Last night we lost our motorhome. I know, I know, how could you possibly lose something so BIG! Right?
You see we parked up in the lovely town of Karlsrhue, Germany then excitedly jumped on our eBikes to check out the wonderful Christmas markets. Scroll through the photo gallery below to see how pretty these markets are.
When it was time to head back we opened up the iPhones to find our parking spot on the, very reliable, Park4Night app. Only it wasn’t there!!! Find out why below.
Here’s what the fantastic community of motorhomers shared with us the following day, via the Facebook page Motorhome Adventures. Now there’s no excuse to lose our girl again.
1. If using the app, WhatsApp, send your location to each other before heading off. Open the app, click on the + symbol on the bottom left next to where you would write a message. You will see several options, Location is one of these. Click on Location and you have several options. You can Share Live Location, Send Your Current Location, which is accurate to 10 metres, or you can enter an address in manually. When you click Send Your Current Location a small map shows up, plus the address. When you receive this location, you can open it in Google Maps by pressing the up arrow inside a box, at the bottom left of your screen. Many thanks to Laura Tonks who shared this wonderful piece of advice.
2. We rely on our phones and technology these days, however what would you do if your Internet connection went down or your data limit expires? Karen Davies’ suggestion is to pin their location using Maps.me. Don’t forget to download the local map ahead of time.
3. Take a photo of the street name or local landmark – what a simple but powerful idea this is, thanks to Ronnie Payne, Robert Yates and a few others for this suggestion.
4. Back to technology, there is a relatively new system called What3Words.
Here’s what the developers tell us this is all about. “What3words is a really simple way to talk about location. We have assigned each 3m square in the world a unique 3 word address that will never change.”
Thanks to Sue Mackness and Debbie Bargewell for reminding us to use this one.
Eddy Smerdon made it fun by suggesting we draw some meaning from the words. For example, our spot was captive.charcoal.grades. We’ve just visited Dachau Concentration Camp so the story I made up was that the prisoners were held captive, they ran out of coal (charcoal) in the crematorium, and when working in the quarry they had to grade the stones.
5. Another thanks goes to Sue Mackness for sharing how she uses Polar Steps (another travel app). When they park, she adds their location into Polar Steps, that way family and friends can see exactly where they are in real time.
6. Judy Makin suggested that before leaving their vehicle she asks Siri to ‘remember where I’ve parked my car’. It will save the location and guide you back if you get lost. She warns to remember to do this, otherwise you could be guided back to a previous spot miles away.
7. Eleanor Brown suggested a Strava App, which shows the route you have taken.
8. Susan Bocking uses an app called Find My Car.
9. Some motorhome owners have installed trackers on their vehicles in the event they are stolen. If we had been clever enough to have one of these, we could have activated it. Thanks Gavin Short and Ian White for your suggestion and yes it is something we are considering, but not only in the event that we get lost again.
10. It’s also possible to take a photo and look at the tag on Google Photos, which shows a map of the location. Just remember to turn your location services on if you are using this option. We sometimes turn ours off to save our phone battery. Thanks Alan Gurling for your contribution.
11. Julie Buckley takes a photo of the area where they have parked. This also includes a landmark, like a fountain, and then when finding herself in the same situation, she picks up a map from the local tourist office.
12. Another option is to take a screen shot of the map before heading out. That’s what Malcolm Pinnell does now, after he too experienced the same situation.
13. On Google Maps you can press the circle that makes it go to your location. Then click on the blue dot, ie your location, and the option to save your parking place appears. These instructions from Dave Adams are for an android phone, however iPhones have a similar system.
14. And finally Lindsey Crawford uses geocacheing before they head off to explore. Using a hand-held Garmin device it allows them to download locations of caches. It also provides an opportunity to input GPS coordinates. For more information about this idea click here.
As mentioned earlier, we typically use the Park4Night app to find parking spots and then use the same app to find our way back. However, what foiled us last night was the fact that we had put filters into our phones. This prevents us from seeing places that don’t suit our size, ie a height restrictions of two metres. This particular spot had been incorrectly labelled with such a limitation. Therefore it showed up on our computer, but not on our phone.
Given our dependency upon technology, and in particular our mobile phones, we always carry a small battery charger with us when out and about. It’s our assurance that we won’t run out of grunt. Plus we are on a mobile plan for data, meaning it never runs out, it just starts costing us money!
Well, there you have it. There’s no excuse to get lost any longer. Please share this with your motorhoming and/or traveling friends so they too can find their way back. If you have any other clever suggestions, please include them in the comments below.
Many thanks to everyone who contributed to these wonderful ideas and may you never get lost again!