run your generator. If it’s quiet around you, keep it off.

Try A Walmart

Walmart still has the welcome mat out for free parking to Rver’s in most locations. Actually there are over 600 Walmarts that DO NOT allow overnight parking, but there are thousands more that do. Call ahead and talk to the management and ask permission. There are lists of Walmarts available with phone numbers etc. that will make this easy. Again, observe your rules of overnight parking. Always leave your parking space in better shape than you found it. Pick up a little trash and even a few cigarette butts as a sign of respect and thanks. If you’ve been in the military you will understand the term “police call”. (No not a phone call to the police, but the military’s way of saying spread out and pick up the trash.) And don’t forget to shop a little. After all you need a Walmart stop for something anyway, don’t you?

Some K-marts, Targets and even some supermarkets will allow parking overnight as long as there is no city ordinance against it. Again, call and ask permission. It might just save you the dreaded knock on the door at 3:00am and your being asked to move on.

Please, help keep the welcome mat out to Rver’s at these businesses. We stopped at a Walmart awhile back and saw a huge 3 axle 5th wheel parked in the middle of the lot. All 5 slides were out, leveling jacks down, lawn chairs out with the outside TV on and the grill smoking like crazy. Really? Do you seriously think this is what Walmart had in mind when they extended their invitation to Rver’s to spend the night?  Let’s all leave a small footprint and keep this policy alive.  We all like free parking at times.  An occasional night  free can help trim our budgets.

 

Work Camping to  Add to Your Income

 

The first thing that comes to mind when Work Camping is mentioned is often Campground Hosting. While there are many other types of jobs to extend your income, camp ground hosting is one of the most popular. Some resorts simply need someone to check guests in after normal hours, starting at closing time and overnight. A free campsite and free hookups is usually the extent of the compensation. This can be a help, of course. It does restrict your activities somewhat, especially in evenings and overnight. You have to be willing to be available if someone needs your services. This could mean anything from simply collecting fees and assigning campsites to clearing clogged toilets in the bath houses, changing light bulbs, mopping up spills, assisting campers within your means, and helping guests in an emergency. Of course this type of job allows you plenty of time to sight-see or just relax during normal daytime hours.

A Variety of Jobs

Other campground hosting jobs require you to do light maintenance, clean and supply bath houses, blow leaves off of sites etc. Obviously the more you are required to do, the more you can expect to be compensated. Free camping PLUS an hourly wage, or a salary is the norm for some campground hosts. There are other jobs around a campground or resort that might be right for you at different times.  Mowing grass, weed eating, tending to flower beds, and general maintenance has to be done by someone. A word of caution: Before you take on a job that requires you to run a weed eater all day long a couple of days a week, you should really stop and evaluate your physical condition and ability to do this type of work. It can really get to your back, even with good shoulder straps. Of course it’s good exercise, but maybe it’s a little too good if you are the least bit out of shape or getting along in years.

Larger RV resorts often need office help, workers in gift shops, pool cleaners, and snack bar attendants.

Just about anything you can think of that needs to be done around a campground or resort is being done to some extent by RVer’s.

Other Types of Jobs

And work camping is not just campgrounds and resorts. Amazon, department stores, and distribution centers of all kinds usually put on seasonal workers in the late summer and fall for the approaching holiday season. For specific information about work camping and assistance in finding jobs go to:

http://www.work-camping.com/

Other opportunities abound for making extra money while on the road. If you are a writer, traveling in your RV and doing stops for book signings is a match that’s perfection.

I do a little consulting work for my former profession. Other former professionals spend a few weekends every year acting as instructors in continuing education programs.

Become an infopreneur. Find something you are good at, passionate about, and knowledgeable about and develop a web site about it. The great folks at SBI ( who host and power this site) can get you started and work with you from your basic ideas to finished product. They don’t just build sites for you. They teach you exactly how to build your own site and develop it, and make it profitable.

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Let’s face it. Sometimes you just have to park it and stay awhile to get to know an area.

Once during summer break from college we were driving by car through Utah heading for the north rim of the grand canyon, when we saw a small sign that read “Coral Sand Dunes State Park.” “Wonder what that is, we asked each other?” We turned around and went back to the turn off. A few miles later we came upon a lot of pink. We only had time to climb one of the gorgeous coral pink dunes before pressing on. We both vowed to return and spend some time there.

Years later, we did just that. We pulled into Kanab, Ut and located an RV campground that had good rates, and in fact, ridiculously low weekly rates. Then, after a week was up, we had decided to park it for a month. (Even lower rates). Just by slowing down and spending a little time looking around we found that there was an abundance of stuff to do in and around Kanab.

Our Jeep loved the area. There are off road trails everywhere. (Tires that like sand work the best)

Also there’s the Little Hollywood Movie set. (Outlaw Josie Whales) Buckskin Gulch, House Rock Valley Road, Old Paria, and Moqui Cave just to name a few attractions. It’s 90 minutes to the North Rim of Grand Canyon. And did I mention the Coral Sand Dunes State Park. We must have gone there a dozen times looking at the dunes in different light patterns at different times of day.

Park It And Take Side Trips

You can do day trip drives to Lake Powell, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon etc, all from a good cheap base camp area. And there’s the Best Friends Animal Society that is a must for animal lovers.

In addition to the furry friends, you might even have to look over your shoulder to see if you imagined hearing “Hi-Yo Silver”. Yep ! The Lone Ranger! Scenes from the original series were filmed on the property. But maybe you’re not old enough to remember the original series.

And did you know that Kanab, UT had an all female town council elected 100 years ago? You can find out a lot of stuff in a month.

And lest you start to think this is a travelogue for Kanab, UT, (I guess maybe it is) all of that trivia is to point out that there are lots of places where you can spend a month, not get bored, and save big time on campsites by getting a monthly rate. Just get in the habit of slowing down.  Look at maps,  do some internet searches, and pick places where you can economize by staying for awhile.  Monthly rates are often only a fraction of the daily rate.

You might even need 2 months at some places.

Boondocking

Boondocking, or Camping without hookups, can be a good way to save on your RVing expenses.   Deciding to do a lot of boondocking may also be an influence on what RV Type you choose.  Will you need a larger generator? Will you be able to carry enough water?  Will your holding tanks be adequate?  Remember some units may not be suitable for certain types of boondocking.  Are the roads into the area suitable for a large motorhome? Will the unit you are considering even fit on some of the smaller out of the way sites?  The term boondocking has come to mean different things to different people, from simply stopping in a Walmart parking lot for the night to finding a picturesque spot on BLM land where you can camp for free.

Just stopping for the night knowing you will have hookups in a day or two doesn’t usually require a lot of planning.  Just make sure you have room in your holding tanks and enough water in your freshwater tank for the night.  Simply stop and sleep and don’t worry about the sewage and water tanks since you will be stopping at full hook-ups soon where you can dump and refill.

Extended Boondocking Without Hookups

On the other hand, staying in a primitive area for a week or more might need a little more forethought and planning. Water will have to be conserved and holding tanks monitored.  Some things are just a matter of common sense.  Letting the water run while you brush your teeth or wash dishes uses water fast.  Just simply turning off the faucet and running water only as you need it can radically save water.  Also when in the shower you wet down, turn off the shower, lather up, then turn on the shower again to rinse.  It’s a little inconvenient, but it works and you can get in the habit with a little practice.

The charging of your house batteries and electricity/generator usage will take planning.  Run the generator during day time hours and avoid it during “quiet times”.  Many RVers are also installing solar panels to increase the battery reserve and save on generator fuel.

For excellent tips on conserving all essentials while camping self contained, see the following:

roadslesstraveled.us

Once you’ve mastered the techniques for conserving, you can start hunting down all the great places to camp for free, or for very low fees.  Many of our national parks and forests have less than ideal hook-ups, but they more than make up for it with their fantastic views, quiet solitude, and wonderful settings in which to spend your time. Camping fees are usually very low and even lower with the Golden Age Pass. (Available at park entrances and most forest service headquarters for a small one time fee).   BLM land (Bureau of Land Management, “our mutually owned land”) covers large land acreages, especially in the western US.  Much of that land can be camped on free of charge. Just play by the rules of pack in – pack out etc. and kick back and relax for a few days for free.

Learning your limitations on electricity, generator usage, water and sewage, and how to expand and conserve them is your first step in opening up thousands and thousands of acres of free camping.

Some examples of BLM camping tips can be found at:

http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/moab/recreation/campgrounds.html

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