Going on a road trip to a new destination is a fun and exciting adventure! Whether it’s going to the mountains, the coast or even the city, having the right road trip car accessories will help make the long trip comfortable and safe for the driver and the passengers.
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Road Trip Car Accessories to Never Leave Home Without
Roadside Emergency Safety Kit
You never want to leave home, whether going to work, visiting Grandma or that amazing road trip without a roadside emergency safety kit.
If you already have one, just make sure it has a flashlight with good batteries, set of jumper cables, work gloves, first aid kit, safety shovel, high visibility reflective vest(s), road triangles and safety flares, safety hammer and seat belt cutter for those just-in-case moments.
In addition to those items, we keep a set of battery-operated safety flares that blink brightly like beacons that warn other motorists that you’re broke down; day or night.
PRO TIP: We highly recommend before hitting the road to read our Weather Emergency Preparation Tips and Roadside Safety Gear for RV Breakdowns or Emergency.
Laugh all you want but there will be times, even in the age of smartphone apps, GPS units and google, when a travel road atlas can literally save your life.
In fact, a current road atlas is one of the most important road trip car accessories to take on anywhere!
We love the one with the National Parks that details the best of the best in each park.
It lists hiking and biking trails, scenic drives, and natural wonders to programs, museums, and lodges. And, the Park inset maps highlight key points-of-interest.
Because as you probably already experienced, Google Maps and Apple Maps have taken us down the wrong road.
Why take that chance of no cell signal or confusing directions when a simple map will get you there.
Also, road atlas’ and road maps are great ways to teach children how to navigate without using a GPS or smart device.
Oh, and speaking of kids, get them their own kid’s road atlas so they can follow along from state to state while learning without them even realizing it!
PRO TIP: Traveling with kids that have high energy or get bored easily? Keep your tots, tweens and teens busy with these Road Trip Activities for Kids & Travel Games to Do in the Car or RV!
Personal Locator Emergency GPS
There are times when driving that your smartphone’s cell signal may become nonexistent when traveling through some parts of the country.
Cell towers may be few because of terrain such as mountains or vast areas of private property or government land.
What happens when you have a breakdown alongside the road in a desolate area that has no cell signal?
How would you contact loved ones to let them know your location and that you need assistance?
This is where having a personal locator beacon or personal gps unit.
These GPS units are a must have to add to your emergency roadside kit; especially where you’re either going to be driving through those aforementioned regions or exploring the backcountry.
These personal satellite messenger GPS units enable an impaired user to send out an S.O.S. alert using the COSPAS-SARSAT global satellite system no matter if you’re on a dark desert highway or deep in the mountains.
A few of the most recommended personal locator beacons:
DID YOU KNOW? You don’t have to have an RV to use RV LIFE Pro. It’s a great trip planning too; using their RV LIFE Trip Wizard. It also includes a mobile RV GPS app and RV lifestyle education.
Electronics and Power Car Accessories
Multiple Device Charging Cable
Don’t you just hate having so many different charging cords for all of your digital devices?
A multi-device charging cable with a 4-in-1 design has 3 different USB ports; 2 iPhone lightening, Micro USB and Type-C that supports most usb c mobile phones currently on market.
This must-have road trip car accessory is perfect for road trips, RVs, camping and more!
Keep within easy reach in your sightseeing bag or go bag, backpack, or glove box.
iPhone External Memory Stick
Having been there myself, there’s nothing worse than being out on a road trip or a hike only to find that your iPhone storage is full precisely when you’re getting the perfect shot of a lifetime.
But, when you’re not within range to upload them to your Cloud or Google Drive, you have to decide if you should delete files and photos.
Who has time for that!?
That’s why I highly suggest getting an iPhone eternal memory stick to upload photos and raw video to make room on your phone to allow your apps to work properly.
If you don’t have an iPhone, don’t worry. You can just get an Android memory stick.
Memory sticks come in different gigabyte capacities; 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB and 256GB.
Remote Control Smartphone Selfie Stick
If you want to get some sensational selfies but prefer not to hand your expensive smartphone to just anyone, a lightweight remote control smartphone selfie stick is just what the doctor ordered!
It also can capture wider landscapes and shoot at different heights. Remote selfie sticks are of course great for selfies and group photos.
But also, they’re fantastic tools for vlogging, live streaming, and more.
Having the removable bluetooth wireless remote allows you to instantly pair with your phone to take multiple photos within 10 meters.
In addition, the cold shoe port on the mount can meet your extra needs, compatible with fill light, flash and many other accessories, very suitable for live broadcast, video recording and more.
When you’re on a road trip, you’re likely to get out of your car often to go explore museums, hike a trail or take a walk in the city.
And if you take a lot of video or photos with your smartphone, you may find your phone running out of battery.
This is why having a battery bank (or 2?) is good to take on your excursion.
In fact, we always keep one in our sightseeing bag and another in our backpack along with an iPhone charging cord in each.
So, no matter where we go for however long, we know our phones won’t ever die on us; especially when we’re about to take that photo of a lifetime.
Car Power Inverter
A durable car power inverter is a must have for road trips, vacations, outdoors, emergency kits and more for your vehicle.
A car power inverter that plugs into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter is great for charging your laptop and digital devices like your smartphone, Kindle or notebook and more.
It also can power your breast pump, CPAP machine, game console, DVD player, etc.
PRO TIP: Always refer to your vehicle manufacturer owner’s manual before plugging in or using any electronic components in your RV, boat or car.
Entertainment Car Accessories for Road Trips
Portable DVD Player
Let’s be real. After about 3 hours with the kids in the car, you’re just dying for peace and quiet.
And while I get that you may not want to throw a bunch of electronic devices, throwing in a movie in a portable DVD player while rolling through Kansas or a busy city might be the ticket for your sanity.
However, there may be times where you may not have a good enough signal to watch movies on your phone.
So, a portable DVD player is a definite must have when you’re going on a road trip with the kids or an antsy passenger!
Even if you’d rather just use your phone or tablet, you may not get good enough signal to watch or download them.
Which is why a portable DVD player (or 2 or 3) is an excellent road trip silencer.
And these days, you can pick up DVDs pretty cheap on the road at truck stops, Walmart, Walgreens or other national chains.
Or you can pick your favorite movies on DVD on Amazon and have them shipped in before trekking out for your road trip adventure.
DVD Storage Case
Of course, with that DVD player, you’re going to need to bring a good collection of favorite DVDs. Hence, why a CD/DVD case is another road trip must have!
You don’t need to bring your whole DVD library from home.
But, should you have a CD player in your car, it can also store your favorite compact discs!
During that boring drive, your passengers may want to play tunes on their smartphone, MP3 player or while watching their DVD player aforementioned.
So, you’ll need a pair of headphones (or 2 or 3?) or wireless ear buds so whatever your passenger(s) are listening to doesn’t distract the driver.
And, for what it’s worth, my suggestion is skip on getting an expensive set of headphones; especially for the kids.
Because trust me, those headphones or wireless earbuds will get Cheeto dusted, greasy or sticky, sat on, tossed, stepped on, broken or lost.
Car Interior and Trunk Organizers
Electronics Cable Organizer
An electronics cable organizer is important for that road trip as it keeps all your electronics charging cords and adapters organized.
You certainly don’t want to be searching your car for that USB-C cable that got pushed under the seat.
They offer great storage for electronics accessories such as USB Cable Cord, Cellphone, Flash Drive, Wall Charger, SD/TF Card, Hard Drive, Power Bank, Earbuds, Clipper, Mini Camara.
Gone are the days of a messy vehicle by using a trunk organizer to keep your trunk space tidy.
Simply unfold and load any items you desire. Trunk organizers are great for keeping your battery cables, safety lights, small tool kit, gloves, paper towels and other road safety gear easily accessible.
It can also be used to organize and store your dry foods to take camping or tailgating.
Comfort & Health Accessories for All Vehicles
Parking your car, truck or van on warm sunny days, the inside of your vehicle can reach scorching hot temperatures.
This makes for getting back inside your vehicle almost intolerable. And especially children’s car seats, everything you touch when getting inside your car can burn your skin.
So, as a part of your road trip car accessories, a windshield sunshade is a definite need.
They will not only protect you and your passenger from burns but also, they help prevent UV rays from fading or damaging your vehicle’s interior.
Sun Blocker Shades
Speaking of shades, anytime you’re roadtripping in the hot sun, it can make for an uncomfortable experience inside your vehicle.
Although automobiles and other vehicles don’t have pull down shade screens as part of their options, there are pull down window screens that resemble those in homes.
They temporarily attach to the door windows using a powerful suction cup.
Once installed, simply pull them down as needed to block the bright sun during your road trip.
But, if you don’t want to completely block the sun, you can get window screens that attach to your car or van windows that will screen out the sun but allowing your passengers to still see the amazing views through them.
Riding in a car for a long time with passengers can get pretty stinky.
Between farts and bad breath, smelly socks and Cheetos, your road trip memories will quickly be masked by gagging odors.
So, to make the air smell nicer in your vehicle, a small diffuser works wonders.
But also, using high quality, therapeutic essential oils can create a more zen-ful experience while driving through traffic or screaming kids.
Now, I’m not saying bring that big honkin’ essential oil diffuser from home. A small oil diffuser that plugs into a USB port or a cigarette lighter diffuser is all you need.
But if you wish to have a little more aromatherapy, you can also find a cup holder diffuser.
Trust me, as a passenger of many road trips, it can get pretty boring just looking out the window.
A travel pillow is just the ticket to a peaceful cat nap for the passenger or when you need to pull over for a few hours to rest up for the next 100 miles.
Unlike most traditional airline travel pillows, a twistable travel pillow contours to almost any shape and position to provide you personalized support and pain relief.
A twistable travel neck pillow is versatile and is convertible.
Users can use it to support their head, back, shoulder, or cervical spine during a nap, when relaxing or reading on the bed or couch.
When you’re on a cross country adventure, you know that road trip snacks and energy drinks are an absolute must! Because what’s a road trip without snacks?!
So, you’re going to also need a cooler to keep your drinks and healthy food cold.
But don’t go hog wild because you may not have room for a big honkin’ ice chest; especially if you’re taking passengers on your road trip.
Save those big coolers for camping trips and backyard barbecues.
And face it, your food and snacks will only get buried in a big cooler anyway; not to mention you’ll need to buy more ice.
A soft cooler that’s easily transportable is a great option for your car to keep in the front or back seat or even the trunk.
This size will allow you to keep a 6 pack of sodas or energy drinks ice cold along with your healthy snacks like yogurt cups, raw veggies and dips, hummus, cheese sticks and lunch meats.
And, keeping your cooler at a reasonable size allows even the kids can to carry it to the picnic table at a rest stop or along with your beach blanket to watch the sunset over the waves.
Oh, and don’t forget some disposable table cloths because those picnic tables are nasty and antibacterial hand wipes to clean dirty hands before reaching into the snack bag.
PRO TIP: Smelly Cooler? How to Clean Your Cooler or Ice Chest
Water Bottle or Beverage Container
It’s important to stay hydrated on your road trip, even while sitting comfortably and cozy in your car, van or RV. And even more when you’re on a road trip in higher elevations and the mountains.
So, having a good water bottle within accessible reach is a good idea.
What we’ve found though is not all water bottles or drink containers are treated the same nor are the cup holders in automobiles.
They come in different sizes to accommodate odd circumferences (measured distance around a round object).
So, it’s important to make certain your drink container is going to fit snuggly in the cup holder but without having to pull or tug at it to get it loose.
But, if your current beverage container doesn’t fit your vehicle’s cup holder properly because your water bottle is too big, you can simply install a cup holder expander.
We prefer Hydro Flask water bottles and hot beverage containers over other brands for several reasons.
One, while they have different heights, their water bottle circumference fits in most automobile cup holders.
Second, Hydro Flask offers a few lid options that are interchangeable for hot and cold beverages.
Third, Hydro Flask keeps hot and cold liquids at a constant temperature for several hours.
And last, they come in so many fun colors! Of course, I love to decorate them with cool stickers from National Parks to dress them up.
We have several Hydro Flask beverage containers for our Jeep road trips and when we’re RVing.
Our preferred is Hydro Flask’s 20 ounce wide-mouth water bottle with the wide mouth flex straw cap.
We found any of the taller sizes are too tall and get in the way of our Jeep’s gear shifter.
We also have two different wide-mouth beverage containers that hold our hot coffee or lattes; the 16 ounce and a 12 ounce; both with flex sip lids.
Why two for hot beverages? For days that I’m just going to be hanging around, I’ll use the larger 16 ounce.
But, if we’re going to be out, I take my 12 ounce Hydro Flask because it fits perfectly in my hiking backpack or sightseeing sling bag.
Oh, and recently, I picked up their signature cross-body bottle sling so I can take my water bottle anywhere leaving my hands free to take photos, open doors, etc.
We also have a 32 ounce for strictly our Berkey water and keep it in our Jeep if we run out in our water bottles (above).
Long winded, I know. I just love sharing good products when I find it! And no, I was NOT paid or compensated by Hydro Flask to say all that!
PRO TIP: Tap water is disgusting and has a lot of CRAP in it, especially on the road at gas stations and fast food joints. So, a good solution is to get a Berkey for your home or RV! Then refill your water bottles before heading out to your road trip or daily errands. Read Why You Should Get a Berkey Water Filter System!
Wrapping up these road trip car accessories for ALL vehicles and for ALL adventures
Now that you see all that you need to complete your ultimate road trip, what are you waiting for?
Let’s get planning that cross country adventure of a lifetime with your family or friends or even just going solo.
All of these road trip car accessories and driving gadgets can be used in most every vehicle to keep you safe, comfortable and happy on your road trip.
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