Technology is everywhere. We can’t avoid it, but we can use it to make our lives easier - and that includes those occasions when you take to the road for a nomadic adventure. Pre-book your car rental
, make travel plans, download these handy apps and you’re on track for an unforgettable journey with far fewer stumbling blocks along the way. These top picks are ones which you can use in many different countries, so you’ll have a familiar helping hand wherever you are. Thanks, modernity!
1 . Google maps
Up-to-date and extensive, this is one of the best basic map apps you can use - it will even talk to you to give directions when you’ve entered a route. Of course, if you’re in a foreign country you might not want to pay data charges. Never fear, you can save maps offline. Just make sure you’re signed in to your google account, open the menu (this is marked with three dots) and select “save map offline”. You can save an area up to 50 kilometres by 50 kilometres. The app is free on all platforms.
2 . TuneIn
This one will require an internet connection, unfortunately, but if you can swing it, it’s the best way to get your driving tunes once you have exhausted your carefully crafted road trip playlist.
It allows you to stream real radio stations from around the world live, listen to podcasts and talk shows live or on demand, and also easily find local and international stations. There’s also a paid premium service with more features such as a library of over 40,000 audiobooks and ad-free listening to music stations. Available free (basic version) for iOS, Android and Windows.
3 . Family Car Games
This app costs US$1.99, and it’s a “teach a man to fish” investment situation - eventually you can do without the phone altogether! The app is basically a how-to guide for 100 simple but fun games you can play with no equipment, nothing but two or more people in a car together. You can select the difficulty, length, type and number of players to hunt out the perfect game, and bookmark your favourites. A must-have app for family road trips all over the globe! It’s available on iOS and Android.
4 . Glympse
This app is perfect for road trippers who are meeting people, travelling in convoy or just need to send updates home to worried parents. It’s a way of sharing your location, progress and ETA without being distracted from driving. Simply enter your destination, share a Glympse with someone and they can see where you are, how long it is likely to take you to get there and track your progress, without even installing the app. The sharing will expire after a certain time or when you have reached the destination, so you are incognito once more. The app uses a minimal amount of data, and is available on iOS and Android.
5 . Tripit
There’s nothing quite like having a secretary to take care of your travel plans for you, not that I would know anything about that. Tripit is a travel organising app which works almost like magic. Simply download the app, and forward all of your reservation confirmations to firstname.lastname@example.org
. Tripti will find times, locations and other necessary details regarding flights, car rental and accommodation bookings and collate them into a simple itinerary. Amazing! You can see your details offline once they have been put together, and if you get access to WiFi or data you can enjoy some added extras like online checkin links, local maps and weather information. Tripit is free to download to iOS or Android, and there is also a paid subscription service with premium features available.
6 . Findery
This app is a travel guide with a difference. Rather than bland restaurant recommendations, ratings and generic tourist information, the app is about local discovery and personalised travel stories. Users add notes and photos and geotag them on a map to share with travelers. There are many hidden gems to discover - personal memories, fleeting stories, historical significance and more. Findery is like having a myriad of local travel guides, and it also allows users to interact, meaning you might even make some friends! Findery does use data, but it’s also possible to use it for research before you leave a WiFi hotspot.
7 . ICE: In Case of Emergency
This safety-focused app is a great thing to have whether at home or away, but a trip is as good a time as any to start - and you will appreciate the added reassurance when on the road. The app allows you to store important information for first responders and hospital staff, including contact details for designated family/friends, allergies, medical conditions and more. The important thing to note is that these can be accessed even when the phone is locked by adding it to your lock screen. This is available on iOS and Android.
8 . Camera+
Last but not least, you will want some amazing photos by which to remember your road trip adventures, and this iPhone app is a great way to get them. It improves upon the native camera app in myriad ways, and is a bargain at just US$1.99. It gives better exposure and focus control, adjustable shutter speed and ISO, an anti-shake setting and more. Those using Android also have a range of apps to improve their road trip photo-taking, including Camera MX and Camera360 Ultimate.
nce you've downloaded these useful apps, you're good to go explore the world! Start with a trip Down-Under and rent a car from the city you like, whether it be Brisbane
. If you have a preference for the Old continent, try renting a car from Paris
or any other destination you like.