6 best smartphone apps for your camping road trip in Europe | Nest Campers

6 best smartphone apps for your camping road trip in Europe

Using an app for campervan travel
04. November 2019

A road trip in a camper van is probably one of the best ways to explore a country: You never need to pack and unpack your luggage, you can easily reach places which are off the beaten track and you can enjoy the ultimate freedom since you never need to book or reserve a hotel.

However, there are also challenges for road trippers. Not all of them but at least some challenges can be addressed with the right apps on your mobile device.

That’s what this article is about: It’s a list of the most useful apps for road trips in Europe.
 

vanlife europe, camping app, camping in europe
We usually take road trips to disconnect from the "modern-day buzz",
but there are some apps that will make your life on the road really easy and stress-free.

 

Before we start here are some words about myself: I’m Oliver, a Swiss travel blogger. Over the last 5 years, I’ve been on a dozen multi-day road trips. Some in small cars, others in huge vans. In this guest post, I would like to share with you what I have learned from my road trips.
 

Campervan road trip, camping mobile app, road trip europe, camper slovenia, camper europe
Oliver went on a road trip with Stork campervan in April 2019 and loved it - despite the rainy weather.

 

1. Find a place to sleep - park4night

Most countries in Europe don’t allow wild camping. The chance of getting caught is low but some countries impose an unpleasantly big fine. The good news is that you don’t need to take this risk. Many destinations offer a growing number of free parking spaces where campers can stay for a maximum of 24 hours. Some even provide fresh water, electricity, or allow you to empty your grey water tanks.

They can be located in unpleasant industrial areas, in locations with amazing views, or nearby to important attractions. The best way to find out about them is “park4night” (android / iOS), possibly the biggest and most popular camping app in Europe. The app does not only lead you to the parking spot but also tells you what amenities they offer and provides detailed ratings from other users.

The basic version is free but it requires an internet connection. For a small fee, you can download the pro version which also works offline. As mentioned before: There are many apps that do the same so look around if you don’t like this one.

Download for Android
Download for iOS

park4night, app camping europe, europe road trip, campervan slovenia, campervan europe
Best app to find overnight spots - park4night.

 

Talking about camping: If you fancy proper camping grounds, I recommend you apply for an ASCI card. The camping card is not free but allows you to stay in selected places during the lower season with a discount of up to 60 percent. If you plan to stay more than three days on camping grounds, it’s worth buying it.

 

2. Download an offline map - Maps.me

Admittedly, I found some of the most beautiful places on my road trips after I got completely lost. No doubt it’s fun to roam around without having to reach a specific destination, but there are also times when it is just troublesome to get lost. For example, if you have to return your camper on time or don’t want to miss a pre-booked tour or your flight back home.

For all these situations I recommend you install a good offline map service. Why does it need to be offline? The advantage is that you can download the map of a whole country before your departure. This means you don’t need to use potentially expensive data roaming once you hit the road. It’s also useful when you’re in remote areas with poor signals.

There are several apps on the market, so test them before your departure and see which one works the best for you. My personal favorite is “maps.me” (Android / iOS) which uses the highly reliable data from OpenStreetMaps (I like to think of it as the Wikipedia of maps). The app's navigation is very similar to Google Maps and tells you how long it takes to reach your destination – but without draining your data plan.

Download for Android
Download for iOS

camping europe, rent a campervan slovenia, campervanhire europe, mapsme
Best app for offline maps - maps.me.

 

3. Find a car park - ParkMe

Finding suitable parking spaces in big cities can be a nightmare. Having a proper parking app like “ParkMe” (Android / iOS) can save you a lot of hassle. This app helps you to find the nearest car park and its charges (hourly or daily), the expected occupancy, and sometimes the maximum height, which is useful if you’re driving a camper vehicle with an extended roof.

If you prefer to use street parking, the app also takes into account the likelihood of finding a parking space in the street you choose or in any street nearby. This helps you to decide which area of the city is worth trying. My favorite function, however, is a timer that reminds you when you have to refill the meter or move to the next parking place.

Download for Android
Download for iOS

park me, camping europe, europe road trip, campervan slovenia
Best app for parking spots - ParkMe.

 

4. Finding public toilet - Toilet Finder

In case your camper van does not have a proper toilet (or if you simply don’t feel comfortable using it), then you should install an app that helps you to find public toilets. I use an app called “toilet finder” and it has saved me already in a couple of emergencies.

This app has a database of more than 150.000 washrooms all over the world. The listed places are divided into categories like public toilets, petrol stations, or restaurants. Furthermore, the app informs you if there is a fee charged for its use and the level of cleanness.

Download for Android
Download for iOS


The best app to find toilets - Toilet Finder.

 

5. Offline entertainment - Audible, Netflix, Spotify

On a perfect road trip, the scenery is amazing and you would never get bored from driving for a single second. Unfortunately, the reality is that the scenery can’t be perfect all of the time. You may have to follow an unexciting highway for hours or spend the night in the middle of nowhere with nothing left to do or there's always a chance of neverending rain and bad weather.

That’s why I recommend preparing some apps to entertain you. My favorite thing during driving is to listen to audiobooks. I mean, what is more, beautiful than listening to an interesting story while you drive through a scenic area? I use “Audible” but depending on your native language there might be other/better options.

Another entertainment app which I love on road trips is “Netflix” (obviously not while driving). The biggest streaming provider now has a function that allows you to download movies and programs at home and watch them later offline. “Spotify” offers something similar for music.
 

campervan europe, camper slovenia, travel europe, vanlife, rainy campervan day, road trip life
Rain and cold outside? Snuggle in, watch a movie, listen to music or audiobook.
 

6. Finding good internet - Wifi Map

While it might be nice to opt for a digital detox for a couple of days, for many of us the internet is simply essential to our daily lives. It doesn’t matter if you have to send out some important work emails or if you just want to share your latest travel adventures with your friends back home.

Finding good internet can be tough on a camper trip. Hotspots apps help you to find the nearest Wi-Fi access points. Make sure you have the one that fits your needs because some just list open hotspots while others have a huge collection of passwords that were collected by thousands of other users.

My personal favorite is “Wifi Map” (Android / iOS). This App does not only list a large number of useable hotspots but also points out the direction to the nearest phone tower. So if you want to improve your connection by changing your location this helps you to find the right direction.

Download for Android
Download for iOS


The best app to find Wi-Fi spots - Wifi Map.

 


 

So, these were the apps that I love to use on my road trips. 

Every now and then, we come to realize that we use our phones just a little too much.
Next time that happens to you, book a campervan with us, disconnect from your daily routine, and explore Europe in the best and most affordable way!

Written by: 

Oliver Zwahlen

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