from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
This is for people who want to travel cross country without hotels, want to save on rent, or just don't feel like driving home after a long day.
- Plan ahead and get a station wagon. Station wagons are the most useful cars anyone can own -- they can carry luggage or passengers, are fuel-efficient, and are by far the most comfortable.
- Keep your car clean. All the emergencies supplies you really need are some essential tools and fluids, and a backpack for ONE set of clothes (unless you are traveling), and a towel. A clean car is a pleasure to sleep in -- a large space to sleep provides a surprsing amount of comforts.
- Get a gym Membership, if possible, for a place to shower. I have had a Y membership for awhile when I stuck around in an area, but they are expensive and aren't portable (i.e. a Y membership won't work out of state). I'm not sure whether places like planet fitness memberships work throughout the country, if you are doing a cross-country thing.
- If you are going in the summer, public beaches are a great place to shower, or any public bathing facility, pools, etc..
- Do not underestimate a sleeping bag -- they are the greatest inventions in sleeping technology, ever. A $60 sleeping bag will keep you warm in -20 winter OUTSIDE, not to mention a car.
- Cold air respirators -- (such as http://www.amazon.com/COLD-WEATHER-Mask/dp/B0006FMK20/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=hpc&qid=1207295978&sr=8-2) are usually difficult to sleep with -- and I have found to be a waste of money. There is no easy way to sleep in the extreme cold (sub-zero) -- the sleeping bag will keep you warm, but a source of warm air is difficult, and you might wake up with a sore throat. It might be helpful to compromise (between fresh air and warm air) and make a "tent" out of a havy blanket near your face.
- Get a Tarp!! They are only $5 and will keep prying eyes away -- no one ever sees a tarp and suspects that someone is sleeping in their car, unless the windows are fogged. Plus, this will allow you to sleep in public places (libraries, shopping center lots, etc.). A tarp is also stiff enough to allow for ample ventilation.
- Lull yourself to sleep by thinking about how sweet a bachelor's life is.
- Some possible places to sleep:
- The parking lot of Wal-Mart. A lot of stuff goes on in Wal-Mart, it's open 24 hours so there will always be cars there, and its relatively safe. Park near the back, but not in the middle of nowhere, blend in with the employee cars. The tarp should be sufficient for privacy.
- Any 24 hour shopping center is nice -- Hannaford's, Price Chopper, etc. -- any place that does inventory at night. People who work third shift are pretty cool in general.
- I would stay away from Hotels -- I work at a hotel and the cops make rounds there up to twice a night. They might bother you if they see fogged windows. Plus, hotels sometimes take license plates.
- A library is nice too -- under the rationale that you were reading a book and went out for a nap -- plus, a library is a great place to spend a day, although it would mean associating with the local homeless crowd .. so, dress nice. The key is to think of some stories or situations where you wouldn't just be a hobo.
- Keep a map so you know where to find these places in whatever town you are in, and try to plan ahead, so you save gas and time.
- Cops are NICE! I've never had a problem with a cop before -- just be cool and be honest.
- Handguns ... are relatively expensive. I am in the process of getting a handgun, so I'm not too knowledgeable in this regard. I'll update if anything come up, but, with the way I live, I increasingly feel like having one would be nice.
- Read one couple's crazy story about how they drove across the country in the middle of winter and slept in their car for 28 nights--at temperatures as low as -18 degrees Celsius. 
- Safety should be your top priority, and this is by far the most important safety measure: always be sure lock all of your doors.
- A car cover will provide protection against the cold, and it will provide privacy. However, if it is hot outside, do not use one without good ventilation. Also, never run your car while it is covered as you could get carbon monoxide poisoning.
Things You'll Need
- A station wagon
- A decent sleeping bag. Get the heavy (therefore cheap), warm ones, since portability is not an issue, and you can always unzip on the warm days
- Alarm clock (if you dont have a reliable cell phone, kitchen timers are great)
- Ear Plugs (unless you are paranoid), blindfolds, etc.
- A 6' x 8' Tarp
- A pillow
- How to Take a Road Trip
- How to Be Comfortable on a Long Airplane Trip
- How to Sleep Better
- How to Ride the Bus Safely and Enjoy Yourself
- How to Ride the New York City Subway
Article provided by wikiHow, a collaborative writing project to build the world's largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Sleep Comfortably in a Car. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.