It doesn’t matter how you’re traveling; you’ll eventually need to take a shower. There’s nothing better than a long hot shower, especially at the end of a boondocking trip where you’ve been conserving as much water as possible.
While some have showers in their RVs while traveling, it’s not always practical to use. You typically have a limited amount of both clean and hot water.
If you’re looking for some tips on showering while traveling, this article is for you! Today, we’re looking at how you can take a public shower anywhere in the U.S. Let’s get started!
How Do You Take a Shower While Traveling?
There are locations all across the country that offer showers to travelers. Finding them and knowing how to use them can be intimidating at first. However, once you use them a few times, you learn what to expect and can confidently approach each situation.
While some of the spots can seem rather obvious, a few require you to think outside the box. This can be travel plazas, community centers, campgrounds, fitness centers, and other locations. Some options are more budget-friendly than others, but a long hot shower can be worth every penny.
If you’re towing a large RV, you’ll want to consider your vehicle and whether it’s practical to try to take a shower at a specific location. Not every location will be as big-rig friendly as others, and you don’t want to damage your rig or someone’s property trying to squeeze into a tight parking lot.
How to Take a Public Shower Anywhere in the USA
When you’re desperate for a shower, you’ll consider just about anywhere to make it happen. Let’s look at a few places you should consider when looking for a public shower. Let’s get started!
Truck drivers have been hauling loads across the country for decades. Over the years, massive truck stops have sprouted up all over the country. Typically, truck stops are located right off the interstate or major highway. Because large semi-trucks regularly use these locations, they’re generally capable of handling even the largest RVs. You can fill up on fuel, grab dinner, and take a hot shower with lots of pressure before hitting the road.
Big-name franchise locations like Pilot, Loves, and Flying J often have reward programs for loyal customers. By purchasing fuel from their various locations, you can cash in your rewards for various items, including free showers.
If you aren’t a member of their rewards program or have enough points, you can typically expect to pay $10 to $17 for a shower. There’s generally enough time for two individuals to get in a shower and do any grooming they need to do. However, you should be conscious of time and avoid taking more time than necessary, so others aren’t unnecessarily waiting.
Pro Tip: First time truck stop shower user? Check out our guide on How to Sleep, Shower & Eat at Truck Stops.
A major perk of campgrounds is that they often have restrooms and shower facilities. However, campsite fees can be insanely expensive. Many people don’t know that campgrounds will often open their facilities for a small fee to people not staying at a campsite.
Whether you’re boondocking in the area or just passing through, it’s worth a shot to call any convenient campground and ask. The worst that can happen is they’ll say no, and you’ll have to move on down the list to the next campground. Costs vary, but you may get lucky, and the campground might include your shower if you’re paying to fill up or dump your tanks.
Many campgrounds are very understanding and accommodating. Being respectful and courteous with whoever answers the phone can be a great first step in getting permission. However, it’s important that no matter what their answer is, you’re understanding. Some locations could have had bad experiences in the past or have policies that prohibit it.
Health Clubs or Gyms
Many people want to take showers immediately after working out at their favorite health club or gym. Many of these locations include showers in their changing rooms to make it convenient for users to clean up before getting dressed. However, while these facilities are typically only for members to use, they’ll often accept guests for a nominal fee.
Many full-time travelers join gyms like Planet Fitness, which has over 2,000 locations. Certain membership levels allow members to any of the locations across the country. While the membership may cost $20, it’s a small price for a hot shower. Some will also allow the member to bring a guest with them, which means a husband and spouse could use the facilities under one membership.
Boat marinas are one of the most overlooked places for taking showers. Many boat marinas, especially along the coast, have bathroom facilities. While these are typically for those renting a spot to store their boat, some may allow others to pay a small fee to take a shower. If there’s a boat marina nearby, it’s worth giving them a call to see what their policy is and if it’s a spot you might consider taking a shower.
Showers in boat marinas are very similar to truck stops. They can be rather hit or miss in terms of quality and cleanliness. Some boat marinas have bathrooms that would rival a fancy hotel, while others might be something you’d see out of a horror movie.
It’s no secret that hotels have showers in each room, but you’ll need to book one to use it. You may find some hotels that offer day rates, which are considerably cheaper than staying overnight. However, this will be one of the more expensive options because you’re getting much more than just a shower.
Rates will vary greatly when it comes to booking a hotel. The location and quality of the hotel will play a significant factor in the price. You’ll want to do your research to determine whether it’s worth staying. If you’re traveling in an RV or other large vehicle, you’ll want to ensure there’s sufficient parking and maneuvering space.
Community Swimming Pools
Many community pools request that guests rinse off before taking a dip in their pools. This helps keep them clean and free of any lotions and oils that guests wear. However, if you’re looking to take a dip, you could also bring your shower stuff and take a full shower.
You’ll likely need to pay per person, but spending a few hours soaking up the sun and relaxing by the pool can be a bonus in addition to a hot shower.
Take Along a Portable Shower
Sometimes it’s just easier to make yourself as self-sufficient as possible. Having a solar shower or other DIY shower setups makes it possible.
With this method, you can shower at a campsite, at the beach, or anywhere you’re parked while traveling. However, depending on where you’re showering, you may want to avoid doing so in the nude. If not, you might find yourself in an awkward conversation with law enforcement.
Pro Tip: Stay stink free on the road with our tips on How to Find the Best Portable Shower for Your Camping Trip!
Can I Go To Planet Fitness Just to Shower?
You need a membership to use the Planet Fitness facilities. Some locations may offer you a one-day trial, but you’ll need to set up a membership after that. Planet Fitness membership typically costs $10 or $22.95 (excluding taxes) per month.
If you want to use multiple locations, you’ll need the PF Black Card, the more expensive option. The $10 option only gives you access to a single location. While there are no contracts, there are sometimes startup costs and annual fees to consider.
How Can I Take a Shower Without Running Water?
If you need to shower but don’t have running water, there are a few options. These are typically temporary solutions to extend the time between actual showers. They’ll do the job for a short period, but you’ll eventually need to take a shower.
One great way to shower without running water is to use shower wipes. If you’ve never seen a shower wipe, imagine a massive baby wipe. These wipes are large enough to wipe down your body, especially the odor-sensitive spots, and help you stay fresh.
Showers wipes are rather compact for storage, and you can toss them in the garbage after each use.
Another option to consider is using bottled water or any water you’re able to store for showering. You’ll need to pour the water onto your body and, if you’re outdoors, use biodegradable and safe soap. This can help rinse off the dirt and other gunk gathered on your skin during your adventures.
Is It Worth Finding Public Showers?
Good hygiene is always important. Various health issues can arise due to poor personal hygiene. If you can’t shower and aren’t finding public showers, you’re likely to find your friends and loved ones keeping their distance from you. Body odor isn’t going to win you any friends, and will send the ones you have running. So no matter how you’re traveling, find a public shower to stay fresh and smell good when necessary.
Have you ever had to search for a spot to shower while traveling? Tell us your experience in the comments!
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You left out the YMCA. Walk-ins are welcome and the fee is $8-12.