As an RVer, you know that there are sometimes when we need to either make and unscheduled stop and spend the night in a business’ parking lot. Wal-Mart is a good example. If you plan on doing this, whether the stop is planned, or not there are certain thing that you are responsible for as a guest of that business. And yes, you are a guest and should behave as one. We call it our “Good Traveling Neighbor Policy“.
If you are planning on touring and area and thing it’s a good idea to skip out on a traditional camp site so you can essential sat “free” at a local business’ park lot, think again. First of all, you should get permission from the business owners, or manager before you start setting up shop. Many cities actually have ordinances against boondocking at local businesses. So check if you are even allowed to stay there first.
Next, and only if it is “OK”, don’t stay longer than one night. This is not only rude, but it can affect that business’ traffic, which is something you certainly don’t want to do. Being a nuisance will only make those business’ less receptive towards other RVers who are looking for a place to layover in the future. Most complaints by business’ are have to do with both having a giant RV disrupting the aesthetics of their business as well as the abuse of their good nature for even letting you stay the night.
Here’s a good list to keep in mind when you need to boondock at a place other than a designated camping site. It’s a little blurry, but I think you can still read it and, honestly, it’s all common sense.
The bottom line is that if a place of business and the city ordinance allows you to stay a night in a parking lot, use your better judgement. Don’t start blazing your BBQ. Don’t throw a party. Keep you presence as unnoticed as possible. You will not only be doing yourself a favor and earning the trust of those business, but you are also an ambassador for RVers everywhere. If you decide to abuse the kindness of local business, be prepared to be asked to leave.
Here’s a reminder, it’s always a good idea to call ahead instead of just assuming you can stay the night. Laying over in a local lot can either be a Godsend or a nightmare, it’s hat’ entirely up to you…and mare sure you, at the very least, thank them for their generosity. If you have any questions about travel and boondocking at local lot’s, give PPL Motorhomes a call and we can give you more tips and hints. In fact, we probably can help with a few RV friendly places for future layover.