Buzzing around the country from city to city is an affordable adventure for anyone who doesn’t mind living out of their car for a few weeks or months at a time. Any person who uses their automobile as temporary living quarters while on the road could classify themselves as an urban camper. Two of the biggest problems faced by urban campers are finding a place to park and finding a source of power for their portable electronics. Portable electronics are more than entertainment devices, they are a source of income for many urban campers who work on the Internet, and a lifeline of safety if an adventure takes a turn for the worse.
One simple solution to both of these problems is shopping center parking lots. Many shopping centers turn a blind eye to night time campers as long as the campers remain quiet and orderly and promise to clear out by the time the sun comes up and customers start pouring in. Shopping centers that have 24 hour facilities generally don’t mind campers because many will patron the shopping center to stock up on simple supply needs. Not only are shopping centers easier to find than rest stops (just keep an eye out for the plethora of lights from the highway) but they are generally safer. Shopping center parking lots usually offer much better lighting and tend to be closer to busy intersections than rest stops, which is a good deterrent against petty crime. For the urban camper who prefers a low light environment, just park under one of the un-lit light poles in the shopping center parking lot. Every shopping center is bound to have one or two light poles that just don’t work.
As the camper drives around looking for a suitable spot in the empty shopping center parking lot of their choice, they should pay close attention to the light poles. Most light poles in shopping center parking lots are equipped with traditional electrical outlets that can be accessed by pulling right up to the pole, lifting the protective cover on the outlet, and running the cord for whatever device they want to charge right through the open window of the car. The cord can be ran through the window and the window can be left cracked about 1/4 of an inch to leave just enough room for the cord to operate without being cut in two by the window. If the traveler is worried that someone might come along and tamper with their electronics, they can stay awake to keep an eye on the item while it charges, which in most cases will not take longer than an hour to provide a suitable charge.
For those who have invested in a portable battery pack, use the time spent in shopping center parking lots to charge the battery pack and use the battery pack to charge all other electronics. This will cut down on having to spend all night next to a light pole charging each item separately. With the help of a portable battery pack, all electronics and corresponding chargers can be left in the automobile and the items can be charged via the portable battery pack as needed.