RVers sleeping in truck stops has been a point of debate and contention for many years.
Is it really okay for RVs to park alongside trucks at travel centers? We’ve gathered the latest answers for you.
Let’s dig in!
Why Truckers Need the Space
Truck stops were initially created for long-haul truckers to refuel their rigs and their bodies. Over time, owners added amenities such as showers and laundromats. In more recent years, the federal government stepped in and created laws requiring truckers to stop after 11 hours of driving for safety reasons.
The problem is that the truck stops – now changing their names to travel centers – are converting portions of their lots to RV space or are allowing RVs to park in with the trucks.
Unfortunately, this means less space for the truckers. In addition, truckers can’t typically stay in an RV park and places like Walmart don’t offer showers, laundromats, and the other amenities truckers need.
If there’s no space for them at a truck stop, they must pull over on the side of the road when their travel time for the day is up. Maybe they still had time, but were feeling tired and concerned about safety.
If they tried to stop, it was for a good reason. Being forced to move down the road means breaking the law or possibly causing an accident.
FYI: 5 Reasons Truckers Flash Their Lights at You
UPDATE: Some Truck Stops Have Added Full Hookup RV Parking
Loves, a famous truck stop chain, has begun adding full service RV sites to many of their facilities. This clearly points to the future of truck stops in general.
Businesses will follow the money.
With so many RVers on the road, truck stops would rather profit from RVers, thhan have them camping for free.
How to Support the Truckers and Keep the Peace
Truckers, whether long-haul or short, deliver the foods and supplies that we all use every day. Long-haul trucking, especially, is a demanding job that regularly takes the drivers away from their families. They deserve our respect and our support.
If you must pull over at a truck stop, ask inside the store if RV parking is okay. They often offer separate space for RVers. But money wins and they will sometimes tell an RVer to park in the truck section. Yes, the parking is free. However, nearly everyone uses the amenities and buys supplies.
If there’s no designated RV space, park away from the trucks if you can. If not, find an alternate place to overnight. Please don’t take a trucker’s spot even if you’re told it’s okay.
If you do park near trucks, even in a rest area, don’t put out your slides. And certainly don’t set out your grill and camp chairs. You’re not camping. Rarely, truckers will act like they’re going to hit someone’s slide. Most drivers frown on this, but it happens. Just keep everything inside until you get to the RV park.
Use the amenities earlier in the day when the truckers are still on the road. Mid-morning to mid-afternoon is a great time to shower and do laundry. Then, the drivers will have a chance to take care of their needs when they arrive.
Be aware of who’s behind you in line. Truckers usually are only paid by miles driven, so if you’re taking your time at the gas pump or potable water station, you’re costing them money. Is there a long line at the cashier? Let them go ahead of you.
Pro Tip: Haven’t used a truck stop before? Check out our guide on How to Sleep, Shower & Eat at Truck Stops.
Alternatives to Sleeping at Truck Stops
Yes, RVers still need to stop and sleep or rest and refuel. But we have so many more options for free or low-cost camping than truckers. Besides Walmart, most of the big box stores and larger chain restaurants will let you park overnight depending on the location.
Some of these stores don’t allow it due to city ordinances or consistent issues with overnighters.
Download the Allstays app, which helps you easily find free and paid overnight camping spots in your area. Instead of driving until you’re tired, plan ahead and use Campendium to search for RV parks or campgrounds at the end of your typical limit. Have some fun while overnighting and stay at one of the nearly 2500 Harvest Hosts locations.
Or get to know someone new through Boondockers Welcome.
Use Truck Stops for Emergency Sleep Stays
Yes, you can stay overnight at a truck stop. However, if they don’t offer separate RV parking, it’s a better idea to go somewhere else instead of taking up space needed by a truck driver.
If you really can’t keep your eyes open, it’s a great place to stop. Just use courtesy and common sense with where and how you park. Have you stayed overnight at a truck stop? How was your experience?
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Thursday 10th of March 2022
We've overnighted at truck stops many times and never had a problem with the management or truckers. However, everyone needs to realize that most truckers, when parked leave their rigs running or at the very least run a generator. It's a very loud (a dirty) environment.
7 Deadly Sins of Overnight RV Parking - Drivin' & Vibin'
Sunday 6th of March 2022
[…] Tip: Unsure what truck stops you can stay at? We researched what truck stops RVers can stay at […]
Wednesday 29th of December 2021
I agree with every point you made. I totally understand the truckers point of view. I would also like to add that we should not put all RVers in the same category. Some of us are also being on the road full time for our jobs and must get from one place to another in a short period of time so we are very restricted by the number of miles or time it might take to find a place to stop further off of the highway. My husband and I do try to give priority to the full time OTR truckers but can’t always because of our need to get to our next location within a required amount of time. Let’s make “common sense” and “common courtesy” common again! :-)
Saturday 24th of July 2021
I drive a 44’ Class A and pull a vehicle. I’m bigger And certainly more expensive than many commercial trucks. I buy at least 125 gallons of fuel, spend more at the restaurant/store and have been welcome at every “truck stop” I’ve visited. I’ve never had a ‘trucker’ complain (yet). I often cannot get into store parking lots and other smaller or tighter locations. Larger RV’s should not be included in this article.
Wednesday 21st of July 2021
Here is my view if I'm running out of time an a rv is taking a spot I will ask them to move. They have toilets an showers in the rv I don't. So go to a campsite or rest area .don't be inconsiderate an risk my and public life. I would love to see what would happen if I pulled onto an rv site . Yet again these public pains can do as they want time for trucks to convoy an stop delivering to stores