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Whether you live in you motorhome full-time or just love an extended road trip, one thing’s for sure, load up your smartphone with useful apps and without a doubt you’ll get more out of your adventure.
As well as getting more bang for your buck, life will just be easier and run a whole lot smoother. After all, who wants to plan the road trip of a lifetime only to have a complete disaster at every turn!?
For sure life on the road ain’t easy so download these apps and you can’t go far wrong.
Looking for where to camp for the night –
One of the first things me and Agne do before heading out on any multi-day road trip is decide which direction we want to head and then find places to camp along the way.
We like to plan 2-3 days in advance. This way we know roughly how far we’ve got to go each day and just zigzag to all the places we want to see between camping spots.
Me and Agne live quite a frugal life and one of the things that goes against this is paying £20+ per night to rent a piece of grass. As well as putting a huge whole in our budget it also clamps down on spontaneity. Having to book in, arrive after 1pm and leave before 10.30am is just not for us.
The ultimate road trip to us is one of complete freedom. These apps will help you find some amazing places to camp for very little money or even free!!
This is our absolute go to app for finding mainly free overnight camping/parking. Not all the sites on here are overly glamorous but if there’s a quiet, safe place to park for the night it’ll do for us.
“Wildcamping” is not for everyone but it suits us and our budget perfectly. Here’s an in-depth article I wrote about motorhome wildcamping in the UK. It includes all the legalities for England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales so give it a read and put your mind at rest.
But what makes Park4Night so good!?
It’s our favourite for many reasons but in first place is the massive choice of overnight parking spots you can find. With over 5700 locations, no matter where you are in the UK, Park4Night has got your back.
The second reason is that it is completely free. No annoying upsells here.
And then there’s the user interface. Although it’s crap on the laptop it works perfectly on the smartphone and has many ways to filter the results so that you don’t wast precious road trip time sifting through camping spots that just don’t suit you or your vehicle.
The Park4Night app lets you filter the results by the following categories:
- Free car park for camper with amenities.
- Paying car park for camper with amenities.
- Private car park for camper with amenities.
- Homestays accommodation.
- Service area without parking.
- Picnic area.
- Rest area/layby.
- On the Farm.
- Surrounded by nature.
You can even put the height of your motorhome or camper in to filter parking places with height restrictions.
Another amazing feature is that yourself/other people can add photos, opinions and just useful information.
For example: some of the places we have looked at seemed nice on the photos but then one user said it was pretty tight to get down the lane with his VW T5. After reading that we weren’t about to try with out 6.5m coach built….
All in all, Park4Night is our favourite app. It has enabled us to find some really amazing free places to stay for a night or two and has helped us planning our routes. Being able to locate places to empty the toilet cassette and fill up with fresh drinking water is imperative to have an enjoyable week or two on the road.
Search for sites
A little bit like Park4Night but nowhere near as good in my opinion. As with Park For Night you can add photos and update info but the interface isn’t as good and it doesn’t offer as many places.
To use Searchfor Sites for free you need to use your laptop which is a bit of a pain. If you wish to use the Search 4 Sites app on your smartphone then you’ll have to pay for subscription.
Fair enough it’s only £5.99 for the year but when Park4Night is better and free…. I’ll keep my 6 quid thanks!
As I said earlier the interface isn’t as good as it has fewer ways you can filter results:
- Motorhome only.
- Touring only.
- By facilities.
OK, I said the interface isn’t as good. Maybe that isn’t strictly true. Bang in the cost as £0 and add the facilities as fresh water or chemical disposal and within seconds you can find out where you can get free drinking water and empty the cassette.
One observation we’ve made while using Search for Sites is that MOST of the free spots are pub stopovers. While that’s not always a bad thing, being expected to buy your evening meal in the pub kinda kills the free aspect of a free stopover…
Dining for 2 in a countryside pub in the South of England can rush you from anywhere between £25-50. Also, some pub stopovers don’t really have many facilities i.e electric hookup, shop etc. At this point it’s just cheaper and easier to book a campsite.
Although we’re not massive fans of Search for Sites we do still use it for the rare occasion when Park4Night lets us down.
Without going too much into Workaway on this post as I’ve written many posts about good times spent doing some Workaway volunteering (in England, India, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia) I still want to mention it here as we both think a little volunteering after being on the road for a long time is a good thing.
As with anything, if you do too much of it in one go it becomes boring, stale, “the norm”. Once this happens your just driving down the road not because you’re excited to explore your next destination but just for the sake of it.
The novelty has worn off and now you’re just burning through diesel and money trying to find that spark the open road had 6 months ago. Some people call it travel burn out, I call it loss of appreciation.
Doing a little volunteering gives you chance to slow down and have a little taste of that routine you thought you left behind but in all honesty, part of your mind will start to crave routine. Not only routine but also the feeling of being a part of something.
As well as giving your mind what it needs you’ll also create the time to help someone else out, learn new skills and get a locals view of the places you’re visiting.
So pull over, log in, fire a few messages off and you could be spending a few weeks lending a hand on an olive plantation in Castello Branco in no time.
Me and Agne love to do a little volunteering and certainly plan to do some more in the future. Believe me after 14 days volunteering somewhere you’ll be ready to get back on the road to fully appreciate your next adventure.
Although I’m promoting Workaway (its our favourite) in this post there are other volunteer platforms available of which I’ve written an in-depth guide to each of the major volunteer platforms.
Getting around –
Driving a 20+ ft motorhome ain’t easy at the best of times. These apps will help you take the stress our of driving your pride and joy.
The Copilot is a glorified Satnav but with one very useful addition. The Copilot app allows you upload the dimensions of your motorhome and using that information it will only ever take you routes that you can fit. Put a few inches on in each dimension for a little extra wiggle room.
I.e routes with no low bridges or narrow single track roads. They even let you have a 14-day free trial. If you like the app, the full price is £25.99 for the year. Far cheaper than the equivalent traditional satnav with vehicle dimensions (£200+).
The Copilot app can work offline but to get the full use out of it you’ll have to pay for some data as it gives real-time traffic updates and continually calculates ETA due to traffic conditions.
It also lets you input up to 50 locations and then will map the most efficient route to get around them all saving you money on diesel.
It’s one thing to find what you think will be a good place to stop for the night on one of the above platforms but its another to arrive there and find out its crap.
Google earth allows you to to find what looks to be a good spot on say Park For Night and then without spending a penny enables you to walk and look around before you spend £30 in diesel getting there only to find your motorhome is to tall for the height barrier.
Apart from finding places to stop for the night it’s also useful for checking out routes before you attempt them. For example: The best route into Lyme Regis is from the A35 and through Uplyme as it brings you to the motorhome parking spaces without having to drive through the centre of Lyme Regis or any narrow, single track roads.
Google earth street view is a handy tool to have before entering uncharted territory.
Maps.me is one of our all-time favourite apps. It has taken us everywhere from the mountain roads in the Vietnamese Ha Giang province to the hiking trails if the Annapurna Circuit. Maps.me never let’s us down.
It works offline and even used as a satnav it ain’t that bad. One of the biggest plus’ is that you can easily make bookmarks for yourself.
For example: If you spend a lot of time touring the UK and find yourself using some of the same routes then its handy to bookmark that water source, that supermarket with ample parking or that amazing secluded camping spot that you found and no one else knows about.
The next time you’re in the area you’ll struggle for nothing. Don’t bookmark it and if like me, you’ve got a memory like goldfish then 12 months later all of them little gems you once found are gone.
As well as bookmark points of interest for your own future reference you can also upload your bookmarks for everyone else so they will appear on their apps. Imagine if we all did this!? All we’d need is the Maps.me app.
Just making general life better –
Here’s a few random everyday apps that will make day to day life a little easier.
The Petrolprices app has all the latest fuel prices at all of the major petrol stations. One quick look at the interactive map and you’ll know where to fill up.
While it’s not worth driving 30 miles to save 1p per litre. Knowing when to fill up is worth it. You can search by town, postcode or just scroll around the map in the direction you’re heading.
Supermarket finder worldwide
This app has an interactive map with all the larger supermarkets marked on so that you can easily find your nearest Asda or Tesco.
As the name dictates it is a worldwide app so even if you wander across the channel you’ll not be struggling to find somewhere to buy your supplies.
This app in conjunction with Google earth to find a local supermarket with a large, easy access car park takes the stress out of doing your shopping in your motorhome.
Happycow is an app that is designed to direct you to the nearest vegetarian, vegan or restaurant that has vegetarian options. Very useful for those nights when you just don’t feel like cooking or want to splash out on some fine dining.
With Agne being a vegetarian it certainly helped us while travelling in Penang when all you can find is Indian street food that is in some shape of form, derived from chicken. There’s restaurants signed up to it in most countries.
All you have to do is select what you’re looking for from the following options:
- Vegi-options (my favourite).
Apply a radius or town/village etc and press go. Within seconds you have a whole list of nearby options for vegetarian restaurants. Once again there are user photos and helpful reviews.
The platform works perfectly. Find a place and with one touch you’ve got photos, reviews, address, map, opening times, phone number and links to their social media.
This app is perfect if you’re a vegan who likes to eat out and travel a lot.
We love Pinterest. In fact you can follow us here!
Pinterest is full of great info, tips and inspiration for your next road trip. As well as plenty of inspiration there’s also a wealth of knowledge to be found on Pinterest.
Having problems with your camper or motorhome then I reckon someone out there has published pins on the issue. all you have to do is log in and find what you are looking for.
Why not start your own Pinterest page!? Share the ups and downs of your own road trips with the world. For sure we would love to see them and follow your boards.
Without any shadow of a doubt, the best road trips are when the sun is shining! Not always possible in the UK but a good weather app might just help you avoid the rain.
We never like to pan too far ahead and if we plan to go in one direction but the weather is better in the other then you can guarantee that’s the direction we’re heading.
If its raining to the West we’re going East.
Snapseed is a photo editing app for your smartphone. Fair enough it certainly isn’t photoshop but for a very easy to use mobile app it’s pretty decent.
In fact, a lot of the photos we’ve used around this blog Agne has tweaked a little on snapseed.
Enhancing them photos before you add them to your facebook page will make all your friends back home that little bit more jealous….
Whether you just want a break from travelling or it was raining East and West, with life on the road there will always be down time. One way to relax in/burn downtime is to download the Pocketbook app.
The Pocketbook app effectively turns your smartphone into a kindle for free. If you already own some pdf books you can upload them into Pocketbook or you can download some books from Pocketbook for less than a pound.
That’s it! Our must have apps for motorhome life in the UK. There’s just one app that we can’t find and that is one that guides you to fresh water. Is there such an app? Do you know which app is good for finding fresh water? If so PLEASE let us know so we can add it to this list.