Author Topic: i want to travel america on bicycle. i dont have money for hotels so im going to  (Read 3077 times)

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Offline emperriorjack

I'm going to have to camp everynight. The thing is don't know what land is legal to camp on and how I can easily find that information out. Can somebody help me out.

Offline John Nelson

This is a complicated topic with no general answer. If you get a set of ACA maps and follow an ACA route, the maps will tell you where you can camp (although you may also be able to camp elsewhere). The best general approach is first look for signs that might indicate "no trespassing" or "no camping." If you find no signs, ask permission. But who to ask is tricky too. If there is a nearby house, that's a good place to ask. If you can find the local police or sheriff, that usually works. If you cannot find anybody to ask, you can just take the risk and set up your tent in as inconspicuous a place as possible. The worst that would probably happen would be to get asked to leave in the middle of the night.

If you camp in an established campground, some may be free, or there may be a small charge (perhaps around $6) or there may be a large charge (up to $30). It's usually (but not always) cheaper to look for public campgrounds (run by the state or federal government) than private campgrounds. It's always a good idea to ask if there is a cheaper rate for cyclists. You might also consider asking someone already in the campground if you can share their site.

Sometimes cities let cyclists pitch in their city parks overnight (usually for free), but it's usually best to ask the local police. In rural areas, look for a spot where you can be out of sight from any road or building.

Offline staehpj1

John's answer is good.  I will add that when we rode coast to coast on the TransAmerica we averaged less than $5 per night and could have done better if we had to.  We resorted to expensive sites only a few times.

In the rural US away from the coasts I often just camp in the little town parks.  If there were no signs forbidding it and no obvious place to ask I often just pitch the tent and stay.  If the town is big enough to have police I generally ask them.  If not I might ask the clerk at the general store if he thinks i am likely to be run off.

If that is not an option for some reason, asking around often works.  Store clerks, wait staff, librarians, and just folks I met have been good contacts that led to a place to stay whether it was in someone's yard, a fire house, behind a general store or minimart, or a church lot.

Warmshowers.org hosts are also a good bet where available.

Offline tonythomson

I would just add that I would start your search earlier than you might otherwise plan to stop.  This gives you some breathing space to find somewhere, my favourite places where at churches, always accommodating and ask at the fire station those guys are always helpful.

If doing this everyday I would suggest that somehow you keep yourself smart and clean, looking like a cyclist, as you are far more likely to be offered help and allowed to camp than someone who looks very down and out. Not meant to be discriminatory but just a fact as to how you are perceived.

One thing people are concerned about is you going to toilet in their park or area, so have a plan - plastic waste bags and a pee bottle are useful if you get caught short. 

Good luck and have fun - that's guaranteed
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline janetanorth

try joining:   warmshowers.org

Offline cherieandbob

In addition to Warmshowers.org, I have also had good experiences with Couchsurfing.org.  Camping is great, but I've found that sometimes a real bed, hot shower and doing laundry in a real washing machine can be a big morale booster on a long trip.