Travel Tips

Can You Sleep In Your Car In A Parking Lot?

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

Last Updated on September 7, 2022 by Rose Morah

We all have our reasons to sleep in the car. 

It is easy to find a place near you to park and sleep.

Personally, I have slept in my car not once and not twice. I have done it countless times. 

Here are a few reasons why you may sleep in a car:

  1. When traveling on a very tight budget. It helps cut down the hotel costs.
  2. When working in between jobs.
  3. Other life circumstances.

In this article, we discuss whether it is legal to sleep in the car in the following places;

  • Hotel parking lot.
  • Hospital parking lot.
  • Walmart parking lot.
  • Airport parking lot.

Please Note: This article only gives information about sleeping in your car for a maximum of 24 hours. So it does not include camping outside your car.

But first, is it illegal to sleep in your car in a parking lot?

It depends. Different states have different rules concerning this. Where you choose to park also plays a part, even when it’s legal in that state.

Let’s dive right in.

Can you sleep in your car in a hotel parking lot?

Legally, you are not allowed to sleep in your car on private property. And, in this case, the hotel parking lot is private property. Additionally, if you are in a state that prohibits sleeping in the car, please do not risk it!

Find out if it is illegal to sleep in your car in your state

But, away from the legal part, some people have gotten away with it on many occasions by just pulling over as hotel guests, turning off the lights, and sleeping for the night. Some say it turned out okay because no one noticed. 

Disclaimer: The above is not legal advice. You are responsible for knowing and understanding your local laws.

If you are fatigued from driving for long hours, it is worth taking the risk to sleep in a hotel parking lot. But, if you are just looking for a place to crash because you have nowhere else to go, then try truck stops or rest stops. Most of them are free.

You can check out our article on what you need to know before sleeping at a truck stop

What are the risks of sleeping in the car in a hotel parking lot?

  1. You may get a trespass charge.

There exist many cases where hotels have reported getting many people at their parking lots who ended up sleeping in their cars. So, many of them have now decided to take legal actions so others can learn from it.

  1. Health risks.

The fact that you already know that it’s a risky move to pack in a hotel’s parking lot and sleep in your car might cause you to sleep without taking extra health caution such as allowing some fresh air to come in and out of the vehicle as you sleep, etc. 

Therefore, it may end up costing your life!

See also: How to Sleep in a Car During Winter (5 Things You Should Know).

Can you sleep in your car in a hospital parking lot?

It depends on the local laws regarding sleeping in the car and the amount of time you will be sleeping

If you have slept out in your car several times before, sometimes sleeping in a parking lot can go unnoticed, especially in hospital parking. But only if you do not attract attention and just sleep quietly.

Remember: This is not legal advice. You are solely responsible for knowing and understanding your local laws.

Most hospitals advise against this. So, you will most likely find the security guards patrolling the parking lots in most hospitals.

You may also like the 11 Best Cars To Sleep In (Tips From Avid Campers).

Can you sleep in your car in a Walmart parking lot?

Yes, Walmart will allow you to sleep in the parking lot, but not all the stores will allow it. So, before you park to sleep in your car, find out if they allow it. You can also use online apps to help you find Walmarts stores that will allow you to sleep at their parking lot.

So how do you find a Walmart store that allows overnight parking?

Personally, I use AllStays to find Walmart stores near me that will allow me to park overnight and sleep in the car. This lets you have a good night’s sleep without the fear of getting evicted in the middle of the night.

Before you park to sleep in your car at a Walmart store, make sure that it is allowed to sleep in the car. Read their parking lot signs (No Overnight Parking or Maximum Parking hours) or ask the security guards if you are allowed to sleep in your car.

Advantages of sleeping in a Walmart’s parking lot

  1. It is safer.

It feels safer to sleep in your car at Walmart’s parking lot than at truck stops or rest areas.

  1. Facilities.

Most of them have bathrooms. It is also easy to access food and drinks from nearby restaurants and stores in Walmart’s vicinity.  

See also: How To Plan A Road Trip On A Budget.

Can you sleep in the car overnight in an airport? 

Yes, but be prepared to pay more in parking fees.

Additionally, just ensure that you are doing nothing suspicious, illegal, or intoxicated.

See also:

MSP Airport Parking Rates & Best MSP Offsite Airport Parking.

LAX Airport Parking Rates & Best Parking at LAX.

Other places where you can legally sleep at the parking lot

  1. Religious buildings 

Before you park for an overnight sleep in a religious building, first ask whether they will allow you. 

Most of the time, they will allow you to park and sleep.

  1. Search online for safe parking programs.

If you Google ‘Safe Parking Programs,’ you will get a good parking lot to crash at.

Examples of these Safe Parking Programs include;

Hey, I’m Rose. I’m passionate about electric cars and clean energy. My adventurous spirit and journalistic pursuits make each day fascinating and far greater. I consider traveling not just about the grandeur moments, but the little elements that transform the whole experience.