Monday, December 4, 2023


Would you pay $20 for a one-night stay with electricity in a Walmart parking lot?

If a Walmart store provided an automated power pedestal in a back corner of its parking lot for $20, would you stay? Both 30- and 50-amp power would be provided – take your pick.

In this instance, assume you could reserve the space up to 24 hours ahead using an app and a credit card. So the space would be waiting for you, and just you.

The scene could look something like this at a similar setup along the Ohio Turnpike.

The deal would be for one night only, say 15 hours from the time you checked in to when you needed to leave. In other words, check in at 6 p.m., and be gone by 9 a.m. the next morning. The electricity would kick in when you checked in (punch a code into the pedestal) and expire when you unplugged and headed off.

The idea would be that you could get off the road for a night, grab dinner and get a good night’s sleep, all the while keeping your electric fridge powered and stay cool with your AC running on a hot summer day. As usual, no lawn chairs outside, no grilling and no outdoor activities except a walk to the store for supplies or maybe dinner at a close-by restaurant.

What do you think? Would you take advantage such an opportunity?

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Chuck Woodbury
Chuck Woodbury
I'm the founder and publisher of I've been a writer and publisher for most of my adult life, and spent a total of at least a half-dozen years of that time traveling the USA and Canada in a motorhome.



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h5mind (@guest_199234)
1 year ago

Every industry, with the exception of healthcare, is moving to a self-service business model. YOU do most of the work, and in return, they cut you a break on the cost. RV’ing is ripe for such a transition, especially considering younger campers are already used to living that way. Think “hostel for RV’s” and that’s what we will see more of moving forward. Particularly if the reason for hitting the road in the first place has less to do with where you’re parked for the night, and more with which experiences you plan to have in the vicinity. Watch for a major corporation to standardise the process and it will be rolled out quickly.

Paul S Goldberg (@guest_107841)
2 years ago

I said NO. $20 is way high for electric only. I might pay $10 for the convenience. When we stay at Walmart – we are off the road by 5 PM and out by 9 AM. I am perfectly happy to use my solar and generator to provide the power I need. Since we are not traveling in high temperature times, shore power is not a great need.

Monty (@guest_107940)
2 years ago

Using a generator at Walmart is a no-no.

Brooke (@guest_138761)
2 years ago
Reply to  Monty

What do the big rigs do? they run them all night there.

Linda Dean (@guest_107354)
2 years ago

It would be interesting if Walmart considered this. The existing problem is people that decide to “homestead” at a particular Walmart. If you had electric they would have to have someone keeping an eye on who is staying for how long. I don’t imagine Walmart would even want to deal with this.
Saying would be really nice to have electric in the colder regions of the US

Matt Johnson (@guest_107334)
2 years ago

Yes I would. There have been times when we cannot get into our RPI, 1000 trials or other camping clubs we belong to when we must leave one club and check into the next club on the exact night we would like to check-in. So we drive close to them and stay a night at various business like this for the one night in order to make the next reservation. The only problem I see with the photo is, it is extremely small. We cannot even get to our bathroom in our 40′ 5th wheel unless we open up 2 slides on opposite sides . Yes that was a not a grand design from Grand Design. And the businesses would have to be willing to move people that park in those sites and do not pay for the electricity. So that someone paying for electricity can use it.

Dave J (@guest_107306)
2 years ago

20.00 for power when the temp was 9 degrees F would have been a good deal. It got DOWNRIGHT COOL on our trip South in Cheyenne WY where we overnighted.

Eddie D. (@guest_107198)
2 years ago

When I do use a Walmart to park overnight, I usually come in late at night, just wanting to sleep. No need for shore power.

Brooke (@guest_138762)
2 years ago
Reply to  Eddie D.

I agree

Dan (@guest_107166)
2 years ago

National Walmart campground capacity: 6 with only 4 spots being flat & level.

Goldie (@guest_107150)
2 years ago

We stayed last night at a full hookup, low amenities park. They did have showers and laundry although we did not use them. Paved roads, concrete pads. We used water and power. $40 cash or check. Walking distance to restaurants and even a Walmart. On-site camp host but no office. We made a reservation but had no indication that anyone even knew about it. You pull in, pick out a site and park. Walk up to the “office” and pick up an envelope to note site no., name and pay your fee. Drop it in a slot in the wall. We did see the site host collect fees from a few campers that did not head for the office on their own. We’ll stop there whenever we go through the area. Perfect overnight.

Bill (@guest_107029)
2 years ago

It would be good to hear WalMart’s opinion.

Will (@guest_107026)
2 years ago

I have never and will never stay at Walmart. I plan X miles each day of a trip and find local CGs to support. I find it pathetic to drive by Walmart and see $300k+ rigs staying overnight and supposedly going into the store to buy ‘supplies’ every night they mooch a free night. How grand of you. I’m sure the poor Walton family appreciates your vast generosity. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Brooke (@guest_138763)
2 years ago
Reply to  Will

Wow. So you are a”planner”. You are making lots of assumptions in your post. Many , like me , are not planners and just drive till we have to stop and sleep then get up and GO. I DO spend LOTS of money at Walmart and appreciate that there is somewhere for me to rest on a long haul. Be nice Will and realize that people are all different and NOT like you and how “organized” you are.

Paul (@guest_107021)
2 years ago

No way. I can stay at an encore or RPI park for 20 bucks or less and have all the amenities.

David Binkley (@guest_107015)
2 years ago

There are investors out there looking for land right now for overnight self service campgrounds. No frills, one staff person or maybe not, probably just electricity. Maybe a dump station in some locations..

They are coming.

Kristin (@guest_110506)
2 years ago
Reply to  David Binkley

I like this idea a lot and hope it pans out soon. I’ve always said that I’d love to just pay in advance for a place to park via an app, like the reserved truck spots at many gas stations. It would be perfect for us RVers just looking for a place to pull over and sleep for the night without getting a knock on the door telling you to move on. It’s exhausting having to call stores ahead of time and ask permission, navigate local ordinances, you don’t always feel safe, and have to deal with lots of parking lot noise. Ideally it would be tiered pricing for no/partial/full hookups, since I rarely need electric. Water/dump for an extra fee would be fantastic.

MrDisaster (@guest_107012)
2 years ago

The price point might not be right, but the concept is solid. Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s other big box stores could also offer a similar opportunity. Some large retailers or mall operators might be interested. Could there be problems? Sure but many new ideas have issues. Time will tell.

Larry (@guest_107268)
2 years ago
Reply to  MrDisaster

Good idea. Planning ahead where you are going to stop, takes the spontaneity out of “ going camping “. It would be nice to have convenient places.

Sonny (@guest_107003)
2 years ago

just a dumb idea , Walmarts are free , most who stay a night stock up on supplies

Cheryl Bacon (@guest_107002)
2 years ago

We have not stayed at a Walmart in a long time. For 20.00 we can stay at a Passport America campground with full hook-ups, less traffic and noise.

Lee Ensminger (@guest_106977)
2 years ago

I’d do it for $10.00. Not $15 or $20.

robert (@guest_107031)
2 years ago
Reply to  Lee Ensminger

I agree $10 would be the right fee

Larry (@guest_107269)
2 years ago
Reply to  Lee Ensminger

I agree. $10 would be good. Good for everyone. Limit the spaces to 6-10,overnight,electricity only, first come-first serve.

Bob p (@guest_199217)
1 year ago
Reply to  Larry

Agreed, my inverter generator will burn $9 of gas overnight, that’s the only reason we have the generator for overnight stops and morning coffee.

David carlson (@guest_107288)
2 years ago
Reply to  Lee Ensminger

we paid $20 at an Ohio rest area with 50 amp and water/sewer on site. If Walmart is just power 10-$15 max

tim palmer (@guest_106976)
2 years ago

WalMart near me, a guy stayed in his TT all summer and part of the fall. There was a generator setup even. I can’t believe the town allowed this.

Paul (@guest_107022)
2 years ago
Reply to  tim palmer

Hey, Tim. Where are you located? I’m moving in. 😄

Patrick Granahan (@guest_106947)
2 years ago

Where did that $20 fee come from….this is a Walmart we are talking about.
a true Walmart fee would be more like $5 or $10……BUT….this is a bad idea.
Why ??? The parking lot. Would become over crowded with RVs.

Julie Lawson (@guest_106939)
2 years ago

I like the idea of Walmart offering space if the cost covers the security patrol. I don’t like reservations because the whole idea of Walmart “camping” is short notice quick stops. I would stay in an actual RV park if I had 24 hours notice. 

KellyR (@guest_107005)
2 years ago
Reply to  Julie Lawson

I agree with Julie. It would have to provide some sort of security for me to stay, no less pay. Walmarts around my area are not places you really want to be at night, out at the end of a parking lot.

rick (@guest_107018)
2 years ago
Reply to  KellyR

We park right under the cam

Phil Atterbery (@guest_106901)
2 years ago

This type of automated RV spot could be operated along the model as a coin operated You Wash car wash. The kiosk would probably have to be that robust at least. It might be something a state or county could do at a rest area. Should a local big box store do it, yes, if they are within a ½ mile of a major hiway. Would I use it, probably.

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