LOL It's funny you should mention trying it out, because that's exactly what I did last weekend in my Honda Civic. I'm going from Manitoba to Atlanta to New Orleans and back, sleeping in my car for a quarter of the trip. Tried sleeping in the front with the seat down, in the back seat, and even folded the back seats down and slept half in the truck, half on top of the seats. Must say that the front seat is the best though! Just hope no one walks past the car and watches me sleep. :o)
"A vacant lot is still owned by someone -- see above. Put I admit that is a clever dodge. Your posting made me laugh out loud!"
Glad it did :)
Speak of the devil though, a day or two after I mentioned the "lot", all the cars vanished (presumably towed away by the local constabulary.)
I just finished listening to "Blue Highways", in which the author sleeps in his van during a cross-country trip with few exceptions. Of course this was twenty years ago, and times have changed, but as long as you can stay inconspicuous, and out of sight, it should work.
Some ideas I can think of would be: on residential streets with curbside parking, apartment complex parking lots (watch out for areas with required parking permits though)... think of where an extra van parked at night wouldn't be noticed.
The front seats are more comfortable if you put something on the floor to raise your feet up so they don't drop down all night. I usually use a duffle bag or two for something soft.
As for privacy, I put sunshades on the windshield and then put a towel in the side windows and roll the windows up tight to hold the towel in place. I have felt pretty private with this system.
For more comfort sleeping in the front seat, putting something on the floor (I use a duffle bag) to elevate your legs.
For privacy, use those sunblocking screens on the front windows and hang a towel in the door windows and roll the window up to hold them tighly in place. Works quite well.
> I am going on an extensive roadtrip very soon and <BR>
> I have a question about the best places to park <BR>
> my van for the night. I know that rest stops are <BR>
> illegal (in most states) and dangerous. I have <BR>
> read that truckstops are decent places but may be <BR>
> noisy and probably inaccessible to me because I <BR>
> was hoping to avoid the interstates as much as <BR>
> possible. I have also read that the parking lots <BR>
> of Wal-Marts and other stores open 24/7 might be <BR>
> good places but policies vary from store to <BR>
> store. <BR>
> I was thinking that hotel parking <BR>
> lots might be a good place because of other <BR>
> out-of-state visitors actually staying in the <BR>
> hotel. My question is whether or not it is <BR>
> illegal to park in a hotel parking lot if you <BR>
> aren't staying in the hotel? Is it standard <BR>
> practice for most hotels to police their parking <BR>
> lots periodically or would I probably be OK if I <BR>
> slipped in after dark, parked in the back <BR>
> somewhere, and slipped out early the next <BR>
> morning. I would likely stick to larger hotel <BR>
> chains where my presence as an out-of-towner <BR>
> would be less likely to be noticed. <BR>
> My main <BR>
> concern about my upcoming trip is where I will be <BR>
> stopping to sleep every night so any feedback is <BR>
> greatly appreciated. Thank you.<BR>
> Pensfan <BR>
I am also planning to take a roadtrip in my van this summer. The comments here have helped me know where I could sleep at night, but does anyone know if there are places with public showers that I could use, or would you suggust staying in a motel every now and then? Any advice you could give would be appreciated. Thanks
Couple of Options
1. Instead of motels, you might try youth hostels if there are some along your route. They are more inexpensive than many motels, and usually feature "dorm" style accommodations (read "bunkhouse") with shared rooms and baths. Some of them have private rooms at an additional charge.
2. Private campgrounds (and some public ones as well)usually have showers. Sometimes I will rent a "camping cabin" at a KOA instead of a motel, although you'll find this doesn't save you much, as they are expensive for what you get (usually $30-$45, depending on location). For me, it is a matter of convenience when I use them, not cost.
Just some ideas: some trucker's plazas allow non-truckers to use their shower facilities for a small fee. I have been known to park in the day use area of national, state, and county campgrounds and use their shower facilities. Some are coin-op and some not. Sometimes private campgrounds will let you use their shower facilities for a small fee. YMCA facilities normally have a day use fee where you can use their showers and other facilities as well.
After reviewing the postings on van/SUV, etc. camping, I would like to comment as follows:
1. Shower facilities are available on the road at most of the following places: County parks, State Parks, and Private Campgrounds. Price, of course, varies with the private being the most expensive. If you are a senior citizen and have a "Golden Age Passport", you can stay in most federal campgrounds for one-half the posted price. We have stayed in RV parks in such large cities as Vancouver, BC; Victoria, BC; San Francisco, CA; San Antonio, TX and others. You pay the same rate as a motorhome or other large RV, but the facilities are A number one. Most of these have public transportation near, so you don't even have to drive into the city if you don't wish to.
2. One of the comments stated that you can put sun screens in the windows for privacy. Be careful! If you have lights on in the van/SUV/car, those outside can see in just as if the screen wasn't in the window.
3. If camping in cooler weather, we take a small electric heater and use that whenever we have electricity.
Good Luck to anyone planning van camping, it can't be beat for economy and fun!
Hi, I was the one who mentioned the sunscreens for privacy. Good point. Since I do this in a New Beetle I'm not doing anything...except maybe reading...that would be a problem but that's a great point for those who have more room like your van. Reminded me of another comfort idea. I bought a very small, portable, battery-operated fan that folds down to about 5"x5"x2". It works great on those nights when it's a bit warm in the car and helps more than you would think for such a small thing. It will usually last all night on full batteries. And, since I also have a 12-volt battery recharger, I can recharge the batteries while on the road for the next night.