So you’ve found the best van to live in, you’ve completed your camper conversion using our how to build a camper article, and you’re ready to start travelling in a van. Living the van life basically means that you have two things on your mind at all times; where shall we head tomorrow, and where can we park up. All of our favourite van life influencers take incredible pictures in some of the most scenic places throughout Europe, but how can you find your own perfect van life travel spots while out on your adventures? Today we’re releasing our official Park4Night Review on the mobile app designed for camping enthusiasts throughout Europe that helps you solve all of the questions above and more!

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Park4Night Review – Could This Be Vanlife’s Best Accessory?

Photo @brina.travels

Before we crack on with the review itself, let’s give you a brief overview of what Park4Night is. Park4Night is an app that you can download on both iPhone and Android devices that gives you information about places that you can (you guessed it) park up for the night. It’s essentially a database of parking spots created by vanlifers for vanlifers, and it’s constantly updating and evolving every day. This Park4Night review is based on our findings over the past few months and our experiences while using the app.

If you’re new to living in a van or don’t want to spend hours and hours searching around for somewhere to park only to find out that it looks a little bit dodgy or feels unsafe, then Park4Night can take the stress out of where you’re going to lay your head on an evening. It’s a simple, easy to use platform that you can use to both gleam information from the community and also add to for future vanlifers. Let’s take a look in closer detail.

Tell Us How It Works

Park4Night Review - load up screen

Starting off on this Park4Night Review, we’re going to take a look at the app interface itself. The main premise of the app revolves around users searching for their location on a map using the classic ‘find my location’ circle that we all know from our favourite map apps, or by searching for future locations that they might be heading to on their travels using the inbuilt search function. You can also save your favourite spots that you find in a separate menu to plan ahead if you like to know what you’re doing a few days in advance. We’ve been using the free version of the app, but there’s also a paid version if you want the ability to search for interestin places between two locations and removes adverts. It’s €9.99 for the year, so it won’t exactly break the bank if you want to give it a try,

One of the search functions that I’ve found most useful while planning for this Park4Night Review is the quick search function, allowing you to pick nature spots or water refill points without having to sift through all of the other icons that appear on the screen. It’s super useful if you know exactly what you’re looking for or want to sort the 1* rated areas from the 5* ones, saving you time and effort that could be used on eating Ice Creams or paddle-boarding.

Photo @vincentvanlife

Is It Reliable?

Once a user uploads a parking spot that they have found, they can add pictures of the location so that you can get a good idea of where you’ll be sleeping for the night and what is nearby. Most people add a couple of pictures to give you a general idea, but some people go all out and stick some of their holiday-snaps up there for you to see as well! While preparing for this Park4Night Review, we stayed away from any places without pictures; they might have been the most tranquil places in the world, but in an age where pretty much everyone has a camera phone or access to a digital camera, we figured if the places were any good they’d have taken a picture to prove it.

Is It Easy to Understand?

Park4Night Review - A sample of the map screen on the app

It might look like a bit of a jungle up there, but once you get an idea of the different symbols, then it’s just a case of deciding what kind of park up you’re looking for and which one you want to head for. The interface itself is almost identical to Google Maps, making it easy to understand if you’ve ever had a smartphone or used Google (which is probably 99.8 of the worlds population). You can see all of the major roads and motorways in yellow, smaller roads in grey, and insanely small mountain roads in pink. Borders between countries and regions help you to plan any tolls that you might have to pay, and all of the national parks and lakes/rivers are clearly marked. So far, so good!

All of the different camping spots are colour coded and use different symbols to differentiate themselves from one another. What’s more, users who upload Park4Night locations can add what amenities are close by and if the internet is good in the area, so if you’re a digital nomad that’s looking for a laundrette and an LPG filling point nearby, then you can do a deeper search for places that have these facilities.

P, as you might have guessed, is the universal sign for Parking. These spots can be anywhere from inner city parking spots through to gravel parking at the side of lakes, fields, or mountains. They’re the most used symbols on the app, and as such you will have to spend a little bit of time looking through them until you find one that appears suitable. As I said above, if you don’t want to spend ages looking at every different park-up, then you can always use the quick search function and omit the badly reviewed ones from your map to save time.

We made a pact to never spend money on campsites or overnight parking spots before setting off on our European trip, and we’re still sticking by that rule over ten months in. The symbols that we’ve been using while taking down our findings for this Park4Night Review are the green campervan, which lets you know a place where you can park for free to empty your grey and black water and also fill up with clean water; and the little green tree, which shows you scenic spots in the heart of nature.

Park How Do I Get To My Chosen Park-up?

A sample page with information on a park up spot on Park4Night

Clicking onto a symbol brings up a whole host of Park4Night Review comments that people have left after staying in that specific place. This is the part where you can get the real truth about a location, but I’ve found that you have to take 6-10 reviews and create your own average depending on what kind of camping you’re used to. People who leave 1* reviews because they have slept next to a road obviously didn’t spend 13 months parked on a busy street in York like I did. Car noise or the wind doesn’t bother me, but it’s the worst thing in the world for some people. It’s a great tool for helping you to decide if somewhere is safe and secure or a burglary hot spot, but use it to make your own mind up and don’t just follow the top review blindly.

Once you’ve chosen your destination, you can navigate through to your chosen spot by using Google Maps, Apple Maps, and a whole host of other map applications that I’ve never even heard of. The choice is incredibly large, and the fact that you can instantly see your destination on a different Sat Nav app is super useful. If like me, you have a TomTom Go Camper that you use to get around, then each park-up spot has both styles of latitude and longitude GPS co-ordinates that you can input to pinpoint your desired location on external devices.

Is It Good For Route Planning?

The ‘My Selection’ section of the app lets you see all of the places that you have saved on your journey so far, and it’s also a great way of planning where you’re going to be going on the rest of your adventures. I’ve tried this feature on both iPhone and Android over the course of our Park4Night Review, and for some reason, the application sticks a little every now and again on iPhone. All it takes is a click of the refresh button to sort it out, but it would be nice to see the same level of functionality across both platforms.

One other thing that I have discovered is that Park4Night tells you distances as the crow flies and not as the road winds (so to speak), so it’s always best to navigate through to Google Maps or Apple Maps to get the correct distance between park up spots.

Parking up in scenic places is a breeze thanks to the park4night database
Photo @viajandonuestravida

Final Thoughts…

There will always be people who prefer to find their park up spots without the aid of technology or those who strive to go where no vanlifer has boldly gone before, but most of us just want somewhere with nice views or a place to empty our loos, and Park4Night gives you all of that information at your fingertips. The app itself is easy to understand and use, the ability to save multiple places at once is really useful, and both the ‘quick location search’ and ‘amenities search’ function have helped us out over the course of our trip so far.

We’ve met so many different vanlifers while out and about on our travels, and almost everyone that we’ve met has Park4Night downloaded on their phone. Most of them swear by it for all of their parking needs, and we’ve found some incredible places that will stay with us forever thanks to locations that have been uploaded by local guides or residents native to the areas that we’ve visited. It’s great to find places on the outskirts of cities with good public transport connections too; say goodbye to stressful parking!

What started off as a Park4Night Review quickly turned into multiple sessions of scrolling through all of the different areas that people in our ever-growing community have visited. When you set off on a journey in a van you think that you’re going to be alone out there on the roads, that people will look at you funny and chastise you the moment something goes wrong, but Park4Night is living proof that there are thousands of people out there as we speak living alternative lifestyles and helping others to do the same. It’s not just a park-up application, it’s an invitation to join a worldwide community and a means of getting off-grid in places that you could never have ever imagined visiting, which makes it a must-have app in our opinion!

Have you had any success or troubles using Park4Night? What are your thoughts on geotagging locations? Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

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