If you’ve been RVing for a little while, you may be aware that most Wal-Mart stores extend the courtesy of allowing RVers to stay the night in their parking lot. If you haven’t been RVing that long and aren’t aware of this fantastic perk, we’ve put together a few “Do’s and Don’ts” of boondocking in a Wal-Mart Parking lot.
So, who can stay? Motorhome, travel trailer and fifth-wheel owners. Pop-up campers and tents are not allowed.
1. Ask for permission: This is really important as not all Wal-Marts allow for overnight stays. These stores are usually in densely populated areas, or “touristy” towns. There also may be city ordinances in place that prohibit overnight stays.
2. Pick a far off spot: You are a guest, so don’t be an intrusion. Remember, they are still running a business, so respect their customer’s space.
3. Stay just one night: It’s not a campground. Only utilize the overnight parking lot stay if you need to rest, or need supplies later in the evening. If you need to stay an additional night, it should be for emergency only and make sure you let the store manager know. It’s just common courtesy.
4. Don’t pull out slideouts or your awning: Try to make as small of a footprint as possible. You can keep your slides in for just one night. Again, you aren’t camping here, so don’t make it look like you are settling in for a long stay.
5. Don’t sit outside you RV in lawnchairs: See above. Make your stay as inconspicuous as possible.
6. Don’t break out the BBQ: If there is a Wal-Mart, that also means there are probably other eateries you can patronize. It’s not the Super Bowl, so don’t act like a tailgater. Besides, the local establishments will appreciate your business.
7. Don’t use your automatic levelers: Your levelers will damage their pavement, so just don’t use them. It’s that simple
8. No waste dumping: This is obvious. If you are dumping in an non-designated dump area, you are breaking the law. Enough said about this.
9. Dripping oil? Stay away: You don’t want a puddle of oil in your driveway, and Wal-Mart certainly doesn’t want it in their parking lot.
10. Take your trash with you when you leave: This is another “no-brainer” folks. Be a good guest and take your trash with you, or at the very least, make sure it finds its way to the proper disposal
The idea is to blend in, not stand out. This is not a campground. Also, if there are signs saying no overnight stays, obey them. No one wants to be woken up at 3 am and asked to leave. Remember, this is a courtesy that Wal-Mart provides, don’t abuse the rules, or Wal-Mart will change their policy and us RVers will not be able to utilize this wonderfully convenient perk and we will all lose out.