Living on the road out of a car has lots of perks. One of the downsides however is keeping clean on a daily basis. Without the convenience of showering like you do at home, it can definitely be challenging to remain fresh and tidy at all times.
But there is a solution…truck stop showers!
What are Truck Stop showers?
Truck stops are not only great for truckers, but also car campers & nomads, who need a quick way to clean up while on the road. These facilities, which are often located at interstate exits - and have hundreds of locations throughout the United States - offer a variety of amenities, including showers, restrooms, laundry facilities, and even fast food restaurants.
And in case you're wondering, no, you do NOT have to be a trucker to use the amenities (even showers) at a truck stop. Provided you have the cash, these facilities cater to everyone. While all truck stops don't contain showers, the vast majority of medium to larger ones do.
How Much do Truck Stop Showers Cost?
Most truck stops offer showers for a small fee (usually $10-$15) , and the majority have private, individual stalls/bathrooms for added privacy.
How do You Use a Truck Stop Shower?
To use a truck stop shower, you'll typically need to purchase a shower voucher from the cashier, kiosk, or fuel desk. Once you’ve purchased your shower voucher, it will have your shower number printed on it, along with a pin code needed to enter the bathroom. That shower might be open, or it could be in use, and you’ll have to wait until it’s available again and has been properly cleaned.
Some truck stops don’t assign specific shower numbers, and instead operate on a first come, first served basis. You simply wait your turn and use whatever shower is available when you’re next on the list.
What Does a Truck Stop Shower Look Like?
Once you have your voucher and locate your shower stall, upon entering your pin code and going inside, you might be surprised to see that it looks a lot like your bathroom at home. Aside from the shower itself, most stalls have a sink, toilet, and seating bench of some sort, along with a big mirror. Some even have fans to cool the bathroom down after a hot shower and to help reduce the steam. Blow dryers are fairly common, too.
It's important to note that truck stop showers are not always the most luxurious or comfortable. The stalls can sometimes be small and cramped, and the water pressure and temperature may not always be consistent. However, if you're in a pinch and just need a quick, semi-affordable way to freshen up, truck stop showers can be a great option.
Are Truck Stop Showers Clean?
Yes, usually. While the vast majority of truck stops I’ve used have been pretty tidy, there are always some bad apples in the bunch. By and large however, most truck stops work very hard to clean their bathrooms, as they’re not just a revenue driver for these businesses, but having spotless facilities will ensure repeat visitors, who often spend money on food, fuel, and other services.
Truck stops actually employ bathroom attendants, whose job is to clean each bathroom after every usage. While this doesn’t mean that you should expect the same level of cleanliness that your bathroom at home has, again, most truck stop showers are adequately hygienic.
Are Truck Stop Showers Safe?
Overwhelmingly, yes. Most truck stops are well-trafficked, busy places, even late at night or early in the morning. You will never be in a deserted, secluded space. Additionally, all truck stops have cameras located throughout the premises (with the exception of the bathroom stalls) for added peace-of-mind. While this doesn’t mean that rarities won’t occasionally happen and something bad will go down, the odds of being victimized inside of a truck stop is relatively small. Do take precautions like you would anywhere else, but don’t be overly concerned about your security.
How Can I Find Truck Stop Showers?
While a quick Google search will usually pull up at least a few options in your general area, some other ways are through the following, dedicated apps or websites…
What are the Best Truck Stop Showers?
There is no “best” when when it comes to truck stop showers, or even truck stops in general. As each location is individually managed, some will offer better services than others, and vice versa.
This is why it’s important to ALWAYS read the reviews when looking up a truck stop, if possible. Aside from photos of the location, the reviews will provide insight into how clean the facilities are, the prices, if they’re usually crowded, etc.
While there are literally hundreds and hundreds of truck stops throughout the U.S., most of them are national chains, with the big three being…
Tips for Using Truck Stop Showers
*Consider supplies. While most truck stop showers offer towels and soap, you may wish to bring your own. For example, I’m VERY picky about having perfectly clean towels, and the soap I use and prefer is for sensitive skin. Everyone is different, and the choice is yours.
*ALWAYS wear flip flops in truck stop showers! While the bathrooms and stalls are actually cleaned after every use, and are surprisingly well-kept at most places, showers are still breeding grounds for all types of nasty germs & bacteria. Just like you would at a gym, campground or any other public setting, wearing flip flops are good practice in my opinion.
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*Mind your time. While I’ve come across a few truck stop showers that are timed, the vast majority are not. However, this doesn’t mean you should take longer than absolutely necessary to bathe yourself. The unwritten rule is that 45-60 minutes is MORE than enough to get your business done. Remember, there are usually others waiting to use the shower after you. Be courteous and don’t overstay your welcome.
*Don’t be a slob. Treat truck stop showers just like you would at home, and try to be as neat as possible. While showers are cleaned after every usage, you’ll win no points leaving behind a messy, disgusting stall. It’s not courteous, and you may not get the best service in the future when they see you again.
*Lock your door. Never forget to lock your bathroom door upon entering. While this sounds like a no-brainer, it’s actually quite easy to forget, and I’ve done so on more than one occasion. Safety reasons aside, you don’t want to be surprised by an unexpected guest while you’re lounging in your birthday suit.
*Make a shower bag. Having a shower bag that’s always packed with essentials (soap, shaving razor, towel, etc.) and ready-to-go is a smart move. This ensures that all of your bathing requirements are located in one easily-accessible place, and it’ll save time because you can simply pick it up and grab a shower at any time. Simplicity and organization makes life much easier!
Overall, truck stop showers can be a useful resource for car campers, nomads, travelers and truckers alike. While they may not be the most luxurious option, they can be a convenient way to stay clean and refreshed while on the road. So, if you're in need of a shower while traveling, consider stopping at a truck stop for a quick rinse.
LIVE WISELY, LIVE WELL!