If you are reading this article, chances are that you are currently in the process of planning a road trip. Cross-country travel can be enjoyable, but the logistics of where to sleep can rob you off the thrill of the journey. If you’re in the mood for an exciting trip but are having trouble booking motels, you may want to consider asking: can you sleep at truck stops?
Truck stops are a common resting spot for people traveling on a budget. They were originally created for truck drivers. However, they are available for use by anyone looking for a place to rest while traveling. Most truck stops provide similar facilities like motels, such as showers, ATMs, Wi-Fi, vending machines, etc.
The idea of staying overnight at a truck stop can seem frightening. However, as long as you know what to expect and prepare accordingly, you may actually end up finding the experience rather enjoyable. In this article, I am going to go through the most important things you need to know about sleeping at a truck stop.
How to sleep at truck stops
There aren’t many official guidelines as to how to utilize a truck stop. Most truck stops do not ask for payment to simply park your vehicle and sleep inside. However, there are a few things you may like to know to get the most out of your experience of sleeping at a truck stop.
Finding the right spot
Try your best not to take up the space of other truckers. It is important to remember that truck stops were created so that truck drivers could rest and do their jobs safely. Many places will have separate spaces assigned for truck drivers and RVs (or personal vehicles). For places that do not have fixed slots, ask if it is okay to park there just to be sure.
Though finding a parking spot at a truck stop is more a matter of luck than choice, try to avoid dark areas. The ideal place to park would be under or near a street light or lamp. This way, it will not only be easier for you to find your car, but you will also feel safer once the sky starts getting dark.
Respecting truck stop etiquette
Though truck stops themselves are noisy due to the constant sound of cars driving in and out, everyone else is expected to be as quiet as possible. Most people at a truck stop have been driving for a long time and require sleep. Being too loud can irritate the people around you and even lead to arguments. So do your best to be as quiet as possible.
Knowing when to leave is also important. Truck stops are temporary rest spots for travelers. Once you have stayed the night at a truck spot, it is expected that you will be on the road again in the morning. Occupying a spot at a truck stop for a long time can be considered rude or even draw unwanted attention. Thus, it is important to never outstay your welcome at a truck stop.
Here’s an article covering everything you need to know about truck stop etiquette.
Researching what facilities are available
The average truck stop will have facilities such as showers, internet, and food. However, there are some truck stops that have more to offer, such as movie theatres, spas, restaurants, cafes, libraries, and more.
The best way to find out which truck stop offers more facilities of your interest is to note down all the truck stops on your route and then research them individually. Reading online reviews is also a sure way of finding out what facilities are available at different truck stops.
Things to consider before sleeping at truck stops
Sleeping at a truck stop can be convenient and sometimes even fun. However, it is not something someone should jump into without proper preparation. By now, you are probably aware of the basics of what spending a night at a truck stop entails. So let’s also have a look at some things you need to consider before sleeping at a truck stop.
Though sleeping at truck stops is a common practice, there are certain risks involved. The atmosphere can be intimidating or scary for people who are not used to traveling or spending the night outdoors. Make sure to always read through online reviews before picking which truck stop to spend the night at.
Keep your phone on and notify a friend of your exact location in case of emergencies. Aside from this, it is also good to keep some self-defense equipment such as pepper spray or a pocket knife on hand. The chances of you actually using these things are slim. Nevertheless, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Things to bring with you
Most basic things, such as soap, towels, snacks, and water, will be available to buy at the truck stop. Some things you may consider bringing with you to make your night more comfortable are a blow-up pillow and a blanket if the weather happens to be chilly.
It is best not to buy earplugs or eye masks since being completely unaware of your surroundings while sleeping at a truck stop can be dangerous.
If you think that the street lights may be too bothersome, you can consider buying window shades for your car to help block them out.
Aside from this, make sure to always have a flashlight and a bottle of water ready in your car before going to sleep. You can buy both of these things at any time at a truck stop. However, making the trip back and forth in the middle of the night can get inconvenient.
So, coming back to your question, can you sleep at truck stops? The answer is yes, you can. However, before doing so, it is important to know the benefits and risks that this experience involves.
I hope this article has been helpful in giving you a glimpse of what a night at a truck stop may look like. May your travels be safe, economical, and fun.