10 Rudest Things You Can Do While Overnight RV Parking

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At one point or another, many RVers end up searching for overnight RV parking. Luckily, there are thousands of spots across the country where RVers can park for free to get some rest. However, we’ve witnessed some pretty rude behaviors from all types of RVers when parking overnight.

We don’t want you to be one of those guests who ruin it for others. So, here are 10 rude things we’ve seen during our overnight RV parking adventures. Let’s get started!

What Is Overnight RV Parking?

Overnight RV parking is any non-typical camping location that allows RVers to park for a night. Common sites include empty parking lots from big-box retailers, rest stops, and truck stops. Whether a travel day didn’t go as planned or you’re trying to break up a long trip into multiple shorter travel days, it is a great option.

In recent years, we’ve seen increased restrictions for overnight RV parking. This is primarily due to the rude behavior of some guests. Because these are non-typical camping locations, they’re not campgrounds.

They’re usually businesses being generous with their space to accommodate the needs of travelers. However, when travelers abuse the privilege and cause more work for the business, restrictions are sure to follow.

A truck towing a fifth wheel parked in a Walmart parking lot

Is Overnight RV Parking Safe?

Typically, overnight RV parking is safe as any other style of camping. Some locations are safer than others, but you can stay safe if you take a few precautions. If you ever arrive at a spot where you plan to stay and feel unsafe, leave. You can never be too safe.

It seems like common sense, but you should keep your stuff locked up and secure. Anything that isn’t put away has the potential to “walk away” in the middle of the night while you’re sleeping. While the bright parking lots may make it difficult to sleep, they can increase your safety.

If you’re unfamiliar with the area, do a bit of research. Read reviews from previous guests if you’re using apps or other resources to find your overnight RV parking spots. If there seems to be a pattern of negative experiences, it may be best to find a different spot to park for the night.

Keep in Mind: Have you used Allstays to find overnight parking yet? Here’s how to find overnight parking at Walmart with Allstays app.

10 Rudest Things You Can Do While Overnight RV Parking

As we said, we’ve seen some surprisingly rude behavior from some RVers while enjoying overnight RV parking. If you want to be a good guest, bring a good attitude, be respectful, and avoid these 10 rude things.

1. Run Your Generator All Night

There’s not much worse than trying to fall asleep to a noisy generator running late into the night. It’s one thing to use a generator to charge up your batteries, prepare meals, or even watch TV for a couple of hours. However, running your generator late into the night is incredibly rude.

Many RVers need to run a generator to run an electric heater or air conditioner to stay comfortable in their RV. However, it’s typically a good idea to check into a campground or find a place to plug in your RV if you’re going to be that dependent on needing power. You don’t want to disturb others or customers of the business.

2. Take Up More Space Than Necessary

When you’re enjoying overnight RV parking, it’s best to take up the least amount of space possible. However, you want to give yourself and others enough space to maneuver in and out of the parking lot. It’s not only rude to take up more space than necessary, but you could also be in the way of customers or normal business operations.

It’s best to find a spot out of the way, typically towards a back corner of the parking lot. Most customers try to park towards the front of a parking lot, so you’ll have plenty of room. When entering any parking lot, always have an exit plan to avoid a sticky situation.

Three RVs parked in row making sure to give enough space

3. Not Ask Permission

It doesn’t matter what you read online or have heard from others; you must ask permission before parking. You never know when policies have changed, or the establishment has an event or other activity that won’t allow them to host RVers for the evening.

When you first arrive at an overnight RV parking spot, find someone with authority to permit you to park for the night. It’s typically best to speak to a manager instead of just any old employee. When speaking to them, ask for any special parking instructions or information that might be useful during your stay.

4. Ignore “No Overnight RV Parking” Signs

Some popular overnight RV parking locations are shutting down camping. This is mainly due to the abuse of inconsiderate guests to the business facilities and the surrounding area. While some businesses choose to stop accepting guests, sometimes it’s out of their hands.

Many cities and local municipalities put strict rules and regulations prohibiting overnight parking. Whether it’s to curb seedy behavior, increase security, or simply maintain a more family-friendly atmosphere, they often find these restrictions can help. 

If you decide to ignore the signs, you risk waking up to a fine or citation in the morning. That could turn your free overnight RV parking spot into an expensive overnight RV parking spot. Some guests have even received knocks on their doors from local authorities forcing them to leave in the middle of the night.

A no overnight parking sign.

5. Stay Too Long

Most places that accept overnight RV parking do so with the understanding that it’s for a single night. It’s a place to temporarily stop then leave the following day. However, in some locations, we’ve seen RVers set up in a manner that looks like they’re not planning to go anytime soon.

You should only stay at a spot for a single night unless in the rarest of circumstances where you’ve received explicit permission. You want to be a good guest and not overstay your welcome. Arrive in the early evening and leave early in the morning. You typically want to limit your time at the spot.

Pro Tip: You’ve probably heard about Boondocking, but what is it? Check out what exactly Boondocking is Is and how to try it.

6. Let Your Pets Run Free

If you have pets with you, overnight RV parking spots are not places to let them exercise. Not only could your pet make other guests uncomfortable, but it could be against the law.

Many states and local governments have strict laws regarding off-leash pets. So leash up your pet and take them for a walk or find a nearby dog park for them to burn off some energy.

7. Leave a Mess

For some reason or another, a small portion of guests using overnight RV parking leave quite a mess. We’ve seen trash, broken camping gear, and even human waste littering the area used by many overnighters. Leaving trash behind is harmful to the environment and devalues the surrounding area.

This is one of the biggest reasons overnight RV parking gets shut down. Businesses and the local populations don’t want to clean up messes left behind by travelers. It’s much easier for them to prohibit camping and issue citations to violators. It’s happening in communities all across the country, making it increasingly more difficult for some RVers to find spots to park for the night.

Trash in a parking lot that was left by rude overnight RV parking guests

8. Not Buy Anything at the Business

When possible, many overnighters will camp in big-box retailers like Walmart or Costco to prepare for their next adventure. It’s good etiquette to support the local business or establishment hosting you for your overnight RV parking spot.

Whether buying a meal or stocking up on supplies, make sure you buy something. They’re generous in allowing you to stay. The least you can do is make a purchase. 

9. Damage Property

They’re never ideal, but accidents do happen. If you accidentally damage property, you should report it to the establishment as soon as possible and do everything in your power to make it right.

Don’t think that just because it’s a big franchise, they’re not going to take damage seriously or hold you financially responsible. They typically have security cameras all around the parking lots, and if you leave without reporting the damage, you could find yourself in legal trouble.

Make sure you treat the property how you would treat your property. Purposefully damaging or defacing property is always inappropriate. Many will pursue legal action and restitution to cover the cost of any repairs.

10. Set Up Camp

Because you’re only staying overnight, don’t set up camp. You’re likely not going to do too much more than eat and sleep while parked overnight. So keep as much of your camping gear stowed away and avoid taking anything out. This helps avoid leaving something behind and keeps your possessions secure.

A fifth wheel that is overnight RV parking in a casino overlooking the water and a bridge

How Can I Find Overnight RV Parking?

If you’re looking to find overnight RV parking spots, iOverlander and Campendium are two excellent resources. They both have a vast library of camping locations across the country, including free overnight RV parking locations.

All you need to do is adjust the search filters, and you can narrow down the results to find the perfect spot to park your RV. You can even read reviews from previous guests and find valuable tips and information left by them.

Be a Good Camper, No Matter Where You’re Camping

Whether you’re staying in your RV, it’s essential to be a good camper. While the RVing community is full of tremendous people, there are a few bad apples. Always be considerate of others and never take advantage of the generosity of the locations that provide overnight RV parking spots.

If everyone behaves appropriately while camping, it helps ensure overnight spots continue to be available. What’s the rudest behavior you’ve seen while parking overnight in your RV?

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