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  1. Default How hot is too hot to sleep in your car?

    I'm looking at driving from Lethbridge, Alberta to Orlando, Florida sometime in June. I've slept in my car before, but everytime temperatures have been in the 50s or even colder. Just curious to hear other peoples experiences and advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    5,012

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    To me there is just no way to ever get any real sleep in most cars. First off, most cars don't let you have enough space to stretch out and get comfortable. Secondly, there's the security issue. Few places will allow you to sleep in your car for more than an hour or two. We've noticed a lot more "no overnight parking" signs in rest areas across the country in recent years. If you try to pull into a neighborhood, you might be awakened by the neighborhood policeman shining a light in your face and asking you to move on, as happened to someone in our area a few years back.

    I'd rethink that plan, think about either saving for some cheap hotels or at least getting yourself a tent and finding the local national forests and state parks with campgrounds for tents.


    Donna

  3. Default

    I like it cool when I sleep, about 65 degrees. The nighttime temperatures could very well be below that on your trip. But outside temperatures are not the only consideration.

    The temperature and humidity will rise the longer you are in the car. Both will make sleeping difficult. If you leave the windows open, the mosquitoes will love you for it.

    Youíll also need a flat long comfortable sleeping surface. Some camping cushions and sleeping blanket on the floor of a minivan could work if set up right. You must be able to stretch out flat or youíre unlikely to get to sleep. Sleeping in the reclining chairs just wonít work.

    Of course, there is the light and noise to contend with. Youíll need to block the lights from the parking lot and passing cars. You might be better off toward the end, but in June youíll likely get a neighbor wherever you park.

    The noise will be a problem and the thing most likely to disturb your sleep: boisterous people, slamming car doors, barking dogs and of course the door lock BEEP. If youíre really unfortunate, someone will set off the car alarm when they try opening their locked car from the inside. Itís happened to me twice and is quite embarrassing. I donít know if there are ear plugs or ear muffs or anything you can safely use when sleeping.

    Of course, thereís the security issue. Itís pretty difficult sleeping in a vulnerable position and few rest areas have security guards walking the grounds overnight. Those that do, have them for a reason. I do believe that there is security at many of those in Tennessee. Even so, sleeping with your car windows open doesnít give you much sense of security.

    Of course, the best sleep is in a motel.

    Good luck.

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by travelingman View Post

    Of course, there is the light and noise to contend with. Youíll need to block the lights from the parking lot and passing cars. You might be better off toward the end, but in June youíll likely get a neighbor wherever you park.

    The noise will be a problem and the thing most likely to disturb your sleep: boisterous people, slamming car doors, barking dogs and of course the door lock BEEP. If youíre really unfortunate, someone will set off the car alarm when they try opening their locked car from the inside. Itís happened to me twice and is quite embarrassing. I donít know if there are ear plugs or ear muffs or anything you can safely use when sleeping.

    Of course, thereís the security issue. Itís pretty difficult sleeping in a vulnerable position and few rest areas have security guards walking the grounds overnight. Those that do, have them for a reason. I do believe that there is security at many of those in Tennessee. Even so, sleeping with your car windows open doesnít give you much sense of security.

    Of course, the best sleep is in a motel.

    Good luck.
    These sound a lot like problems i would face while sleeping in urban/suburban areas. I tend to try and pick quiet, forested areas. Last time I slept in Montana for 2 nights I was able to have both full nights of undisturbed sleep. However I'm aware that the southeast is much more populated. Would it still be possible to find these areas in states such as Georgia/Tennessee?

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    Welcome to RTA!

    To me there is just no way to ever get any real sleep in most cars. First off, most cars don't let you have enough space to stretch out and get comfortable. Secondly, there's the security issue. Few places will allow you to sleep in your car for more than an hour or two. We've noticed a lot more "no overnight parking" signs in rest areas across the country in recent years. If you try to pull into a neighborhood, you might be awakened by the neighborhood policeman shining a light in your face and asking you to move on, as happened to someone in our area a few years back.

    I'd rethink that plan, think about either saving for some cheap hotels or at least getting yourself a tent and finding the local national forests and state parks with campgrounds for tents.


    Donna
    I never had a problem sleeping in my car, of course it isnt as comfortable as a bed but with the right pillows its not too bad. Usually was able to find really quiet spots a few miles off the interstate and get some undisturbed sleep.

    And i hope i dont get grilled for this but...
    I'm 17. Which is why I'm trying to avoid the whole motel thing. I know its a bit crazy for me to take on a trip of this magnitude before turning 18. But I do have a bit of experience with this, despite my young age. I have taken multi-day road trips alone before, mixing sleeping in my car and staying with friends/family.

    I have a place to stay for this trip in Tennessee and Florida. Most likely stops seem to be South dakota and somewhere near Kansas city, which is the one im a bit worried about.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,691

    Default

    If you must sleep in your car, I'd recommend you use major chain truck stops (Pilot, Flying J, TA, Petro, Loves) outside of major metros. Get permission from the front desk, park where directed. This will be as safe as anything, legal, but not necessarily very quiet. As a matter of courtesy, give the establishment some business. Buy a tank of gas, if you want/need to take a shower, buy a shower ticket from them ($10 to $15), buy dinner and/or breakfast.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,737

    Default More Organized But Still 'Open'

    The fact is that you won't find the wide open spaces, for which the west is known, in the eastern parts of the US. The land has simply been settled for too long has too many people for that. For example, you'll be hard pressed to find any BLM lands east of the Mississippi. What you will find, however, are national and state forests, both of which allow camping. Usually you'll need to pay a small fee to camp in a designated campground, but national forests at least sometimes offer the option of Dispersed Camping which seems to be more what you're looking for.

    Make yourself aware of what's available in the areas where you expect to be spending your nights before you start your trip. Then take a few minutes at dinner time to make more concrete plans, or at least check which national forests are close by and what their policies are, once you're actually 'in country'. There are certainly numerous national, and state, forests in the southeast, especially in and around the Appalachian Mountains.

    AZBuck

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    The fact is that you won't find the wide open spaces, for which the west is known, in the eastern parts of the US. The land has simply been settled for too long has too many people for that. For example, you'll be hard pressed to find any BLM lands east of the Mississippi. What you will find, however, are national and state forests, both of which allow camping. Usually you'll need to pay a small fee to camp in a designated campground, but national forests at least sometimes offer the option of Dispersed Camping which seems to be more what you're looking for.

    Make yourself aware of what's available in the areas where you expect to be spending your nights before you start your trip. Then take a few minutes at dinner time to make more concrete plans, or at least check which national forests are close by and what their policies are, once you're actually 'in country'. There are certainly numerous national, and state, forests in the southeast, especially in and around the Appalachian Mountains.

    AZBuck
    I wouldnt mind paying a few bucks to not get woken up in the middle of the night by a concerned officer, and having to find somewhere else to sleep. Thanks. I'll look into dispersed camping areas around my route. What is the weather like in June? Bearable to sleep?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,264

    Default Unpredictable.

    You can get an idea of what the average weather looks like for the time of year by looking at sites such as wunderground.com but it has no bearing on what the weather will be like at the exact time you travel. That is totally unpredictable until a few days before any given date.

    Have a great trip !

  10. Default

    I did a quick Google search and found several free or dispersed camping options near Kansas City. For example

    https://freecampsites.net/#!kansas%20city%20mo

    (You might have to type in Kansas City mo)

    Iím sure you could find more with a little effort.

    In addition, virtually all states have welcome centers with tons of brochures. If you get there during business hours youíll likely find personnel eager to steer you toward free or cheap camping.

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