If you’ve ever been on the road for an extended period of time, you’re probably familiar with the feeling you get after a long day of driving—tired and grimy.
It’s surprising how just sitting behind the wheel all day can make you want a shower. Even if you’re still far away from your destination, you don’t have to sit with that feeling!
No matter what your reason is, a truck stop shower can be a sight for sore eyes after a long journey. But, you might have questions about them.
Are they safe? Do all truck stops have showers? And are there any rules you need to follow before you use them?
This complete guide to truck stop showers will answer these questions and more.
What Are Truck Stop Showers Like?
Although truck stop showers are technically intended for use by long-haul truck drivers, there’s no restriction on who can use them.
Anybody passing through is permitted to take advantage of these showers. That can be beneficial for journeys on the road, as showers can be energizing.
Typically, a truck stop shower will be clean and well-maintained. This is helped, in large part, because most shower rooms are locked, often with a keypad.
Many facilities will be reminiscent of standard hotel showers, with some even offering fresh towels, hair dryers, and wash clothes.
How To Use Truck Stop Showers
Most truck stops will vary slightly in how the showers are set up, but it’s a safe bet to simply walk up to the counter and inquire about purchasing a shower session.
The employee will walk you through the process and explain what you’ll need to do.
As soon as you’ve paid for your shower, you’ll most likely receive a ticket with a number. Depending on how busy the truck stop is, you might have to wait a little bit for a shower to become available. Once your shower is ready, your number will be called.
At most locations, they will provide you with a key or a door code to let you into your assigned shower.
What To Bring in Truck Stop Showers
Because truck stops can differ greatly, it’s a safe bet to count on bringing all of the toiletries you’ll need.
You might find a shower that provides shampoo or soap, but there’s no guarantee. Given that, having a bag or caddy with your own preferred shampoo, conditioner, soaps, and lotions is the best way to ensure a comfortable shower experience.
Some truck stops provide clean towels and washcloths for your use, but if you’re a germaphobe or just cautious about sharing, you can’t go wrong with bringing your own.
Of course, the benefit of using the towel provided by the truck stop is that they’ll launder it for you, so you don’t have to leave with a damp towel in tow.
Here’s a list of items we’d recommend you bring with you for the best truck stop shower experience:
- Shower shoes are essential to avoid making direct contact with the floor. Showering without flip-flops or shower shoes in a public area might put you in direct contact with bacteria, even if the shower is otherwise clean.
- A separate bag for your dirty clothes and towel to keep things separated for the next time you’ll do your laundry.
- Shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc. Taking a chance on what’s available at the truck stop might be an unpleasant experience and is best avoided.
- Clean clothes. You’ll feel better if you don’t have to put the same clothes back on after your shower, so make sure to include a fresh outfit in your bag!
- Any other toiletries you’d typically need. That might include contact solution and a fresh contact case, lotion, hair and skincare products, makeup, and anything else you use daily.
General Rules & Etiquette at Truck Stop Showers
To be as respectful as possible, most of the rules you should follow are common sense. Don’t take too much time in the shower, be polite to others, and make sure you’ve parked your vehicle out of the way—don’t leave it at the gas pump!
If you’re not a truck driver, it’s important to keep in mind that these showers exist for truck drivers’ use. You don’t have to let truck drivers cut ahead of you, but please be respectful.
That means finishing up your shower in a reasonable amount of time, especially if people are waiting.
There’s technically no time limit for your shower, so it’s not like the water will suddenly shut off in the middle of shampooing. It’s just polite to move as quickly as possible for the convenience of other drivers.
If you’re traveling with your partner, spouse, or someone else you feel really comfortable with, you’re permitted to use the same shower. That can help you cut costs, and it might give you an added sense of security in an unfamiliar place.
Which Truck Stops Offer Showers?
You can typically find a truck stop that offers showers with a quick Google search. However, there are also dedicated apps to help truckers locate nearby truck stops.
For instance, Trucker Path provides a continually updated list of stops, including well-known locations, independent truck stops, and travel centers.
If you come across a Pilot, Flying J, AM Best, or Sapp Bros, it’s a safe bet that some clean, reliable truck stop showers will be inside.
These are the most trusted truck stop names for a reason! You can do some sleuthing to find independent truck stops, too. While they aren’t big brands, they are often clean and well-maintained.
Still, the more recognizable names are by far the most reliable in terms of quality and availability.
Another benefit to visiting a well-known truck stop like a Pilot/Flying J or Love’s is that these prominent brands maintain apps for customers! Downloading these can help you find the closest stop to you and reserve a shower session ahead of your arrival. That can cut down on time and the stress of trying to find a place.
How Much Do Truck Stop Showers Cost?
The price of a truck stop shower varies from place to place as there isn’t one flat rate across all brands. Nevertheless, you can typically depend on a shower session having an average cost of between $10 and $17.
That might seem like a lot until you consider the price of renting a hotel room or a campground for the night in comparison.
You can potentially save a lot if you sign up for a loyalty card to earn points and credits for showers when you fill up on gas and purchase snacks and supplies.
Are Truck Stop Showers Safe?
Yes, truck stop showers are safe. They’re located in well-lit, highly-traveled areas where plenty of people will be around at any given time, even during the middle of the night.
You’ll also be given a key or a door code for your personal shower, which means that nobody else can enter the room while you’re in there.
Still, it’s best to be cautious in any situation, especially in an unfamiliar area. Keep your wits about you, lock your car doors, and follow general safety practices.
However, remember part of the reason why the big-name truck stops are so popular is their reliability and safety.
Do you have more questions about truck stop showers? Keep reading as we have the answers to several common queries.
What truck stops have free showers?
You’ll have a hard time finding a free shower at any truck stop. However, if you join the loyalty program at truck stops like Pilot/Flying J, TA, or Love’s, you can earn points toward shower credits just by fueling up and purchasing snacks and supplies.
What truck stops have the cleanest showers?
Usually, you can’t go wrong with a big-name truck stop like Pilot/Flying J, TA, Love’s, or Petro. These truck stops are held to rigorous standards and proudly boast clean showers and even fresh, warm towels for their shower guests.
Independent, smaller truck stops are more of a gamble. Luckily, there are plenty of truck drivers on the internet willing to share their experiences, with several dedicated sites containing reviews to help you figure out which places to avoid.
Can travelers use truck stop showers?
Yes! Truck stop showers are not limited to truck drivers. Any traveler, such as boondockers, can use them! But it’s best to keep in mind that truck drivers out on the road might have a limited amount of time to shower, so travelers should make every effort to be courteous to them.
Do truck stop showers provide towels?
Many big-name truck stops provide towels and washcloths for shower guests, but since it’s not guaranteed, you can’t go wrong with bringing your own. Plus, numerous truck stops offer laundry facilities. So, if you’ve got the time, you can wash your clothes and towels while you’re there.
Does Google Maps show truck stop showers?
You can use Google Maps to locate truck stops near you, but they don’t always explicitly list whether shower facilities are available.
However, you can usually determine whether you’ll be able to shower there or not based on reviews or the truck stop’s website.
Customers often share their experiences with the location’s showers and facilities, so you can decide which stops to visit or avoid!
There are also apps to help travelers locate truck stops, like Trucker Path.
Do you tip at truck stop shops?
Truck stops usually have a dedicated shower attendant who ensures that your shower is clean and dry before you enter. In addition, they are on hand to direct people toward their assigned showers.
It’s courteous to tip the attendant, especially if you’ve had a positive interaction.
Keep in mind that their job can be unpleasant if a guest has made a mess of the facilities or been particularly rude to them. In that context, show your appreciation for a clean and safe showering experience by tipping them a few dollars!
If your truck stop loyalty program has allowed you to earn enough credits for a free shower, you can surely afford to spare a few extra dollars for your attendant’s tip.