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Vacation in a mobile home: How to find the right parking space | > – Guide

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Vacation in a mobile home: How to find the right parking space |  > – Guide

As of: 06/13/2023 5:54 p.m

Camping and RV vacations are popular. But where is it allowed to camp? What alternatives are there to large campsites? Apps help with the search for a parking space and route planning.

Go on a trip with your own mobile home and exchange narrow hotel rooms for pure nature – this type of vacation has been very popular with many people for several years. The times when you could drive off spontaneously to look for a suitable parking space on the spot are a thing of the past. Many campsites are fully booked months before the start of the main season. Timely holiday planning is therefore worthwhile more than ever.

Sleeping on the Autobahn: Not in every parking lot

You can’t just park your mobile home anywhere, because wild camping is not allowed in Germany. However, you can interrupt your journey to “restore driving ability”. For one night and a period of up to ten hours, you are therefore allowed to park your mobile home – anywhere that it is not expressly forbidden. Overnight stays in motorhomes are also permitted in principle at motorway service stations. Here, however, the signs must be observed carefully: Parking spaces that are only designated for cars may not be used by mobile homes, truck parking spaces are reserved for vehicles over 7.5 tons.

Many cities and municipalities offer parking spaces

Many cities and municipalities have now designated their own parking spaces for mobile homes, where you can park overnight for free or for a relatively small fee. Some even offer electricity, toilets, fresh water and disposal options. However, camping life with a table, chairs and barbecue is usually not welcomed there.

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Find campsites with your smartphone

Camping in the dunes with a mobile home – this is only possible in a few places in the north

Official campsites are more comfortable. Suitable pitches nearby can be found very easily with the ADAC camping and parking space guide app (price: around 10 euros). In addition to the clear map, the information on equipment and prices as well as the user ratings are helpful. Examples of free alternatives are the Campercontact and Top-Platz apps.

As all popular campsites get crowded in the summer, it is advisable to call and reserve before you arrive.

App shows free parking spaces on farms

The Landvergnügen smartphone app is recommended for anyone who likes to park their mobile home away from the official parking spaces. For an annual fee of around 50 euros there is a complete package with book, app and vignette. This allows users to stay overnight at more than 1,400 farms throughout Germany, including breweries, beekeepers, cheese dairies and wineries. You can return the favor for the free parking space with a small purchase in the farm shop.

The Staybetter app offers a similar concept. Here the contribution is 45 euros per season. Members receive a plaque and can spend up to three nights on the property of a participating farm in exchange for a donation or a purchase in the farm shop.

The service is aimed primarily at mobile home, campervan and caravan owners. The equipment is mostly minimal with the providers and designed for camper needs. There is often no electricity, washrooms or fresh water.

Legal “Wildcamp”

The Hinterland app has set itself the task of making spending the night in nature legal. The vacationers book the pitch directly with the respective owner. The Germany-wide offer is diverse. It ranges from lonely places by the lake to overgrown gardens. Some places are for nature lovers and real adventurers without any comfort, some offer bath and bread service. The pitches are on meadow or forest land and can be booked for a spontaneous overnight stay or for the entire summer holiday.

Navigation: find the right route for large vehicles

Special navigation apps only guide you along routes that are suitable for the dimensions of your own motorhome.

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Because RVs are larger than a regular car, a traditional navigation system may navigate roads that are too narrow or under bridges that are too low. Some navigation apps have therefore specialized in larger vehicles. The Sygic Truck Navigation app offers route guidance for large vehicles especially for campers. The test version is free, but if you want to use all functions such as voice output or regular map updates, you have to buy a premium version (around 20 euros per year).

An alternative is the Copilot app. The test version is free, the full version with voice navigation and other additional services costs around 30 euros per year.

Align the mobile home horizontally

Campers know the problem: if the vehicle is not completely level, the water will not drain properly and it will be harder to sleep. The WoMoSet app (price: 5.99 euros) can help. With it, the camping vehicle can be correctly aligned in a few seconds. The optimum height for each tire is shown on the screen, and voice output means you don’t have to look at the display. Alternatively, you can use one of the free spirit level apps for Android or the iPhone spirit level. Of course, a normal spirit level will do, too.

Inexpensive refueling: Apps show the way

Due to their size, mobile homes have a comparatively high fuel consumption. It is therefore worth thinking about refueling in good time and comparing gas station prices. Apps like Mehr-tanken, Clever-tanken or ADAC fuel prices can help here.

End of the camping boom in sight?

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Camping holidays in Germany experienced a real boom, especially during the corona pandemic. In 2022 alone, German campsites counted more than 40 million overnight stays – more than ever before. With partly negative consequences: The infrastructure in some places was overloaded, mobile homes and caravans were placed closer together, parking space costs increased drastically, according to camping expert Mark Kujath. However, he anticipates that the number of camping holidaymakers will decline again in the next one to two years, as many newcomers to camping would increasingly book package holidays again after the end of the pandemic.

Further information

Whether in the Harz Mountains, on the coast or on the islands: In the north there are hundreds of campsites ranging from simple to comfortable. If you are well informed in advance, you will avoid disappointment. more

Sleeping in the open air: camping is a natural and relatively inexpensive form of vacation. Tips for camping beginners. more

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