It is surprising to some people who have just purchased a recreational vehicle (RV) and some who are already living the RV life that you don’t have to limit yourself to campgrounds and RV parks for overnights.
But where can you park an RV?
With the rise in people traveling by RV frequently and those who live out of them or camper vans, options are available that previously were not.
Places To Park Your RV
Many people naturally gravitate towards campgrounds or RV parks when traveling.
At times, when visiting family and friends, they will park on residential property.
However, there are many different options for you to explore that are both convenient and cheap.
The popular chain mart allows people to park overnight in their parking lots.
Although it is available in most cities, there are a few locations that do not allow overnight RV parking at Walmart.
With policies changing continually, it is a good idea to call ahead of time. This way, you can verify that they allow overnighters.
There is no cost to stay here.
However, you do need to be respectful of the space.
Do not leave trash or items outside during your stay or when you leave.
Also, be sure to keep everything locked up while sleeping to account for your safety.
Although many Walmart stores are open 24 hours, it isn’t a guarantee that there will be security overnight.
Another chain retailer that allows for people to stay overnight in their parking lot is Home Depot.
Similar to Walmart, certain cities do not allow this.
This rule is most commonly due to city ordinances that do not allow individuals to sleep in their cars.
It is essential to call ahead to make sure that they can accept overnight stays.
Home Depot is often closed overnight and may not have security during that time.
Therefore, to stay safe, make sure you close your blinds and lock your doors and windows before going to sleep.
Staying overnight at a Home Depot parking lot is free, but do clean up after yourself.
Many casinos are welcoming to overnight parking.
In many cases, they have camping spots available as well for a fee.
However, they often have designated RV spots within their parking lot that overnighters can utilize.
It is important to note that casinos often have special events with a larger than usual crowd turnout.
During these events, they may not allow overnight parking.
This rule change is due to the additional parking capacity need.
Outside of that, casinos are typically a safe place to stop overnight.
They usually are open 24 hours and have copious amounts of security.
Be sure not to let your guard down, however. It is still important to lock up your vehicle and belongings.
Additionally, it is often a good idea to call ahead to the casino to ensure that they do not have any significant events taking place or specific limitations or guidelines for overnighters.
Although you need to be a member to shop at Costco, you do not need a card to park overnight there.
Costco allows overnighters to utilize their parking lots, providing that they park in the back of the lot.
Like many other non-traditional parking options, this all depends on what city you choose to stay in overnight.
There are a few that have ordinances prohibiting overnight parking and sleeping in a vehicle.
Costco is not open overnight, but some may have stockers that come in for a late or early morning shift.
Therefore, plan on there not being extra bodies at the store.
This scenario means that you need to be hyper-alert to your surroundings and mindful of the activities going on at all times.
The greatest thing about stopping overnight at a truck stop is that some of them offer showers, as well as propane refills – both for a fee.
Many offer the ability to stay overnight at no cost.
You are likely to be in the company of many other people, both truckers and RVers alike, and within close proximity.
Therefore, take the necessary precautions for safety.
You can find many truck stops throughout the country, but it is wise to call ahead to ensure that they have available spots.
And, as always, make sure to check local ordinances.
You don’t want to show up, only to find out that local laws prohibit overnights.
It would make sense that a store specializing in outdoor merchandise would allow overnighting, wouldn’t it?
Cabela’s offers many parking spots for RV’s to stay overnight.
They even have the parking lot split to accommodate different lengths of parking—one for those visiting the store and a separate area for truckers and RV’s.
The easiest way to tell if a Cabela’s store offers overnight parking is to look for the RV-specific parking signs.
If you can find them, extended parking is allowed.
If you cannot locate specific RV signage, then it is safe to say that the particular store or city does not allow overnight parking.
There is no charge for utilizing the RV overnight parking at Cabela’s.
Although not consistent across all stores, IKEA does at times allow RV’s to park overnight.
Their expansive parking lots allow for adequate space for larger vehicles, but you need to talk to store management or security staff to confirm their stance on the issue.
One thing about IKEA that you need to remember when traveling is that some have gates that close the parking lot.
They will often lock the gate shortly after the business is closed at night and won’t unlock until the first shift comes through in the morning.
This shift is often around 5:00 AM.
There are two sides to this situation:
- It can account for a higher sense of personal safety due to limited access to the parking lot.
- It can prove problematic in an emergency where you need to get out of the gated lot.
Therefore, you need to weigh the pros and cons when considering staying overnight at IKEA.
Take the time to speak to management and security at the store and choose an option that works for you.
There is no reason to limit yourself when traveling by RV or camper van.
Many people stress over not being able to secure a reservation at a campground or RV park.
There is no need to worry over any of it.
You can often find alternate arrangements for overnight stays in almost any city, for little to no cost to you.
Often, people stop at a campground just to sleep.
They don’t even exit their RV while there.
Then they leave again for their next destination as soon as they awake.
Therefore, they are paying for services and amenities that they don’t even have an opportunity to use.
By choosing alternative options for overnight stays, you can save a large amount of money.
With that savings, you can invest it into other aspects of your vacation.
You can even put it towards routine RV maintenance and repairs.
That will provide you with the ability to continue traveling for years to come!