Traveling by camper gives you the freedom to go wherever the road takes you. Finding a place to spend the night is still important though. In some countries dispersed camping is allowed. In other countries this is strictly prohibited. Thankfully there are many options when it comes down to camping and finding a campsite. From basic parking spots with no amenities, to big campsites with plenty of facilities. It’s advisable to orientate on your camping plans and needs beforehand.
Camping in Europe
Europe has over 22,000 campsites with France dominating the list. In many European countries the traffic signs will indicate campsites close by. Campsites vary from very basic to luxurious. We advise you to book ahead when you are traveling in peak season (July, August) or visiting popular areas. Campers are allowed to park overnight at free campsites for campers only. However these campsites are often just parking lots with no facilities. These kind of campsites can also be found in most cities, meaning you can easily visit Europe’s big cities with your rental camper.
Camping in nature
In Scandinavia you can camp in nature, free of charge or interference. Although the official rules vary per country. Generally speaking though, so long as you leave no trace and make sure you are not camping on someone’s property, you are allowed to stay the night. In most European countries dispersed camping is prohibited. Of course, parking is allowed in most places so if you are inconspicuous you can spend a few hours or short night parked.
Camping in USA & Canada
More than 15,000 campsites are dotted across North America, in the USA and Canada. From basic campsites in national parks to luxurious, big campsites complete with a pool, general store and restaurants. We can recommend KOA, Kampgrounds of America. With more than 500 campgrounds across the USA and Canada. In North America you can often opt for ‘full hook-up’ spots where you can hook up to water, electricity and a sewage system. For electricity you can choose 30 or 50 amp, depending on the size of your camper and the number of people you are traveling with. Another option to choose from is ‘pull-through’ or ‘back-in’. ‘Pull-through’ meaning you can pull through the camping lot without having to reverse. ‘Back-in’ meaning you will have to reverse into the spot.
Camping in the national parks
Many people want to camp in the beautiful national parks. Most campsites in the parks are basic in that facilities such as a pool or full hook up camping is often not possible. The campsites situated in national parks are very popular and quickly sell out. If you are traveling in spring, summer or even fall it is important to book ahead. You can make a booking via recreation.gov or reserveamerica.com. Campsites in the parks can be expensive but the bonus is that you are in the middle of the park so you can get up early and be the first on the trails or at certain lookouts. Dispersed camping is not allowed in national parks.
The rules for dispersed camping vary per state/province so it’s important to know what is allowed and what is not wherever you are. There are several apps, such as Roadtrippers and KOA, that can help you navigate to a nearby campsite and also indicate which facilities are available. Most of our suppliers also have an app and/or free guidebook.
Camping in Australia
In Australia dispersed camping is often allowed so long as you leave no trace. Australia also offers many basic campsites close by national parks that offer facilities such as toilets and showers that are managed by rangers. In rural areas in the Outback parking for the night at a road house is an option. This usually costs a few dollars and basic facilities such as a shower and toilet are available. Commercial, bigger campsites can be found closer to urban areas and cities. The costs vary between 20 and 50 AUD. WikiCamps app has a complete database of the campsites in Australia, including a navigation and can also be used offline.
Camping in New Zealand
Dispersed camping is allowed and even promoted in New Zealand, they call it ‘freedom camping’. It is important to check that you are parked on public grounds. New Zealand also has different rules for frontcountry and backcountry. Frontcountry meaning a few miles or kilometres away from the motorway and reachable by car and backcountry meaning wilderness or off road areas. Dispersed camping is only allowed in frontcountry areas. Besides commercial campsites New Zealand also has 250 public campsites where you can book a spot at approx. 15 NZD with basic facilities. You can also book a camping spot via the app Campable. These aren’t public campsites but campsites at a vineyard or farm. A great way to meet the locals!