Where to find a public microwave on the road in the US?

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When you are bringing your homemade meal on the trip, there is but one evident question that will constantly badger you: Where to find a public microwave on the road in the US?

What’s the point of packing yourself that scrumptious meal if you can’t even enjoy it hot and sizzling? So, now you are on the lookout to find a ‘public microwave’ on the road. Before we have enlisted all the possible places where you can find a ‘public’ microwave on the road in the U.S.

Where to find a public microwave on the road in the US?

Below are a few places where you can find a public microwave on the road in the U.S.

Truck Stops

As a reliable source of diesel fuel, truck stops were established in the United States in the 1940s

Due to the rapid expansion of the Interstate Highway System, professional haulage and truck stop businesses were born.

A minimum of a diesel-grade fuelling station with bays broad and tall enough for current tractor/trailer rigs, as well as enough parking space to accommodate five to over a hundred trucks and other heavy vehicles are the most common characteristics of these facilities. 


Most truck stops will have a microwave oven for public usage and they are your best bet to heat up food while on the road in the U.S. Truck stops incorporate myriad facilities to ensure a smooth trip for drivers, therefore, if you have a meal waiting to be heated up, stop by at a decent truck stop, use the microwave and be on the road again. It is always a good idea to make use of some of the facilities provided by the truck stop you are stopping at to make sure that you do not come off as a ‘resource hogger’ or simply rude.

The larger truck stops, like Iowa 80 (the world’s largest), may house a variety of independent companies serving a wide range of travelers’ needs, as well as a small food court with numerous major and minor fast-food franchises.

Vehicle wash services that can handle everything from a passenger car to a huge truck can also be found at larger truck stops with full-service repair facilities. Some truck stops have their own motels or are located next to them.

Truck stops should not be confused with rest areas or motorway service areas, which are typically owned or leased by the government or a tollway business, and which cater primarily to automobiles.

Gas Stations

As a result of the cordial nature of most gas station employees, using the microwave to heat up food that you brought in is rarely, if ever, a problem.

It’s courteous to buy a modest thing like a bottle of water, drink, souvenir, snack, etc., or merely to fill up your vehicle’s tank with gasoline when using the microwave at a gas station.  So long as you have a receipt, you can use their sink, microwave, bathroom, etc. without anyone objecting or caring since you are a “paying customer.” Most gas stations will allow you to use the microwave for free, but it does not hurt to spend a few pennies to buy a little something and then use the amenities in the place.

Even while you may save money and eat healthier on the road by doing this, you are still showing respect and acknowledgment for the hospitality and goodwill of the gas station that let you use the microwave for free.  

One good way to start is to ask if it’s okay to heat up your food in the microwave if you are unsure.    Maintaining good hygiene is all you need to ensure a smooth ride, and if you are refused to use the microwave at one station, drive a few blocks and try again at a different station.

Whole Foods

Whole foods almost always have public microwaves in the eating areas of the restaurant. 

Most Whole Foods restaurants have a public microwave in the eating area that you can use while you are on the road. These public microwaves provided by Whole Foods serve to make sure that the customers from the restaurant are served the food at a temperature of their liking. This can be used to your advantage to heat up food while you are on the road in the U.S.

A few coffee shops

A handful of coffee shops such as Espresso Royale have public microwaves too. When traveling via road in the U.S., it is ideal to stop at a coffee shop (more so if you function on caffeine), ask if they have a public microwave that you can use. If they do, make sure to buy something from the outlet as a gesture of courtesy.

Most coffee shops with public microwaves in the U.S. would not bat an eye if you used the microwave for heating your homemade curry for a few minutes.

Alternative – Buying a microwave for using on the road

Microwaves that run on 12 volts are available for purchase. In terms of power, they’re not as powerful as the mains voltage ones, but they do the job. It’s possible to get them from RV-friendly stores or via mail order.

Remember, even at 600 watts, there’s a 55 amp draw. As a precaution, you should check to see if your car alternator is capable of supplying enough power for the device. If you plug it into the cigarette lighter (often rated at 15-20 amps), you’ll blow the fuse.

Tips for choosing the right truck stop when traveling

Given that there are a plethora of truck stops that you will come across when traveling within the U.S., the question is how do you know which you should really make a stop at? If you are new to the whole truck stop scenario, here are a few tips to make the whole decision of choosing a truck stop easier for you.

Choose Truck Stop by Amenities it Can Offer

To get an idea of how truck stops have evolved, we can look back to the days when the word “truck stop” connoted an establishment that provided basic services like fuel, showers, and sleeping quarters for the truckers who needed them, as well as a place to park for the night.  Today’s truck stops have a lot more to offer, and if the one you are thinking of stopping at does not provide enough facilities, we recommend looking for another one. 

When it comes to safety, the word “truck stop” had been associated with a dangerous place to travel, visit, or even stay, even for truck drivers, in the past, These days truck stops have considerably improved and furthered security as well as safety front, therefore, if you are thinking of making a stop at a truck stop, make sure you know how solid they are on the safety.

Truck stops were originally built along highways in order to supply truck drivers with fuel, food, and parking, but today, practically every stop offers a wide range of high-quality services.

There is a wide range of services truck stops can offer:

  • Restaurants (some of them may even be brand-owned)
  • Providers of chiropractic care (very useful for truck drivers)
  • Merchandise stores
  • Lounges
  • Repairs to a vehicle
  • A truck wash service.
  • Alleys for bowling
  • Gyms
  • ATM’s
  • Post
  • Wi-Fi cafes and coffee shops
  • Services in the field of medicine
  • Shops for men’s haircuts
  • Automated washing machines
  • Theatrical venues
  • Centers for gaming

Throughout the 20th century, the image of truck stops has been more vibrant and colorful, and these trucker rest sites have become like luxury settlements not just for truck drivers, but also for families who are passing through that area. To get today’s swanky look, the picture of a cowboy truck stop was painted over.

Imagining what it would be like to stand in front of the first cowboy truck stop and observe the service they deliver in real-time and compare it to the service provided by the newer ones now would be incredible.

Compare the Individually Owned and Large Chains

To understand why it’s crucial to know that not all truck stops provide the same level of service. Because of this, truck stop customers can take advantage of greater discounts and privileges at a given location while also becoming their most loyal customers.

From one privately operated truck stop to another privately-owned truck stop, there is a noticeable difference. It’s fine for truck stop prices to vary because each owner has his or her own strategy; some have lower fuel prices but higher prices for other services, or the other way around.


The truck stops you’ll be passing over on your journey should be researched in advance. There is no one-size-fits-all formula for separating the “good” from the “bad.”

Why would truck stops be any different from the rest of the industry?

In order to draw in as many customers as possible, truck stops will provide special club cards, extra points for free services, and so forth…

Large Truck Stop Chains

  • More high-quality gasoline is available to them
  • Because they are located 100 miles apart, you can eat at one spot and sleep at the other, making them more accessible.
  • You can get discounts and other perks by signing up for a membership card. You can accumulate points for free additional services because you are visiting the same truck stop but at a different location.
  • To use their services, you don’t have to be within a 100-mile radius of their location.
  • Most large truck stop franchisees will reward you with points for a free shower if you fill up with 50 to 100 gallons of fuel at their location.
  • Parking spaces that are more expansive

Individually Owned Truck Stops

  • Extras are offered to make up for the shortage of locations offered by huge chain truck stops.
  • Some truck stops have as many as 30 to 50 different salads on their menu, and their house specialties can make you take a detour only to eat their deliciously prepared meals.
  • Sections that make the journey more enjoyable.
  • Services in the field of medicine and dentistry
  • Internet access is provided at no charge.
  • Audiobooks are available for free.
  • Mechanics’ tools
  • Inquire about additional driver benefits.

Check for Extra Driver Benefits

The majority of the trucking companies have contracts with some of the truck stop chains in order to receive additional perks that are not available to the general public. Using this tactic is a shrewd move by the truck stop. Truck drivers who are willing to employ their services in exchange for additional services or discounts are being gathered by the company.

It makes sense from the driver’s point of view since they are in the market for such a service. Assuming that the truck stop location is readily available in multiple locations, why not save some money? In reality, if it is a one-time service those 10$ could look like a lot of money but in the long term, let’s say for a 5-6 month period, it is quite the sum total.

Check for Fuel Prices

Because fuel is your major expense, you should pay close attention to the price that a truck stop is offering. All the truck stops on your route should be examined so that you may locate a truck stop that offers cheap fuel.

Check the gasoline price whenever you cross a truck stop since most of the larger truck stops have multiple locations along your route. Gather information on fuel prices at each truck stop before you fill up your tank because each one has its own politics when it comes to fuel. Even while ten dollars may not seem like much now, if you think about it over the course of, say, five or six months, you’ll be wasting a significant sum of money.

Since fuel is your main expense, there is no room for error when it comes to slashing your costs.

Make an effort to get a rebate for refueling the truck

If you can get free service by filling up your vehicle at a truck stop, you should do so. Loyalty cards are offered at many truck stops, which might save you points for free service or a discount at the truck stop in question.

You’ll need a loyalty card to rack up points for a free shower at a truck stop that gives you points for buying between 50 and 100 gallons of fuel. That service is available at every truck stop in the chain at any time.

Rather than pay $7-10 for a shower at a gas station, why not fill your tank and receive a free shower, or have your truck washed for free, or get a free slice of pizza? Instead of throwing money away on goods, you don’t need, get a loyalty truck stop card to boost your earnings and minimize your costs.

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Author - Willa Carson
Happywayfarer author Willa Carson
Hi, I'm Willa Carson, a passionate traveler who has been exploring the world for 7 years. Whether it's trekking through the Himalayas, exploring ancient ruins in South America, or simply savoring a cup of coffee at a local cafe, I believe that travel has the power to enrich our lives in countless ways. So join me on my journey and let's discover the world together!
Read more about me here.


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