A road trip is the first thing that comes to mind for anyone looking for a spontaneous adventure, low-budget vacation, or some time off from life’s hustles and bustles. In the post-pandemic era, over 81% of Americans plan to go on a summer road trip at least once a year. Bet you can’t wait to join the bandwagon!
So the countdown to your road trip is drawing near. Do you have everything ready? Food-check, clothes-check, fun playlist-check, drinks-check, camera, check. It seems like you have everything well thought out already, right? Not so much.
A successful road trip happens when you anticipate unplanned occurrences. With the right tools and accessories, no incident will catch you unprepared. Be it losing directions, needing to navigate the waters, an injury, bad weather, power loss, pangs of hunger; you name it.
This comprehensive guide gives you a list of 18 must-have road trip accessories guaranteed to complement your road trip experience.
1. Magnetic Car Mount
Operating your phone while driving isn’t only annoying; it’s also perilous. A magnetic phone mount is a convenient car accessory that allows you to use your phone hands-free. This Spigen Kuel Magnetic Car Phone Holder means you never have to worry about leaving adhesive residue on your car surfaces once you remove it.
The best thing about using a magnetic car holder is its ability to enhance your safety. It also enables you to access apps that help navigate your road trip easily, plus you always know who’s calling without having to pick up the phone.
This car mount is designed ergonomically to fit almost all smartphone types. It holds your phone horizontally or vertically and attaches to your car’s air vents.
Its slim design doesn’t take up too much space in your vehicle.
2. Jump Starter
There’s no way to tell when your car battery will die on you. Any experienced driver wouldn’t dare leave home without a good set of jump starters. The Weego 44S Jump Starter is one of a wide range of options that can jumpstart construction equipment, motorcycles, trucks, and anything with a starter and a battery.
Its compact design allows for convenient storage that doesn’t take up too much space in your toolbox. Don’t mistake its miniature size for inadequacy because this tool can help jumpstart anything that needs a boost, including an SUV, van, lorry, and any other vehicle you are taking on your road trip.
Purchasing this unit means you have a convenient tool you can always rely on. It comes with a flashlight and a USB outlet you can use for charging electronic devices. You can separately purchase a compatible 12-volt adapter/accessibility port should you need to charge or power anything else on the go.
No doubt, you may know the place like the palm of your hands, but who’s to say whether or not things have changed since your last visit? In an era with no shortage of apps showing you maps and directions to any destination, a GPS device is like a backup for when nothing else, including an actual map, is available.
Plus, you never know when your phone will die or if you’ll have constant access to a phone network or the internet. And without these three, your apps are useless.
You never have to worry about getting lost if you have a GPS. The Garmin Drive 52 is your best bet if you want real-time directions and updates of where you are. If your route goes past a busy town, there’s a good chance that you’ll have to maneuver traffic. A GPS offers you several route options with less traffic to help you reach your destination fastest.
The Garmin Drive 52 will leave you in awe if you are looking for something reliable and affordable.
4. Portable Mini Fridge
Imagine driving under the scorching sun for hours without a single cool drink to quench your thirst or to cool off. That’s when you realize just how important a cooler or a mini fridge is. The AstroAI Portable Mini Fridge offers you the convenience of a full-size mini fridge without the bulk!
It connects to your vehicle’s power supply and runs so quietly that you can barely tell it’s there. This portable mini fridge can go from 0 degrees Fahrenheit to 42 degrees Fahrenheit in an hour. Even after disconnecting, you can bank on your drinks, staying cool for hours, provided you keep the fridge door closed.
Measuring 5.5 x 5.3 x 8.07 inches, this mini fridge can fit half a dozen 12-ounce cans. The built-in carrying handle lets you move the mini fridge on and off the car without dropping it. This portable mini fridge guarantees you the peace of mind you crave when you want to take perfectly cool drinks.
A cooler has more space, but your drinks already have to be cool before you store them there. A mini fridge is better because it cools your water and drinks.
5. Fast Charge Car Charger
Smartphones can go for at least five to eight hours on a full charge with regular use. The more screen time you have on your phone, the faster your charge runs out. During your road trip, you use your phone constantly to play music, find directions, make calls, and so on.
The Otterbox USB-C Fast Car Charger adapts well to your car charging port. With such a device within reach, you needn’t worry about your phone dying. Especially when traveling to an unknown destination, you always need to be reachable.
Should an emergency occur or you need to use your phone urgently, you can quickly plug your phone in to avoid going off-grid.
Standard car chargers have a 5-watt capacity that takes ages to recharge your phone fully. The Otterbox USB-C Fast Car Charger guarantees a 18-watt capacity with enough power to charge any phone.
6. Travel Pillow
A long road trip can take hours or even days. As the driver or passenger, you may want to take a short nap to re-energize before returning to the road. The standard bed pillow is great but won’t give you the proper support considering your car seat is what double up as your temporary bed.
The MLVOC Travel Pillow is built to fit perfectly and support your neck for a restful nap. Your purchase includes free light-blocking eye-mask and earplugs along with the pillow.
This travel pillow is made from memory foam which quickly adjusts to accommodate the shape and weight of your neck and just as easily reverts to its standard form when not in use. It has a machine washable, sweat-resistant, breathable cover that keeps the surface of your pillow ever clean.
This travel pillow will be your best road trip accessory if you are looking for something comfortable and durable that gives you value for money.
7. Back Seat Car Organizer
Traveling as a group is the most fun and memorable experience. But not so much if you are a neat freak. When the car is littered with all manner of items, suddenly having that many people in your vehicle simultaneously doesn’t seem like such a good idea.
It’s going to be hard tracing anything when your vehicle looks like a large trash bin. The H Helteko Backseat Car Organizers come in to save the day by creating space for all your items. A single purchase includes two waterproof back car seat organizers.
Each back car seat organizer has as many as nine different-sized storage compartments. These compartments include four water bottle compartments, large mesh pockets, and a clear tablet holder. The organizer also has adjustable solid straps that you use to secure it onto the seat. The car seat organizer can handle significant weight and be used on any car seat, regardless of size.
8. Camp Stove Set
It’s not the first thing you think of when pondering convenient road trip accessories but something that is certainly worth being on this list. If you plan on traveling long distances between towns, you may go for hours or even days without passing by an eatery or hotel for a meal.
With the BioLite Camp Stove Complete Set, you can save the few bucks you’d have used to buy takeout or have something to help prepare a simple meal when you’re hungry. As a happy camper, such an accessory goes a long way as you always have something to turn to when you crave a warm fresh meal.
This stove requires sticks or twigs to heat the stove. As it burns, it also generates electricity which you can use to charge gadgets like your headlamp, phone, or radio.
The unit has a grilling compartment and comes with a kettle pot for boiling water. It weighs about four pounds and folds up to take up very little space in your car trunk.
9. First Aid Kit
Most first aid kits come with essential items but lack everything you’ll need whenever a severe injury occurs on the way. A well-stocked first aid kit is a must-have item you must always have in your car whether or not you’re going on a road trip.
The Pac-Kit’s 57-Piece First Aid Kit is one of the best units you’ll find on the market. It’s a compact package you can take anywhere, including road trips, hikes, and camping trips.
This first aid kit has valuable tools like tweezers, plastic gloves, scissors, disinfectants, cotton wool, and more. It also has a complete emergency guide certified by the Red Cross to help direct you if it’s your first time needing to use a first aid kit.
The tough plastic case makes this kit super durable and weatherproof. This first aid kit may have over 57 items, but it comes in a small package that fits nicely with the rest of the car accessories in your trunk.
10. Back Seat Air Bed
When your destination seems like an unending quest, a nap cannot suffice. You must find a safe space to park your car, lay down flat, and sleep. You must admit, though, that the car seat is not the most comfortable place to catch a snooze.
The HIRALIY Inflatable Car Mattress is designed to fit perfectly into the back seat of your car. It’s wide and has two pillows, an air pump, and a repair patch. This car mattress is made of three-layered solid material that is air-tight and easy to wipe clean.
The air bed takes two minutes to inflate and deflates just as quickly. Feel free to inflate this air bed to your desired firmness. The unit also comes with a carrier bag for enhanced portability and safe storage when the air bed is not in use.
This mattress is perfect for indoor and outdoor use. Take it with you on picnics, hikes, camping, and road trips.
Aside from your car’s headlights, you need a separate source of light that you can bring with you anywhere. When you’re on the road, and it’s at night, it can get creepy. You hear sounds and see movements that can easily scare you if you don’t know what’s happening.
The Victoper Rechargeable Headlamp is one of the most underrated car accessories you can bring on your road trip. Whether you’re reading, trying to put up a tent at one of your stopovers, or looking for something, a head torch makes it super easy to see at night.
This headlamp has an inbuilt rechargeable battery. The lamp can stay on for about 5 to 10 hours before needing a recharge. Feel free to choose one of eight modes to improve your visibility in different scenarios. This headlamp is waterproof and supports USB charging.
By far a must-have road trip accessory for serious drivers.
12. Tire Inflator/Pump
Off-road driving is fantastic, but it comes with a distinct set of challenges, the most common being a flat tire. Tires can experience a slow air leak that quickly results in a flat tire while on the road. Without a mechanic or garage in sight, a tire inflator or tire pump is the only solution to your dilemma.
Note that driving on a flat tire can prove risky and damaging to your car. It can compromise fuel efficiency and wear your tires. If you bring a tire pump, you have a helpful tool you can use to bring your tire pressure back up.
The Chant Power Cordless Tire Pump is easy to use and, not to mention, incredibly affordable. This cordless tire pump requires a 12 Volt can adapter or a 20 Volt battery to run. Feel free to use this tire pump for your tires and other items like balls, inflatable toys, balloons, and so on.
It features a gauge that’s easy to read and comes with a long power cable, so you should have no problem reaching and inflating all the tires. Each unit comes with different nozzles to accommodate different tire sizes.
This specific tire pump stands out because it has a strong battery that may take about three to five hours to charge but remains reliable throughout your trip without needing a recharge.
13. Auxiliary Power Inverter
You could be in the middle of nowhere, but who said you must endure hours or even days without power? Use the BESTEK Power Inverter. An auxiliary power inverter is a simple yet essential device that makes it possible to keep your phone, laptop, tablet, and other tools charged and powered.
Older cars have old-fashioned charging systems, so an auxiliary power inverter brings a modern twist. It comes with various plug-in options to suit different types of electronic devices.
With so many store options, choosing a power inverter that can meet all your needs can be tricky. This BESTEK Power Inverter is without question the best thing out there. It easily connects to your car’s auxiliary power outlet and can charge two laptops at the same time.
This power inverter is compatible, whether yours is an older car with the traditional auxiliary power outlet or a newer car with a USB/C plug-in port.
14. Car Vacuum
With a bunch of people snacking, drinking, and probably temporarily living in your car, the place can get messy quickly. Without a car vacuum within reach, your vehicle will resemble a trash pit in no time. This seemingly simple gadget is a convenient tool to help keep your spaces tidy.
The VARSK 4-in-1 Car Vacuum Cleaner is built to suck in all debris, including food particles, dust, nail clippings, hair, and so on. This vacuum cleaner can remove both dry and wet waste. It’s designed to remove dirt stuck inside hard-to-reach areas between the car seats, the floor, and car mats.
Besides cleaning, you can use your car vacuum to clean your air filters and inflate your wheels. It’s a simple, multi-purpose, and durable tool that you should bring with you, especially if you get a bunch of friends or loved ones along on your road trip.
15. Electric Car Blanket
Any warm blanket would do, but a breathable soft electric car blanket is way better. A heated or electric blanket connects to your car’s cigarette plug or a suitable power source. You can use this blanket to stay warm when it’s incredibly windy or you’re traveling to a cold place.
The Westinghouse Heated Blanket can stay on for one to 12 hours. It has ten heating levels designed to accommodate individual heating needs. In addition to keeping you warm, this blanket contributes to your overall health by promoting blood circulation, relieving fatigue, and triggering relaxation.
This blanket has a soft flannel side and a Sherpa side, both of which feel cozy on your skin whenever you need a bit of comfort on the road. This heated blanket is machine washable and dries fast. Consider reading and following all the instructions and operate the blanket correctly to avoid issues.
16. Espresso Maker
You’re probably wondering how you’ll get that huge coffee machine out of your kitchen and into your car for the rest of the trip, don’t you? Well, no need for that. The Wacaco Nanopresso Espresso Maker is a miniature portable coffee maker that you operate manually.
Fatigue, boredom, and motion can get you drifting off and dozing while driving. A strong coffee shot is what you need to slap your senses back up instantly. This manual espresso maker weighs a paltry 12 ounces, is hand operated, and has a cap that doubles up as a cup.
This coffee maker’s capacity accommodates single-shot espressos only. To pump the coffee, you need boiling water, roasted coffee beans, and arm strength. It’s a convenient tool to bring on your trip when you want a much-needed energy boost.
17. Reusable Water Bottle
Plastics are the number one culprit behind pollution across the globe. They take a heck of a long time to degrade and pose a real risk to marine life. By choosing a reusable water bottle, you make your little contribution to making the world a better, safer place.
The Brita Plastic Water Filter Bottle isn’t your ordinary bottle. It features a filter that also works as a straw. It can carry about 26 ounces of water to keep hydrated on the road.
A reusable water bottle is an essential road trip accessory considering there aren’t that many gas stations along the way where you can purchase water every few miles. Plus, it helps keep the environment clean and pollution free.
18. Tire Pressure Monitor
You don’t have to wait to notice a flat tire to pay attention to the state of your tires during the road trip. You may have had your car serviced before you set off on your journey, but a tire pressure monitor is something you should carry with you to keep track and see how your tires are doing every few hundred miles.
Driving on tires with the wrong tire pressure usually means that your car is consuming more fuel than necessary, your tires will wear out faster, and the stability of your vehicle is compromised.
If the tires are below 25% of the recommended optimum tire pressure, consider stopping to inflate the tires before resuming. Using the B-qtech wireless tire pressure Monitor allows you to keep a close eye on the state of your tires and overall car health. This machine is solar-powered and can connect to a USB port to function.