I found that most truck stops will allow RV parking overnight.
Sometimes we run low on cash, energy or even lag behind our travel programs due to unpredicted circumstances. At such times, we’re always desperate and in search of good resting spots to seek refuge in.
Well, those who’ve once been in such scenarios often suggest that stopovers at a popular truck stop, more so along the high ways, are always wise.
It’s true; in fact, they’re one of the most inexpensive (don’t need reservations) and convenient places to stay in along most routes. They offer serene environments for healthy sleep that is essential to revitalize our bodies for the remaining part of our journeys.
As expected, most places that we bump into have their set rules and regulations. Truck stops offering overnight stays aren’t an exception either.
Despite this, we can always reap the most out of our stay at any of them.
Let’s dive into some useful tips concerning truck stops.
Not all truck stops are similar; some require special permission before driving RVs in. Intending to stay on truck stops that are neither Pilot nor Flying J requires us to make ahead calls or consult with the relevant clerks to confirm.
If there is an online notation or a signage limiting overnight stays then respect it, don’t go ahead and park the RV.
It takes a minute or two to call or knock on these manager’s offices doors to inquire rather than the authorized personnel banging on ours late at night to vacate their premises.
Seek a Quite Spot
Some truck stops are often noisy, giving us an unfavorable environment resulting in little or no sleep at all. Who knows? Maybe they possess the required license to play loud music, or it’s just part of their norms.
Such situations can always be tricky especially for the ones who don’t have earbuds. The best option? Always seek a quiet spot that isn’t close to the source of the noise. The furnaces or the fans on the RVs help too; it blocks the noise to create a calm environment for sleeping.
Survey the Region First
Surveying any parking area first before settling on a spot is vital. Opting for the edge between a truck and a car is a good choice; cars and other trucks won’t be moving around more often to distract our peaceful sleep.
Park the car straight. Be courteous, leave by mid-morning if possible. Also, don’t forget to keep the doors and windows of the RV closed, truck stops are filled with different sorts of people coming during different hours of the day.
Perfect Spots for Parking
The best spots to park the RV are the backside areas. Such areas are away from front entrances leaving space for other customers to drive in. It makes it easier for any RV driver to move out too. Chances of being blocked by other cars are also minimal.
The Don’ts of Overnight Truck Stops
• Don’t dump trash- Be one of the best neighbors. Don’t throw the tanks or trash aimlessly. Instead, handle them with caution and don’t also erupt too much noise.
• Don’t park if that area feels unsafe. In such a case, we need to trust our instincts. If the area feels unsafe, drive on.
• Don’t park in spaces reserved for big-rigs- Parking in such spots will inconvenience the tired drivers who reserved the spots when they need to pull in.
• Don’t occupy other truckers’ spots- RV drivers are entitled to park for a limited amount of time. Crowded parking spaces with a few vacant spots are a sign that some drivers have reserved the remaining spots. Ask before parking.
Advantages of Truck Stops
Truck stops offer a plethora of benefits. Let’s have a look at some.
Air and Gas
On most occasions, we run out of fuel or due to varying temperatures, the gas in our RV tires is affected hence they deflate. Whichever the case, truck stops always offer 24/7 refilling stations. We can refill our tanks either at the moment we arrive or in the morning when we’re about to leave.
Those with membership plans often benefit the most. Depending on each’s membership plan, the owners of the filling stations give the various discount on the prices of gasoline, propane or diesel as a show of gratitude.
Truck stops avail a wide array of social amenities. Most of them have excellent restaurants, restrooms and shopping centers where we can restock our finished products. Shower and laundry services are also availed for those who’re prone to run low on fresh water.
Moreover, most truck stops have fast foods. Find them in the food courts, or the designated lounges. There are also sections for fast repairs to get our RVs moving.
Most truck stops are located on modern highways that form good resting spots for all the drivers who need to take good breaks.
We reap benefits such as refueling our empty tanks or dumping our waste whenever we need to. Maybe the reason why they’re always full is due to the easy time that they give those entering and leaving them.
Truck stops are one of the best hooks up points, undeniable! Some of their dump stations require us to pay a small fee though others are typically free.
Electrical hook-ups are often paid (some don’t charge though). Those who don’t want to spend extra coins can always resort to keeping their generators running throughout the night.
Most people taking refuge won’t be bothered by its sound since they too leave their truck engines running all night.
Truck Stops Alternatives
There are other alternatives to truck stops. They also allow us to park our RVs in a pinch. Most of these places are often welcoming and are always ready to provide top-notch accommodation to anyone who drops by.
Let’s look at some of them.
Large retail stores like Walmart encourages RVers to park in their stores. Some of them are so accommodative that they even have painted parking spots meant for RVers only.
If you don’t spot such, then check with the relevant store managers first. They often direct us where to park our RVs and aid to familiarize with the set rules of their stores.
Remember that they can get a little strict and end up charging us before departure, that is when we park our RVs without seeking their consent.
Sadly, not all of them champions for overnight stays. This makes it essential to confirm first. Nonetheless, they’re always a good option for overnight parking. Almost every city always has at least one of them.
Walmart offering overnight stays have the best food and supply prices and have no problem with people using their restrooms.
Well, it’s worth watching out for the sweeping truck while in the Walmart too. It makes back and forth rounds at around 2 a.m. with its high-powered vacuum in full blast mode. This ends up ruining RVer’s sleep
Things to Remember While in Walmart
• Stopping by in Walmart is termed as dry camping- Normally, RV owners don’t have free access to free electricity, dump sites, or water while in the Walmart. This forces us to search for public dump sites, water to fill our tanks or use our generators to charge our devices.
• Park the RV in the designated areas only- As mentioned, always double check with the current store managers first. No one loves being awakened by security guards in the wee hours of the morning to vacate an area.
• Leave your parking space clean- Leave it the same way you found it. Don’t blow trash or dump garbage carelessly. Doing so denies us plenty of privileges that Walmart offers. It also spoils good relationships too.
• Not all Walmart offer overnight stays- If they don’t offer overnight stays, move on with your journey. Respect their policies.
Benefits of Walmart
• Walmart is found almost everywhere
• Access to a wide range of shopping facilities- Walmart has shopping stores that sell almost everything that we need during our travels.
• Security is guaranteed- There are a lot of people camping overnight too. Safety is always guaranteed. The security officers always prompt rounds to protect the premises.
Renowned restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, and Arby’s provide special parking spaces too for those with RVs or trucks. Most of them are found on major exits to freeways.
The added benefits of stopping over at these restaurants include obtaining cheaper food prices and getting access to free WIFI (restricted to the customers who make purchases).
Arrive before the restaurants close to avoid being turned down!
There are some major private and public golf courses, virtual golf centers and RV resorts which have joined hand with RV Golf Clubs to give their members free parking spaces.
We don’t have to be experts in playing golf to join their membership programs. Anyone can do so. And because the partnership is membership-based, there will be no cars and trucks idling around your RV like in Walmart and parks.
Mouthwatering discounts are also offered to the ones who love playing golf.
Parks and Campgrounds
Campgrounds and parks are often good spots to make stopovers. They are especially good for those who have been on the road for a couple of days and have the urgent need to refill their water tanks or empty their waste tanks.
During spring or summer, when football fixtures are on its peak, many of the campgrounds and parks are usually full, so it’s recommended to make necessary reservations before traveling. Take advantage of the National Park policies; entrance and overnight stops are sometimes free.
Well, this does not apply to all of them. Check with the rules of each park or campground for any extra fees charged. Some parks have hook-up spots that charge RVers.
Furthermore, many of them limit the number of days that we can spend on the parks, so those who plan to prolong their stay are often inconvenienced.
Several casinos, especially those lined along NASCAR circuit, allow RV drivers to park their RVs for a night (only when spaces are available).
Seemingly, the case is different during peak holidays, weekends or when they have prime events ahead. For instance, during weekends when they have NASCAR racing circuits, a small fee is charged to all the fans who come flocking the area with cars.
Parking tickets are sold before the races so stay away from them during such periods. Call ahead on normal days to avoid being towed for parking on the wrong side (sections not meant for RVS)
Schools should be our last resort whenever we’re stranded and looking for an appropriate place to park. Other schools view it as trespassing, but so long as we’re part of the community, then we can always check with the officials to guide us where to park our RV.
Avoid parking spots prone to cause a jam, or hinder the movements of the students within the school. Stay for a night only!
Reaching out to friends and families who are willing to give us some parking space on their premises when traveling cross-country is key.
They might probably allow us to park for a night or even two. If we don’t have any of them in given regions, then resorting to using craigslist or services like Outdoorsy and RVwithMe to track random people willing to lend their parking spots for free can also work.
Regulations on these private properties still stand. Be mindful of leaving the parking spots clean
Parking is one of the biggest dilemmas that RV users face. Well, most RV users often advise us to park in campgrounds, parks, Walmart, Golf Courses, or even restaurants that accept RV parking.
Consider the rules and regulations in the parking areas first. Instruction following is also vital; we avoid hefty fines and makes our vacations a success.
Mind your safety too. Not all parking areas are safe. If you feel uncomfortable, pack your stuff and leave!
RV drivers are controversial topics
Truckers have been complaining that RVs are taking up all the lots, leaving no parking space for them, and so they don’t have a location to eat, sleep or even wash their clothing.
Truck drivers feel that RV drivers should be more open-minded and advise them to park and sleepover in the RV parking lot sections, if there are any available, rather than using the truckers parking lot section.
Trucker drivers’ side of the story
Truckers used to write down the time they spent on the road, as well as the time they spent at truck stops.
Things changed in the meantime and now eighteen-wheelers have electronic systems in place that track their time automatically.
It is mandatory by law that truck drivers should stop after at least 11 hours on the road.
Truck drivers feel that RV owners are not mandated by law to park at overnight locations, and should be making use of other locations, if not campgrounds.
RV drivers’ side of the story
RV drivers feel that they should be able to park at truck stops, just like truckers can park at other overnight parking spots such as Wal-Mart and Flying J.
Some RV drivers, when purchasing their RV, receive great benefits from Good Sam’s such as saving five cents per gallon of fuel purchased at Pilot and Flying J truck stops and so RV drivers decide to stay the night.
Recreational vehicle owners say that they still must get a good night’s rest, even if it isn’t mandatory by law for them to stop and sleepover.
RV drivers also argue that staff members at certain truck stops, show them to the truckers parking lots if the RV section has reached its full capacity.
Overcrowding truck stops
When the truckers parking lot sections are full, truck drivers have to find another location for them to reside in for the night.
Truckers say that RVs sharing their parking lots, isn’t the problem, but the issue arises when recreational vehicles take up all the lots, leaving no lots open for trucks.
Fewer overnight parking options
Some cities are passing regulations, limiting both truck and RV drivers from using certain locations’ parking lots for a good night’s sleep.
Truckers and RV drivers are making use of various locations to rest in between long-haul trips, but regulations such as these can cause serious problems for truckers who aren’t allowed to be on the road for longer than 11 hours.
Tips from truckers to RV owners
Truckers advise RV owners to drive a mile or two further, to find a location that accommodates RV drivers, if the RV parking section of a certain location is full.
Some of the road issues include RV drivers not staying in their lane, and truckers feel that they are not at fault.
Truckers usually park in the back of the travel centers, you might want to consider parking in front of the truck stops.
Truckers won’t usually park in the ‘cab only‘ parking lots so if you are at a specific truck stop and RV sections have reached its capacity, you might want to consider parking there rather than possibly having a misunderstanding with some truck drivers.
Truck drivers usually drive all day and by the time they have to stop, it is probably late already, keep that in mind and make sure you had a shower before trucks arrive in numbers.