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How to find places to sleep when living in a van?

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And a few of the top apps, tools, and a guide to help you find that hidden gem in the wild when you are living that #VanLife.

Finding places to sleep can be a real challenge on certain areas, it might be that everything is fenced off and privatized or some company has bought the land and set up a pay & display option only.

Some also use the old hight barrier trick, only letting in cars below 2 meters. Those are the worst ones because they are hard to pick out from Google maps.


So how do you go about finding a great spot for the night, where you can be fairly sure that nobody is stopping by to steal the bikes of your rack or rob you in your sleep?

Simple, use an app where multiple people share locations, water points, and toilet disposal!

The more that use the app the better, and the more comments a place has gotten, the easier to figure out if it’s a good one.

There are several great apps for finding out where to sleep at night, but not all work for the area you are in, either because nobody does free camping in that area or because the spots are too nice to share with others.


But no fear, chances are that just because you can’t find them on your primary sleep spot app, they might be available in one of your secondary apps.

Let’s try and look at some options.

Park4night is the primary app that most people who free camp use.

Pros: lots and lots of users, meaning plenty of spots and plenty of comments on them. It shows both paid, unpaid, nature and truck stops, so you can always find what you are looking for.

Cons: lots of French or foreign comments(they just don’t give a rats ass, anyways the translate function works 50% of the time) has big holes with no options in certain areas.

vanlife is not the most used among Europeans, and for good reason, it’s not widely used and therefore the few spots that show up when you search, might be too far away.

On the other hand, it might be worth checking out if your other options fail, it could have that one sweet spot that none of the others have found yet.

The vanlife app is a newcomer in the club, it is pretty much a copy of park4night, but with a more “look at meeee, I’m a vanlifer and proud of it” kinda feel to it. Still not used in Europe that much, but worth checking out!

Google maps, yes, Google maps… I know, but seriously, use the satellite image and start exploring, dive into different areas and snoop around.


Some of the best spots have yet to be discovered, they are the small forest road parks, the gravel lanes heading to the smaller lakes, the city parking that no one dares check out.

Use it, and if you find anything then share it with the world, unless it’s too pristine, then forget about it, keep it to yourself and enjoy it, share it only with your most trusted van buddies, the ones that carry a full bag of trash with them every time they have been to a spot.

Ask your buddies what they have found, some of the best spots are only on people’s own maps, so you better start creating your own dots on the map, don’t be scared to ask.

Lastly, you can always go exploring the area you are in, a good thing to try is to look after areas with lots of trees, often times you will find small roads leading into the woods witch often times will give you wonderful small spots of complete privacy.


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