Advice for sleeping in your car.

As of 5 September I will be leaving my current place due to rent increases. As of approx 20 September, I’ll be moving into my newly owned flat. This leaves about 2 weeks gap that I don’t want to spend much money on. I already have a membership at the leisure centre at which I can shower. Other than that I’m perfectly comfortable sleeping in my car. Trouble is I can’t think of how to locate a spot that is not going to be interrupted by idiotic drunks or police officers. What’s the best type of spot to get an uninterrupted sleep? Alternately Travelodge offer a room for £19 per night, which is still more than I’d like to pay. Any way to get a roof for cheaper than that for 2 weeks? I’m in Oxfordshire, UK for reference.

Are you aware of any non-scary hostels in your area?

You probably don’t want to sleep in the nude. Seriously, I would try tent camping at a campground before I tried 2 weeks in a car.

How about 15 consecutive one-night-stands?

Make sure the car is stopped. Even in an open area, fumes can build up around you.

I’m in USA, so this may not apply to you. Camp grounds want you to rent a space whether you have tent, camper, or nothing. Parking on side of road, parking lots, and parks will result in police checking you. Private property has its own risks. Truck stops are scary. So…, I would bite the bullet and pay a camp ground for camping privileges, as this would likely be the cheapest around here.

Do you not have a single friend or family member in the area? Nobody’s got a couch or floor you can sleep on for two weeks?

After the Northridge earthquake, I slept in my car for 4 1/2 months. Some of my tricks were to park near industrial centers where there was little security patrol and customers. I also would park in the parking lots of large universities where there were often scattered cars so mine was just one among many.

Keep a flashlight handy, keep your doors locked and your keys in the car, ready to start and drive immediately. I slept in clothes that were warm enough but not constrictive; i.e., no blanket that would cover my arms and keep from making a quick getaway, if need be.

I also showered at gymnasiums but I was also a college student and I found that the art departments had showers for the clay students so I could often go shower there at different times of the evening when the gym was closed. Art students were 24/7 people and the gym was not.

Hope this helps and good luck!

Make sure the engine is shut off too. :cool:

Don’t you have a single friend or family member in the area with a driveway? Surely they can give you that much.

If there are any 24-hour businesses in your area, you might consider one of their parking lots. Plenty of cars and activity around, so you might be safer. Something like a Denny’s might be better than a strip joint. Don’t park in the same one every night for two weeks, though.

If you’re in a very small town, you might even be able to go down to the local police station, explain your situation, and ask if you can park across the street from the station. I’m not aware that sleeping in your car is illegal, so that might be enough.

I lived out of my truck for over a year while traveling. Its not bad at all if you have the time to set it up properly. Your case might be a little more difficult as I doubt you want to change things up too much in your car for just 2 weeks.

As far as places to sleep, any 24 hour parking lot is usually fine. Choose a quiet corner and get something to cover your windows to block out the light. If a permit is not required, quiet residential streets are pretty nice. Just try not to advertise the fact that you are sleeping in your car.

Take a look around and see what areas have vehicles at odd hours of the night and see if any of those places appeal to you.

Not sure about the UK but in some US states if you are drunk and you have the car keys you can be charged with drunk driving. The car does not need to be running to for you to be charged.

I understand that Wal-Mart encourages people to camp out in their parking lots - this would likely be relatively safe.

I did this when I went back to University, because I’m cheap. Actually there was a period of three weeks before I could get into an apartment, despite the fact that I had three classes during the day and worked an 8-hour shift at night.

I found that the best place was at a boat launch; because I had out of state plates, my excuse was I just got too tired to continue driving. The two times that a cop woke me up to check on me, this seemed to satisfy him. As far as showering, there was a swimming area, and it’s easy enough to carry your soap container and packaged shampoo with you into the water; I just went out far enough so that any suds would be diluted before too long. On a couple of occasions, I just stayed parked behind where I was working. The boss didn’t care, because when I was there it was just like having a midnight watchman on the premises.

There is a Youth Hostel in Goring on Thames. There’s probably loads more in the area but that’s the only one I know of. Google could probably help you.

:dubious: Truck stops are well lit and have near constant traffic, not to mention food, drink, shower facilities, etc. That’s not to say that nothing bad has ever happened at a truck stop, I’m sure plenty has, but it’s no less safe (and perhaps even more so) than a random parking area or the side of a quiet street. I have spent countless nights in truck stop parking lots (dad’s a truck driver and I spent more than a year with him, plus other random trips) and would much rather stay there than at a rest stop or an interstate access ramp (I’ve done that, too; that’s scary).

Anyway, I slept in my minivan in a church parking lot one night (meant to camp on the way to Canada but it was raining when I got to my destination). The pastor woke me up in the AM and invited me inside for service, but nobody bothered me all night. So that might work a few times.

My father was a teacher at a religious college and frequently traveled to other states to preach. When he needed to spend the night on the road he would pull into the parking lot of a hospital. (Rather than unnecessarily spending the college’s money on a hotel.)

And the last time I slept in my car (van) it was in a hospital parking lot. My mom was a patient, and rather than sleeping in a hospital chair I went out to the van. No one came around inspecting the cars, but I was still happy that the windows were tinted pretty darkly.

I imagine some hospitals are better than other hospitals. A big flat lot would be better than a multi-floor garage or a small lot.

I sleep in the van all the time. If you can, sleep in the backseat instead of the front and you won’t get bothered as much. At the very least sleep in the passenger seat so you don’t kick the pedals. I have a sash I blindfold myself with to sleep but you can use a handkerchief or cloth or whatever. Always make sure the doors are locked, and although it’s noisier, high traffic areas are way safer.

Try speaking to Travellodge and telling em you need a room for 2 weeks. Maybe they will offer you a discount?

When I was homeless in Las Vegas, I slept in shopping center and Walmart parking lots during the day. As long as I was blocked by other cars, due to security cameras, I felt safe. I wasn’t bothered by any security, but I had intended to tell them I was waiting for someone who was shopping if I was questioned. I walked the casinos during the nights. I found one particular game where it looked like I was playing, although I’d make the occasional bet to make up for the free drinks I got, that I could stay for hours without being bothered by security.

I know it’s unlikely you run into similar circumstances in the UK, but it could give you some ideas.

I used the local council’s website when I was between houses during a move. They had a list of all the B&Bs and rooms in the area. Loads for around the £11 - £12 mark with breakfast. The room I took was just a bedroom in someone’s house, but it was fine.