Ahh, the Aussie road trip. It’s a right of passage for most of us. We pack up the boot with our back packs and get our favourite music ready to sing along to at the top of our lungs, all our loved ones in the car with us.

What can make this road trip run even smoother? Technology! These seven apps can add a lot of value to your road trip, from informing you of local spots to visit to updating you on traffic conditions with live, to-the-minute information.

So before you rev up the engine of your hired car, make sure you have downloaded these onto your smartphone or tablet.

a group of friends hanging out the window of a green car
Get your mates together because it’s time to use these fun apps on your road trip!

1) Waze

This free app uses live information from locals in the area, so that any sudden changes to traffic flow, or any build up of traffic jams, is promptly reported. It’s useful because it also alerts you about any major events in the area, helping you plan your journey accordingly to avoid any congestion on the streets near the event. Not only does this save you time and gas money, it also makes the trip more fun with no stress from being stuck in traffic or road rage. Let’s be honest – traffic can get pretty insane in busy cities such as Sydney.

2) Postagram

Many of us wish we had physical, actual photographs of our trips instead of just digital copies uploaded to our Facebook pages or buried in some folder in the depths of our computer hard drive. This is where Postagram comes in. This app lets you upload a photo from your road trip, add a personalised message, and then for the fee of US$1.99, the company running the app actually sends your postcard via snail mail to the address supplied. What a lovely way to keep in touch with family back home if you’re on a super long road trip. Or, just send it back to yourself so you have a cute card awaiting your arrival, ready to be pinned or taped to your bedroom wall.

3) Instagram

A bit of Valencia, anyone? Maybe some Amaro? These Instagram filters make every photo you take during your road trip look almost as good as professional photography, and with the touch of a ‘share’ button you can post your road trip adventures to social media sites with ease. An extra tip is the Instagram-compatible app ‘Instasize’ that lets you keep the full horizontal or vertical dimensions of your picture, without being forced to crop it to a square shape as is common with the regular Instagram app. Are you ready for your selfies?

a couple taking a selfie with waterfall in the background
Never travel without your trusty Instagram filters to jazz up your road trip photos!

4) Glympse

Safety comes first, and this free app is just as much to keep your family at ease as it is for keeping you protected. Glympse works by automatically sending your GPS location to the people you program it to, using contacts in your phone book. This way they know exactly where you are, especially when travelling long distances through remote areas. It’s also useful for day-to-day activities, such as waiting for a friend to come pick you up, as you can request to ‘glimpse’ how far they are.

5) StarStruck Navigation 

This sweet app is adorable for romantic road trips, or for people who are interested in galaxies and outer space. Reminding you of how people navigated the globe in the olden days simply by watching the stars and planets, this app uses the sensors on your smart phone to pin-point the positions of the stars, so you can use such celestial navigation as a fun alternative to a GPS. It also drains less battery than using a GPS.

photo of the milky way nightscape with a building in the foreground
Use the shimmering light of the stars to navigate your road trip.

6) TripAdvisor

No trip is complete without this trusty app. Latest versions offer offline access to reviews, and have more than 300 photos of cities worldwide. If you’re ever stuck for ideas on what to do nearby, simply pull open your TripAdvisor app and read the reviews, even if you’re without Wi-Fi or data thanks to the offline function. TripAdvisor also has maps loaded onto it for easy navigation. Best of all, let your experiences count and your opinions be heard by reviewing the places you visit, too.

7) Along the Way

This aptly-named app works in a similar way to TripAdvisor in that it gives you information about things to see and do, but it actually charts all these attractions along the entire way of your planned route. So if you’re planning to drive from Brisbane to Byron Bay, for example, it would list all the road-side attractions or prime tourist spots throughout your planned course. Food is also a feature, so if you want to stop for a bite to eat mid-journey, Along the Way can pre-program where to satisfy your taste buds. A big bonus is that you don’t need to venture off the route for detours, as Along the Way tells you about what’s already on your path.

woman in a red convertible car
You’re all set! Enjoy your road trip and have an ‘appy’ time!