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Download for the road - 7 Essential Road trip apps

17 December 2021

Download for the road - 7 Essential Road trip apps

Planning a road trip can be stressful but it doesn’t have to be. Here are 7 essential apps for your next road trip.

The road is calling. With more than 823,000kms of roads, Australia has the 9th largest road network in the world and it’s just waiting for you.

The road trip has long been popularised in movies like Easy Rider, Sideways, Vacation and dozens of others. There’s something unique about a driving holiday; a sense of freedom, shared experiences, down time and the collection of stories.

While the road trip offers an amazing opportunity to put down the phone while you connect with yourself or your driving companions, we’ve found seven apps you may want to use to make the trip easier and even more memorable. 


The name certainly suggests this app may be useful if you’re considering a road trip and the reality doesn’t let you down. This is the one of the most popular road trip planning apps available in the world with over 25 million trips planned so far using the technology.

The app allows you to map out your trip and find your way to your ultimate destination but it makes it more exciting by finding great detours and stops along the way that you otherwise may have driven right past. The app highlights attractions, accommodation and food and drink spots all that have been endorsed by trail blazers before you.

There is a free version of the app that has many handy features, but if you want all the bells and whistles including exclusive deals, a greater number of stops and collaborative planning, you’ll need Roadtrippers Plus which is $42.99 per year.

Fuel Map 

While the road trip is a comparatively good value holiday experience, there are certainly costs associated with it, one of the most significant of those being fuel. 

As most drivers are aware, the price of fuel varies from petrol station to petrol station, day to day and even hour to hour. Saving 5c or 10c per litre may not sound like much, but when you multiply that saving across the number of litres to fill your tank and then the number of tanks you’ll fill on your trip, it really adds up. 

The Fuel Map app shows you the petrol stations around you or on a chosen route. It then reveals the most current price of fuel at each station and for each type of fuel selected. It has other handy log book features that allow you to keep a record of your vehicle's fuel economy, cost per tank and total fuel costs.

The app relies on user input to keep prices updated. It only takes a moment to update the information while you’re filling your tank and you can help the Fuel Map app be a more useful experience for its community.

Fuel Map is free, but if you’re not a fan of in-app advertisements, it will cost $2.99 to remove them.


This fantastic navigation app could save you hours stuck in traffic, stop you from running over an object on the road or prevent you from getting a fine. 

Input from other Waze users along your chosen route alerts you in real time about traffic, accidents, construction, police, dangerous objects on the road and more. 

Waze will also calculate your exact arrival time, constantly updating for any delays ahead. If your chosen route becomes closed or heavily congested, Waze will automatically divert you to a faster route. This fantastic feature has literally saved some motorists days on their journey. 

This user-friendly and incredibly useful app is free to use.


While a road trip may involve the odd mishap, it is highly unlikely you will experience a genuine emergency, having said that, it is smart to include this app in your collection.

The Emergency+ app was developed by Australia’s emergency services and will help you make the right call to the right service if an emergency arises. 

Knowing your exact location is not easy when you are in remote areas. This free app uses your phone’s GPS capability and a function called ‘what3words’ that will allow you to give emergency services a location down to a 3m square area.

BOM Weather

No matter where your road trip takes you, one thing is for certain, there will be weather there. 

BOM Weather is the app you want to find out exactly what’s happening in the skies around you and ahead of you. It will give you all the necessary information like current temperature, forecast high and low, wind speed and expected rainfall.

This free app also has a good radar function so you can see for yourself what is coming your way and whether or not it’s worth stopping in for a coffee and letting the storm pass by. 

Another very handy feature, particularly as it affects driving conditions, is a weather warning notification. You will be alerted to any hazardous weather events such as hail, snow, heavy rain and high winds that could make driving dangerous. 


No matter how much you enjoy your own company or that of your fellow road trippers, at some point along your journey you’re going to want some entertainment. 

With it’s collaborative playlists and huge catalogue of songs and artists, you’ll want to fire up Spotify when it’s time to swap out ‘I spy’ for carpool karaoke. 

If instead you’re up for some true crime stories, learning about the Black Plague or better appreciating the Dutch masters then Spotify can help with access to the world’s best podcasts and audio books.

There is a free version of Spotify but if you want a larger selection of playlists or you want to stop ads from interrupting your listening, then you’ll want the subscription version for $9.99 per month or $4.99 per month for students.


If you’re going to be spending your nights or at least some of your nights camping then, this app is as helpful as its name suggests.

It will show you what campgrounds are available along your route, what facilities are available there and what the price you can expect to pay. 

Like many travel apps, Campermate relies on users to provide comments, recommendations and uploading photos. You’ll get up to date information as well as hearing about some free campsites and other sites not advertised anywhere else.

Campermate is free to download and use.

If you decide to answer the call of the open road, whether you’re travelling to South Australia or Western Australia, you’ll want to talk to NRMA to help you get your vehicle properly protected with car insurance. 


Road trips