Now that spring has well and truly sprung, you’re no doubt busting, just as we are, to get out and about in the great outdoors. Long gone are the days when a paper map, a couple of litres of water and first aid kit were the most important companions for a journey. Well, those last two are certainly still necessities (please, do not not take these items), but many of us now forego a paper map in favour of our smartphone.
If you have got a road trip planned, or maybe you’ve just dusted off the camping gear, find out below which (free) apps we will be ‘packing’ on our end-of-year adventures. Mobile phone coverage is not a given (nor are phone batteries), especially when you’re exploring the more isolated delights of our country, so download the content you need in each app before you head off, even for the apps that can be used offline. And while smartphones can be invaluable, having a hard copy map and some printed information about your destination/s is always a good idea.
No brainer: Google Maps
While many iPhone users choose to stick with Apple Maps (which comes with iPhone’s software), I can’t recommend Google Maps highly enough. The app uses real-time traffic updates when calculating route times, though this might not be such a problem if you’re off the beaten track. Google Maps allows you to save locations and create lists of places you want to visit. But, best of all, you can use it offline – and it can still track your location via GPS without mobile coverage. Say no more.
Life saver: Fuel Map Australia
We’ve all been there: seriously low on petrol, and seriously far from civilisation … phew, makes me nervous just thinking about the close calls. Thankfully, Fuel Map is here to make sure you can find a petrol station when the dial’s heading dangerously southwest. The app lets you view maps with the marked locations of petrol stations and shows the latest fuel prices as well, so you can compare – should it not be such an urgent matter. Fuel Map also gives you the handy option of recording your fuel expenses.
Bed locator: WikiCamps
WikiCamps gives you access to a database of campgrounds, caravan parks, hostels, information centres and more across Australia, making it priceless for those who like to leave their plans a bit more up in the air when travelling. Similarly to Google Maps, you can use the app offline, provided you have downloaded all the content before hitting the road.
Memory catcher: Camera app
Thought I might include the smartphone’s humble inbuilt camera because it really is pretty darn great. Being able to snap a stunning landscape or take a video of a multicoloured sunset is one of the best ways to record your trip. Flicking back through photos I’ve taken often leaves me in awe of the majestic sights I’ve witnessed.
Have you used any of these apps when travelling in Australia? Are there any other smartphone apps that you’d recommend for road trips?