A woman driving a truck looks ahead for a place to stop as her two passengers sleep next to her.

Do Nomads in the USA Sleep at Truck Stops?

Cross-country travel can be challenging at times. This is especially true when you are looking for a place to rest your head after a long day behind the wheel. However, fuel stations that cater to long-haul truckers may be a solution you have never considered.

If space is available for you to park overnight, a truck stop can provide rest, sustenance, a shower, and even a convenient way to do your laundry. Let’s look at what truck stops can offer!

A woman driving a truck looks ahead for a place to stop as her two passengers sleep next to her.

What Is a Nomad? 

An official definition is a person who has no permanent home, so they travel from place to place “to find fresh pasture for their livestock.” Today’s nomads may not have to worry about cattle or sheep, but they venture here and there, usually in RVs.

Most digital nomads travel full-time while working on the road. In many cases, they have remote jobs that allow them to see the world while making a living. It’s a dream many have, but sometimes the reality is not as idyllic as imagined.

A digital nomad sits in the back of her camper van with the hatch open and a coffee maker and cooler sitting on the ground near her.

Where Can I Sleep in My Car Legally? 

Many nomads take to the road in vans, RVs, and even cars. It can be challenging to find a place to camp, especially if you want to rest for a few hours and move on.

There is no need to reserve a campsite (if you can even get reservations) because you won’t be using any of the amenities of a campground. So how can you legally sleep in your RV or car?

Several resources keep track of accessible overnight parking locations and campsites. FreeCampsites, Campendium, and the Allstays Pro app are three excellent resources to keep handy.

Many nomads find overnight parking at Walmart, Cracker Barrel, Cabela’s, and 24-hour businesses like fitness centers. Even some casinos allow parking. When you can’t find anywhere to catch some shuteye, you can usually find a truck stop, especially near most interstates.

Check out these additional options for safe overnight parking.

Can Non-Truckers Sleep at Truck Stops

Those traveling by car or RV are usually welcome at most truck stops. However, you should follow a few rules before bedding down in their parking lots.

First, ask management if overnight parking is possible and if there is a designated parking lot area that you should use.

RVers stop for a night at a truck stop in their camper van.

If you stay at a truck stop, remember that their first allegiance is to truck drivers, who stop to refuel, shower, eat, and rest before they finish a long haul. They have specific hours of work and rest regulated by the federal government. Don’t park in the truck section if you are in an RV or car.

Do Nomads in the USA Sleep at Truck Stops?

Yes, nomads make use of truck stops. Any traveler can stop at a truck stop that allows overnight parking for vehicles other than semi-trucks.

If you are unaware of the status, call the truck stop to ask permission. Most will ask you to park in a spot other than the trucking area so that truckers have space to rest.

Can Anyone Use a Truck Stop Shower? 

Any paying customer can utilize a truck stop shower. As with service station restrooms, the showers may vary in size, availability, and cleanliness, but most are pretty roomy and clean.

They may even offer toiletries like shampoo and soap, or you can bring your personal items. Don’t forget your towels!

Shower prices can get a little expensive, from $8 to $15, and you must purchase yours before you use it. Some shower rooms need a key to open, while newer facilities may have a code. 

A semi truck driving down a road afte the sun has set.

Do Truck Stops Have Electric Outlets? 

Most truck stops provide wifi for customers to use for a fee, but like chain restaurants, you will have to jockey for a position at an electrical outlet to charge your electronic devices. Many chains have now begun to offer EV chargers for electric vehicles, however.

Along with the wifi, they offer a slew of services. They have ATMs, laundry facilities, CAT scales, video game rooms, and concierge parking. Many truck stops provide top-notch services for their drivers, and most of those amenities are also available to nomadic travelers.

What Is Proper Truck Stop Camping Etiquette?

Remember that truck stops exist for truckers. They offer a place to rest, eat, and shower to those delivering the goods we all purchase and use. As nomads, you should respect the truckers’ use of truck stop facilities.

For instance, on many busy highway exits, there may not be many parking spaces left for trucks. If you need an overnight spot for your car or RV, do not take up a trucker’s parking space. They have to stop and rest by law. Do not take up the only spot left for them to do just that.

Semi trucks parked under a roof in the parking lot of a truck stop at night.

If the shower queue is full at the truck stop, truckers should go first. The same rule applies to the laundry facility.

It is much easier for you to take your laundry to a laundromat in town or get a shower at the next truck stop than to ask a trucker to get behind schedule on their deliveries by waiting for those services after using them.

Finally, don’t open up your RV slides or put camp chairs in your parking spot. A truck stop is a business for truckers first, so don’t set up camp in their parking lot.

Is It Worth Sleeping Overnight at a Truck Stop?

If a place to rest eludes your nomadic travels, a truck stop can be a temporary respite. It won’t be quiet, but it can offer a place to sleep and clean up. It can’t take the place of a campsite, but it does a great job as an emergency option when weary travelers can’t find a safe and legal place for overnight parking.

Have you slept at a truck stop before?

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