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.
Thats what this article is about: Its a list of the most useful apps for road trips 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: Im Oliver, a Swiss travel blogger. Over the last 5 years, Ive 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.
Oliver went on a road trip with Stork campervan in April 2019 and loved it – despite the rainy weather.
These Camping Apps Will Help You Stay Connected To The Outdoors
That desire for campground information is exactly why we built The Dyrt, which now features over 42,000 campgrounds and more reviews than any other app. We strive to be the resource for all things camping, but with countless other resources out there, it can be helpful to have several options.
Generally, some of the best camping apps can be divided into a few categories. Specialized databases and bookings tools, like Tentrr and Boondocking, are great for showing you a specific type of camping. More generalized databases, like The Dyrt, show you campgrounds, availability, activities and more, taking an all-in-one approach to finding camping from your phone. Weve collected camping apps of all types that are likely to help you plan your next camping trip, whether its at a popular national park or in your local woods.
Allstays Best Boondocking App
Allstays has a variety of iOS apps, ranging in price from $1.99 to $9.99. There are apps for boondocking, RV camping, and finding dump stations, as well as a website that anyone can use.
You can search for boondocking spots on Allstays by selecting a U.S. state, then applying filters. Clicking on sites allows you to see detailed information as well as user reviews.
One of the coolest features of this best boondocking app is the map filter function, which is available in the pro version.
Youre able to apply filters to things like clearance and road grades, and the app will suggest alternative routes if youre worried about low bridges or mountain roads.
The pro version of Allstays is available for an annual fee of around $35. This version is faster, there arent any pesky ads, and youll have access to offline maps.
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Recreational Sites In British Columbia
Simply put, the best place for free camping in Canada is British Columbia. This province is home to a network of mostly free Recreational Sites with rustic camping facilities.
These Rec Sites are located by water features and are usually accessed via unpaved logging roads.
- Recreational Sites range in size from tiny one party campsites to large, organised campgrounds with dozens of allocated sites
- A minority of BCs Rec Sites have a nightly fee, around $10-15
- Most are completely free to use, for stays of up to 14 days
The easiest way to find free camping in BC is to use the Trails and Sites website or a regional Backroad Mapbook. The latter is helpful for logging road navigation as well as detailed descriptions of every Rec Site.
Top 12 Canadian Camping Apps
Just in time to plan your vacation to Canada, I made up a list of my favourite 13 Canadian camping apps for your smartphone or tablet.
Im a strong believer in getting away from phone and computers when youre on holiday. But, there are times when the iPhone or Samsung can come in really handy when youre on the road.
These are camping apps that I actually use myself, and have found useful when travelling or planning my trips. Where available, I have included both the IOS and Android versions.
If you enjoy this post, please share it on Social Media to let others find it who might be interested in this article about the top 13 Canadian camping apps.
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So Where Do You Find Free Campsites
Glad you asked. Were about to share exactly how we find free camping plus, were going to divulge some insider tips weve picked up over the years as well as some cautionary personal tales.
Before we get started, I do want to mention three important things
a) Beware of fake campsites: Many photos you see of #vanlife on Instagram are not taken in a spot where the creator actually spent the night. While beautiful , staged photos can be a bit misleading. Just keep this in mind as you browse social media.
Psst! In this article, were sharing photos of our previous experiences and using the caption to explain each specific site in detail. Be sure to read those so you know the real back story.
b) Not all free campsites are equal: Youll find some amazing campsites, and youll find some that just get you through the night. The latter will make those good ones even more incredible.
c) Know how to camp responsibly! Please do not leave this article without reading the section on responsible camping guidelines. Weve been to some sites in the past where it is clear that previous visitors did not know about how to be a respectful camper. Please dont be that person The only way campsites will stay free and amazing for all to enjoy is if we all do our part to respect them.
Usfs & Blm Campgrounds App
USFS & BLM Campgrounds is a paid boondocking app, but it costs just 99 cents. Youll be able to use the app to discover almost 5,700 campsites. You can search across various types of public lands, so you dont miss out on the best spots on US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management land.
Each location shows additional information, including elevation, images, and weather in the area. You can use it easily with a navigation system. Not to mention, you can search for campgrounds even without cell service, which is a great bonus!
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The Dyrt 500000+ Rv And Tent Campsites Reviews & Tips For All Us Campgrounds
The Dyrt is the all-in-one resource for campers to find campsites, read reviews, and book their stay. With the most campground photos, videos, and reviews of any camping resource, The Dyrt offers comprehensive and user-submitted guides to camping across the U.S. Our desktop, iOS, and Android apps feature over 42,000 ranked campgrounds with more being added every day. Users can compete in camping contests, where online reviews can lead to real prizes and discounts with our outdoor brand partners. Bookings are available in-app. See why campers call it the best camping app.
Bureau Of Land Management
Bureau of Land Management land is mostly found out west, and dispersed camping is allowed on most BLM land for up to 14 days. The exception is areas close to population centers and areas used for grazing. For example, in Moab, Utah, there is a ton of BLM camping available, but because its so popular, many of the sites are more developed and cost a small fee for overnight stays.
Unfortunately, the BLM doesnt have a comprehensive map on their website showing where all of the free BLM campsites are, but you can get a feel for whats available in your region by browsing their regional maps found here. Some states have pretty handy guides, like Idaho, and you also contact the local BLM office to get more info on where you can camp for free. The tools we talk about in the next section will also help you identify where free BLM camping is.
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How To Find Free Camping Near Me
Below is a collection of up-to-date resources we use to find free campsites when were traveling.
*iOverlander : This app is full of user-submitted campsites as well as other traveler-friendly information like dump stations and water fills. However, since the app relies on users to add and update content, its not 100% accurate, so its worth doing some additional research once youve found a spot you are interested in. But, generally speaking, its a great place to start!
The Dyrt PRO: The Dyrt PRO offers some great resources to help you find free camping, including filters to find free campsites, offline National Forest and BLM map overlays, and a trip planner. You can try it for 90 days free by using our code FRESH90 here!
*Free Roam : This desktop and mobile app has some really helpful features. First, you can toggle on National Forest and BLM overlays, making it super easy to find public land. You can also toggle on a satellite map and zoom in to see what the roads/turnouts look like, making it easier to identify if an area might be suitable for boondocking. Second, you can also overlay Motor Vehicle Use Maps, so you dont have to go searching for the PDFs on the national forest website. Third, you can use the map layers to show cell coverage and national forest/BLM land. If you create a free account, you can also save sites or your own waypoints, making it great for multi-day planning.
How To Find Free Camping In The Us
The United States is a big country. Its also broken up into, you guessed it, 50 stateseach of which can have drastically different rules and availability when it comes to free camping.
Firstly, you can almost never go wrong with a Walmart. Exactly why many of the parking lots outside of this national chain permit overnighting is riddled in RV folklore, but though they dont all permit free camping, its a pretty solid option if you just need a place to stay for the night. Theyre not the only chain to do this, Cabelas sporting goods stores and Cracker Barrel restaurants are known for their nightly RV skylines, as well.
If sleeping in a parking lot isnt exactly your idea of camping, you need to start looking at the country by region.
For example, most states east of the Mississippi offer very little in the way of free camping, but still may permit RVs to stay for six or eight hours in roadside rest stops. Is it really camping if you cant fire up the lantern and roast some Smores? Maybe not, but its a free place to stay for the night.
While the big difference between free camping in National Forests vs. BLM land is usually the type of terrain , the sites, sounds and serenity youll experience at any given spot is as varied as the multitude of ecosystems in the US.
Well discuss nearly every state that offers free camping suitable for RVers below, to help familiarize yourself with where the best of the best comes into play
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Find A Place To Sleep
Most countries in Europe dont allow wild camping. The chance of getting caught is low but some countries impose an unpleasantly big fine. The good news is that you dont 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 , 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 dont like this one.
How To Camp For Free In A Parking Lot
Youve probably heard that you can camp overnight in the parking lot of a Walmart. Or Cracker Barrel. Or some other business/type of place. While its true that you can spend the night in a parking lot for most of these businesses, some states have laws and restrictions around this. Again, check online for what information you can find, and if all else fails, check with management before setting up camp. Remember that you have to stay in your car if you plan on staying in a parking lot . It might not be the most comfortable option, but its a good backup plan to keep in mind.
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What Is Free Camping
Free camping is exactly what it sounds like, camping with no cost. This is a great way to save money in popular areas where RV parks know tourists will pay massive fees to stay. Free camping spots typically offer little, if any, amenities and so its not a camping style for everyone.
Government agencies manage many of these free campgrounds and require guests to acquire a permit before setting up camp. This allows agencies to track who uses the land and to enforce stay limits.
While it may take a little more effort on your part, permits help ensure public lands remain open for campers to enjoy.
The Seven Us States With Little Or No Free Camping
Unfortunately, and believe me, we use that word sincerely, not everywhere in the US is free camping friendly. Whether its simply because they were developed too early or simply have policies that trend toward paying for a nights stay, these states tend to lack free camping either completely, or at least to a degree where they just dont make the cut.
Delaware is a small state and was the first official state in the US, so well give it a pass for offering no legitimate free camping.
Georgia is a peach, but its downright rotten in the eyes of those looking for free camping.
Hawaiitheres just something about paradise that makes people want to charge money for the experience.
North Dakota is the big shocker on this list. Unlike its southerly brother , you wont get a free ticket to camp here.
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So What Exactly Is Dispersed Free Camping
Free or dispersed camping means youll most likely be without services and amenities such as water, picnic tables, trash cans, showers, and toilets. That means you need to come fully prepared with everything you need, and youll need to pack everything out and abide by Leave No Trace principles. The trade-off is these dispersed campsites are generally FREE, offer a lot more solitude than traditional campsites, and sometimes youll even have better views!
What Do I Need To Camp For Free
Because most free campsites do not have any amenities, youll need to arrive prepared. If youre camping in a remote, wild area lands), in addition to your RV or tent, be sure to bring:
- Water for drinking and washing
- Garbage bags
- Toilet paper and a shovel
- Camp chairs and a table
A working knowledge of Leave No Trace principles is essential to camping responsibly in free campsites, including how to dispose of waste properly.
If youre camping in an area that allows overnight parking, such as a truck stop or Walmart parking lot, you will likely have access to a bathroom and a place to dispose of garbage.
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Some Extra Tips To Find Free Camping
Knowing how to find free campsites opens up a whole new world of possibility for outdoor adventurers. Here are a few added tips to help make the best of your free camping excursions, including how apps like Freeroam can be used to help you find a free campsite or save money.
\1) Land designation matters
In general, lands that are managed under the National Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management allow free camping in one spot for up to 14 days. The FreeRoam app for I phones and Android phones can help you find these territories. Or try the USFS & BLM Campgrounds on iOS.
With this in mind, be aware that some National Forest and BLM areas restrict camping access altogether, have shorter limits on camping stays, or only allow camping in designated clearings along certain roads. It’s a good idea to check in with the local ranger office or agency website to make sure of any camping restrictions, or FreeRoam helps with those rules as well. States and counties often manage public forests, but camping restrictions can vary wildly between jurisdictions. Always do your research on a local area before heading out
2) A high-clearance vehicle can help
One advantage of developed, fee-based campsites is that they usually have well-maintained, paved roads. Free campsites don’t often offer this luxury. When scouting out free campsites using your smartphone, expect to travel down rocky, uneven, and rutted roads.
3) Pack it in, pack it out