Becoming a Slow-mad: Finding Free Long-Term Parking with Amenities

Discover how to enjoy long-term parking for free (or almost free) as a "Slow-mad." From housesitting to work camping, barter camping to farm work exchanges, this guide offers tips on parking with perks.


Queen Tasha

5/20/20247 min read

Becoming a Slow-mad: Finding Free Long-Term Parking with Amenities

As a seasoned nomad, or as I like to call myself now, a "Slow-mad," (a nomad who likes to slow down and savor the journey) I've found the art of slowing down in your home on wheels to be an intricate dance of exploration, resourcefulness, and a dash of luck. Whether you're taking a break from the open road for a few weeks, a few months or settling down for a year, finding free long-term parking with amenities like electricity, water, and a few perks can feel like striking gold. So, let’s dive into some tried and true methods that will have you living the Slow-mad life with style and ease.

1. Housesitting: The Hidden Gem

Housesitting is like hitting the jackpot for nomads. Not only do you get free parking, but you also have access to private amenities. Sites like TrustedHousesitters, House Sitter America, and Nomador connect you with homeowners looking for someone to take care of their pets or plants while they’re away. Most gigs are a barter exchange, but some come with a paycheck. Imagine living in a cozy home with a cute pet companion, all while having a safe place to park and access to amenities like Wi-Fi, a kitchen, and sometimes even a pool.

Just imagine sipping your morning coffee in a beautiful garden while a fluffy cat rubs against your legs, or lounging by a pool after watering some plants. Whether it's for a few weeks or a few months, housesitting can be a great way to experience new places without breaking the bank.


  • Free parking and amenities

  • Private, secure location

  • Often in desirable areas

  • Pet companionship (if you’re an animal lover)

2. Work Camping: Park Life Meets Purpose

Work camping is another fantastic option. Many state parks, national parks, and RV parks offer positions like camp host, office reception, and maintenance work. While most opportunities are for couples, singles can also find gigs. Currently, I’m camp hosting for the first time at a state park in Southwest Colorado as a single and loving it. Some positions are paid, but many are volunteer-based, offering free hookups in exchange for your time and effort. I have a chance to meet tons of people, stay in beautiful locations, and save a lot on living costs. Plus, there's nothing like waking up to the great outdoors every day!


  • Free campsite with FULL hookups

  • Beautiful natural surroundings

  • Opportunity to meet fellow nomads and travelers

  • Gaining new skills and experiences

  • Some paid positions

3. Barter Camping: Trading Skills for Space

Barter camping involves exchanging your skills for a private space with electric and water hookups. I’ve done this several times and have videos on my YouTube channel showcasing some of the jobs I’ve taken on. From housesitting to Airbnb management and even being a handywoman, I’ve managed to secure some sweet spots by posting ads on Craigslist. While this may not work everywhere, there are always other ways to set up barter camping opportunities. You can also network through community groups on Facebook or other specialized platforms.

Think about it: you could be fixing up a deck, managing an Airbnb rental, providing technical skills, or even just keeping someone's home in tip-top shape, all while enjoying the perks of full hookups and a safe place to park. It's a win-win situation for everyone involved.


  • Customized exchange based on your skills

  • Potential for more privacy and control over your living situation

  • Flexible arrangements

4. Live-on Property Caretaking: Beyond Nursing

When people think of live-on property care, they often picture nursing or CNA work. However, there are many other opportunities. I once worked as a breeder assistant for a lady who breed German Schnauzers, which was an absolute blast. I got paid, had a place to park, and got to hang out with adorable puppies and hilarious momma dogs. You could also find gigs as a babysitter/nanny, elder assistant/ companion, housekeeper, and more. These positions usually come with a paycheck and a place to park your home on wheels.


  • Paid positions with accommodations

  • Variety of job opportunities

  • Living in different, often unique, locations

  • Helping people

5. Farm Work Exchange: Learning and Living

If you're not afraid of a little hard work, farm work exchanges can be a great option. Platforms like WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) connect you with farms where you work in exchange for room and board or full hookups and other perks. My experience was educational, though it didn’t end perfectly because my host turned out to be a bit unstable and didn't offer what was promised. However, many hosts are wonderful, and the educational experience is invaluable.

Another lucrative option is the Beet Harvest, which takes place primarily in the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota. The Beet Harvest is a few weeks of intense labor, typically in the fall, when workers are needed to help with the sugar beet harvest. The work is physically demanding, involving long hours and often cold, muddy conditions. However, the pay is high, with some workers earning several thousand dollars for just a few weeks of work. In addition to the financial benefits, many beet farms offer full hookups for your RV and a safe place to park, making it an attractive option for nomads.

Cannabis trimming is another farm work exchange opportunity, especially prevalent in states where cannabis cultivation is legal, such as California, Oregon, Colorado, and Washington. Cannabis trimmers are responsible for manicuring the harvested buds by removing excess leaves and stems, a process that requires precision and patience. The work can be repetitive and often involves sitting for long periods, but it pays well, typically by the pound of trimmed cannabis. Many farms provide accommodations or allow RV parking with hookups, making it a viable option for those looking to earn money while enjoying the freedom of nomadic life.


  • Free hookups and a place to park

  • Learning new skills related to farming

  • Potential for seasonal high-pay

6. Bureau of Land Management (BLM): Embrace the Wild

BLM land offers an amazing opportunity to park for free for up to 14 days in one spot before moving to a new location. This land is abundant in the Southwest and Northwest U.S., but there are also spots in the East and Southeast. Some areas require a cheap seasonal pass or a free reservation online. This option allows you to enjoy the great outdoors and live off the grid.

It’s a great way to explore the beautiful, remote parts of the country without spending a dime. Just remember to leave no trace and respect the land so it remains available and FREE for everyone to enjoy.


  • Free camping on public land

  • Stunning natural settings

  • Freedom to move around and explore different areas

7. Mooch-Camping: Family and Friends to the Rescue

If you have friends or family with a driveway, land, or business, mooch-camping is a great way to stay for free while enjoying amenities. Most people are thrilled to have you visit and are happy to offer you a space to park for a few weeks or even months. This option provides a homey feel and a chance to reconnect with loved ones while living in your own space. This is also an excellent way to enjoy home comforts like air conditioning in the summer or a warm house in the winter without breaking the bank.

Think of it as a mini family reunion with the added perk of free living space. Plus, it's a great way to catch up and make some memories with people you care about.


  • Free and safe parking

  • Access to home amenities

  • Quality time with family and friends

8. Communal Living: Embrace the Hippie Life

Joining a hippie community or commune can be a unique experience. Places like "The Garden" or Slab City in California offer refuge for nomads and hippies. While Slab City can feel like a scene from Mad Max, it’s a welcoming place. I visited as a solo Black woman and felt comfortable and accepted. Just be cautious and ensure you're joining a supportive and like-minded, non-cultish environment. These communities can be great for living free, whether you have a home on wheels or not.


  • Free-living in unique communities

  • Meeting like-minded individuals

  • Alternative lifestyle experiences

9. Buying Land: Invest in Long-Term FREE Living!

Though not technically free, buying land can be a worthwhile investment for long-term parking. In states like Texas and New Mexico, you can purchase land and live in your RV. There may be stipulations on the length of stay and permitting, but once you make the investment, you can live practically free off-the-grid. Land prices can range from $3,000 to $25,000, depending on the location and size.


  • Ownership of your own space

  • Freedom to live off the grid

  • Long-term investment

  • Come and Go as you Please.

Embracing the Slow-mad Lifestyle

In Conclusion, the Slow-mad lifestyle is about finding the balance between adventure and stability. It’s about taking the time to enjoy the places you park your wheels, engaging with the local communities, and making the most out of every stop. Whether it’s housesitting, work camping, barter camping, or any of the other methods mentioned, there are plenty of ways to find free or nearly free long-term parking with all the amenities you need. The nomad life is all about flexibility, adventure, and creativity. So get out there, find your perfect spot, and keep on rollin’! Happy Slow-madding!

shallow focus photography of white and brown cat
shallow focus photography of white and brown cat
white and brown rv trailer
white and brown rv trailer
gray Volkswagen van on high ground
gray Volkswagen van on high ground