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In case you have not yet decided on the choice of the place for spending the night – in a car or in a tent, then, in this article, we will give the main reasons for staying in a car. There are many peculiarities and features of spending the night in the car. Let us start with the common misconception that it is warmer to sleep in the car. This is not true. The car interior is more inert to temperature changes, but be sure that the lowest limit, to which the temperature drops at night, will be the same as in the tent. Want to know more about this topic? Go on reading!


Features of overnight parking in the USA

Depending on city rules, in many cities (and environs), for example in San Diego, you cannot sleep in a car on public beaches, parks, streets. Parking lots near the stores are mostly private. As a rule, there are restrictions for an hour or two on parking for the customers. In San Francisco from 10 pm to 6 am, you cannot sleep or eat in the car. However, in some cities, you still can spend the night on supermarket parking lots and at all other kinds of retail space. Nevertheless, you can stay only on those parking lots, where there are no prohibitive signs.


It is recommended first to watch the place, where you are going to spend the night. If you see the ‘No Overnight Parking’ sign, look for another site. It sometimes happens that there are two parking lots nearby- the first, where it is prohibited to stay and the second, where it is permitted to stay for a night. In ‘rest areas’ you can stay for 8 hours, but this rule is not forced. However, remember that you cannot put up a tent there. When you are looking for rental car companies that don’t charge for under 25, you should also pay attention on every aspect of your night accommodation, before going on a trip.

Safety precautions

Observing these rules, you can safely and comfortably spend the night in the car while relaxing:

  1. Stopping for an overnight stay is permitted only in designated places. When masking a stop, for example, on the highway, oncoming cars may simply not notice you, which will lead to an accident.
  2. As a rule, it is not recommended to stay at a car for a night at all, although from the point of view of safety, you only cannot sleep in the car with the engine turned on. It is much easier to forbid spending the night in a car at all than to ensure that tourists do not warm themselves in such a way. The point here is not that the sound of engine will disturb your sleeping, but in carbon monoxide, which can accumulate under the car in various niches and depressions. Then, through the technological ventilation openings available in the bodies of all cars, carbon monoxide penetrates into the passenger compartment. Its effect cannot be traced: it is odorless, acts gradually. Much more car tourists died from carbon monoxide poisoning than from a violation of all other safety rules combined!


Accommodation options for the night in the car:

  • unfold the front seat and sink back;
  • Fold out the next seat with the driver’s seat;
  • sleep in the back seat;
  • lay out the back seat, putting your feet in the trunk (it could be done at not all cars).

The options discussed above are suitable for one case or another. The first is usually used to sleep a couple of hours, and the second way is most preferred by drivers, because they prefer to stay near the wheel. There is a disadvantage in sleeping at the back seat- you cannot stretch legs. The last option is the most comfortable and, if you travel a lot, then choose a car with possibility to use this option.

Disadvantages of lodging for the night in the car:

  • Even large long-base jeeps do not always have the transformation of a cabin to accommodate a person of medium height. This means that for a comfortable overnight you will have to think additionally.
  • Another question that will require a solution is where to put all the stuff out of the car if we are going to spend the night there.
  • The third drawback is the tightness – often the tents have much more free space to accommodate.


With a competent organization, it is easy to make a sleeping accommodation in your car. Moreover, the temperature inside the car does not change so quickly comparing to the street temperature. Going to sleep will be a little more comfortable. In the morning, the bright sun does not immediately heat the car. This will give you about an hour more time for a comfortable and not stuffy sleep. A nice bonus of spending the night in the car is the presence of regular lighting, charging for the phone and other useful things.


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