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Monument Valley

How Does iOverlander work | How I use it

I’ve been living full-time in a converted 1999 International school bus traveling across The United States. You name the place, I’ve been there. In the past I wrote an article titled “Where do I park overnight?“. In it, I briefly talked about the #1 app that I use, to find places to stay; short term and long term. That app is iOverlander. How does iOverlander work and how do I use it? Well, here you go!

Discovering iOverlander

When I started my living on the road, I thought I could find places where ever there was a town, a city, or a neighborhood Walmart to stay overnight. Little did I know, there is so many more places to stay other than a parking lot. Now don’t get me wrong, Walmart has its benefits. They have bathrooms, food, water fill-ups, security and usually other Nomads. But I knew there was more!

My first couple of months full-time on the road, I did mostly stay at a Walmart or on a friends street/in a friends driveway. That is until I discovered the biggest-best-not-so-secret, secret on how to find places to stay for free. I can’t remember exactly who or how I found out about iOverlander but when I did, it has become the #1 app I use when it comes to finding places to stay, short term and long term. I can’t speak highly enough as to how valuable and how overall great iOverlander has been for me and my nomadic lifestyle.

What is iOverlander?

iOverlander is an app that uses existing iPhone and Android maps. It lists tons of places for people and Nomads looking for places to stay. Including camping, hotels, restaurants, mechanics, water, propane filling and many other categories. It is a user based community.

Is Ioverlander free?

YES. iOverlander is free to use and is available both as a website and mobile app. The app is available in both Android and iOS versions.

How Does iOverlander work?

iOverlander is a user based database of spots created by registered users. What that means is that registered users can create a ‘discovered’ spot by clicking the “Add New Place Here” then follow the required steps that creates a new post. It can take 24 hours to 2 weeks for the new spot to be created and available. Once available, that spot can be viewed for others to find and see what the spot is like before traveling there. Also when creating a new spot, the user can specify if the spot has power, is pet-friendly, has WIFI, showers (and whether or not there is a use fee), water, bathrooms, whether or not you need a 4×4 to access it, and even camping. You can get pretty specific which his really nice for others who may not have been there before. For example, if I find a new place that I feel is a spot worth sharing, I can submit that place by logging in to my account then provide that GPS, list amenities, a photo (optional), and a short description of the location. Then my spot will be available to be found by the next person.

How I use it.

I have a few pieces of criteria that I stick to when looking for a new place. I like to find spots before it gets dark and I like to have cell service since I use it for my work. With iOverlander’s comments section I can see if anyone else has RECENTLY been to a place that can be accessed with low clearance or without a 4×4 vehicle. As for cell service, if there’s good cell service, people will usually comment on which provider is better there, plus how many bars they’ve been getting.


Photos are optional on most spots, however, I like to see what the spot looks like before I make the trip. Most spots do have photos which help a lot when deciding.

Place found on iOverlander
Free camping found on iOverlander


The user comments is the feature I use the most. Comments are sorted by the most recent date. This way you can see if the roads have been damaged, flooded, closed, or any other updates. Sometime you’ll even see some places that you are no longer legally allowed to stay at or you’ll see that some spots say “No staying overnight”. However, in comments, users will comment, “We saw no signs stating ‘No Overnight Parking’ but didn’t have any issues or anyone kicking us out.”

How to use iOverlander comments
iOverlander spot comments


I do, I use Overlander consistently. It’s a huge tool I use to decide where I’m going to travel next.

I hope this article helps you or someone you know thats looking for tool to find place to free camp or looking for a place to stay overnight. Let me know what you think and you comments about finding places to stay.

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