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Recently we discussed moochdocking. Today, we will be discussing another free camping option: “Wallydocking.” Wallydocking involves parking your camper at Walmart overnight to sleep, and it is an excellent option for those looking for a quick one-night stay while traveling from one spot to the next.
Unfortunately, more and more Walmarts are prohibiting this practice. We can only imagine this is due to some RVers who have been less than considerate when Walmart camping. Therefore, we feel it is very important that all travelers fully understand the unwritten rules that come into play when parking an RV at Walmart.
In today’s article we will discuss the rules you should know before parking your camper at Walmart, then we’ll offer some suggestions of other places to stay if Walmart camping doesn’t work out for you.
Always Ask First
Rule number one: Always ask before you stay. This rule is good to keep in mind no matter where you’re planning to stay, and Walmart is no exception. If you can, call ahead and ask the manager on duty if you may stay the night. If you don’t know where you’re going ahead of time, run inside once you arrive to make sure it’s okay if you park your camper at Walmart for the night. If the answer is no, be sure to move on.
Park Out of the Way
Often, the manager you speak with will tell you where to park. If they don’t give a suggestion, do your best to park somewhere out of the way of customers. The far back or side of the lot is probably a good bet. You can also look at where semis and other RVs are parked and head to that area of the lot.
Only Stay One Night
Obviously, Walmart is not a true campground and it shouldn’t be treated as such. These parking lots are for one-night stopovers only, meaning you should stop to sleep and pack up and leave first thing the next day. If you have a problem and must stay longer, be sure to explain your situation to the manager on duty and ask to stay another night.
Keep the Slides In
Unless it’s possible to put your slides out over a patch of grass or somewhere else that is totally out of the way of other vehicles, keep the slides in when you park your camper at Walmart. If you can’t use your RV without putting the slides out, your best bet is to arrive early in the evening in order to try to snag a spot near the grass so your slides can be put out without bothering anyone.
Don’t Set Up Camp
Grills, camp chairs, and awnings are all fantastic things to have in a campground. That said, those items should not come out while you’re parked in a Walmart parking lot. In fact, nothing at all should be set up around your RV. After all, a cluttered lot is not a good look for the store, and it would be disrespectful to potentially harm their business, especially after they let you stay the night for free.
Keep the Volume Down
Many Walmart parking lots are full of RVers and truck drivers each night. Additionally, because Walmart tends to be open late, shoppers will be in the lot until that later closing time. Because of these things, it is important to keep your volume down so you don’t disturb fellow Walmart campers or shoppers.
Do Some Shopping
Yes, Walmart camping is completely free, but that doesn’t mean you can’t support the store financially in some way. While staying in your camper at Walmart, head into the store to pick up any groceries or other essentials you need. This is seen as good manners and it helps the RV community keep their good name so we can continue to enjoy Wallydocking.
Clean Up After Yourself
Another thing that helps give the RV community a good name? Leaving the parking lot the way we found it. Avoid dumping things on the ground in a Walmart parking lot, and be sure all trash makes its way to the trash cans in the lot or to the garbage can in your RV. Never do work on your vehicle or RV in a Walmart lot unless it is totally unavoidable, and if you must make a repair, be sure you clean up any mess you make.
Other Parking Lot Camping Options
The ability to stay in your camper at Walmart is wonderful, especially if you like to travel long distances and just need places to stop and sleep once in a while. Unfortunately, as mentioned before, not all Walmarts allow Wallydocking. If you come across a store that prohibits Walmart camping, you will need to find another option.
Fortunately, there are other businesses that allow overnight stays in some of their parking lots. These include:
- Cracker Barrel
- Camping World
- Sam’s Club
- Some truck stop chains
You can also stay the night in many highway rest areas, but you will want to look for signage to be sure it is allowed, as some states have laws against it.
There you have it, everything you need to know about parking a camper at Walmart overnight. Keep these simple rules in mind, find a Walmart along your route, and give Walmart camping a try to see what you think!
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