When you’re traveling in your RV, sometimes you just need to pull over and sleep for the night. You’ll probably end up at a truck stop at some point your RVing life, whether you’re en route to a destination and just need a quick stop or are on the road full time and frequently seek out free places to park.
Truck stops are located all over the country and most feature gas stations, restaurants, stores, bathrooms, laundry facilities, showers and more for over-the-road (OTR) truckers. These highway oases can be a great place for RVs to park overnight, but there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Here are three tips for safely parking your rig at truck stops:
- Stay close to the main storefront – Truck stops are often quite large, so while it may seem that parking way off in a dark corner would be a good idea, it may not be the best idea. Parking closer to the main storefront of the truck stop will make late-night food and snack runs easier and give you quick access to the public restrooms and showers if your RV doesn’t have a bathroom. Plus, you’ll be closer to a well-lit area, presumably in full view of security cameras. This is a must for peace of mind, especially if you have children traveling with you.
- Avoid parking near trucks – Typically, there are parking spots designated for commercial long-haul trucks. Those spaces can be poor choices to pull your RV into. Not only can parking close to the trucks be somewhat unsafe, especially if you and your family need to walk to and from your rig multiple times, but it also may not be very quiet. Many OTR truckers leave their rigs on all night so the noise generated by two 18-wheelers on either side of your RV could keep you awake. It’s best to find non-commercial spots in which to park.
- Be respectful of truckers and their needs – Truckers don’t have the opportunity to pull into a lakefront campsite or into a state park or RV resort to catch some z’s like you are able to in your rig. They only have truck stops. And those stops can often be crowded, so parking spots are a hot commodity. Use apps like AllStays to find out how many truck spots there are before you stop at any location and consider choosing stops with plenty of parking. This reduces the chance of crowding and will help ensure that you won’t be taking a spot away from a weary OTR trucker who needs to sleep.
Ultimately, you will want to scout out any truck stop you’re considering staying at and find a spot that meets your specific needs and seems the most reasonable for you to park. Get a night of rest and then hit the road again the next day.
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