Finding a place to park for the night
I am going on an extensive roadtrip very soon and I have a question about the best places to park my van for the night. I know that rest stops are illegal (in most states) and dangerous. I have read that truckstops are decent places but may be noisy and probably inaccessible to me because I was hoping to avoid the interstates as much as possible. I have also read that the parking lots of Wal-Marts and other stores open 24/7 might be good places but policies vary from store to store.
I was thinking that hotel parking lots might be a good place because of other out-of-state visitors actually staying in the hotel. My question is whether or not it is illegal to park in a hotel parking lot if you aren't staying in the hotel? Is it standard practice for most hotels to police their parking lots periodically or would I probably be OK if I slipped in after dark, parked in the back somewhere, and slipped out early the next morning. I would likely stick to larger hotel chains where my presence as an out-of-towner would be less likely to be noticed.
My main concern about my upcoming trip is where I will be stopping to sleep every night so any feedback is greatly appreciated. Thank you.