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What would you do if Walmart stopped allowing overnight RV stays?

EDITOR’S NOTE: A few weeks ago, we asked you what you would do if Walmart totally banned the practice of overnight RV parking in its lots. While the number of Walmarts still allowing RV overnight stays is dropping fast (Click HERE for that story), many stores remain that allow it. Our thanks to the more than 150 RVtravel.com readers who responded to our question. Because of the number of responses, we’ll post half the comments today, and the remainder in tomorrow’s (Sunday) newsletter. — Mike Gast

Below is a sampling of what you had to say:

“There are tens of thousands of places to legally park overnight in an RV. I’d go to those places instead, just as we often do now.”  – Jim O’Briant

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“I don’t often stay at a Walmart. But I have stayed in church parking lots. Not on a Sunday. Once we even stayed in a post office parking lot. There are places available. The number one key is to ask. Then keep it compact and simple. Make sure you leave it as clean or cleaner than when you arrive.” – Bob H

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“A corporate ban might reduce their overall income slightly, but probably not enough for the administrators and executives to notice. Where it would hurt would be at the individual
store level. At this point, it is still up to the individual stores (and city ordinances). Some lots are heavily posted against overnight parking, and many new stores have made parking lot access nearly impossible for trailers and larger RVs. Some stores welcome us and have designated overnight RV parking areas with signs advising an 8-hour maximum stay.

“Two rural Walmarts we stopped at last year had signs visible from the freeway welcoming RVers. We definitely patronize the stores that accommodate us in our travels and have often joked that staying at a Walmart ends up costing us more than spending the night at an RV park. Historically, we would ask permission to stay the night after shopping, often spending $100 or more on groceries and sundries. This way they could see we weren’t problematic freeloaders.

“In the last few years, after brusquely being told more than once that absolutely no overnight parking was allowed, we ask for permission prior to shopping. If Walmart made it a company policy to ban overnight parking nationwide, I’m sure I would still shop at them on occasion. However, I would look for more RV-friendly stores and shopping centers before spending my discretionary dollars in an area. The forums on social media and websites like RVillage.com would soon be filled with shopping alternatives where overnight stops were allowed.

“I remember when Camping World encouraged overnight stays. We looked forward to spending the night and then shopping for things otherwise not available in those pre-Amazon days. Of course those days are long gone and you’re lucky if you can even find a Camping World that has room for you to pull in and park while shopping.

“Because of this, we now buy a number of our RV supplies at Walmart. Even our deep-cycle batteries are from Walmart (purchased this winter at the Springfield, Oregon, store). Let’s hope that the disrespectful and often unsanitary actions of the growing number of homeless people, with their very visible derelict RVs, does not cause Walmart and impacted municipalities to ban overnight RVs completely.” – Susan Lundquist

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“I’d find another place to shop. I only sleep overnight, shop, then hit the road again. It would be better for Walmart to forbid and punish abusers. We always plan most of our shopping for the next stop at the Walmart we stay at. Again, I feel most people do not abuse the courtesy.” – Thomas Wenzler

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“I would go to Cracker Barrel or maybe Home Depot. Or, a church’s lot that does not have early A.M. service (calling first, of course).” – Jocelynn Wirshing-Power

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“We would stay at a Lowe’s or Home Depot or other large parking lot after getting permission from store manager.” – Jenny Hartman

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“We rarely stay in Walmart lots, but we do on occasion. We would miss staying in them and would not be happy if they did stop us from staying.” – Denise Gray

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Harvest Hosts, Boondockers Welcome, FreeCampsites.net.” – Diana Woods

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“Simple. Just drive at night and sleep in rest areas and truck stops during the daytime while most truckers are on the road.” – Charles Potter

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“Greatly regret their actions but don’t blame them. Many shopping malls ban unescorted teens from socializing due to the horrible behavior of a few – it damages their business. If we as a group lose the Walmart privilege we need to blame the uncouth few who acted like those same spoiled brat teens at the mall.” – Gregory Brodeur

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“We always have made Walmart our store for most of our needs to show our appreciation for allowing us a safe place to stay while traveling. I suppose we will no longer feel obligated to shop at their stores.” – Jerry Jason

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“I make a point of shopping at Walmart because they allow overnight parking at their stores, which has allowed me to travel the country extensively and feel safe as a woman traveling alone. It actually feels safer to me in a Walmart parking lot than pulling up to a questionable motel or campground. I do not shop at places like Target, Amazon, Costco, because they do not offer this perk. If Walmart discontinued this perk I would boycott the store in hopes of them changing the policy. There are other places I have parked, but I won’t tell anyone where because people will ruin it for everyone else.” – Carolina Navarro

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“I would stay at another box store or rest area. I don’t want to spend $35-$45 for one night just to sleep while passing through. If the campgrounds made an overnight parking spot for, say, five dollars I would stay there.” – Thomas Urso

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“I would write Walmart and ask them, somewhat forcefully but politely, to reconsider. We use Walmart 2-4 times in a 2-month trip, and always give them some business while there. It would cause us some issues if they stopped allowing it, but with Cracker Barrels, some sporting goods stores, and we’ve called and usually gotten approval at a number of Lowe’s, Home Depots and Costco’s (we are members), it’s wouldn’t be a huge problem for us.” – Don Gagnon

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“While we are more travelers than “campers,” in the recent years of Class A travel we have only taken up about a dozen sites in campgrounds. (I often refer to these as cramp grounds). While this is with the exception of organized rallies and events, if Walmart was to shut us out completely, it would be a slight inconvenience. We so rarely pay to park overnight because we have many alternatives and this is without including Boondockers Welcome and Harvest Hosts. There are many others to choose from. Those of us that know about these know this, I won’t fill the space here by listing them. When all we are looking for is a flat spot (sort of level) that is not far off the intended track, it gets pretty easy to find one.” – Matthew Colie

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“I’d probably downsize to a stealthy “B” class. We use Walmarts for short overnight stays when traveling longer distances.” – Bruce Brownell

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“Walmart is nice American company. I hope Walmart will continue their services for traveling and struggling.” – Erin Eilee

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“It would be sad, but we also boondock at Cracker Barrel, Cabela’s, or Bass Pro. We prefer Cracker Barrel, because we can eat supper and breakfast there.” – Pam Coley

***

“I would stay overnight at truck stops while traveling. That’s what I usually do now. Some of the neighborhoods and late-night people in some Walmart lots have made my wife fearful. We felt more secure with truckers around. Flying J is especially friendly, offering a fuel discount with a Good Sam card and often RV parking spots in the front lot as well. I often find RV transporters delivering new rigs among my neighbors.” – Larry Scofield

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“It wouldn’t bother me. I don’t shop there, so why would I sleep there? If we can’t afford a campground, then we need to stay home. Just me. Ain’t no free lunch.” – John Bilby

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“We very seldom use Walmart to spend the night but any time we do we also end up spending a good amount stocking up on supplies. When on the road or at home we shop a lot at Walmart, but if they shut off the RVers our attitude may change. I think it is a good deal for campers and for Walmart. If it gets out of hand, maybe set a limit on how many can use the parking lot. Everyone should check in before using the facility. This way they can keep track of the numbers out there.”  – Frank Tibbetts

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“I do a LOT of my shopping at Walmart! Should Walmart stop allowing overnight stops, I would be buying my groceries, as well as other items, at competitors. Bass Pro/Cabela’s have NO difficulty with my stopping there. As I also tow a vehicle, I can easily shop in other markets. So, the parking I actually do at Walmart is well compensated to them! It would be a great disappointment, but I can manage. As well, I only do overnight stops at Walmart while traveling, NOT staying longer, and am usually on the way by 7 a.m. or 8 a.m. And I do contact the manager for permission prior. I would hope Walmart will still allow stays!” – Neil Glenn

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“We are thoughtful and clean RVers. We shop Walmart when we stay at night, and we get up early and move out right away in the morning after we shop for supplies at Walmart. My wife always calls the store and asks for the manager on duty to see if it’s OK and where they would like us to park. If they no longer allow overnight parking, we will no longer shop at Walmart.” – Kristopher Gawthrop

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“I would probably travel less. Maybe travel more on main highways with overnight rest areas.” – Dale Chauncey


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***
“I do use Walmarts from time to time. If it was to happen, I would still rely on the Overnight RV Parking App as a very good and accurate resource to find an alternative. We can only blame ourselves if they no longer allow us to park for the night (notice I did not write camping for the night). Or the few bad apples.

“Do we book a site ahead of time? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Are we always lucky? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. We stop mid-afternoon when we travel and usually have no problem finding a site for the night. Don’t try to get a ‘drop in’ site on Friday. It is not going to happen. Common sense would also tell me that I cannot get a site near Walt Disney on two days’ notice.

“I find that many people have great expectations when starting camping/full-timing. I am sorry, but you are not the only one camping/full-timing. So, relax and enjoy the traveling and make sure your plans are written in sand and expect some winds along the way.

“On another subject. It is not the RV manufacturer’s problem if we do not have enough campsites. Just like it is not a car manufacturer’s problem if there are not enough gas stations. The demand should drive the creation of more campsites.” – Denis Matte

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“Walmart is not the only possibility. We prefer to stay at Cracker Barrel. There are others, such as Cabela’s or truck stops. We have even been known to hide our Sprinter among parked vans in a public lot that didn’t allow overnights but had official vans parked there.” – Gene Bjerke

***
“Having been a small business owner, my wife and I were always leaving at the end of the day and driving as far as we could to make the most of our few days off. This usually meant an overnight in a Walmart on the way. Which also resulted in patronizing that Walmart in the morning to buy whatever we needed for the trip. I still choose Walmart over another store for everyday purchases when not traveling as a thank you for the overnight stays.

“If Walmart were to change the policy of allowing overnight stays I would urge people like me to write Walmart and explain how this policy would be detrimental to both of us. Money talks and if we show how much they would lose by banning overnight stays hopefully it would change their minds. While we no longer own the business (Yay! Retirement!), we do still stay at a Walmart when a quick overnight is needed.” – Mike Cornell

TO BE CONTINUED
We’ll run the remainder of the comments in tomorrow’s (Sunday)’s edition of the RVtravel.com newsletter

##RVT998

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Sandy Hannig
4 months ago

I have spent thousands of dollars at Walmart. If they remove overnight stays in their parking lot then I would take my business elsewhere. They all need to be creative and create an area designed for the RVS as well. Their lots are large enough to do so or they will lose a large revenue.

Sue K
4 months ago

Someone (that has the money) should build no frills RV rest areas along main interstates. You could offer hookups but no other amenities in a gravel parking lot. Charge a reasonable fee for a night and I’m sure if you build it they will come …..

C M Prince
4 months ago

My family and I started camping with a P/U and a camper on the back in 1968.
We moved up to a Class A motorhome in 1986 we used it till 1997 when we
Purchase a new 1997 class A motorhome.
I purchase a new class A motorhome in 2007 to get king beds.
We stop at a Walmart in Memphis, TN in Sept. 2001 one night for sleep.
The noise and cars burning rubber was so great that we left within an hour.
We have never been back to a Walmart to camp. But we still shop there when
Traveling as it is easy to get in and out.
I have seen campers at Walmart over the country and Alaska with awning
out, jacks down, grill setup. Another time in Alaska a friend would camp
in Walmart for five to seven nights until his tanks was full, then he would
go to a CG fill water tank and drain gray and black tanks for one night.
Then back to Walmart he would go.
This is not right I see why Walmart is planning to stop this over night parking.

Dan
4 months ago

I just wonder. Is there a forum where fellow RVers could ask for advice from locals about parking near a specific city? For example, I would love to know if there is a Walmart, or something else, in Paris, Texas where we could overnite on our way to see our kids in southern Louisiana. Conversely, that forum could advise others on places to avoid. Is there anything like that available?

Drew
4 months ago

I don’t think my voice will change anything but hotels and motels should set aside a few spots for overnight rv’ers. I understand that some of the places don’t want that demographic presence but I believe its needed anyway. They could be as spartan as they think necessary….maybe just enough room to park (no hookups). I’d pay 20 bucks just for that space.

Diane Mc
4 months ago

Should ask the posters to state their RV/trailer total length. We don’t fit at Cracker Barrel or the RV spots in front of Flying J. Our MH is just under 40’ & we have been towing a Mini Cooper, which makes it a bit easier. However, for our upcoming trip will tow a Jeep Grand Cherokee (Mini Cooper came detached from the base plate while on a on ramp from one interstate to another freeway. We had guardian angels with us, no one hit as car crossed 2 lanes and stopped under overpass against Armco, but I digress). We are not comfortable trying to find parking lots with our MH for fear we can’t turn around or maneuver. Don’t want to have to unhook tow car. We used to stay at a few WM’s to do shopping and overnight when driving longer days. Now, we like to stop earlier, so don’t want to take advantage by overstaying our welcome, even if we were shopping.

Bob P
4 months ago

On a trip back from KS our daily drive was ending in Joplin, MO, as we pulled into the Walmart Super Center we were greeted by numerous No Overnight Parking signs, OK back down the street to KMart, no signs. DW goes inside and asks the manager about parking overnight. Of course, just please park along the outside of the lot. We later went into the store and bought over $85 dollars worth of merchandise and on the way out we ran into the manager who noticed our basket was loaded fairly well. She asked if we found a compatible place to park and wished us well and invited us to come back some day that we were always welcome to stay there. Asking permission and doing some shopping always seem to melt the ice.

littleleftie
4 months ago

We have utilized Walmart for overnighting on long trips many times. Always we have sought permission from the manager. Only once, in Homestead, Florida, were we given permission but still asked to leave by security staff later in the evening. And that security staff directed us to the Home Depot 2 parking lots away! We always shop at the store as a thank you and always park where directed. However, if we see signs stating that the local bylaws do not permit overnighting, we don’t ask or belabor the point, we move on. If Walmart were to stop allowing overnighting, it would be an inconvenience for us. But since this is something we do only when taking a longer trip, it would not be more than occasional for us.

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