How To Find the Ultimate campervan parking in your van
Park4Night and Search For Sites Reviewed and Compared
If you’re looking to find the best camper overnight parking then no doubt you’ve heard people talking about search for sites (S4S) or park4night (P4N) – but what are these campervan parking apps all about?
Whether you are a seasoned motorhomer weighing up the two or you’re looking to spend your first night in your van and are just wondering what on earth people on are on about then hopefully we can help.
We’ll dive into the merits and drawbacks of both search for sites and park4night in a side by side comparison, fight to the death style.
Well… Not quite! They’re actually both good but we’re here to find out exactly what these must have campervan parking apps are all about, the features of each, how easy they are to use and what the alternatives are.
Let’s dig into it. What are Search for Sites & Park4Night?
What are Search For Sites and Park4Night?
Simply, these campervan parking apps contain databases of community driven information about motorhome overnight parking in the UK and Europe.
This includes wild, or free night spots for motorhomes, day time motorhome parking spots, places with facilities for motorhomes such as grey waste, black waste and fresh water as well as campsites both small and large. As well as Aires, Stellplatz and Sostas.
You can use them to find campervan parking near you as well as to plan ahead for good overnight parkups on future trips.
The really great part about the community driven aspect is you can read reviews and see the latest photos from real people. There is a constant flurry of activity on these platforms from people uploading new motorhome spots, reviewing existing ones, adding photos and removing ones that are no longer available.
Both Search For Sites and Park4Night have both been designed and built by different people but for, in essence, the same purpose – finding campervan and motorhome overnight spots.
So this all sounds great. But you might be asking yourself – how do I use Search For Sites and Park4Night?
Let’s explore the differences between search for sites and park4night, which has a richer feature set, the cost of each and the usability of each app.
Search for Sites Overview
- 200,000 referenced places. We’re assuming that this means motorhome night spots, motorhome daytime parking, campsites and all the rest of the variations as well.
- 6,000,000 app downloads
Now, these numbers suggest that Park4Night has five times the number of entries as search for sites, and over thirty-five times the number of app downloads!! Impressive numbers. Point – Park4Night
Search For Sites and Park4Night Cost
Both sites feature a free version of both their website and their app. And both free offerings are perfectly serviceable – more on this later – particularly if you’re just starting out on your campervan journey.
However, to get the full benefits, Search For Sites will set you back £5.99 a year and Park4Night costs 9.99 euros.
So, neither will break the bank, but being purely objective, Point – Search For Sites.
Search For Sites vs Park4Night Features
- Paid = only available via the app subscription.
- Free = available to use without subscription.
- Unavailable = not available on the platform.
|Feature||Search For Sites||Park4Night|
|Filter based on Parkup Type||
Many filter options available
Less filter options available
|Download Maps & Parkups for Offline Use||Paid||Paid|
|Save Lists & Favourite Stopovers||
Create Multple Lists
Favourites List Only
|View & Contribute to Parkup Reviews||Free||Free|
|View & Contribute to Parkup Photos||Free||Free|
|Load Spots onto SatNav for Directions||Free||14 - 22 Euros for POI file to load onto SatNav|
|European Stopovers Listed||Free||Free|
|Search For Parkups along a Route||Unavailable||Paid|
|CAMpRA Aires Listed||Free||Unavailable|
|Load Maps In Satellite Data||Free||Free|
Usability of S4S and P4N
So for both services, the app is definitely a much better solution than their respective websites. We found both websites to be a bit clunky and feel a bit outdated – whereas the apps do feel modern and clean and work very well.
To be honest, trying to determine which is better is a little like splitting hairs, they’re both very good. But we’ll do our best.
To really nit pick Park4Night probably has a better range of actual wild camping spots and a larger database, particularly in Europe, and Search For Sites is probably better for free parking, car parks for daytime motorhome parking and finding Aires (both Aires in Europe and Aires in the UK).
Both apps let you save your favourite spots, Search For Sites is slightly better as you can save places into multiple lists, P4N simply lets you have one overall favourites list.
You can view your lists and favourites both as a list and plotted on the map.
Search For Sites tends to have more reviews and photos of places and typically a more thorough description that Park4Night – but this is a generalisation and not a hard and fast rule.
Most, if not all, of the places on S4S informs you of the number of vehicles the area can take and a rough size guide to let you know if your campervan will fit on the space, again P4N will tell you the same information but it is far more sparse and you may be forced to try and wing it and hope for the best more often.
It really does seem that where one app is lacking, the other is better, frustrating!
Alternatives to Search for Sites & Park4Night
Of course, these aren’t the only two campervan parking apps – in fact, below is our run down of the all the apps we use for our campervan trips.
That said, they are by far and away and the biggest and best we’ve found operating in the UK and Europe. But, here are some Search For Sites alternatives:
Same concept as search for sites et al, but the user base in the UK and Europe is nowhere near as large, and therefore the datasets are lacking, meaning you’ll find it harder to discover the best number of overnight motorhome parkups.
That said, iOverlander does have a few good entries so if you are struggling to find a motorhome parkup then do remember to check iOverlander. We’d suggest that the free version is plenty for motorhoming in the UK and Europe.
Follow your nose
Not always reliable, but sometimes just follow your nose and you might find a real hidden gem of a campervan parking spot and you are more likely to have it all to yourself if it isn’t on an app or website.
It’s your choice as to whether or not you decide to share it with the community or keep it all to yourself – and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Some Basic Rules for Free Camping in your Motorhome
We have a full post dedicated to the legalities, practicalities and sensibilities of wild camping in a motorhome but here’s six quick fire rules everyone should follow:
Keep safe. Make sure your van security is up to scratch. If you feel unsafe, uneasy or otherwise unhappy – move on. Let someone know where you will be for the night so they can raise the alarm should something untoward happen.
Leave the area tidier than when you arrived. If we’re able to park up for free or cheap – the least we can do is carry a litter pick and help the environment. This goes beyond ‘Leave No Trace’ which should be followed as an absolute minimum.
Don’t be a lousy neighbour. If you aren’t alone, keep your music and noise to a minimum, let’s be a part of the solution not the problem of off grid camping.
If there are signs stating ‘no camping’, or ‘no overnight parking’ – don’t stay overnight. Regardless of whether you think the sign is legal, or fair, staying will just antagonize locals, and mean more of these spots become off-limits.
Make sure you’re prepared. Check you have water, plenty of electric and gas, check your campervan heating is working, if there’s a chance it will be cold make sure you know how to stay warm in your campervan.
And finally, have fun! All this is supposed to be fun so try not to worry too much if this is all new to you (if it is, here’s our best advice for new motorhomers), and get out there and explore this world we live in.
S4S Vs P4N: The ultimate overnight spot finder
So there you have it, the undisputed champions of motorhome overnight parking apps, push comes to shove we’d probably choose park4night over search for sites but there really isn’t much between them.
And for a combined price of roughly fifteen pounds for both full versions that works out at pretty good value.
We’d fully recommend using both Search For Sites and Park4Night in tandem to always ensure you find the best spot with the most up to date information.
Go Explore! Using Search For Sites and Park4Night!