In the world of RVing, there are no rules. There are, however, unspoken rules of conduct that every serious road-tripper understands. You won’t see any RVs parked at Walmart overnight unless it’s an emergency. Such is the stigma attached to parking at a Walmart lot. The general public views it as a last resort for desperate travelers needing a place to rest their heads. But is this reputation deserved? Can you sleep in a Walmart parking lot? If you’re reading this article, chances are you have either experienced or heard about someone who has spent the night at a Walmart parking lot in an RV or camper van. The first step to answering this question is understanding why so many RVers look down on staying at a Wal-Mart as an overnight stop.
Can You Sleep In A Walmart Parking Lot?
Yes and no. If it’s in the middle of the night, it’s probably not a good idea, and many people would say not to do it. However, if you have 2 or 3 a.m., I wouldn’t worry or think about it because there’s no one there and you could sleep anywhere you want.
Why Is Parking At Walmart Considered A Bad Idea
It’s often crowded and chaotic.
One of the most obvious problems with shopping at Walmart is that it tends to be crowded. This isn’t just a busy hour or two in the afternoon either; it’s like this almost every hour of every day. If you visit on a weekend afternoon, you’re likely to find yourself in a sea of people. If you’re looking around, this isn’t a problem, but it can become a tremendous source of frustration if you need to shop. Staff members are often stretched thin during busy times, making you less likely to receive assistance.
Customer service is generally bad.
Another reason to avoid shopping at Walmart is that the customer service is generally very bad. Customer service employees at Walmart are usually very young, often teenagers. This isn’t inherently bad, but they often lack the experience and professionalism you may need in practice. These employees are generally under a lot of pressure to meet a certain sales quota, which can lead to them being short-tempered and irritable. Whereas many other retailers will go out of their way to help you, there’s a good chance that the cashier at Walmart will want you to hurry up and get out of their hair as quickly as possible. This isn’t just inconvenient; it could also result in you getting a lower price. You see, experienced cashiers generally know how to scan the price of an item the right way. They’ll scan the barcode, see if there’s a sale, and then scan the item’s price based on that.
Prices are always marked up.
Another reason you should avoid parking at Walmart is that their prices are always marked up. When you walk into any other store, you can generally expect to find items at their regular price. At Walmart, however, you can expect higher prices on almost everything. The company has a history of marking up its prices to absurd levels. This is one of the reasons why there are so many other stores cheaper than Walmart. Many items you can buy at Walmart are often cheaper at other stores.
The food selection is very limited.
Another reason parking at Walmart is bad is that their food selection is very limited. This isn’t always a problem if you’re shopping for non-perishable goods, but if you’re shopping for perishable goods, it could be a real problem. For example, if you need to buy fresh produce, you’re unlikely to find the variety you might expect at a grocery store. While this isn’t a major problem for most people, it can be inconvenient if you have a unique dietary requirement. If you have any food allergies or dietary restrictions, Walmart’s limited food selection can be a real problem.
Walmart merchandise is of low quality.
Finally, another reason you should avoid parking at Walmart is that their merchandise is usually of low quality. This isn’t a problem if you’re buying basic household items, but if you’re buying expensive items like electronic gadgets or something for your car, you may be disappointed by the quality. If you’re looking to buy a high-quality TV, for example, you’ll likely be disappointed by the options at Walmart. Many low-quality items are marked down to extremely low prices, but the savings come at a price. You may be able to get a TV for a very low price, but it’s likely to break down within a year or so.
Is It Even Legal To Sleep In A Walmart Parking Lot?
- This is where the good people at Snopes come in. They did some research and decided that the best way to answer the question can you sleep in a Walmart parking lot was to tackle the question of whether or not it’s legal to sleep in a Walmart parking lot.
- The answer is it depends on the city in which you’re parked. If you’re parked at a Walmart store in one of the following cities, you can rest easy knowing that it’s perfectly legal to sleep in a Walmart parking lot.
- And if you’re parked anywhere else, you may want to steer clear of Walmart parking lots if you’re looking for a safe place to spend the night. – Austin, Texas – Bentonville, Ark. – Boulder, Colo. – Charleston, S.C. – Chapel Hill, N.C. – Clarksville, Tenn. – Dallas, Texas – Edinburg, Texas – Fayetteville, Ark. – Fort Smith, Ark. – Georgetown, Texas – Houston, Texas – Little Rock, Ark. – Los Angeles, Calif. – New York, N.Y. – Odessa, Texas – Oklahoma City, Okla.
Is It Safe To Sleep At Walmart?
- The short answer is yes, it is safe to sleep at Walmart. However, there are a few caveats. If you are parked in a Walmart parking lot, it is important to ensure your vehicle’s lights aren’t on.
- If your lights are on, people assume you want or need assistance. Additionally, it’s a good idea to stay out of sight. You should park as far away from the main road as possible.
- The biggest safety concern when sleeping at Walmart is theft. When you’re sleeping at Walmart, it’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of security. Many times, it’s easy to forget that you’re not in a campground.
- According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, 74% of all RV thefts occur when the RV is parked and unoccupied.
Pros Of Staying At Walmart
- Cheap Parking – If you’re looking for a place to park where you don’t have to pay any money, Walmart is your best bet. Most Walmart locations have huge parking lots. This means that there are plenty of spots available.
- Lots of Choices – There is plenty of Walmart parking in friendly, safe neighborhoods. This means you will have plenty of options when looking for a place to park for the night.
- Easy to Find – If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of finding a parking place, Walmart is the place for you. You’ll find plenty of open parking lots at all hours of the day and night.
- Open Hours – Walmart parking lots are open all day and night. This means you can park at a Walmart parking lot and know you’ll always have a place to park.
Cons Of Staying At Walmart
- No Amenities – This is perhaps the biggest con regarding parking at Walmart. Many Walmart parking lots have very little shade, limited services like restrooms, and no hookups.
- Low Security – If you park in a well-lit location, you may feel you have plenty of security. Unfortunately, while many parking lots are well-lit, they are also filled with traffic. This means you won’t have much security if someone breaks into your RV.
- No Space for Kids – If you’re traveling with kids, it’s important to find a place that has enough space for them to run around and play. Unfortunately, most Walmart parking lots don’t have enough space for kids to run around and play.
- No Space for Dogs – Most Walmart parking lots have low clearance. This means that you can’t let your dogs out without running the risk of them hurting themselves. –
- No Space for ATVs – If you’re traveling with your ATV, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Walmart parking lot with enough space to keep your ATV in it.
- No Space for Horses – If you’re traveling with your horses, Walmart parking lots are not the place for you.
Ultimately, the answer is that it depends on you. Some RVers will avoid parking at Walmart parking lots at all costs. Others will park there if their parking lot is full or if their truck is broken down. The choice is completely up to you. Ultimately, there are no hard and fast rules regarding RVing. There are, however, unspoken rules of conduct that every serious road-tripper understands. You won’t see any RVs parked at Walmart overnight unless it’s an emergency. Such is the stigma attached to parking at a Walmart lot. The general public views it as a last resort for desperate.