GETTING APP READY
Apps are KEY to the sucessful running of your campervan adventure.
I would suggest to choose a few of them, update / upload / download what you can before you leave home so you dont have to rely on the wifi of hotels or restaurants too much for map download if needed (wifi was crap everywhere!)
I have downloaded 2 apps that I used every day… to make things easy for me as I can be pretty detailed and I didnt want to get too caught up in my phone and stuck in too many apps because I want to enjoy my trip fully
Camper Contact (“parkings”) – a paid OFFLINE Campervanning app for Europe – marks majority of camping sites and you can download the region you will be traveling to – need to pay 7 euro for a yearly subscription but its WELL worth it! Shows GPS location, photos, reviews and facilities of camping sites as well as charging stations
Maps.me – a free OFFLINE map app where you can download maps while on wifi and then use abroad – I have tried SO many map apps but this one keeps me interested and happy with what it delivers. I use this to plan my day around a town and I mark my itinerary & driving route with specific colours & folders and can look back to where I have visited. its very detailed down to showing you the rubbish bins and fresh water locations, im very impressed!
NOTE – Maps to be offline need to be downloaded with wifi beforehand or at places with wifi along the way or, like we did, we had plenty of data to use – make sure to play arouond with the app to learn it so you can use it to its full advantage
I also use this app for all my trips as of late to find attractions and places of interest in cities its that detailed I no longer need the printed maps, this app has it all!
GPS – As I mentioned, I would not want to travel without one… This is obviously the main way we get around and I use maps.me when we get closer to cities to zoom in and make sure we are going to the right place and not into a one way street (which we have already done and learnt from!)
OPTIONAL APP for those who want to take notes & memories:
I really recommend ONENOTE, I used it as a journal and added photos from the day and jotted notes so I could use it for this online blog later and so that I dont forget what happened
MAPS.ME – Offline map
I usually plan a loose itinerary for 4-7 days in advance and a detailed one for the first 2-3 days.
Ive already downloaded the maps I want when im in wifi range (mainly when I was in Sydney)
Ive noted down our route by marking roads or stopping locations with blue dots so when you zoom out you can see where you have been
I use the map to see exactly where we are and from here zoom out and find a location either:
- around the driving distance we want to do that day and choose a city heading in the general direction of my future travel
- around a city I already know I want to see and see if we can drive the distance in a day or need 2
- around any POI that we can stop and see along the way to our next destination
I always google the town / city to see what attractions they have and if there is anything of interest that cant be missed. Because there are just SO many towns and so close to each other, you cant see them all! (you should see the amount of castles there are scattered all over the place!) … so need to be picky according to what your interests are
I always find the Caravan Park on maps.me as well and mark it and use
Finding the caravan park on maps.me I usally have an idea from the map on the camper app, and then zoom in and find a little camper icon on maps.me and save it
CAMPER CONTACT – Parking for the night
Germany & France have the most camp sites compared to the other Schengen countries of Europe but motorhome are very common here, a lot of people own their own vans, we havent come across anyone renting in the month that we have been here so far
Zoom in and it shows you camping grounds in that area
Choose the camper site according to your facility needs (i.e do you need electricty or fresh water?)
We have found that we can park without facilities at the most for 2 nights before we need either fresh water or electricity to recharge batteries etc – this is if we all shower both nights, if not, we can do an extra day
To choose a camper van location (if there are a few to choose from that is), I usually look at either :
- How close it is to the city centre (i.e. can we walk or catch public transport)
- Which facilities do we need for that night or next if staying more than 1 night
INTERNATIONAL CAMPING CARD
Another item which I found not only to save a bit of money but to use as a proof of identity is the International Camping Card – you do need to be a member with NRMA to be able to apply for this card though
What is the Camping Card?
The card basically has the same value as a passport and is used as a proof of identity as each and every campsite with a reception requires proof of identity so we used this instead of taking our passports out over and over again document throughout Europe at camping and caravanning sites.
The CCI is only issued by affiliate members of the Federation International Camping and Caravanning Association (F.I.C.C).
side note: if you dont end up getting one its not too much of a loss as we didnt use it as much as we thought we would, some places didnt accept it and most places we stayed were FREE anyways
APPLICATION – Australian Automobile Association
(See pic below if you are in any of these clubs so you can apply)
When you purchase a CCI you receive insurance for yourself and the other campers with you:
– You receive cover under the insurance until the expiry of your camping card.
– The territory limits are worldwide except for the application of the Laws and any costs incurred in respect of any claim arising in United States of America and Canada or any territory where the Laws of United States of America and Canada might apply.
– Personal accident insurance up to 10 persons travelling with you. Each person EUR 25,000 / Event Limit: EUR 1,800,000
PHONE & SIM CARDS / WIFI / DATA
Doing research on SIM cards I found out that “3” was the best as I wanted to just use the data roaming and not have to worry about buying a wifi usb thingy and I was happy with my decison as I had heaps of data to use and I topped up 20pounds per month for the 3 months and I used it with my laptop as well and still plenty of data – unless you want to watch youtube / movies etc then this is the best option in my opinion (if anyone knows any better ideas let me know in comments please 🙂 – the only thing is with “3” you need to physically pick this up in London and buy 3 months in advance the top up vouchers and luckily I started in London so the reason why I chose this option
Any questions or comments please leave me a note in the comments section happy to respond
Happy planning and camping!
ITS SO WORTH THE PLANNING!!