There **should be** an app for that

While camping in a self-sufficient van offers more options than camping out of my 4Runner, locating suitable campgrounds is still tedious.

There are tons of apps to help folks find camping. My usual go-tos include:

  • Campendium
  • FreeRoam
  • Hipcamp
  • Harvest Hosts

In addition to those apps, I also use recreation.gov (federally-operated campgrounds) as well as reservecalifornia.com and other state-specific sites for state-run campgrounds.

Route planning + campground suitability + availability means a very time-consuming process for someone traveling around (vs just staying out for a season). No single website or app (to my knowledge) truly caters to the digital nomad.

The ideal app

I’d love a service that lets me say:

  • I’ll be in this general area
  • On these general dates
  • And require these particular amenities

And then the service spits out my options.

In no particular order, here are the search filters I want:

  • Filter by available date
  • Filter by general vicinity (I.e. within 60miles of City, ST.)
  • Filter by amenities (ie hookups, laundry facilities, etc)
  • Filter by cellular provider and strength of coverage

No single app/service combines all of that in a single search. So I typically use a combo of those aforementioned apps to find something that works.

On the surface it doesn’t sound that hard, but the reality is that every “entity” (federal/state/private/personally-owned property) uses a different booking system. Some even require a good ole-fashioned phone call and don’t offer online reservations.

I’m guessing that some entities have a public API* you could pull into a single app, but maybe not.

* For anyone who’s not a techie, an API (Application Programming Interface) is a way to let two separate apps “talk to” each other and exchange information. 🤓

End </ rant>

It takes a load of planning to book a multi-destination trip that’s suitable for work on the go. And all of those hours you spend planning are hours that you’re not billing. 👎

The majority of camping apps/service I’ve found are geared toward vacationers, not people trying to work on the road.

I’d love to see a camping app geared toward digital nomads. Bonus points if that app includes route planning and itineraries.

Can somebody go build that for me? Thanks in advance. 🙃

2 comments

  1. Dad asks if it’s possible to enter a driving route using booking.com and have it find camping places along the route?

    1. I didn’t think they did campsites… Just looked and turns out they do but hardly any properties (only 2 campsites appear in all of Texas for tonight) and loads of hotels are in the results. They’ve got some nice filters – maybe if they’re able to access more properties, it’ll be useful in the future.

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