With the technological age well and truly upon us, there's no need for A1-sized maps, CD's or cookbooks. It's all digital now, with everything available in the palm of your hand. There are many apps out there that make vanlife allot easier, so here's our apps that we couldn't live without on the road!
There are no affiliate links on this page, just our favourite apps!
No surprises here, Wikicamps is an irrefutable must have. For those who aren't already well-acquainted with Wikicamps, it tells you everything from where to find free camps, water fill up points, day use areas and other attractions. We find it super helpful especially in more remote areas where things like drinking water are scarce. Having a selection of nearby camps with reviews and pricing all at the fingertips makes it a breeze to find the best spot to shack up for the night. Maps can be downloaded for offline viewing, which is a huge plus for when you're off the beaten track. There's a wealth of information on the app and certainly worth it getting, for a one off payment of $8. Available on iOS and Android.
I was a cookbook addict before we transitioned to life on the road, but as we don't have a whole shelf for cookbooks in the van I moved all of my favourite books over to the Cookbook App! It makes meal planning and grocery shopping as straightforward as it gets. You can import recipes from paperbacks by just taking a photo or copy over a recipes URL and the app will compile the information into a electronic copy. Once you've built a library of recipes, you can choose which meals you plan to eat for the week and it will compile a shopping list for you! Have something in the fridge you want to use? Search the ingredient in the app and a list of your recipes will come up that feature it. Not only has this helped us organise our week, but it also reduces food waste drastically and saves a pretty penny in doing so. One of us would often put a list of recipes together for the week, tick off what we already had, while the other could log in to the app and do the shopping run on the way home. Cookbook is free and available on iOS and Android.
Fuel Map Australia
With ever-rising fuel prices, this is probably more important that ever. Think Google Maps, but with all of the nearby service stations and their price/litre popping up. We love that you can log your fill-up with the current odometer reading, price/litre and total volume. This comes in handy to see fuel economy of your travels if you have a vehicle pre-2010's. If not for travel purposes, the app can also serve as a logbook for tax-time, so throw that old notebook out. Prices may sometimes vary from the app, but we've found it to be mostly accurate. Another free app for both iOS and Android.
If you have LPG in your van, this one is for you. It will show you all of the nearby gas refill points, so that you don't have to waste time looking for them. Gas Finder will tell you if they provide a refill, a bottle swap, or both; complete with pricing and availability, It sounds simple, but when in more remote areas where there isn't a BCF or Bunnings, this saves us a ton of time. Free for all devices.
I don't know anyone who tours around Australia without tunes, nor do I want to - bad vibes right there. This one is pretty self-explanatory, we love all things music. I'm always hanging out for the Release Radar, a playlist that drops every Friday with new tracks from your favourite artists. The algorithms Spotify use regularly curates your favourite bangers you haven't heard yet and sends you down rabbit-holes of new musos. A feature we love is that you can download your playlists for offline listening which comes in handy when you've got one bar and 3G (Northern Territory). We also pop on a podcast here and there to mix things up a little, which again can be downloaded. There's a free subscription with limited function, or premium starting at $12/mo. (We also don't judge people who use Apple music)
Roadtrippers was an integral part of organising our trip. We simply picked where we wanted to visit, and then it connects the dots for you, pathing out the best route to avoid unnecessary driving. The layout is visually appealing, it trades out the traditional itinerary for an easy to follow, numbered map with pictures of the areas you're visiting. There are also in-built trips itineraries for if you'd rather leave the decision making to someone else. The app has a social aspect in which you can share your trip with other like-minded travellers or even family who want to follow along for the journey. Again, another glorious free app available on all devices.
I think everyone has Google Maps already, its 2021.The main purpose Google Maps serves for us, is bookmarking our favourite cafes and eateries. Not only is it great to know what's nearby when we're out in the cities, but we also love sharing our maps with our foodie friends for when they visit our favourite places. On a less important note, it's also the sole way how we navigate our way this vast land. Available everywhere!
While some of these are huge life hacks, I'm sure there are some we are yet to discover. If there's any MUST HAVES we don't already know about, enlighten us!