User Guidelines

Introduction

Below are guidelines for creating iOverlander places and check-ins that help to make them as valuable as possible for other travelers.

General guidelines

Language

The prime language used in iOverlander is English. If at all possible, please write your check-in in English. If you are not able to do so, don’t hesitate to write a check-in in your native language. The general description of the place (which appears at the beginning of an entry) will be translated to English by the iOverlander team. Your original check-in text will remain untouched. Note that when adding a new place, the description and your check-in comments are duplicates. Only the description will be translated to English. If you are adding a check-in to an existing place we will NOT translate it. Please check the syntax of the entry: if points and comma’s are in the right place a Google Translate translation executed by the moderator team will be faster and better quality.

You must stay the night

Please do not add any type of accommodation if you have not stayed the night, especially wild campgrounds. Many times non-verified campgrounds are added, and the immediate next traveler is asked to leave by a guard or by locals. Please, if you have not verified a place is safe to stay by staying yourself, do not add it. The same rule applies for the services of all other places. For example, if you have not eaten at the restaurant, visited the tourist attraction or gone to the dentist, then please do not add that point.

If you have stayed in the past, please make sure to change the date visited to the approximate date in the past, so travelers are aware your information may be slightly out of date.

Signing check-ins

The name/website of the submitter is automatically added to every check-in. It is therefore not necessary to "sign" your check-in. You can change your name, blog name, and the link to your blog by logging in on the website and going to "My Account" and then "Edit Blog Details".

Self-promotion (places added by owners)

Owners or managers of a place are welcome to create an account and add their place, but ONLY if they make clear in their description and check-ins that they are posting as the owner. Owners should not pretend to be travelers. We recommend that owners use their place name as their blog name, so it is clear to travelers who is making the updates. Also, please make sure that your place meets our Criteria for New Places , or it may be removed by moderators without further notice.

Wifi Passwords

Please do NOT add wifi passwords to your checkins or new places. Wifi passwords are given as part of a service. Because you agree to pay for camping, or a meal, you are given the password. This is the owners right. Using wifi without purchasing the related service is theft. Please respect the establishments providing the wifi and do not publish their passwords. The one exception is if you are posting a wifi password for a public area that is not contingent on purchasing something – for example a free wifi hotspot in a city center, or a public library. If the wifi is open to all without any associated purchase or registration, make note of it and feel free to publish on iOverlander.

Offensive Language

Please refrain from using offensive language on iOverlander. We understand bad experiences do happen, and we do want to hear your honest reviews. However, it is much more helpful to say "the camping area was covered in dog crap, trash was littered everywhere, the bathroom was dirty and smelled and the owner charged us $25 a person!" Than it is to say "This place is F%*!@#$ awful, do not stay here!"

Places to add/not to add

Please see our page with Criteria for New Places for details. In general, iOverlander strives for high quality places relevant to overlanders. We do not aim to have every restaurant and fuel station on the planet. We do aim to have helpful information for overlanders, especially in remote areas of the world. Here are a few types of places we do NOT allow:

  • Places that promote Illegal activities of any kind (camping in prohibited locations, paying bribes of any kind, using password protected wifi without paying for services, route to avoid paying mandatory entrance fees, etc)
  • Fuel stations in places where they are very common
  • Restaurants, tourist attractions, or shopping with a poor quality description. Please tell us why these places are relevant for overlanders!
  • Road reports (unless causing a severe delay for travelers)
  • Highway rest stops

Please review our complete list of criteria for more information.

Be respectful of others

It is part of iOverlanders mission to always respect the local culture, people and environment. If adding a place, or leaving a comment will cause unnecessary harm to those around you, please refrain. We understand that emergencies happen and occasionally you need to camp illegally, but please DO NOT add any illegal camps to iOverlander. In addition, please do not add:

  • Camping spots that will damage the environment
  • Camping where signs are posted or you have otherwise been informed it is illegal (regardless of whether or not you stay without being asked to leave).
  • Any place where locals have asked you not to camp or dump waste, or take water, or any of the other services that may be added to iOverlander.

Images

Please make sure your photos are relevant to the place you are checking in to. We recommend photos of the facilities, surrounding scenery, goods/services. As well as photos that show restrictions, especially height/weight or difficult entries, and photos of complicated price-lists, timetables, etc.

Keep in mind that most overlanders don’t have a fast or free internet connection, so they shouldn’t have to waste money and time downloading irrelevant images. Picture of vehicles or tents are fine, but only when they are used to illustrate the amount of space, or how great the surroundings are. Pictures of people are fine too, but only if they are relevant (for example, the owners of a place). Photos of a dog in the grass, your kids at a BBQ or you husband holding up a beer are considered irrelevant.

Duplicate entries

If you find a duplicate entry on iOverlander, please flag it for a moderator to remove using the "Report a problem" button. Please leave a clear comment (as a check-in) telling the moderator which place is at the correct location, and has the correct information.

Please make sure that the locations are NOT separate categories. Sometimes a place will have two points because one point is describing a campground and the second point is describing the hotel. This is an acceptable duplicate because they are describing a separate set of amenities, even though it may be the same establishment. Please see "Multiple categories at the same place," below.

Multiple categories at the same place

If one location falls into multiple categories (for example, a hostel that also has camping) it should have multiple points on iOverlander. Please add the place in the category for which you used. If you do NOT use the service of the second category, please do NOT add it as a separate point. It would be appropriate to mention it in your description.
Examples:

  • There is a hotel which also has a camping area out back. If you camped, add the place as a campground. If you stayed in a room, add the place as a hotel.
  • There is a restaurant that allows informal camping in their parking lot. If you camp in the parking lot, but do NOT eat at the restaurant, there is no need to add the place as a restaurant. Please only add the place as an "informal campsite". If you eat at the restaurant, but do not camp there, please add the place as a restaurant.

In order to avoid overlapping points, you can manually modify the GPS coordinates to be slightly different. If you increase the 4th decimal number (00.0001 to 00.0002), it will shift the new point approximately 10m away. If you change the 5th decimal number it will move the second point approximately 1m away. (00.00001 to 00.00002) 

Category related notes

See our Criteria for New Places for a full list of details on the places iOverlander accepts. Below are a few helpful hints and clarification on several categories.

​Campgrounds​

iOverlander distinguishes between three types of campgrounds: established, informal and wildcamp.

  • Established campgrounds are all campgrounds that advertise camping, irrespective of amenities provided. This includes everything from an RV park with every imaginable amenity to a designated area in a national park without any facilities.
  • Informal campgrounds are areas that are not advertised as campground, but that allow camping, and are associated with another business or facility (at a gas station, restaurant, walmart). They generally have facilities that make them suitable for an overnight stay, such as guarding, toilets, showers, wifi, electricity.
  • Wild camps are by definition, free. They usually do not require permission (it is implied by the location), whereas permission would be required at informal camps. For example, street parking, public parking lots and public beaches are wild camps. (Permission by locals or police is a good idea, but generally not necessary at wild camps) Wild camps rarely have any amenities.

Description notes for accommodations

  • Add information about costs in your individual check-in comments. Please include what was included in the cost (how many people, vehicle, electricity, etc).
  • Add details about cell phone signal availability in the description. Include the carrier you are using.
  • If you are using electricity in a country where voltage varies from place to place, please add the voltage in the place description. Or, if a campground offers an uncommon voltage of electricity, please note it in the description as well.
  • If you know the height restrictions of an entry gate, please add to the description to help other big-rig travelers.

Border crossings

Describing border crossings helps travelers to assess how much time is needed to cross a border, if there are special paperwork issues or goods restrictions and to navigate between offices at the border. Please add:

  • Your direction of travel (traveling from country A to country B can differ tremendously from traveling from country B to country A) and
  • The nationality of the passport you used to cross, because that can also make a big difference in hassle and costs.
  • The nationality of your vehicles registration.

Checkpoints

Please add your direction of travel for checkpoints. For example a sanitary checkpoint may confiscate all your meat, vegetables and fruits when traveling from north to south and just let you pass when traveling from south to north. If a checkpoint is temporary, please do NOT add it to iOverlander. Many checkpoints change locations frequently, and iOverlander does not update fast enough to warrant inclusion in our database.

Propane/butane filling stations

Please add in the description the connection standard of the cylinder that you had filled and information you have about other connection standards the filling station can handle. This helps other travelers with the same/a different connection to assess their chances of getting their cylinder filled.

Tourist attractions

iOverlander does not intend to include every tourist attraction and good viewpoint on the planet. Please take the time to write a quality description about the attraction. Add hidden gems or places where you had a special experience, for example that one excellent nature tour guide travelers should look for. In addition, please add places of specific value to overlander, for example, the big rig parking lot for visiting the Eiffel tower would be helpful.

Warnings, road blocks and road quality

The main purpose of this category is to warn for serious dangers. Information about roadblocks and poor road quality typically shouldn’t be added to iOverlander: hitting poor roads is part of the overlander life and the situation often changes before the iOverlander database has been updated. If you file a warning add any information you have about how long the situation is expected to stay, if not forever. Please make sure that checkpoints and tollbooths are added in the Checkpoint category NOT in Warnings, unless it is to warn about extreme corruption.