Skip to Content

7 Unwritten Rules for RV Parking Overnight at Truck Stops

| Updated Oct 14, 2023

Every RVer NEEDS TO KNOW these rules and proper etiquette for parking overnight at truck stops.

There are often heated debates between truckers and RVers on whether it’s okay to park RVs overnight at truck stops. Technically, yes, it is okay, but only if you follow these unwritten rules.

I’ve heard how truckers have taken out RV slides or parked scarily close to RVs to prove their point. I’ve also heard about plenty of angry threats, too.

Of course, most truck drivers are kind and patient and will either tolerate any unwritten rule-breaking or nicely ask you to address the issue. But you don't want them to have to do that, nor do you want to push anyone beyond their patience level.

So, as a longtime boondocker who has stayed overnight at truck stops, I will share my advice with you. The key is respect!

If you buy something through our links, we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. It helps keep our lights on so we can continue to provide helpful resources for RVers. Read our full affiliate disclosure here.

Parking Overnight at Truck Stops (What You NEED to Know)

7 Unwritten Rules for RV Parking Overnight at Truck Stops
Truck stop wash

First and foremost, you must remember that truckers are working! They are trying to earn a living for their families, and they need truck stops to do so.

It’s understandable when they get upset if your RV interferes with their livelihood. After hours on the road, they want and need somewhere to park, rest, shower, and eat. Not to mention they are required BY LAW to rest.

So, the all-encompassing rule to remember as you read the following rules is: TRUCKERS GET PRIORITY.

Rule #1: Don’t Leave Your RV When Filling Up

Do not pull up to the gas pump, start pumping, and then go inside for a snack. Wait for your pump to finish filling your tank, then pull through to a parking spot. Only then should you leave your RV to go into the store or restroom.

Breaking this rule is a sure way to tick off a trucker. After all, they’re on the clock! They shouldn’t have to wait on you to get back out on the road.

Rule #2: Don’t Park in Truck Spots

Never park in a truck parking spot at truck stops, even if many are available. Truckers come in and out at all hours, and they may need that spot.

Only park in designated RV spots. You’ll thank me for two reasons for this advice.

For one, trucks are loud, even when they’re idling or running off generators at night. You won’t get a good night’s sleep even if truckers leave you be.

For two, you won’t have to deal with a tired, irritated trucker. Put yourself in his or her shoes and imagine what it’d be like to pull in for a much-needed (& legally-required) rest only to find a vacationer in your spot. I’m sure you’d be disgruntled, too.

7 Unwritten Rules for RV Parking Overnight at Truck Stops 1

Rule #3: Don’t Park Too Close to Trucks

This is clearly a pet peeve of truckers. After all, they are navigating BIG trucks into small spaces. 

So, even if your designated RV spot is next to a truck spot, give them as much space as possible! More so, park in a spot as far away as possible.

It’s highly recommended that you keep your slides pulled in, as they can accidentally get swiped when such big rigs are moving in tight places. 

If you have to put out your slides to access your rooms, only put them out as far as necessary. And make sure they do not hang over the neighboring parking space. Again, park as far away from others as possible.

Remember that overnight parking at a truck stop is only meant as a pit stop to rest or sleep at most. You certainly should not set up camp for the night by putting out chairs and slides!

Rule #4: Don’t Be a Shower Hog

As an RVer or boondocker, you can and should use showers at truck stops. It’s a great way to refresh in a clean shower for a small fee. 

However, don’t be a shower hog! If there are several showers available and no crowd in sight, feel free to enjoy a good long shower. 

But if there’s a line (especially consisting of truckers), don’t dawdle! Remember, you should always behave as if truckers have priority. 

So, shower quickly if truckers are waiting or, better yet, shower later if that’s a convenient-enough option for you.

By the way, we also recommend reading How to Take a GOOD Shower in an RV (Is It Even Possible?!).

Rule #5: Beware of Hustlers

There was a discussion in our RV Lifestyle Facebook group on this very thing. The RVer who posted the warning explained it quite well:

“If ANYONE tries to involve you in anything regarding money at a truck stop, meaning if money is the conversation except maybe just asking for a dollar or so, I would stay clear of it.

If anyone tries to chat you up about something you know nothing of, just say sorry, I gotta get doing stuff and move on.

People work in weird ways. Thieves will approach and chat you up while they eyeball your stuff or see if you're an easy mark. By deflecting, you show them a preemptive position.”

As the RVer explained, a hustler may be figuring out if you're a good mark, or they may be distracting you while a partner in crime robs you. So, be aware of your surroundings, trust your gut, and be firm in ending a conversation that seems fishy.

7 Unwritten Rules for RV Parking Overnight at Truck Stops

Rule #6: Buy Something From the Truck Stop

Yes, truck stops are a great “free” place to park overnight. However, out of respect for the truck stop owners, it shouldn’t be completely free.

It’s proper etiquette to make a purchase, whether it’s a snack, shower, or fuel. This consideration encourages truck stop owners to cater to RVers as well as truckers.

If you want a completely free place to stay, then you're better off at a rest stop. At a truck stop, it's common courtesy to at least buy something small.

Rule #7: Be Nice to Truckers!

By treating truckers with respect and kindness, you will likely get it in return. Remember this, even if an irritated trucker approaches you!

I’ve seen truckers quickly calm down if they realize that the RVer will happily right any wrong they might be doing. 

I’ve also seen truckers be incredibly grateful if you give them priority over showers, fuel, etc. 

Just think of it this way: Truck stops are home away from home for truckers. How would you want someone to behave if a visitor came into your home? Behave that way!

Easily Accessible Spots to RV Overnight

Like what you see in these videos? We'd appreciate it if you would Subscribe to our YouTube Channel (easy to do right here) and consider “ringing the bell icon” to be notified of any new video from us. 🙂 Thanks!

We all know about overnight places to stop like Walmart and Cracker Barrel…or Harvest Hosts but there are lots of other places where RVers can stop… places right along the highway where pets are welcome and you can find just about anything you need for an overnight stay.

Need the Ultimate Guide to Cheap or FREE RV Camping Sites?

7 Unwritten Rules for RV Parking Overnight at Truck Stops 2

Camping can be expensive. 

Especially if you are spending more travel time in outdoor spaces. Or, perhaps you’re living and working from your RV. 

Traditional campgrounds can also be crowded and noisy. It can sometimes feel like the opposite experience you are seeking by getting away from civilization and into nature. 

That may be why you are looking for cheap or free RV camping sites and that’s why I’m here to help.  I’m going to introduce you to boondocking in off-the-beaten-path campsites and then teach you how to find them.

This ebook (not a print book – but you could print this one out on your own if you wish) is available right now.

Here's your Ultimate Guide to Cheap or FREE RV Camping Sites

7 Unwritten Rules for RV Parking Overnight at Truck Stops 3
Mike and Jennifer Wendland

Curious about the gear, gadgets, accessories, and RV products Mike & Jennifer use and recommend?

On this RV Lifestyle Travel blog, our RV Podcast and our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel, we mention all sorts of RV-related products and gear that we use, So we created a special page that links to them. We update this all the time.  CLICK HERE to go to it directly. Have you caught one of our Amazon LIVE events yet? Just go here and Follow us – to be notified every time we go live.

Mike Wendland

Published on 2023-10-14

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

15 Responses to “7 Unwritten Rules for RV Parking Overnight at Truck Stops”

July 25, 2023at1:08 am, Shelly Wicklund said:

I have a question. What about if your doing the van living. Is there anything against using truck stops as a place to stay a night or 2? Can you use the facilities?


July 29, 2023at2:59 pm, Rob Hallifax said:

If you are in a van, park near the auto parking area, not in a truck parking area. Truckers need the truck parking spaces, even if you see an open one in the truck parking area, leave it open for a trucker. They are on the clock working and need a spot to park when their electronic log tells them to park and rest. Thank you from this former trucker, now RVer.


November 03, 2022at6:41 pm, Tex Hooper said:

My wife and I want to buy a motorhome. You mentioned some rules that we didn’t know about not parking in truck spots. I’ll have to consider getting something that is easy to maneuver. [Link deleted]


November 04, 2022at3:41 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Thanks for the feedback, Tex! And hope you get the perfect rig for you – happy trails! Team RV Lifestyle


November 03, 2022at1:36 am, Ronnie Nelson said:

First off your article is full of garbage. You are treating truckers like a bunch of outlaws!!!. Now key note google and ask truckers about companies like Swift that yes you should avoid because they are newbie drivers!!!! Older more experienced drivers for respectable companies will give you room because an accident of any sorts will cause them a heafty write up or job loss. And take time on showers, as long as you like. Many truckers take their spouses or lovers on the ride and take an hour or two in the shower!!!! And hitting anything with a big rig requires police and reports so no they are not intentionally hitting your RV!!!!! Delete this garbage scare tactic article!!!!!! Those spaces are for trucks, RVs or pick-ups with long trailers and most truckers are respectable people with manners. Even if you grabbed the last spot!!!!


November 04, 2022at3:40 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Sorry you feel that way, Ronnie – We actually were not trying to make truckers sound like outlaws – we were trying to make RVers aware of some ways they could be more considerate of things from the trucker’s point of view. Thank you for sharing your take on all this – Sincerely, Team RV Lifestyle


July 24, 2023at4:41 pm, mickey boogie said:

I %110 agree spot are for all, Im a trucker and would never be mad that someone needed rest got there before me and parked. I know how vital it is to you plan ahead. as a truck driver we have 11 hours. We can drive that doesn’t mean drive 10 hours and 45 minutes and start looking for a spot. plan ahead and be safe. for the safety of all don’t be mad that an RVer got off the road when they needed rest. they obviously know their limits and are trying to be safe for everyone else to. We don’t need tired RVers on the road that may cause an accident for one of us truck drivers. So be happy they decided to rest.


July 26, 2023at1:51 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

thanks for sharing! Team RV Lifestyle


November 02, 2022at6:30 pm, Shane Colunga said:

As a paying customer, I’d use whatever facilities afforded to me by the business owner, as a human being, you treat others as you’d like to be treated. But, truckers don’t invest anything into truck stops except patronage, they don’t deserve special treatment, anymore than I do, a veteran that’s disabled, except their are laws giving me parking preference, special ♿ ramps and bathroom stalls. The best rule at any publicly accessable privately owned business, be polite and helpful where applicable. There’s only so much space for us all. Don’t try to make anyones life harder than it already is. My uncle brother and several friends are long haulers, so I have nothing against truckers, but I’m not going out of my way to give them warm fuzzies, UNLESS they do 😉. Another thought, what if I had to extend my slide to gain access to my shower and kitchen, so I didn’t have to take a shower stall or booth in the dining room, giving other truckers faster access to dine or shower? Because I just need to fuel up just like them and sleep just like them.


November 03, 2022at9:02 pm, Don Godwin said:

Calm down. You need to take a chill pill. 1 a lot of truckers wait to fuel up when they come off break. Most rigs have anywhere between 300 to 400 hundred gallons of fuel. I also had a 40 ft fifth wheel. With a diesel p/u/ , not quite 400 gallons. As a former teamster who drove doubles back an forth from Boston to Buffalo(4,000,000miles) , and a veteran you seem to have the wrong attitude to start with. Bye the way there are a lot of bad truck drivers out there , so if you want to throw out that slide to take a shower, good luck 😂😂😂


November 04, 2022at3:35 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Shane – we certainly agree with your advice to “try not to make anyones life harder than it already is.” Happy Trails! Team RV Lifestyle


November 02, 2022at6:20 am, Ric Joans said:

As long as it’s during the day time, don’t worry about parking in the truck parking at a truck stop. As long as the truck stop isn’t full and there’s plenty of parkings the truckers aren’t going to mind however after about 3:00 or 4:00 p.m. you need to be out of there those are our spots. We are required by law to take 10-hour breaks and most places will not allow us to park there. Truck stops are our refuge. This is also true for highway rest areas. Some rest areas actually have dedicated RV parking those that don’t, once again those are for truck drivers you have to take breaks by law, I’m not pulling over to spend the night in a rest area because that’s my idea of fun I’m at work. There are plenty of campgrounds out there for you and is someone else said if you can’t afford to stay in a campground then you probably shouldn’t have an RV.


November 02, 2022at5:26 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Thanks for sharing this, Ric! Excellent point – Team RV Lifestyle


November 01, 2022at11:00 am, Bigg Trucker said:

Yea don’t park at rest areas or truck stops go to a campground. If you can’t afford that then you have no business owning a RV.


November 01, 2022at12:18 pm, Karen Isham said:

All I have to say to this comment is: I’m truly sorry you are having a hard day and feel the need to be angry.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top