Thinking about hitting the road for a van life adventure? Don’t leave home without these essential van life apps for everything from finding campsites to budgeting.
Van life can be pretty tough at times, there are daily challenges that you face on the road that you just don’t have at home. Finding basic requirements like campsites, fresh water, fuel or internet reception can become a time-consuming daily chore. Never mind maintaining a social life, balancing the budget, and finding time to work out.
To combat these issues it seems like every other day a new app is released promising to revolutionize life as we know it. And, while they may not all hit the mark, over the last decade there have been some pretty awesome apps and communities built around apps that can really help out van lifers and anyone else that lives their lives on the road.
Discover 25+ of the best apps for van life on the market today for camping, navigating, productivity, staying fit, managing finances, finding accommodation, entertainment, and anything else you might need to do on the road!
Our Top 10 Apps for Van Life
Camping and Services Van Life Apps
These van life apps are the most essential for life on the road.
iOverlander – The essential van life app
iOverlander is one of the most useful van life apps on the market and it is absolutely free.
iOverlander is a mobile app and website that helps travelers find campsites, parking spots, and other services while on the road. The app is designed for all kinds of travelers, including van lifers, RVers, and overlanders, and is particularly useful for those who are exploring remote areas and need access to reliable information about where to camp or park for the night.
The app features user-generated content with reviews and ratings of various sites, along with information on amenities, fees, and GPS coordinates. Users can also contribute their own reviews and updates to help keep the information up-to-date and accurate. The app covers a wide range of locations worldwide and provides detailed information on each location, including photos and reviews from other users.
In addition to finding campsites and parking spots, iOverlander also includes information on other services that travelers may need such as freshwater, fuel stations, mechanics, LPG, road closures and warnings, and other essential services.
The app is available for free on iOS and Android devices, and can also be accessed through the iOverlander website.
WikiCamps – An iOverlander alternative in some regions
WikiCamps is an iOverlander alternative. It is a popular mobile app perfect for van lifers and other travelers that provides information on wild campsites, official campgrounds, and other accommodations, as well as various services and points of interest. There are 5 separate apps each covering a range of locations including the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States, and is particularly useful in Australia and New Zealand (where iOverlander is not as frequently used). It offers detailed information on each location including reviews, photos, and amenities.
Users of WikiCamps can browse and search for campsites and other accommodations based on specific filters, as well as read and write reviews and view photos and videos posted by other users. Wikicamps can also be used offline which is great if you plan to get off the beaten track. The app also features a mapping tool that allows users to search for nearby locations and get directions to each location using their phone’s GPS.
Wikicamps is a paid app but at a one-time cost of less than $10, it is well worth the investment.
The Dyrt – Another iOverlander alternative for US travelers
If you are primarily traveling in the US, the Dyrt is a mobile app and website that provides a platform for campers to discover and review campsites across the country. The app includes user-generated content with reviews and ratings of various campsites, along with information on amenities, fees, and GPS coordinates. Users can also contribute their own reviews and updates to help keep the information up-to-date and accurate.
Like other camping apps, the Dyrt includes a powerful search tool that allows users to filter results by location, amenities, activities, and other useful criteria. Users can also save campsites to their favorites list, share information with friends, and plan and organize their trips.
The Dyrt is free but also features a paid version of the app called The Dyrt PRO which includes additional features such as offline access to campground information, advanced filtering options, and discounts on camping gear and outdoor brands. Overall, The Dyrt is a popular and useful tool for campers who want to find and review campsites across the United States.
Other Helpful Camp Site Apps for Van Lifers
AllStays Camp & RV
A comprehensive guide to campgrounds, RV parks, and other places to stay in the USA.
Yet another free app that helps you find free or low-cost places to park overnight in the USA.
National Park Apps
The local national park app for the region you are traveling to can be an incredible wealth of information for not only camping but also park activities, trails, wildlife, and other important information for van lifers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Weather Van Life Apps
Knowing the weather when living in a van is much more important than living in a house or an apartment. Making sure you are up-to-date on all important weather notices could be life-saving.
Meteoblue – For accurate weather models
Meteoblue is a weather website and app that provides up-to-date information and forecasts for locations around the world. It offers a range of services, including hourly and daily weather forecasts, radar and satellite images, severe weather alerts, and historical climate data.
Meteoblue is operated by the Swiss company MeteoGroup, which specializes in providing weather information and services to businesses and consumers around the world. The website and app are available in several languages, and users can search for weather information by location or use interactive maps and tools to explore weather patterns and conditions.
Meteoblue is available for iOS and Android for free although you can upgrade to an ad free version for $2.99 per year.
Windy – For outdoor enthusiasts
The Windy app is primarily concerned with … you guessed it… wind. It is particularly useful for outdoor activities, such as camping, hiking, surfing, fishing, and kitesurfing. It provides detailed information about wind conditions and gusts. It also includes information about temperature, precipitation, and other weather conditions.
Animated weather maps allow users to visualize the movement of weather systems over time. The app also includes a range of useful tools, such as a tide forecast, air quality data, and a solar calculator.
The app is available in multiple languages and can be used on both iOS and Android devices, as well as on desktop computers.
It goes without saying that having an accurate map or navigation on the road is key to any van life adventure.
Maps.me – For offline navigation
Maps.me is a mobile app that provides free, detailed offline maps for navigation and travel planning. It allows users to download maps of entire countries or regions for offline use, which can be particularly useful when traveling in areas with limited or no internet access.
Map.me gives users the ability to bookmark locations for future reference. It also provides information about points of interest, such as restaurants, hotels, and tourist attractions, and allows users to add their own notes and ratings.
Maps.me is available for both iOS and Android devices, and the app is free to download and use. It is particularly popular among van lifers who need reliable, offline maps for navigation in remote areas.
Waze – For real-time traffic updates
Waze is a community-based navigation app that provides real-time traffic updates and turn-by-turn directions. It uses data from its community of users to provide information about traffic conditions, accidents, road closures, and police activity which allows users to avoid delays and find the fastest routes. It can be a particularly useful van life app when exploring a new city for the first time.
In addition to navigation, Waze also includes features such as the ability to share your ETA with friends and family, search for places of interest, and receive alerts about upcoming speed cameras or hazards on the road.
Waze is available for both iOS and Android devices, and the app is free to download and use.
Google Maps – The original mapping app
Widely regarded as one of the most comprehensive and reliable mapping services, Google maps is our default mapping service when traveling by van. Nevertheless, Google Maps is far from perfect and we like to have other mapping services for specific situations or when Google Maps gets us a bit lost.
Google Maps (if it didn’t come pre-loaded on your phone) is available for free download on both iOS and Android devices and as a webpage.
Gas Buddy – For keeping your fuel budget under control
For road warriors in the US, Canada, and Australia GasBuddy will help you find the cheapest fuel prices in your area.
GasBuddy is a mobile app and website that helps users find the cheapest petrol prices in their area. The app provides real-time gas prices for thousands of gas stations across the United States, Canada, and Australia.
Users can search for gas prices by city, state, or postcode, and can sort the results by distance or price. GasBuddy also offers a feature called “Pay with GasBuddy” which allows users to link their checking account and save on every gallon of gas they purchase at participating gas stations.
In addition to finding cheap gas prices, GasBuddy also offers a trip cost calculator that helps users estimate the cost of a road trip based on the distance, the fuel efficiency of their vehicle, and the current gas prices along the route.
Gas buddy is free and available to download for iOS and Android.
Connectivity Van Life Apps
Staying connected while on the road is important, especially if you are a digital nomad. Here are our must-have apps for staying connected.
Nperf – A global coverage and speed map
Nperf is our go-to for researching mobile internet coverage, speed, and the most reliable networks in a new area. Available as both a website and mobile app, Nperf uses a range of metrics, including download and upload speeds, latency, and jitter to provide a comprehensive view of network performance as well as detailed maps and reports about network coverage and signal strength for different mobile carriers and internet service providers around the world. This can be particularly useful for people who are looking for reliable and fast internet connections while working remotely from the road.
Nperf is available on both the web and as a mobile app for iOS and Android devices, and the basic speed test service is free to use. There are also paid plans available that offer additional features and insights, such as the ability to test the performance of streaming services or video calls on different networks.
OpenSignal – For finding local coverage
OpenSignal is a mobile app and website that provides information about wireless network performance and coverage. It uses data crowdsourced from its community of users to create maps and reports about mobile network coverage, signal strength, and data speeds for different mobile carriers around the world. In addition to network coverage and performance, OpenSignal also provides information about Wi-Fi hotspot locations, including their quality and speed.
OpenSignal is available for both iOS and Android devices, and the app is free to download and use. It is particularly popular among people who are looking for objective, real-world data about mobile network performance and coverage to help them choose the best mobile carrier or plan for their needs.
Work and Productivity Van Life Apps
If you work on the road as a digital nomad or corporate nomad, these work and productivity van life apps are perfect for you.
WorkFrom – For finding remote workspaces
WorkFrom is a fantastic app for any van lifer who is working from the road as it collates all the potential remote working spaces around you.
The community-driven platform provides information about coffee shops, coworking spaces, libraries, hotel lobbies, bars, and anywhere else that might be suitable for getting some work done. The platform helps you find and share places to work based on a variety of factors like wifi speed, noise level, and overall ambiance. Users can list new spots and add reviews and tips for other remote workers. On top of workspaces, WorkFrom provides information including job listings, productivity tips, and community events.
Although at this stage it has limited information available in less popular destinations, it is a godsend in busy cities where finding a work-friendly space can be daunting.
The free app is available as an online web page and for download for iOs and Android.
Atlas VPN – For protecting your privacy
A VPN, like Atlas VPN, serves a couple of important functions for people working remotely or just using the internet from the road.
Great if you are actually working from another country and you don’t necessarily want your boss or colleagues to know you are not in the same time zone or even the same continent. A VPN also protects you if you are logging on to public wifi sources. And of course, you can connect to all your favorite websites and streaming services back home.
Atlas offers one of the fast VPN networks on the market and allows you to have an unlimited number of devices on the network ensuring you are protected from all angles.
Clockify – For recording your hours
Many van lifers are also digital nomads employed as contractors or freelancers meaning tracking the amount of time you spend on a particular project is important if you want to get paid. Clockify makes tracking time simple to ensure accurate and timely billing giving you more time to explore as you work from the road.
It can also be helpful just to keep an eye on how much you are working. As a notorious workaholic, I use Clockify to make sure I am not extending myself too far beyond my contracted hours and remembering to practice a bit of work-life balance and taking time away from my van life office to explore.
World Time Buddy – For not missing meetings
Chances are your van life office will take you to some pretty epic places, however, those places may not necessarily be in the same time zone as the people you are working with. Having worked in a van across three separate continents, I know the hassle of scheduling meetings with time zone differences. Luckily, World Time Buddy takes away a lot of the pain of scheduling pain allowing you to view up to four different time zones at a time.
Evernote – For staying on top of things
Evernote is a cross-platform note-taking and productivity application. It is designed to help users capture, organize, and access information across all their devices. With Evernote, users can create notes, checklists, and to-do lists and store them in a digital notebook. These notes can include text, images, audio recordings, web pages, and even handwritten notes.
One of the key features of Evernote is its ability to sync notes across devices so that users can access their notes from their computer, phone, or tablet. The app also includes a search function that allows users to quickly find their notes, and the ability to tag notes with keywords to make organization easier.
Evernote can be used for a variety of purposes, such as taking notes during meetings, keeping track of tasks, managing projects, and even saving recipes and travel itineraries. It is available for download on a variety of platforms, including Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS and has both free and paid versions with additional features.
Slack – For team comunication and collobaration
If you work remotely yet as part of a team, Slack is an essential collaboration app. Designed for businesses and organizations, this cloud-based platform allows instant messaging and collaboration. Through the app, team members can send messages, share files, make voice and video calls, and integrate with other productivity tools such as calendars, project management tools, and more. Slack also helps streamline and organize conversations by separating communications into channels.
Slack is available for Android and iOS and can be downloaded for free or upgraded to a paid version with more powerful features.
Emergency and Safety Van Life Apps
These van life apps are essential to download before setting out and can be a lifesaver (pun intended).
Red Cross First Aid – For medical emergencies
Just like you should carry a first aid kit in your van, knowing what to do with it is equally important. Red Cross First Aid is an app that provides instructions and tips in emergency situations. It can be a godsend when you are traveling in a remote area and don’t necessarily have access to the internet or professional medical advice.
The app is preloaded with content which means you have instant access to all safety information at any time, even without reception or an Internet connection.
Red Cross is First Aid is free to download for android and iOS.
SirenGPS – For distress calls
SirenGPS is a safety app that helps you send an alert to emergency services with your GPS location in case of an emergency.
While you hope you will never need to use it, it can provide peace of mind when traveling far from your ordinary support network.
SirenGPS allows emergency response teams to locate and communicate with individuals during an emergency. It is designed to provide quick and accurate communication between first responders and those in need of assistance.
The SirenGPS platform uses a mobile app to allow users to quickly and easily notify emergency responders of their location and the type of emergency they are experiencing. The app also provides responders with real-time updates on the user’s location, allowing them to quickly reach the person in need. The app also provides emergency services with key medical information about the user.
SirenGPS has long been popular for organizations but more and more individuals are adding this safety tool to their arsenal. SirenGPS Lite is free and provides great features for travelers. The app is available on both Android and iOS mobile devices.
Health and Exercise Van Life Apps
These health and exercise apps are great to help you stay active on the road.
AllTrails – For hikers
One of the best ways to stay fit while you travel is to get out and hike, and the best app for hiking is AllTrails. This website and mobile app provide information on hiking trails, running trails, and other outdoor activities.
The AllTrails app offers a variety of features, including GPS-enabled trail maps, photos and reviews of trails submitted by users, trail difficulty ratings, and the ability to track your progress and save your favorite trails. Casual hikers will get plenty of use from the free version but avid outdoors people may benefit from the additional features available with a subscription to AllTrails Pro, such as offline maps, the ability to print maps, and real-time weather and air quality data.
The app is available on both iOS and Android platforms and can be downloaded for free from the App Store or Google Play.
MyFitnessPal – For staying healthy
Van life can add an extra layer of complexity when it comes to maintaining diet and exercise. Luckily, there are some powerful apps that can help you stay on course. One really helpful app is MyFitnessPal which has a broad approach to health covering diet, exercise, and nutrition. MyFitnessPal takes care of a variety of health metrics tracking your daily calorie intake, physical activity, and nutrition goals. It has a large food database and provides personalized recommendations to help you reach your goals.
MyFitnessPal offers a free version of the app which provides many helpful tools to the health-conscious van lifer. The app is available on iOs and on Android.
Nike Training Club – For fitness routines
Exercising on the road can be difficult. Without a regular schedule and with limited access to gyms, trainers, or basic exercise equipment, it can be daunting just knowing where to start. Thankfully Nike’s free app Training Club is perfect for getting you going.
Nike Training Club is a free fitness app designed to help people achieve their fitness goals through personalized workout plans and guidance from world-class Nike trainers. The app offers a wide range of workouts, including strength training, cardio, yoga, and more, and it is suitable for all fitness levels.
The Nike Training Club app features personalized workout plans tailored to the user’s fitness goals, schedule, and available equipment. Users can choose from a variety of workouts ranging from quick, 5-minute sessions to longer, more intense workouts, and the app provides video and audio guidance from professional Nike trainers to help users perform exercises safely and effectively.
The app has plenty of workout plans that will allow you to stay fit from anywhere, without equipment, and in a short amount of time. Beyond workout plans, the app also offers features such as progress tracking, workout reminders, and social sharing, allowing users to connect with friends and share their progress and achievements.
Nike Training Club is available for free on both iOS and Android devices.
Headspace – For your mental health
For those looking to keep their mind healthy, headspace can be a powerful tool. Headspace aims to reduce stress, improve focus, and promote overall mental well-being. To do so the app provides a variety of meditations and mindfulness exercises each aimed at alleviating a specific problem.
Available for both iOs and Android, Headspace can be a great addition to your overall fitness routine. The one downside to this app is that it is quite expensive at $12.99 per month.
Strava – For road warriors
Strava is popular among runners and cyclists. It tracks your workouts using GPS and provides detailed information about your speed, distance, and elevation. You can also connect with other users to stay motivated and track your progress.
Strava is free and available on iOS and Android.
Seven – For quick and intense workouts
If you want to stay fit on the road, but can’t seem to find the time, Seven might be for you. This app offers short, high-intensity workouts that can be done anywhere without any equipment. Each workout is only seven minutes long, making it easy to fit into a busy schedule. With audio and video guides and tracking functionality, Seven is a great app for staying fit in a hurry.
Seven offers a free version however, some workouts and features require a premium subscription to unlock.
Seven is available on iOS and Android.
Finance Van Life Apps
Not the sexiest of van life apps, but important nonetheless. These finance van life apps will help you stay on the road instead of ending up in a van down by the river.
Revolut is a fantastic app for van lifers traveling in foreign countries. This digital banking app offers a range of banking services designed for people on the move. Some features include currency exchange, peer-to-peer payments, and budgeting tools all within one user-friendly app.
Revolut also offers a debit card facility that can be used for transactions in over 150 currencies, online, in-store, or ATM withdrawals.
Revolut offers users access to interbank exchange rates far below the market rate offered by big banks.
A must for any van lifer traveling overseas, the app is available on iOs and Android as both a free version and a feature-rich premium version that includes crypto trading and travel insurance.
NomadWallet App is an expense-tracking app designed with travelers in mind. A simple interface allows users to quickly and easily enter their expenses as they go.
NomadWallet offers a variety of features that make it easy to track travel expenses and includes the ability to track expenses in multiple currencies.
The app is available on Android and iOS as a free version or an upgraded premium version for a one-time purchase of $5.99.
Accommodation Van Life Apps
Van life isn’t about making it hard on yourself. Sometimes you just may want a night away from the van or maybe you are exploring someplace that you cannot travel to with your van. If so, these van life apps may be just for you.
Even the most hardcore van lifers need a break from the van sometimes, and an Airbnb is often the place to get just that.
The popular accommodation app allows users to search for private short-term accommodation in a new region. Search results can be filtered by hundreds of categories to find the perfect stay.
The only drawback with the Airbnb app is that it seems incredibly well designed to keep you onsite, trawling for hours looking for possible accommodation options.
The Airbnb app is free to use and available on iOS and Android.
Trusted House Sitters
House sitting is one of our favorite van life hacks. Getting to look after someone’s home and pets for a few days or a few weeks in exchange for accommodation and hot showers can be a dream come true when you have been on the road for while.
Trusted House Sitters is a global network of homeowners and housesitters looking to swap services. The Trusted House Sitters app allows users to search for stays based on location, availability, and a range of criteria such as duties, to help you find the perfect sit.
The app is free to download for iOS and Android, however, a Trusted House Sitters Membership starts at $129 USD per year.
Entertainment Van Life Apps
Just because you are living life on the road doesn’t mean you need to leave all your creature comforts behind and disconnect from everything. Here are a few van life apps to keep you entertained while you are on the road.
Spotify – For long drives
What’s a road trip without the tunes? the Spotify app makes curating the perfect playlist a breeze. The music streaming app that allows you to listen to your favorite songs, podcasts, and audiobooks.
Spotify is available for Android and iOs. There is a free version of Spotify that is add supported for travelers on a budget however, to add free listening and offline availability you will need to upgrade to Spotify Premium for $10 per month.
Netflix – For downtime
This popular streaming app allows you to watch your favorite TV shows and movies while on the road. With thousands of hours of content and new shows being produced by the streaming giant all the time, you are unlikely to run out of options. Netflix allows you to download movies and shows for offline viewing when you plan to get off the grid for a while, but don’t want to miss out on your binge sessions.
A Netflix subscription starts at around $16 a month, which is pretty good value for the amount of old and new content.
If you are using the Atlas VPN mentioned above, you can access different Netflix offerings by logging in from different regions around the world.
Audible – For bookworms
Audible is perfect for the van life bookworm who is struggling to balance travel time and reading time. Turn long drives into chances to catch up on the latest novels, or invest in yourself with some self-help or educational books.
Audible is one of the most comprehensive collections of audiobooks available. The service offers a vast library of audiobooks, including bestsellers, classics, and original content, that users can access on their mobile devices.
Audible also offers a lot of cool features to enhance the user experience, such as playback speed adjustment, bookmarking, and sleep timers.
Education Van Life Apps
Being on the road doesn’t mean that you do not have to learn. In fact, hopefully, getting away from some of the hustle and bustle of life will give you more time to tuck into the books and learn something new.
Van lifers seeking to learn something as they travel may benefit from the Khan Academy. This education website and app provide free online learning resources in various subjects. It offers educational resources in math, science, economics, humanities, and other subjects, including online courses, video lectures, practice exercises, and personalized learning tools.
Khan Academy’s mission is to provide free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. The platform has been used by millions of learners worldwide. While a lot of the content is aimed at school students, there are also a number of resources for adults seeking to expand their knowledge and skills.
Khan Academy is available for iOS and Android completely free.
Duo Lingo – For learning a new language
Learning a language is a rewarding way to spend your free time and one that will yield practical skills.
We like the Duo Lingo app because it is free, comprehensive, simple, and fun to use and because it is constantly getting updated.
With over 40 languages to choose from and in-depth courses with thousands of modules, language learners are sure to enjoy this fun app.
Duo Lingo alone, while fun and engaging, probably won’t allow you to reach fluency in a new language, but it will give you a leg up in learning the basics, and practicing vocabulary and grammar.
Duo Lingo is free however there is a premium version with extra features available. Duo Lingo is available on iOS and Android.
Udemy – For online courses in … anything
Udemy is an online learning platform that offers courses on a wide range of topics, including business, technology, design, photography, music, and personal development. The platform was launched in 2010 and has since grown to become one of the largest online learning platforms with over 155,000 courses and 40 million students worldwide.
Udemy courses are created by instructors who have expertise in their respective fields. They can include pre-recorded video lectures, assignments, quizzes, and other resources to help learners master the course material. Courses can be taken at any time, and learners can progress at their own pace.
The platform offers both free and paid courses, and the cost varies depending on the course and instructor. Udemy also offers a money-back guarantee for courses, so if a student is not satisfied with a course, they can get a refund within a certain timeframe.
Udemy is a great platform for those who want to learn new skills or improve existing ones from the comfort of their own home. It offers a vast library of courses taught by experts in their fields, and the flexibility to learn at your own pace and on your own schedule.
Coursera – For a university-level education
Coursera is an online learning platform that offers courses and degrees from top universities and educational institutions around the world. The platform was founded in 2012 by two Stanford University professors and has since grown to become one of the largest online learning platforms with over 77 million learners in 190 countries.
Coursera offers courses in a wide range of fields, including business, computer science, engineering, humanities, social sciences, and more. Courses are taught by professors from universities such as Yale, Stanford, and Duke and can include pre-recorded video lectures, quizzes, and assignments.
In addition to individual courses, Coursera also offers online degree programs in partnership with universities, such as the University of Illinois and the University of London. These programs offer a more structured learning experience and can lead to a certificate or degree.
Coursera offers both free and paid courses with the cost varying depending on the course and whether a certificate is included. The platform also offers financial aid to learners who are unable to afford the cost of a course.
Overall, Coursera is a great platform for those who want to learn from top universities and institutions around the world. It offers a wide range of courses and degrees, and the flexibility to learn at your own pace and on your own schedule.
Communication Van Life Apps
Staying connected is especially important if you are embarking on van life alone.
WhatsApp – For staying in touch and reaching out
WhatsApp is probably the best, dedicated communication app for van life, especially if traveling outside of your home country. Offering messaging, VoIP (phone calls over an internet connection), and file sharing, WhatsApp is the best way to stay connected as you roam far from home. End-to-end encryption means that messages and calls are private and secure. Whatsapp is also widely used by many individuals and businesses around the world.
You need a phone number to initially sign up to WhatsApp however once you have an account that phone number does not need to remain active to keep your WhatsApp account. The app is free and available for download on iOS and Android.
Hopefully, you found some helpful van life apps. If you have a great app to share, please let us know in the comments below or send us an email at thevanabonds(a)thevanabondtales.com .
Looking for more van life content? Check out these articles.
- Is Van Life Worth It?
- How to Start Van Life in 12 Simple Steps
- Van Life or Boat Life? Which Is the Best
- 25 Important Lessons and Candid Confessions from a Van Life Couple
- Is Van Life Dangerous? 6 Major Pitfalls, Risks and Dangers Of Van Life (and How to Avoid Them)
- The Best Gym Membership for Van Life (and Travelers) in the US
- 25 Van Life Kitchen Essentials for the Ultimate Van Chef
- 9 Simple Van Life Tips for Living on the Road in a Van
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