12 camping apps for stress-free travel# Camping
What we love most about camping holidays is that we can pack up and set off whenever we like – and hopefully experience something unforgettable along the way. Still, that spontaneity does mean you’ll occasionally end up spending ages looking for services you need, staying at an expensive campsite, or dealing with other situations seemingly designed purely to induce stress. Thankfully, there are some fantastic camping apps on the market to help you overcome these hurdles.
You’ve probably already noticed that there is a huge selection of innovative camping apps to choose from, which is why we’ve compiled a list of the best ones – along with some things to keep in mind before downloading them. Kickstart your holiday by renting out a private campervan with PaulCamper and try out these camping apps while you’re on the road.
Our selection of the best camping apps for you: jump straight to the relevant section.
In this article, we’ll tell you
- what to look out for when searching for a good camping app
- what the three best apps are for finding a campsite
- which petrol station apps we would recommend
- which navigation and traffic apps will help you avoid congestion and get where you need to go
- which other useful camping apps there are for Android and iPhone
Camping apps – what makes them good?
Before embarking on a trip, you’ll probably be planning to equip yourself with campsite, navigation and petrol station apps. We’d add the following to that list:
A GPS navigation app with an offline function that allows you to download maps and data via Wi-Fi so you can use them later on without the need for an internet connection. This will prevent you from using up all your data and means you won’t have to rely on coverage from your mobile provider. This is especially useful if you’re planning to head into the mountains or pitch your camp by a lake. Another thing to keep in mind is that you’ll probably only be using these apps when on holiday, so it’s best not to pay through the nose for them. However, in some cases it is worth spending some money on them instead of lugging around a heavy atlas or printed campsite/travel guide.
The best camping apps are always up to date on traffic/navigation information and the status of nearby campsites. This is important, as you don’t want to set off for your next camping trip in the only to find that your campsite – or the road leading there – no longer exists, or that the prices have gone through the roof.
It should be possible to link the campsite or petrol station you’re looking for with your smartphone’s map feature (or another navigation app you are using), as this will prevent you from having to enter the same information twice. Filter functions, local searches and ratings all make it easier for you to find the details you need from the huge amount of data these apps contain. Also keep in mind that reviews from other holiday-goers in camping apps can be super useful when choosing a campsite.
Campsite finders: our top five picks for finding a campsite
There are now smartphone apps that you can use to find the nearest, most picturesque or most affordable campsite (or a mixture of all three) – wherever you are in the world. We’ve restricted our overview to three campsite finders specifically for countries in Europe. The apps are widely used by campers and are suitable for both iPhone and Android. They are also the most highly rated apps on various platforms and blogs run by fans of campervans and mobile homes.
Each one of our top five handy camping apps contains listings for thousands of campsites all over Europe. The results are displayed on a map and in an easy-to-read list and can be filtered based on various criteria. For example, you can search based on the campsite’s price, rating, distance or size, making it quick and easy to find your next ideal spot to spend the night.
WikiCamps UK – the offline wonder
WikiCamps UK is an award-winning app and the ultimate addition to any camper’s smartphone. It contains the UK’s largest database of campsites, caravan parks and points of interest, with maps that can be used offline (provided you download them beforehand), a site list and a host of useful filters you can apply to see if a site has electricity, real toilets, wireless, water, etc. Extra features include a compass, a road trip planner, a checklist, a satellite dish pointer and even a chat forum.
Park4night – sharing campsites among a close-knit community
Park4night is made for campervan enthusiasts: this is a platform containing more than 168,000 sites for you to park up for the night and enjoy some well-earned rest. With star ratings and reviews and the ability to search by country, you’ll find your next favourite location in no time. And if you have a spot in mind you think others will love, you can share it with the rest of the community. The app comes with a number of customised lists, which you can check if, say, you’re looking to stay somewhere off-road or on a farm, or if you want a good spot for a picnic.
Campercontact – a free camping app available in several languages
The GPS localisation feature in this campsite app makes finding your next camping spot a breeze. Available for iPhone and Android, the lite version is free of charge, though you will only receive access to 10% of the Campercontact database. What’s fantastic about the free version is that you can also use it offline – which gets rid of the ads. The full version costs a few euros, for which you’ll receive all the camping options the app has to offer.
Searchforsites – the easy way to find campervan stopovers and campsites
This app provides more than 39,000 sites around Europe to stop for the night. Available both in the Apple App Store and on Google Play, it has a small annual fee – though you can try it free of charge for three days. Still, what you get for the fee is impressive: thousands of reviews and photos, an offline map function, a route planner, a satnav and even access to a social media support group for if you have any questions.
ACSI Campsites Europe
ACSI Campsites Europe bills itself as Europe’s simplest campsite app. This may be due to the streamlined interface, the ability to use it without an internet connection, or the fact that it is easy to browse through the app’s list of 7,950 campsites and 9,000 campervan pitches. The app is free to use, though it offers in-app purchases for certain enhanced features.
Petrol station apps for your smartphone
Picture the scene: you’re trundling along in your campervan through the quaint villages of Europe. You’ve still got enough petrol in the tank. A petrol station will come along when you need to refuel. So you put the pedal to the floor. A few kilometres later, though, and you start to become fidgety. You think you perhaps should have filled up for EUR 3 per litre at that last petrol station after all. Sound familiar? No need to panic any longer: these three reliable camping apps will direct you to the nearest petrol, diesel or CNG filling station and give you a cost comparison in the bargain.
Petrol station apps for your smartphone – fill your tank for less
While the apps do differ in terms of design and services, all three are free to use and always up to date. You can filter based on various criteria, including fuel price, distance and type of fuel.
The apps are automatically updated at regular intervals to ensure the information reflects the current status at the filling stations. In other words: keep in mind that accessing these apps will cause you to use some of your data. The maps and navigation features vary from app to app. As each one is free, we recommend downloading each app and testing it out in advance. Two are available for iPhone and Android, while one is designed for iOS only.
PetrolPrices – comparing the prices of UK petrol stations
This app helps you save time and money on your next pit stop. A built-in navigation function will direct you to one of close to 9,000 filling stations throughout the UK. It also contains articles about the transport industry, which you can read if you’re not the one driving. To find a nearby petrol station, either use the map or enter your postal code.
Petrol – a simple name for an app that covers five countries
Petrol lists available filling stations along with their prices in five countries: France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Morocco. In other words, it’s ideal if you’re planning to travel outside the UK with your campervan. A handy route planner shows you the most direct route to any station, while you can even actively update the prices yourself if you arrive at a filling station and see that they have changed.
WhatGas – find the best prices all over the UK
This app contains price listings for unleaded, diesel and LPG petrol in the UK and several other countries throughout Europe. There is a colourful map function that informs you exactly when the prices were updated (you can do so yourself if you feel like it). Be aware that WhatGas is available for iPhone only, so don’t waste time looking for it in the Google Play Store. So, the next time you set off on a European adventure, you won’t have to worry about fuel.
The best navigation and traffic apps for your next camping trip
Whether you’re the driver or the passenger, at some point you’ll be called upon to provide directions. These days, few adventurers reach for an atlas when packing their bags. And people would rather listen to their favourite road trip songs than be interrupted regularly by traffic updates on the radio. That’s why many campervan drivers now use apps instead.
HERE WeGo – global offline navigation
This free road trip planner can help you get anywhere – whether you’re in a campervan, on a bike or going somewhere on foot. All you have to do is download the right map onto your smartphone. Easy peasy. During your journey, the app will inform you of the speed limit at any time, too. As far as we’re concerned, HERE WeGo is one of the most reliable navigation apps available.
CityMaps2Go – the go-to app for city trips
This app allows you to download detailed city maps directly onto your iPhone or Android smartphone, meaning you can consult it at any time – even if you have no internet connection. This free app contains country and city maps for around 8,000 cities, regions and countries all over the world. It is also a treasure trove of insider tips to help shape your next city excursion. You can save your favourite spots, cafés and stores in a list.
INRIX Traffic Maps – avoid traffic all over the UK
The key features of this app are its live traffic and routing feature, which enables you to avoid congestion where possible, and safety alerts to protect you from sudden slowdowns and weather conditions. Drivers can submit their own incident reports, so that users have up-to-the-minute information on what is happening up ahead, while a parking feature shows you available on-street spaces, park & rides and multi-storey car parks.
Coyote – international traffic alerts
Coyote relies on a large community of active users to be able to provide notifications about traffic jams, speed camera locations and construction sites all over Europe in real time – delivered directly to your device. Available in multiple languages, you can download a 30-day trial version free of charge. If you like what you see, you’ll have to pay a small monthly fee to keep using the app. Users of both Android and iOS can benefit from Coyote’s international traffic alerts.
Will all of these apps work on my iPhone or Android device?
Yes! At the time of publication, every app in our article was available to download from the Apple App Store and Google Play. The apps work on virtually every smartphone model as well as the majority of tablets. There are some apps that are only available for iPhone or Android, and we’ve compiled the best camping ones below just so you have an idea of all the options available.
Other useful camping apps for iPhone
iWoMoSet: this app helps you to align your campervan or motorhome. No more pens rolling off tables or bodies rolling off beds in the middle of the night.
Packing List Checklist: you won’t forget anything ever again with this handy checklist app. Create your own camping checklist or let the app suggest a few items that you should definitely take with you on your travels.
Star Walk: turn your head to the stars and find out exactly what you’re looking at. This app predicts the next starlit night and tells you the names of the constellations that are visible.
More practical camping apps from our camper community
Aferry: quick, affordable ferry bookings to Corsica, Dover, Calais, Kristiansand and elsewhere. We were tipped off about this app by our very own community – it has an average rating of 4.2 stars in the Apple App Store. For iOS and Android.
Komoot: plan hiking routes and bike tours, find your way using audio navigation, and keep an eye on your speed, altitude and distance with this app. This was recommended to us by our community. It has an average rating of 4.7 stars in the Apple App Store. For iOS and Android.
RainToday: this app checks when it’s going to rain and how long the rain will last. It’s the best weather app for deciding whether to keep pushing on or if you should wait half an hour for the skies to clear. It is available for iPhone and Android and has an average rating of 4.5 stars in the Apple App Store.
Camping Checklist: clothes, cooking utensils and everything else you need for a good camping holiday can all be added to your own personal list.
AllTrails: use this digital hiking map to navigate hiking, running and mountain bike trails throughout the UK. You can turn your phone into a GPS navigation tracker – handy if you don’t want to get lost while exploring.