Gothic Nomad - Road Trip Survival Guide Ep. #2 - Finding Shelter and a Safe Place to Sleep
Hey YouTube I'm Greg on the gossip mill MIT and welcome to the road trip Survival, Guide. In. This video we'll be discussing shelter. And finding a safe place to sleep while you're on the road this. Is arguably, the most important, video of the entire roadtrip, Survival, Guide, accommodations. Could easily be your biggest expense, but. Also your biggest opportunity, to save money, this. Is also one of two topics, the other one being hitchhikers, which we'll cover in the next video, two. Topics where we really, need to focus on safety and security, so. We have a lot to talk about a lot to cover and this, video will undoubtedly, be long I'm, sorry for that but. I will be putting a time index in the description below so you can skip ahead to parts of interest you. Let's. Start out with more conventional forms of accommodation, hotels. Motels, and, hostels. Most. People are familiar enough with hotels, and motels that there really isn't that much to say about them there's. Even less to talk about in terms of how to survive a night in one of them, hotels. And motels are, pretty similar in that they offer a locked door a warm, bed and a hot shower. Overall. Hotels, are generally more expensive than motels, hotels. Tend, to be of higher quality and cleanliness in, hotels. Usually offer more amenities, such as a concierge, swimming. Pools attached. Restaurants, and bars continental. Breakfast room. Service, fitness, centers business. Centers and more. Motels. May have some of those amenities but usually, not as many of them by. Comparison, motels. Are usually cheaper than hotels but. What really sets them apart from hotels, is that motels, are specifically, designed for motorists. Rooms. Are usually accessible directly, from the outside and most, guests are able to park near or in front of their room most. Motels, are one or two story, buildings, whereas, hotels, are often built up like skyscrapers, especially, in large cities and hotel. Rooms are only accessible from an interior, hallway. If you're. Traveling with animals especially dogs, Motel. Sixes almost, always permit, animals in their rooms if. You insist on staying in a hotel or motel but. You don't want to stay to motel six try. Bring, Fido calm, to, find other pet friendly accommodations, I'll, put a link to that in the description below. Hostels. Are low-budget accommodations, specifically. Targeted, toward young backpackers. The. Low cost is not necessarily. Indicative of quality, or cleanliness, like. Hotels, and motels hustles. Have a wide range of quality what. Makes hostels, distinct, is their communal, environment. You. Will for example share. Bunks with roommates share. Common bathrooms and share a common kitchen most. Hostels, will host events for their guests designed, to encourage social, interaction, among people who are often traveling alone. Hostels. Are not as scary as they're often portrayed in film and television most. Are in fact quite reputable comfortable. And secure. Hostels. Are very popular in Europe and Asia but by comparison they're practically, non-existent in, the United States to. Find a hostel I recommend, using hostel, world again. I'll be putting links for this and every other website and mobile app that I mentioned, in the, description below if, you, try to use Google be prepared to sift through dozens, or even hundreds. Of search results, before you find a real hostel, to. Give you an example using my own home state if you, google hostel, in Wisconsin, you'll get dozens, and dozens of, search results but most of them are a mix of hotels, motels, resorts. And Ben breakfasts but. For all those search results there's, only one, actual. Hostel, in all of Wisconsin, the. Problem, with hotels, motels and, hostels, is that they all cost money even. A stay at the cheapest, hostel, will add up over time and if you're embarking on long-term travel.
Accommodations. Could end up being your biggest expense, so. Let's talk about some places where you can sleep for free. The. First option my, personal favorite is dispersed. Or primitive camping, on national forest land it's. Totally, free and totally, legal provided. You abide by a few simple rules. The. Biggest drawback to camping in a national forest is finding the campsite, this. Can be tricky because unlike. National, parks which are solid chunks of public land, pockets. Of private property can, exist, within the boundaries of a national forest it's. Not always easy to find a public spot to. Find one that you can easily access or. Even to be certain that you're not inadvertently trespassing. On private property. To. Get started in finding a campsite I recommend, visiting the website for the United States national, forest, service they. Have an interactive map and if, you zoom in close enough you'll, be able to see the outlines of private property within, that forest if you. Prefer to be old-school and want a folded paper map you, can purchase detailed, forest maps at any Forest Service office for about nine or ten dollars a piece. All. You're really looking for in these maps is a drivable, road that cuts through public, land but. That's easier said than done for. One thing you, don't want just any old Road you're. Not likely to find campsites, along busy highways and even, if you do those. Sites won't be quiet or safe on account of the nearby traffic you'll. Want to look for smaller roads but, you'll find that many of those smaller roads are surrounded, by private, property in, my, experience, it is a lot easier to find publicly, accessible, land, to camp bat enforce, west, of the Mississippi, River, rather than east the. Population, density out west is much lower out. East there are fewer forests, the, force exists, tend to be smaller and they, tend to be littered with a lot more private property. It. Has also been my experience that, you can usually ignore, any streets, or roads with ordinary, sounding, names, instead. You'll be looking for roads that are named or abbreviated, as a National, Forest Service Road or, Bureau, of Land Management.
The. Abbreviations, vary from Forest to forest look, for combinations like n FS. R FS. R fr. FDR. Or, BLM. Followed. By a number. Try. To find your campsite, before dark, that, way you can see things like no trespassing, signs fencing. Mailboxes. And other signs of private property. Once. You are on a Forest Service Road, which, will typically, be unpaved, dirt or gravel, look. For a small clearing off to the side often, these clearings will be marked by a fire ring or a fire pit pull. Over into the clearing and make sure you leave the main road clear and accessible, to other traffic, if. You find a good an isolated, spot there's, a good chance you won't see another soul for several, hours or even several days, national. Forests are not visited, as much as national, parks which, make them a sort, of secret treasure for outdoor enthusiasts, but. These are still public lands, make, sure that your vehicle doesn't, block other traffic, that might use the road. Many. National, forests, have developed. Campsites, with certain amenities but. You have to pay to use them I am. Of the opinion that if you're gonna pay to sleep you. Might as well stay in a motel or a hostel. Free. Campsites, have no amenities and you're really gonna be roughing it and, when I say no amenities I mean no amenities no, toilets, no running water no, electricity. Probably. No cell phone signal not, even trash bin. Occasionally. You'll find one with a picnic table or a composting, toilet if you're, lucky but these are rare. Just. Because there is no trash bin that doesn't mean you can literally. When. Camping in a National Forest you must leave no, trace of your presence, everything. You carry out you pack in and take it with you make. Sure you bring a trash bag or two to put all of your garbage into you. Don't have to carry your bodily wastes with you but you do need to properly bury it, now. I like to believe that most people who enjoy camping outdoors, tend, to be excellent, stewards of the environment but. There are plenty of assholes, who bring the modern world with them when they camp and. They leave litter and other forms of devastation, in their wake, don't. Be that asshole. There. Are a few other regulations. That you'll need to abide by there. Are over a hundred and fifty national, forests and each one sets their own rules but the rules are, the consistent, from Forest to forest for. Example your, campsite shouldn't be too close to a source of water or, to an established, fee-based, campsite. You. Can't stay in the same spot indefinitely, either most. Forests, limit your state to eleven fourteen, or sixteen days, after. That you have to drive a certain distance away before establishing, a new campsite and, finally. Make, sure you heed the fire warnings before you start a campfire, you know the Smokey the Bear signs. Exercise. Extreme caution and, vigilance if the fire danger level is high if. The fire danger level is very high or extreme, don't. Build a fire at all. As. Much as I love camping a national force, I don't always end my day anywhere, near a suitable campsite, and, sometimes. I want access to certain amenities. That's. Where highway rest areas come in they're, conveniently, located off, of most major highways, and are often spaced, about 30 to 50 miles apart. Virtually. Every highway rest area I've stopped debt has had restrooms, and trash bins. Picnic. Tables grills, vending, machines dog, exercise areas, and drinkable. Water faucets, are also all very common, many. Contain, maps and other pamphlets, for tourists, some. Of the nicer facilities I've seen in the Northeast even have on-site, gas stations, and restaurants. Many. Rest areas have signs specifically. Forbidding, overnight parking but, these rules are rarely enforced even if, you find yourself being harassed by Highway Patrol it's, pretty easy to feign ignorance or, just say that you don't offer longer than you intended to, apologize.
And Move on in, all, my years of travel I have never been asked to leave a highway rest area, now. The state of Mississippi, seems to employ security personnel at their rest areas which, I haven't observed in any other state but. Even in Mississippi, I wasn't bothered by the security, personnel or Highway Patrol for, staying overnight. Conventional. Highway rest areas can also be found in Canada particularly. In the region between Ottawa, Montreal, and, Toronto. Elsewhere. You're likely to find what they call picnic, areas, now. Amenities, vary at these sites but they generally consists, of a compost, restroom, trash, bins picnic. Tables and grills again. Overnight camping is prohibited, but, not well enforced. Walmart. Parking lots are very similar to highway rest areas in terms of security features and safety risks we'll, talk a little bit more about that later on there. Are two things you need to know about Walmart parking lots first. Not. All Walmart parking lots permit, overnight, parking, based. On the ones I've seen I think, this has nothing, to do with store policy, but rather municipal, ordinances, if. You're at a Walmart within city limits you probably can't stay overnight but if, you're on a Walmart in a village township. Or other lesser. Municipality. Then. You probably can spend the night but. Don't park just anywhere drive. Around on the far side of the parking lot meaning, away from the store until. You find an area with other campers, and trailers and, as. Much as I personally, detest the, Walmart corporation I would, suggest that if you're going to sleep in their parking lot you should patron the store buy. Some food supplies. Or whatever else you may need although. I'm personally, not a huge fan of Walmart parking lots one thing I do like about them and the second thing you should know is that. They are a gathering, place for nomads, drifters, and Crosse punks if, you're looking for a sense of community with, other like-minded travelers, this, is the place to be because. They are constantly, harassed by Highway Patrol officers most. Hitchhikers, don't try to thumb a ride along, the side of highways anymore most. Of them look for the rides in Walmart parking lots so. Whether you need to hitch a ride or, if you're looking for a travel companion Walmart. Is the place for hitchhikers. To. Couch surf is to sleep in someone else's home for free and as, the name implies on their couch unless. They have a guest room for you the. Easiest and, safest way to couch surf is to crash at a friend's house between. Childhood, friends who move away and the utility, of social media most. Of us have friends and acquaintances, spread throughout the country and perhaps, all over the world if you, know that you'll be passing through a city where one of your friends lives crashing. On their couch gives you free accommodations. And an, opportunity, to catch up with someone you probably haven't seen in a long time, if.
You Don't have any friends in a particular city couchsurfing.com. Is, the way to go most. Of the hosts are nurturing, mother hen types who, enjoy taking care of travellers. Some. Are people who just enjoy hearing stories of adventure, from the pneumatic gas and, others. Are couch surfers themselves, who open up their homes as a way to give back to the couch surfing community, I. Haven't. Squatted, in an abandoned, building yet, but it is something I want to do and it's, something I've twice, come close to doing. Obviously. There are some serious risks associated with squatting, even. Though the building may be abandoned, it may still be privately, owned and you could still get in trouble for trespassing. You. Might also encounter, other squatters, who have claimed the building first and they might try to defend their claim, but. The bigger risks, you need to be aware of are the potential environmental hazards. Most. Abandoned, buildings are abandoned, for a reason, they, may even be condemned. There, could be structural, hazards, like rotting floors, leaking, roofs or buckling support, beams there. May be busted glass faulty. Wiring bad, plumbing hazardous. Mold and more. I'm. Probably. Gonna catch a lot of for suggesting, something like this in a paranoid security, obsessed post, 9-11 world but. A lot of transit, terminals such, as airports, train stations and, bus stations make. For a decent place to crash overnight, you. Should avoid terminals, like subway, stations, or intrest city bus stations, since, they specialize, in frequent, services to local destinations, few. Passengers are likely to have a layover of more than 15 or 30 minutes. Although. The authorities might not like it people sleep in airports and train stations, all the time, lay, overs mechanical. Delays and weather delays of several hours are common some. Areas of a terminal especially, at airports may be restricted, to ticket holders so, keep that in mind that security, personnel could, make you produce a boarding pass, but. In most public spaces it's not difficult to pass yourself off as a waiting passenger, I. Am. Reluctant to mention this one separately, technically. The only time I've slept in a railway ditch I was actually at a national forest campsite that just happened to be adjacent to railroad tracks, but. I've observed a lot of hitchhikers sleeping, by railroad, tracks and not necessarily, because they were intending, the hop a train. Railroads. Passed by a lot of industrial spaces, and other low population, areas that are abandoned, at night a lot. Of railroads are flanked by steep changes, in elevation and in some places this, creates a sort of ditch by the tracks that you can lay low in. Apart. From the noise there are some increased legal risks with railroad ditches not. Only will you almost certainly be trespassing, if, not on railroad property then on adjacent private, property but. By being so close to the tracks you might also be accused of attempting, to hop a train. I've. Got nothing, against camping in a tent I think it's a fine way to get in touch with nature I've, done it plenty of times in the past and I'm sure I'll do it many more times in the future but. I have found it a lot easier, and simpler to just camp, in the vehicle I'm driving in for. One thing if I'm sleeping in a car one way or the other that, I'm less inclined to be picky about whether I stay in a national forest a highway, rest area or a Walmart parking lot each, one is equally viable if. I'm only willing to camp in a tent then. I have to find land that's suitable for camping. For. Another thing once, I've selected a campsite I can be ready to sleep in just a few minutes I don't, have to around with unloading, unpacking. And pitching a tent north. A hassle of tearing it all down in the morning I don't. Even have to waste valuable cargo, space by bringing a tent, so. When I'm doing a road trip obviously I'm here in the driver's, side seat and, over the passenger side seat usually. My blankets and pillows and maybe a little bit of cargo, just. Anything that I need to be able reach at at any time obviously. I like to keep most of my cargo in the back of the truck. Come. Back here we got Remy she's got the entire backseat to herself I try to keep cargo. Out of this space so she's got as much room to move around as you can got a really simple blanket for it over here to give her some shade and down here a food and water dish it's, not the, most convenient way for her to eat obviously. But she can get at it and she. Can eat and drink as much as she wants it's, time for bed I recline, the passenger seat as much as it goes and I. Pull the entire seat back as far as it goes Remy. Gets pushed into her, blanket.
Fort She, no longer has access to her food and water but for a couple of hours over sleeping it doesn't really matter in, this way I've got as much horizontal, space, as I can possibly squeeze, out of this particular truck if, I had any cargo in the passenger, seat I'd flip it over to the driver's side seat and I got my blankets and pillows ready to go here and it's a pretty quick switch I can be asleep. In as little as five minutes the, other thing I like about sleeping, in my truck is that it provides much better and, stronger shelter, against, extreme weather and it. Comes equipped with locked doors. The, only real downside to, sleeping in your car is that it will likely be more cramped than a tent would be if you. Have the money you could invest in a recreational vehicle specifically. Designed for sleeping, in such. As a class a camper, a Class B camper, a Class, C camper, a travel. Trailer a fifth, wheel or, a pop-up, camper but. Personally I find my truck to be perfectly, adequate, I believe. Recreational, vehicles are a waste of money and an, indulgence, for entitled, folks who can't handle a little discomfort. I, won't. Deny that these alternative shelters. Carry, a slightly higher risk of danger but, I think most people blow that danger way out of proportion there. Is risk and danger in everything, and, staying in a fancy hotel or, even the comfort of your own home is no, guarantee that nothing bad will happen to you, most. Of what we perceive as danger is really just fear, of the unknown, most. Americans, are not accustomed, to long term budget, travel we. Are accustomed to room service and a concierge, we. Are accustomed, to a warm bed a hot shower four, walls in the locked door, for. Most people just the thought of slumming, it in a Walmart parking lot or, picking up a hitchhiker seems, like suicide, but. It's really because they've never done it before and they don't know what to expect a. Traveler. Being brutally, murdered by a hitchhiker certainly. Makes a sensational, story on the evening news the. Exotic nature of the crime fires, up the imagination and we, believe the nomadic lifestyle, to be dangerous, and deadly we. Use the same logic to mince ourselves, of things like air, travel, being more dangerous, than, driving a car the. Idea of plummeting, tens of thousands, of feet in a falling airplane is sensational, and terrifying, but. Our fears ignore the fact that we're far more likely to be killed in a boring automobile, accident. Similarly. Foreign. Terrorism Stokes, fear because of the drama of watching planes slam into skyscrapers. Even. Though the tragedy, of 9/11, is greatly. Dwarfed, by the number of people lost to domestic gun violence every year in, short. Our fears seldom, bear any resemblance to, reality. The. Key to staying safe anywhere. Whether. You're on the road or in the comfort of your own home is to, recognize your vulnerabilities. And to take reasonable precautions. With. That in mind I've got four tips to help you stay safe at night. Tip. Number one keep. A low profile, whether. You're trying to avoid police harassment or, trying to avoid being assaulted keep. Your head down scroll.
Yourself Away deep in the woods when you can learn. How to hide in plain sight when you cannot be. On your best behavior don't. Push your luck don't, draw unnecessary attention, to, yourself and don't, do anything legal, or illegal that. Is likely to draw eyes and suspicion. Tip. Number two carry. A defensive, weapon knives, are ideal since they can pull double duty as a general, camping tool blunt. Instruments, like a crowbar, or heavy, metal objects wrapped up in a soccer Mandana those, are even less lethal, stun. Guns and pepper sprays are also good choices I strongly. Recommend against. Carrying a firearm though, guns. Are offensive, weapons they're highly lethal it's. Far too easy for them to cause a fatal, accident especially, if you're suddenly awoken, in the middle of the night by a police officer or an innocent stranger. Remember. That acting in self-defense, does not give you license, to kill people always. Defeat, an attacker with the least amount of force possible, attempt. To deter them first if. They persist defend. Yourself with the objective, of disabling, your attacker before, causing any grave harm. Tip. Number three choosing. Between well-lit. And dimly lit places, unfortunately. There, is no one-size-fits-all solution, to this question you'll. Need to assess the situation for, yourself and decide, how much light makes you feel the most comfortable in, a. Forest you can count on having little to no light but, highway. Rest areas and Walmart parking lots are well-lit with safety lights, based. On my strengths, and weaknesses and self defense I. Personally. Prefer low let environments, first. Of all it's just easier to sleep that way and. Although it's difficult for me to see outside and into the environment it's, also difficult for a potential, attacker to see into my vehicle, whereas. In a lit parking lot I another, witnesses, might be able to see a potential attacker but. People can also see more easily into my vehicle. And. Finally tip for choosing, between isolation. And seeking. Safety in numbers. Same as a tip number three there is no one-size-fits-all solution. To this question you'll. Need to assess the situation for, yourself inside. Weather being around people makes you feel safer, or more vulnerable, you. Can count on isolation, in a forest but there will be a lot of vehicle, and foot traffic at both highway rest areas and Walmart, parking lots, based. On my strengths and weaknesses in self-defense I personally. Prefer isolation. Although. A heavily trafficked area, has more potential witnesses to deter crime there. Are more potential, threats noise, and chaos I, prefer. Not to have to parse the noise around me it's, much easier for me to identify potential, threats in an otherwise quiet, environment. So. That's it for this episode of the road trip Survival Guide in, the next video we will be discussing hitchhikers.
If You, have any questions or thoughts leave, comment, below and I may address them in a future episode as. Always like share subscribe and all that other, and thank, you for watching.