Why RVers Can’t Count on Walmart Anymore
While Walmart is famous for rolling back prices, they’re starting to roll back on a policy that many RVers love. This policy change is making it nearly impossible for RVers to count on Walmart anymore. What’s the policy change? Let’s take a look!
RVer’s Can’t Count on Walmart Anymore, and Here’s Why
Walmarts are large stores with large parking lots. Many of these lots sit empty for the majority of the night. For years, RVers have been using these vacant parking lots for overnight stops along their route.
However, in recent years, RVers have begun to spot signs that parking is no longer permitted. The same lots that offered a reprieve to RVers now sit empty. In some instances, the store decided to terminate overnight parking, but it wasn’t always the store’s decision.
Why Are Walmarts Banning Overnight RV Parking?
A few bad apples ruin the whole bunch. A handful of RVers are treating the parking lot as their personal campgrounds. They’re creating an unsightly and unsanitary environment, and Walmart doesn’t want to put up with it anymore.
While some Walmarts across the country are incredibly patient with rude overnight guests, not all cities and municipalities share the sentiment. Some are passing ordinances and regulations that limit or restrict overnight parking. These can be frustrating but do help cities maintain a safe and sanitary environment in public spaces. In these instances, it’s entirely out of Walmart’s control. Overnight guests may wake up to police or a citation.
Irresponsible RVers Are to Blame
Irresponsible RVers are to blame for this mess. There are stories of RVers setting up camp for consecutive nights, leaving garbage or human waste behind, and participating in less savory behavior. Walmart stores and local governments don’t want to encourage this type of behavior and do whatever they can to shut it down.
Creating ordinances and regulations helps them control overnight stays. Sadly, RVers who are respectful, courteous, and appreciative also lose out. These same RVers now must scramble to find convenient places to stay along their route, which only gets more difficult.
What Not to Do When Using a Free Overnight Parking Spot
Whether you’re new or experienced, here’s a handful of reminders of what not to do when using a free overnight parking spot. Let’s take a look!
Set Up Camp
The overnight parking spot isn’t your destination. You shouldn’t pull out camping chairs, a grill, or much of anything. You should find a relatively inconspicuous area out of the way of other customers and any delivery vehicles.
This parking spot is not where you can break out the cornhole bags and play a few games. You should keep the area surrounding your vehicle as tidy as possible. If you don’t have to open slides, we recommend keeping as many closed as possible. Maintaining a tidy spot helps ensure you can quickly and easily move in the morning or keeps you out of the way.
Dump Trash or Waste Water
It seems like not dumping trash or wastewater at an overnight spot is common sense. However, this is one of the largest reasons that local governments are getting involved. By leaving trash and wastewater behind, parking spots become unsanitary. If customers begin to see a Walmart store as trashy or disgusting, they’ll take their business elsewhere. It’s never appropriate to leave behind trash or wastewater. You should always find an appropriate place to dispose of trash and dump your tanks.
Hang Out Outside
If you’re stopping for the night, you should spend as little time as possible outside your RV. You don’t want to be a nuisance to others or the store. Hanging out outside of your RV will draw more attention. Keep your things and yourself inside your RV as much as possible.
Overstay Your Welcome
An overnight stay is just that, overnight. These spots aren’t places where you should plan to spend consecutive nights. You’ll overstay your welcome and frustrate the store and local government.
This is another major reason why overnight parking is shutting down across the country. Some are parking their RVs for days, weeks, or even months at a time. Some of these RVs may not even run anymore, meaning the residents can’t leave.
If you do find an overnight parking spot, be respectful and leave promptly in the morning. You don’t need to leave before the sun rises but be gracious and respectful when it comes to making your exit.
Where Else Can RVers Get Some Quick Shut-Eye for Free?
While Walmart is reducing opportunities, there are still many options for RVers. Note that local ordinances still dictate whether you can stay or not.
You may need to think outside the box when it comes to finding a place to stop. Places with large parking lots are often great places to stay for free. Even churches and large RV retailers like Camping World are opening their parking lots when local ordinances allow.
If you’re struggling to find a spot to sleep, check out campsites managed by the United States Forestry Service and Bureau of Land Management. Many of these sites are free and first-come, first-served. You may need to do a little bit of planning, but these campsites can provide privacy and some pretty epic views.
Planning to Overnight at Walmarts? Make Sure You Have a Backup Plan
As more and more Walmart parking lots ban overnight parking, make sure you have a backup plan. You want a safe place to stay after a long day of traveling. Unfortunately, that may take a little more research than it used to. Have you ever used a Walmart parking lot for an overnight stop?
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