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  1. Default Wash DC to Los Angeles

    What is the cheapest way to sleep? Certainly not a Hotel? Is it safe and legal to sleep at a rest stop? Are camp grounds only for RVs? I want to see the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. I might go in the Fall.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Minneapolis Metro


    I have found that the cheapest way to sleep (without sleeping in your car in rest areas) is to get a tent and stay in campgrounds. National and State parks are generally cheaper than private campgrounds. It is a little more difficult to find camping along the interstate so looking at a map with campgrounds ahead of time is advisable.

    As for sleeping in rest areas, specific laws vary by state. I wouldn't suggest sleeping in a rest area just because the comfort factor is very low. To me it seams like 6 hours of sleep in a rest area is like 2 hours of sleep in a motel/tent, it just isn't very comfortable.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Is it safe and legal to sleep at a rest stop?
    No and no. If you must sleep in your car, use a large truck stop off the highway such as a Flying J or a Petro.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default along those lines

    Wecome to the RTA Forum!

    I agree with what the previous posts have said. If you are going to sleep in a car, a place like a truckstop is going to be far safer than sleeping at a rest area. There are several other threads which discuss this in great length.

    For me, sleeping in a car is close to a last resort, as I just don't find it very comfortable. Tent camping is my budget option of choice, and usually costs less than $20 a night. I tend to stick with public facilities if at all possible, as private ones often tend to focus more on the RV crowds (and sometimes private rv parks don't allow any tents but that's pretty rare). Another advantage to camping at public facilities is that any good paper map is going to have them marked which can help in the planning quite a bit.

  5. Default

    Thanks for the info.
    More questions:
    How are those KAO Campsites? Could stay at one of those and sleep in the car?

    Where can I get an example packing list. Other than the obvious: clothes, cell phone, bottled water and road maps. What else should I bring?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default not a money saver

    Well, you could sleep in your car at a campsite anywhere, but KOAs are about the most expensive option for camping out there. At that point, you're going to be paying almost as much as renting a cheap motel, and you'll still have all the drawbacks and lack of comfort of sleeping in a car.

    If you want to sleep in your car, and again, I'm not really sure why that would be your first choice, doing it at a public campground, like a state park or national forest will be cheaper than most private campgrounds, it will give you some privacy and quiet that you won't get at a truckstop, and often times you'll still have showers and other facilities. But again, if you're paying for the space, at that point, you might as well take a couple minutes and set up a tent and actually get a good night sleep.

  7. Default

    Thanks for the info. It looks like a solo trip late summer. Sometime in August.

    I'll take 66 West to 81 South to 40 West.

    I've been looking at google maps.

    Here is the mileage through each state using this route all the way to LA.
    Virginia 367
    Tennessee 519
    Arkansas 289
    Oklahoma 330
    Texas 179
    New Mexico 376
    Arizona 369
    California 276
    Total 2705

    However, I plan on visiting the following places:
    Grand Canyon
    Las Vegas
    Death Valley

    As of now, the plan is for 3 weeks.
    DC - LA - DC

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