It’s the kind of thing that makes a great plot for a horror movie.  A young blonde woman enters a truck stop. Well, you can finish the rest of that story.

Admittedly, I was nervous last week as I ventured into the Pilot Flying J for the first time, but fortunately my tale has a happy ending. I must say that a visit to a truck stop wasn’t initially on my radar, but I was pleasantly surprised with my experience. To sum it up, it has all the amenities of a hotel, minus a bed.

Here are 6 Secrets You Should Know About Truck Stops:

1. They Aren’t Just for Truckers
Of course, certain franchises specifically cater to the needs of truckers, but most serve the greater population as well. Truth be told, truck stops are actually quite family friendly.

2. WiFi
Whether you’re checking your email or checking to make sure your college friends haven’t tagged some horrendous photo of you on Facebook, chances are that you’re going to want an internet connection. When you are in the middle of Nebraska with no cell service, WiFi will become your BFF.

3. Public Laundry
Public laundry facilities are provided at most Pilot Flying J locations. The company prides itself on “fast and efficient laundry equipment, allowing customers to complete their laundry quickly and get back on the road.” I didn’t use this particular service, so I can’t speak to the authenticity of this claim. However, I’ll be sure to check it out next time.

4. Food
Stocked with snacks galore, you’ll be able to indulge in everything from Twinkies to pizza. In all seriousness, the food I had at Pilot Flying J wasn’t half bad. Of course, it’s not exactly your five star restaurant, but truckers like to eat and they can be a demanding clientele.  I like to skip the snack food and go straight for a hot and (relatively) nutritious meal. My favorite is oatmeal with raisins.

5. Fuel
This secret isn’t much of a secret, but it’s nice to know that you can fill your tank, while stuffing your face at the same time. And with the RV Plus card from Pilot, you can enjoy discounts every time you fuel up.  The company’s website even features fuel prices by location.

6. Showers
My favorite secret of all! For just $10, you’ll step into a private, well-lit room with a sink, mirror, toilet, oscillating fan, hooks to hang cloths, and a shower stall. Free conveniences include a fresh towel, washcloth, bath mat, shampoo, soap and plenty of hot water. Best of all, you’ll feel refreshed and energized for the remainder of your drive—money well spent if you ask me!

For less than $20, there are few other places where you can shower, eat a hot meal, do some laundry, check your e-mail and stretch your legs. For me, it was $20 well spent. Have you ever been to a truck stop? How was your experience?