VanLife FAQs: Where do you park?
QUESTION: Where do you park?
ANSWER: I don't park... I. just. keep. driving.
TLDR; The short answer is "Wherever you can legally park a vehicle overnight."
Most often, wherever I travel to, I will park at friend's or family's houses
Sometimes, I'm out in the middle of nowhere, either on Bureau of Land Management public land or in National Parks... There's an excellent write-up on the subject of RV parking and camping on these lands here: https://www.rv-camping.org/publiclands/
But when I'm in major cities or when I don't have friends or family around in the area that I'm visiting, this is more or less my approach:
Use common sense.
Look at street / parking signage...carefully. Repeatedly.
Get ready for bed before you approach the night's parking spot.
Don't get in and out of your vehicle or open and close your doors. Don't idle your engine, watch loud movies on bright screens, turn lights on and off, blab on the phone, or really do anything that might indicate that someone is inside your vehicle.
Do your best to avoid parking in the same spot for more than one night.
Move around. Switch it up. Don't be memorable.
If the area around your vehicle is a mess or if your vehicle is an eyesore maybe consider a different spot, or clean up the area, and consider investing the time and money to beautify your vehicle in general, especially if you wish to park in the most beautiful areas which often have very fancy homes and very fancy people around who may be displeased by the presence of your creepy bucket of rust on wheels with fast food bags and cups all up in the dash.
If you get the knock and you're asked what you are doing in your vehicle, explain that you are just traveling through the area and kindly ask for a suggestion on where you can or should move. Or just kindly explain that you will be on your way, far away, immediately.
Find a Walmart or large retail store with many other vehicles parked overnight.
Lastly, don't be afraid to ask a business owner or employee if it is ok for you to park your vehicle in their lot overnight. It just solves SO many problems all at once. You now have permission and the "locals" are aware of who you are and who your vehicle belongs to.
So tell me...
Where do YOU park?
If you often stealth camp in major cities, what are some of your strategies?
Do you have any horror stories?
Feel free to share!