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5 Shower Hacks for Road Trips

5 Camping Shower Hacks for Road Trips

When you’re planning the perfect road trip, you want to be sure to think of everything! Where you’ll go, where you’ll stay, what you’ll eat… but have you considered where you’ll shower? These camping shower road trip hacks will get you prepped.

The ability to take quality showers on a long road trip can make or break morale – be sure to take notes!

These hot shower road trip hacks go for RVers (who need to conserve water), van-lifers (who have minimal holding tanks), and cross-country car drivers.

Let’s dive in.

Why Hot Showers Are Awesome When Road-tripping

When you’re road-tripping, a long, hot shower can feel like one of your most amazing experiences! This is especially true if you’ve been hiking, exploring, and being active during your journey. 

Long, hot showers on the road can be hard to come by, even if you have a shower in your RV. You can’t take a long shower in an RV due to limited holding tank space and a tiny water heater. 

So what do you do? Check out these five road trip hacks for places to take a cheap, hot shower: 

1. Truck Stop Shower

Truck stops are plentiful, and many of the major chains have showers. Some even have bathtubs! You can find showers at truck stops like Pilot & Flying J, Loves, TravelCenters of America, and more. 

A truck stop shower is typically less than $20, and when you’re desperate, it’s worth spending the cash for unlimited hot water and great water pressure! 

If showering while you’re at a gas station seems weird to you, don’t worry, you’ll quickly forget how strange it appeared at first once you’re clean and refreshed. BTW, this is an OG road trip hack.

2. Gym Membership Shower

Another popular road trip hack for camping showers on the road is by using a gym membership. In fact, some frequent and full-time travelers keep their gym memberships active for this reason only! 

Gyms that have locations across the country like Planet Fitness, Anytime Fitness, and 24 Hour Fitness are popular among travelers looking to clean up. As a bonus, you can get in a quick workout while you’re there if you want or use the other amenities included in your membership, like massage chairs!

You can expect to pay anywhere from $20 – $80 per month, depending on the gym and the level of membership you select. You don’t have to hold a gym membership to use a gym shower; instead, you can go in and pay the daily rate. Although, if you go the daily rate route often, it will quickly add up.

3. Community Swimming Pools for Camping Shower 

If you’re near a location with a recreation center, community center, or public pool, you can pop in and shower, usually for just a few bucks per shower. Always call ahead and see if they offer pricing specifically for shower use only – you’d be surprised how common this is, especially in towns or cities with a lot of nearby outdoor recreation. 

4. Portable Solar Shower

Portable solar showers hold a few gallons of water (5 is standard) work by gradually heating water with the sun and are gravity fed. This is a great option when you’re on a road trip to take a short shower. It will typically require showering outside, so isolation or a bathing suit is recommended! 

A bonus road trip hack about solar camping showers is that they pack up very small for storage when space is limited.

When using a portable solar shower, be mindful of any wastewater rules. Use biodegradable soap, and, whenever possible, dispose of your wastewater correctly. You can do this by standing in a tub to catch your shower water to dispose of later, and it keeps your feet clean too. 

5. State Parks

Many state parks not only have beautiful campgrounds but offer many amenities, including restrooms and showers included in the price of your campsite! 

State park camping showers are popular even among many full-time RVers for the fact that they typically have excellent water pressure, hot water, and more space to move around. 

Depending on the park and how busy it is, you may not get a hot shower, but a state park campsite shower will do the trick!

Bonus Road Trip Hacks: Take Advantage of Free Camping

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy). You should give it a try! As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours.

Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Here’s our list of the 20 Best Free Campsites in the USA.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site! Simply enter your email below.

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  1. Robert Slimak says:

    Gym membership is one of my ways. Or was until they closed because of Covid. But as a senior my Medicare advantage plan gives me Silver Sneakers with Anytime Fitness for free. The Silver Sneakers card has also gotten me into community rec centers free. Now to see how many gyms have gone out of business because of Covid!I
    Anytime at a State Park for sure!
    Solar is a great way to heat water for free, but forget those showers. Takes forever to get rinsed. I get very clean with half gallon jugs of warm water. Pour over my head to get wet. Soap up starting with washing my hair, then pour as much as needed to be rinsed. Usually takes only 1 1/2 gallons to feel very clean and refreshed.

  2. Judy S says:

    I’m stumped, lol — what’s an “OG” road trip hack?
    Great article, thanks! I also bring a pop up nylon changing tent for privacy when showering outside. It folds up small and flat.