#vanlife is more than just a trending hashtag. It’s been a popular choice in life over the past few years because housing prices continue rising, job opportunities are limited and people want to do something more than the 9-5.
Although living in a van has become more commonplace since 2020’s shift to remote work, whether forced or not, the idea of having a home on wheels predates any global pandemic. This is especially true in the United States where large recreational vehicles (RVs)have been a common sight on America’s roads for decades.
Websites and apps have emerged to support this lifestyle as it has grown in popularity. They provide everything you need to live on the road, including route suggestions, Wi-Fi, fuel savings, and other useful information.
We’ve compiled a list of the top vanlife and RV apps for 2022, so you don’t have to be a “vanlifer”, but we do recommend it.
iOverlander is a mobile app that was created for RV enthusiasts, road-trippers, and anyone who loves van life. They were a group of travellers who had worked in spreadsheets for years and decided to make their data more easily accessible.
The iOverlander app allows you to find attractive destinations on a map based upon your GPS location. It also includes information about nearby campgrounds, bathrooms, Wi-Fi and other amenities. You can also add new destinations to the iOverlander site by submitting descriptions and reviews.
The app’s only problem is its slowness and clunking. These lags aren’t an issue and the community project is definitely worthy of support.
Roadtrippers offers more general recommendations for road trips. The app will generate a travel itinerary with points of interest after you input your start and ending points.
You can save any of the recommendations and leave a review if it is a place you visit. The app generates only one route per trip. This is a problem even though there are many ways to get to A from B.
Roadtrippers can be used to help users find unique attractions. While most features are free, the Plus version offers more useful features such as offline navigation and waypoints.
iOS or Android: Free, $6.99/month, $29.99/year
Waze, the most popular navigation app for drivers, provides real time, community-based traffic and direction recommendations around the globe.
You will receive alerts about road hazards, police checks and accidents as well as information about gas prices. Waze editors are active in improving the data.
Waze’s global reach is perhaps its most appealing feature. You can access useful, current data on the ground, no matter where you are in Australia, Los Angeles or Taipei.
You’ll want to download GasBuddy since vans and RVs don’t have the best fuel economy. This app will provide a complete list of all gas stations within your area. It also includes prices, available types of gasoline, and other amenities such as restrooms or convenience shops.
You can add and read reviews for each station and make any changes to the information. You can save the location of your favourite gas stations and review the prices for any given area.
You can save money by using the company’s payment cards. The prices range from 5c/gallon for the free version up to 20c/gallon, plus optional towing services, with the monthly Premium subscription.
Gas Buddy has some additional tools that are not available in the app. These include price maps and charts and a trip cost calculator.
iOS or Android: Free, $9.99/month Premium
Wi-Fi is essential for vanlifers. It can be used to plan trips and work from the road. Wifi Map allows you to find free hotspots within your local area, such as those found in cafes, hotels, and restaurants. To make it easier to locate, these hotspots are all pinned to a map.
It boasts more than 100,000,000+ users worldwide, and details about 100 million hotspots free of charge in over 200 countries. Advertisements are available for the free version.
A Pro subscription removes ads and adds a VPN service to improve security on public Wi Fi. It also allows you to download the hotspot database offline.
iOS or Android: Free or $19.99/year Pro
You will need to park your van if you are a vanlifer. There are many. RVParky helps its users locate parking spots in their local area. This app can be used to find RV parks, campgrounds and rest areas as well as gas stations, shops, and other places where you might want to spend the night.
There are many types of parks available: commercially and publicly owned, military camps, 55+ communities and Kamp Groups of America (KOA), among others. You will find information about RV-friendly stores such as Walmart and Camping World, as well as fuel stops, rest areas, and other details.
Every parking spot can be tagged on a map with photos and reviews. Although the app is limited to North America (USA and Canada), it is a fantastic tool.
iOS, Android, free
Are you looking for reviews and special discounts on places to stay in the area? The Dyrt is worth a look. You can find listings for over 40,000 campsites in the country. There are also tips and videos, as well as photos and reviews from others who have stayed there.
You can filter listings by proximity, facilities, or whether there are RV spaces. Contact information is included as well as an average rating. It offers free camping gear to its top reviews, which is a great incentive to add and update listings.
Access to all information is free. However, you can upgrade to Pro to view listings and maps offline. This also eliminates the booking processing fee and offers substantial discounts on gear and campsites. Pro is available for a seven-day free trial.
iOS or Android: Free or $35.99/year Pro
Perhaps the best review site on the planet, this site offers recommendations for everything from great brunch places in Melbourne to legit dive bars in Manhattan.
However, the “global” aspect is not without its limitations. Apps are most popular in North America, Europe and Asia. This is why the majority of Yelp reviewers come from these regions.
You can write wonderful reviews about Istanbul’s breakfast spot, but not necessarily expect them from a local.
Yelp is still the best place to find detailed and lengthy reviews that are so long it’s difficult to believe they were written for free.
iOS, Android; free
The #Vanlife experience is ideal for journaling. If you prefer digital formats to pen & paper, take a look at Journey. It’s password protected (it’s a journal after all!) You can create entries on your smartphone or tablet and tag them with locations on a map.
You can upload images, audio and video to your entries and export them to other note-taking and diary platforms such as Daylio and Evernote. Beautiful design is what makes Journey stand out. This is a crucial aspect of any creative or introspective pursuit.
Journey also offers journaling and a mood chart that shows how your moods have changed over the past 30 day. Upgrade to Premium for additional features like night mode, bulk exports and text formatting.
Android, iOS, and desktop. Premium or Free for $17.99
HipCamp can be compared to an AirBnB for RVers and campers. You can reserve parking or camping spots on private property through the website and app.
You can park your RV at Arizona camp for $15 per night. This Arizona camp offers a distillery tour, craft distillery tasting and a patio with a restored train car and the opportunity to ride horses or hike nearby.
You can also read reviews from other users. The listings will let you know if there is an RV hookup or special RV-related amenities. You can filter your search by “Pets-Allowed” and “Under $50/night” to manage your reservations.
iOS, Android, free
Similar to the previous point, Vanly allows anyone who has a little extra space to list it on this site and anyone with an RV to request to park there. You can have a space anywhere from a driveway to an open field. It can also include Wi-Fi access and amenities such as toilets and showers.
It’s easy: find a place that you like, ask for your dates, provide information about the vehicle you are driving, and the host will either accept or deny the booking.
Vanly handles payment. Guests and hosts are free to communicate with each other, but there is no expectation that they will. Both guests and hosts can leave reviews after their stay.
Vanly is currently only available in the US. Popular locations include Flagstaff and San Diego, as well as national parks such Yosemite and Glacier.
You will feel free.