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Camping Apps: The wheat from the chaff

Camping Apps: The wheat from the chaff

Let's be honest. Nowadays nothing works without a mobile phone and certainly not without the dear internet. This is supported by various apps for every situation in life, whereby not everything is just entertainment, but can actually offer great added value. But what is the current status [February 2022] with the camping apps?

I simply searched for “camping” and “camping space” in the app store and got an idea for myself. To that end, simple and clear operation is important to me, as is the number of offers and the quality of the information that is made available. The list of apps is of course not exhaustive! If I forgot a really great app, just write us on Instagram or Facebook directly in the post.

1. Park4Night

This is arguably the mother of all free standing apps. The app was created in France, the nation of freelancers, and has now grown to a whopping 80,000 parking spaces across Europe. This camping app grows through the camper community using it, because everyone can register (it is not necessary for use per se) and can enter a nice pitch. Significant information about the infrastructure can be provided and pictures can also be stored. The best thing, however, is that the community itself rates the pitches, so that you can assess the location well from a distance.

In addition to public parking spaces, parking lots, camper sites and campsites, there are now also disposal stations and water sources. However, the published "wild camping" sites in the great outdoors or near an interesting sight remain of great interest to the app. No matter how popular this search function is with users, it is discussed controversially – especially after the camping boom of the past two Corona summers. Not only have many "insiders" come to the public, which could have annoyed some old campers. Many non-public places have also been put online without the consent of the owners and the Cap

2. FreeOn Tour

To be honest, I hadn't heard of this app before doing the little research. But in addition to around 24,000 described campsites and 6,000 parking spaces, the Camping App created by the Hymer Group offers users a number of other interesting features. Because in addition to accommodation options, there is also a section with tips and entire routes for descendants, which are published by other users. The app users can also benefit from many offers from partners, be it through discounts when booking a ferry seat or reduced prices at participating campsites.

In the beginning, the app wasn't quite as clear for me as I'm used to from other apps of this kind. Registration is required for use and the app unfortunately crashed when searching for parking spaces. However, the individual pitches are filled with a lot of information and the ratings of other users are very helpful in deciding on the right pitch. However, the display of the price had a catch. At least for me (iPhone XR) it flashed for a split second and the prices were never seen again. All in all, however, the app offers a comprehensive package and also inspires with great route suggestions!

3. ProMobil parking space radar

The app can be downloaded by anyone as a freemium. An upgrade to the Plus version is also possible, which means that the content can be used in offline mode, for example. But even in the free version of the Camping App you can find a lot of information about the approximately 14,000 pitches and 7,000 campsites. This includes information on geolocation, prices and the existing infrastructure, such as electricity, sanitary facilities and WLAN. 

I like the transparency of the app, because you can find your way around straight away. Registration is not necessary, you can start looking for the next farm where you would like to spend the night. In this case, the prices are only given in euros, regardless of the country in which you are looking, which you can ignore when looking at the benefits. The facts are supplemented with real user comments and ratings, so that you still have some soft facts, for example regarding the atmosphere or possibly disturbing railway lines.

4. CamperContact

With this camping app, you can select the user language and, after registering, you can start looking for the perfect overnight parking space. It is advertised with a total of 37,000 motorhome parking spaces in 58 countries and filter options such as "under €15" are really great, which makes the search much easier. There is everything from campsites to paid parking spaces and free parking spaces.

In addition, campsites and service areas are listed, although you can only search offline in the PRO versions. The FREE version only shows 3 reviews from other users per pitch and only provides 5 photos for viewing. Otherwise, all places can be accessed and the basic search filter function can be used. Overall, the user interface is designed to be intuitive, making it easy to use.

5. Camping.info

With the app you can discover around 23,000 campsites throughout Europe. However, to take a closer look here, you have to take out a 7-day trial subscription or book a subscription directly. Too bad there aren't any free features to see if it's something for you, so I uninstalled this camping app without further testing.

6. Caravanya & StayFree

Some pitches, campsites and vacant sites are also listed in these camping apps. Caravanya's design is nice, but in Switzerland there seem to be few users who rate the sites or provide pictures. The function when selecting a wild camping pitch was interesting and you are "taught" step by step how to behave correctly. Only the forest can say whether that is of any use, but the thought counts.

StayFree has a similar feature called CleanUp. The idea there is great, because as a camper you should preferably leave the place you are looking for cleaner than when you found it. At least in Switzerland, the number of users does not seem to be large enough for sufficient ratings and cleanups to come together.

7. "Pitch"

The app doesn't have a strange name, it's just called Stellplatz. There are all kinds of pitches all over Europe to look for on a map. However, it gives the impression that the main focus is on Scandinavia. There is a high density of parking spaces. in the rest 

8. Newcomer camping apps

Yes, the camping boom of the last two years can also be felt on the digital market. Piles of apps with similar ideas and the same approaches have sprung up like mushrooms. VanlifeLocation, AlpacaCamping, Nomady, Vansite and whatever they are called.

These apps are based on the principle that private hosts make their land, their parking space or even the garden with a barbecue area available to campers and mobile homes for a fee. The host advertises and after registering, the home seeker can book a night directly online. A commission usually only accrues to the host. 

What was noticeable about the apps was that I sometimes found too little content behind the respective parking spaces. With these apps you can reduce the meshes in the search grid and use them in addition to "bigger" competitors. Unfortunately, you then have to jump back and forth between different apps to completely scan the surroundings.

 

9. Country fun and Co

I wouldn't count Landvergnügen as part of the classic camping app at this point, as this is only a supplement to the paper pitch guide. Country Pleasure was one of the first in the industry to pioneer the concept of private pitches. Camping privately is not comparable to free standing or wild camping, nor is it the same as camping. Because here it is all about legal overnight stays on private property.

Since one quickly slips pretty close to “operating a campsite without a permit” when making the space available for a fee, the concept is based on “give and take”. If you want to drive to the hosts, you have to buy a vignette in advance, register with the owner and can then stay overnight free of charge. The hosts are mostly agricultural businesses or winegrowers and restaurants, who in return for the hospitality are happy about the purchase in the farm shop or the dinner in the parlour.

Similar concepts such as Place-To-Bee or Swiss-Hosts already exist in Switzerland.  In Austria there is a look at the countryside and farmer's life. Unfortunately, not all for one applies here, all for one. Theoretically, you have to have a vignette from each “community” in order to use the entire offer. Nevertheless, working together is a really great idea and you get exclusive insights into the everyday life of the network partners.

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