Summer’s here, and I’m sure you know what it means? Road trips, going on a vacation, camping? Umm, not precisely. The year is 2020, unfortunately. A year that has been afflicted with lockdowns, quarantine, and uncertainty. However, things shouldn’t be all gloom and doom.
Social distancing measures have drained all the summer’s fun by restricting pool parties, camping, and stalling out family vacations, leaving people bored. There’s some good news though, especially for campers. If you needed a place to stay for the night during your road trip, you could camp at Walmart on the way to your destination!
CAMPING OVERNIGHT AT WALMART
If you’re a camper, you’ve probably heard by now that Walmart’s offer for free parking overnight for one night. You could also be questioning yourself about the COVID situation and how it may affect your situation. Well, I’m here to assure you that, yes, it certainly is a valid question, but it could be viewed from two perspectives. Both legally, and personally.
Some Walmart stores are accommodating while others are not…
Some Walmart stores offer an option for campers to stay in their trailer homes overnight. In contrast, others, unfortunately, have had to change their policies over a couple of issues such as their customer’s safety. Lots of cases have been reported where homeless people with RVs have made it a habit to camp overnight for days and cause disturbances and littering.
This situation has caused Walmart management in some stores to be stricter regarding their policies. RV campers who insisted to camp in such stores at night were either ordered by the police to move along or fined. These policies, however, have not been put into effect by all stores nationwide. It would probably be better if you could do some research on the store you’d like to camp at for the night beforehand.
Cities with an ordinance against parking
Some cities have passed an ordinance against parking. This means that even though Walmart management might allow you to park your trailer overnight, an officer may ask you to leave or even fine you. It’s therefore important for you to research on the city’s laws if it’s in your plans to camp at Walmart.
Personal perspective: depends entirely on one’s preference.
The prices on camping grounds have gone high from around $20 a night to $40-$50 a night. Most camping grounds are also closed for the season because of the fear of the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that those who have to travel during this period must look for an alternative. While there are a few other options left your best bet, assuming you find one, is to find a Walmart store willing to accommodate RVers for the night.
Common guidelines for camping at Walmart;
Camping at Walmart at night is generally safe, that said and done, you should exercise caution at all times. There are security guards at Walmart who may or may not intervene in case there is an issue. However, it would help if you did not put yourself in that situation. Walmart’s policy is not very specific as to how an employee should act in case of a security threat.
Camp in an open space with enough lighting and avoid crowded areas with people that look sketchy. If you feel like the area has a bad vibe, you should move along and find a better place. You could also do some research and choose Walmart stores in low crime areas.
2. Follow Walmart rules
- As their guests, you should always make an effort to abide by their rules such as;
- Obeying the posted rules and regulations
- Stay for a single night
- Don’t put out any lawn chairs or barbecue grills
- Get permission from someone in charge
- Cleaning after yourself. Don’t leave trash lying around for Walmart employees to clean. Leave the place cleaner than you found it.
- Purchase gas and goods as a way of saying thanks whenever possible · Stay safe. Avoid dangerous people and activities.
- Don’t make any unnecessary noises
3. COVID-19’s effects (Walmart)
Although COVID-19 has affected many areas of our lives, we’ve got to reach a point where we realize that we are the only ones who can keep ourselves safe. Camping can expose you to the Coronavirus, and it’s ultimately your decision to decide whether to go out or stay indoors, however, if you decide to go outdoors try and stay safe whether on Walmart or elsewhere.
Where can you park your RV?
Look for where the RV’s are parked. You could also go in and check with a Walmart employee. Don’t park in front of the stores. The best bet is to go as far back into the parking lot as possible so as not to affect the regular flow of traffic in and out of the store.
Why should you camp at Walmart?
You don’t need a reservation plus it saves you $$
Parking your trailer, or car for that matter, at Walmart, is free while camping grounds aren’t and you don’t need any reservations. Just drive in after doing some research on store policies and get to relax and lay down for the night.
Walmart stores have almost anything and resupplying from Walmart is a very big convenience. Grab your groceries, gasoline, and more in the evening as you plan on resuming your trip.
Maintenance and service for your RV
You could get your RV serviced with new tires a change of fluids and more. Walmart is a cheap place to buy supplies and stuff, but it is also so much more. It’s part of the community. It maintains the spirit of great customer service by providing people, especially RVers, with a place to relax and re-energize at night while they get ready to resume their road trip in the morning. Although the COVID -19 pandemic has disrupted many services, Walmart’s camping policy remains relatively unaffected and would be counted on in several stores.
Stay Safe and Happy camping!
Written by: Rachael Best (Freelance writer)
RV Groovin Life