Who decides where an RVer may or may not park overnight in the middle of a journey to a distant location? The answer is obvious. It’s the owner or manager of the property where the RVer would like to park.
When RVers consider parking overnight in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart, a Cracker Barrel, a Flying J or other retail business, the person who allows us to park there is the manager of the business. Yet some RVers persist in just pulling in and parking on other people’s property, without asking permission to do so, as if it were a right that’s guaranteed to them by … well, by somebody or other. They seem to forget that if we want to park on someone else’s property, we need their permission to do so.
If it’s a business parking lot, such as a Wal-Mart, the business grants permission for vehicles to park in their parking lot while shopping. But that isn’t the same as permission to park overnight and sleep there. If we want to park overnight, we need to ask permission from the store, from someone in a position of authority to grant that permission. Generally, this will be a store manager or the Customer Service manager. Don’t assume that the greeter or the person who gathers shopping carts in the lot is authorized to give you permission to park. They may or may not know what the manager’s policy is.
“But,” some RVers will say, Wal-Mart’s policy is to allow RVs to park overnight! I don’t need permission!” That’s sometimes true, but not always and not everywhere. Most Wal-marts do allow RVs to park overnight, but there are hundreds that don’t. Those who do allow it often want to direct RVs to park in a particular area of the parking lot.
The same goes for other businesses who generally invite RVers to park overnight. Even if there are marked “long vehicle” spaces in the lot, as there are at many Cracker Barrels and Flying J’s, those business are there for the use of customers during business hours. They may or may not be available for overnight parking, and you don’t know for sure until you ask.
As I research this topic, I’m finding more and more businesses that often allow Overnight RV Parking. Some are fairly widely known for this practice while others aren’t. Some of the chains that sometimes allow it are Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, Lowe’s, and Menard’s.
Once again, before parking overnight at these stores or any other business parking lot, be sure you go into the store to ask permission. Some RVers prefer to telephone ahead for permission, so that they can make other arrangements on those occasions when the store says no. But the overriding principle, when parking overnight on someone else’s property, is that we need their invitation and their permission to do so.
Safe travels to you!
Moderator, OvernightRVParking Yahoo Group