7 Awesome Apps for Vanlife!
Updated: Oct 15, 2020
We've listed 7 of the best, most useful vanlife apps. If you live or travel in a campervan or RV then these apps will enhance your experience! From finding van parkups and services to tracking your fuel consumption to recording your travels - it's all here, tried and tested by us!
Not sponsored/Ad, we just love these apps and have found them to be really useful as we travel!
1. park4night - Android and Apple
Our favourite app for finding parkups!
It has an interactive map so that you can search by moving it around to a particular place of interest, then hit the 'new search from here' button to bring up all the sites.
You can also search individually by any one of the following:
Free and paying motorhome areas
Private carpark for campers (often a pub or other business' carpark)
Homestays accommodation (private land for free or paid stays) Service areas without parking - Usually with fresh water and waste dump areas, sometimes other services too
Picnic areas; motorway rest stops, Campsites
'On the Farm' (free or paid overnight parking, usually with the opportunity to puchase the farm's produce)
'Surrounded by nature' - often fine for overnight stays, these are in woodland or by lakes and rivers... we always look for these as a first choice as we aren't fond of carparks or campsites.
Parking lots day/night (carparks)
'Off Road' - only suitable for off road vehicles
Extra Services - including lpg filling stations, laundrettes, water sources
Wifi internet access
Waste container (bins)
Animals (pet allowed)
Washing for motorhomes
Lpg filling station
and multiple other interests such as fishing, climbing, monuments etc.
Each entry usually has a photo or 3, and may have public comments/reviews. You can also leave these yourself! Comments can be translated in app too.
It shows you the latitude and longitude, basic address, and if you tap the 'localization' button you can open the location in a variety of GPS applications including Google Maps.
Another great feature is the ability to add any place to 'My selection'. We use this to keep a record of places that we've stayed and enjoyed, as well as places that may be useful further along our route. You can view 'my selection' by list or on a map, and sort them by a variety of paramenters such as distance, rating or creation date.
There is a Pro version of the app which removes ads, allows searching along your route and various small other improvements. Subscription is 1.99E/month or 9.99E/year, and it funds the development of park4night (we are subscribed on Dom's account, and not on mine, hence photo showing ad below!)
2. Fuelio - Android (Drivvo may be a good substitute for Apple users)
The home page of this app shows nearby petrol stations as well as your vehicle/s, fuel and costs data. You choose the units you like to display in; fuel type; tank capacity, and other optional details.
When you fill up your tank, you add the data - the odo counter, amount filled, price per litre and total cost. The app adds the time and date. If you have GPS sharing on, it also records which petrol station you used. You can add a note, discount and photos if you want.
You can also input vehicle costs such as washing, servicing, tolls, insurance etc. You can add these as one-time costs or recurring and also add reminders by date or odo counter!
There are separate pages for your timeline and a trip cost calculator.
All in all a very useful app for keeping track of fuel and vehicle costs.
3. FindPenguins - Android and Apple
This app is a travel tracker and journal. You turn on the travel tracker and your phone automatically logs your travel route and places that you stop at during your travels.
This app doesn't need the internet to record your route, so you can travel to remote areas and simply upload your posts and route when you have wifi again.
You can add photos, videos and text to each place recorded to keep a nice diary of your travels.
Share your journey with other users of the app, or on Facebook and Twitter - and browse other people's journeys too.
Find Penguins also gives you the option to buy a printed travel book of your adventures, including all your text and photos!
4. what3words - Android and Apple
This very simple app can be used to tell someone exactly where you are (they can use the website or the app to locate you). What3words has divided the world into a grid of 3m squares and given each one a unique 3 word address. It's a quick and easy way to say and share a location, as accurate as GPS coordinates. We like it because we can save the location of parkups to the exact spot - so we can return after time away, or to invite friends over. Particuarly useful if you like to park up in wilder areas. Our favourite spot in Portugal is in Quarteira ///socked.twinkly.handcuffed
5. Roadtrippers - Android and Apple
This app has an interactive map. The search box suggests searching by Hotels, Things to do, Food & Drink, Camping and RV, Outdoors, Points of Interest, Amusement & nightlife - or your own saved places. All of those headings have further subcategories too.
Or you can search for a place, and then see what's there.
You can set a route to a destination and then specify which items you want to find along the way. Then you can check each item it shows in detail (overview, facilities, photos and reviews) and choose to add it to your trip or not.
You can save multiple trips as well as individual places, and you can leave reviews and your own photos.
6. GoWithKid - Android and Apple
This interactive map can be filtered to show playgrounds, parks, entertainment, cafes and/or other.
Move the map with your finger or type a place name in the search box.
Some listings have photos so you can see what it's like - very useful to check out the facilities before driving all the way there.
Each listing has a 'open in Google Maps' button, making it easy to navigate to, or browse the area further.
Go with Kid is curated by it's community and you can submit new listings.
7. ViewRanger - Android and Apple
This is a fab app to have if you enjoy exploring the great outdoors, particularly in the UK.
You can view and download OS maps, find and follow existing routes, plan trips with route guides, and if you pay £4.99/year you can use Skyline AR. This lets you identify peaks and navigate with augmented reality. It also lets you see tracks and routes in 3D, even replaying your own recorded routes!
There are street maps, cycle maps, satellite view as well as OS maps.
You can record a track - tell it how you are travelling, mountain biking for example, and the app will record your route, time taken and distance travelled. You can pause the recording too, useful if you stop for a picnic and don't want it to affect your time! When you finish recording, you can add photos and save it or share it publicly.
Although this app is ideal for UK exploration, you can view maps and routes all over the world.
There are a lot of other apps out there that purport to be good for vanlifers, but we've tried many of them and found them lacking. We highly recommend starting with the above 7 as they are the cream of the crop! We hope this has been helpful, do leave us a comment if you think we've missed a goodie, we'll test it out and update in the future!
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