By Mike Gast
If you rely on a well-worn printed copy of the Walmart Locator guidebook to find your next free overnight spot, you might soon have to look elsewhere.
Roundabout Publications, a small Kansas City-based publisher of many outdoor guides and books, says the Fourth Edition of its Walmart Locator title will be the last.
“We’ve found that few people are actually coming to the website or are using the book to find Walmarts that still allow overnight parking,” said David Catallino, who owns and operates Roundabout Publications with his brother, Tim. “RVers seem to be much more likely to use apps and other sources to find the information they need. So, we aren’t planning on doing a fifth edition.”
The rapidly declining number of Walmarts allowing overnight parking also left Roundabout Publications with the problem of keeping pace with the rate of change.
The number of Walmarts allowing parking has declined sharply in the past decade. Today, only about 54% of Walmart stores allow overnight parking in their lots. Walmart’s corporate headquarters says the decision to allow overnight RV parking rests solely with the local store manager, who also must abide by local parking ordinances when making the decision.
The Fourth Edition of the Walmart Locator is available on Amazon for about $15. It’s still worth having if you want to camp overnight for free.
Rand McNally Road Atlas’ list WalMart’s along the interstate. And, with the use of smartphones and people Googling “closest Walmart to me” it really isn’t necessary for a print guide.
As far as many Walmart’s not allowing overnight stays anymore, during my recent six week trip from WNY state to Florida and Carolina’s we found several Walmart’s that were in plaza complexes that had no overnight parking signs everywhere, except in front of the Walmart’s. Twice we inquired in the store and we were directed to a spot in front of their stores, off to the side, where They still allowed overnight stays.