The start of summer signals the tried and true tradition of the Aussie road trip. With the air con on full blast and the radio blaring, road trips have been part of the Australian summer experience for as far back as a lot of people can remember.

Thankfully, while the road trips of yesteryear involved enormous fold-out maps and disposable cameras, we now have the wonders of technology to help us on our journey. In fact, a recent survey by global market research company J.D. Power shows that 47 per cent of drivers use apps for travel information while driving. Hire a car and download these apps for a smooth, safe and enjoyable ride along Australia’s East Coast.

Google Maps

Where would we be without Google Maps? Quite likely driving in circles in the middle of the outback. This trusty smartphone sidekick has helped many a lost driver navigate the suburbs and now it can help you on your road trip.

While the app of course functions as a map of the area, it’s unique in that it also analyses the safety of your location and lets you know if there’s anything to be concerned about, like missing child alerts and weather warnings.

If you want a more in-depth report on your area, check out Google’s public alerts. This app will give you the full safety lowdown of your destination and notify you of anything that could affect your holiday.

Instagram

In this day and age, a summer road trip is incomplete without documentation through this popular photo sharing app. Whether you’re trying to make your friends jealous or just show your mum that you’re still alive, Instagram is a great way to let your loved ones know how you’re doing on your journey.

As well as providing a way to touch base with everyone at home, Instagram is an excellent source for discovering what other travellers found worth doing at your destination. Simply key in a hashtag and the town or city you’re visiting and scroll away. A look at the #sydney tag, for example, shows you where you can eat and shop, not to mention how gorgeous a Sydney Harbour sunset is.

There’s also a huge range of add-on apps for Instagram. Pic Stitch, for example, lets you make a collage from a few different photos – you could make one for your favourite moments for each city you visit.

For more useful road trip apps, check out the infographic below. And remember, always pull over before pulling out your smartphone.

10 apps you should never road trip without - Graphic