I get that the quote, “It’s the journey, not the destination” is referring to the way we live our lives and is intended to remind us to appreciate each day. But I’m here to encourage you to adopt that mindset for literal journeys—leisure travel—and to consider making some of those trips by car, even when those super-saver airfares are tempting you in your inbox. One of the best things about traveling by car is that it gives you total flexibility. Need to throw in one more jacket or pair of shoes that don’t fit in your suitcase? No problem! Want to stop for a meal at your favorite Top Chef’s restaurant? Go for it! Decide to leave a day early or a day late, that’s your call.
The key to having a great road trip experience is to make sure you have the essential gear with you. Trust me—many of the items on this list are ones learned I needed when I was a road trip novice and didn’t have them in my moment of need (a low tire while in the middle of nowhere is seriously stress-inducing!). So before you pack your suitcase and fill the tank with gas, use this as your pre-trip checklist. (Not on this list but of course essential—good company, great music and an adventurous attitude!) Happy traveling!
Igloo Daytripper Tote
Food and drinks are a must for a road trip. This new cooler from Igloo is compact yet has everything you need—and then some! Two compartments allow you to store hot and cold food separately. It comes with a bamboo cutting board, cheese knife set, corkscrew and a mini folding picnic table that stores in the bottom of the tote, so you’ll be equipped if you stop at a rest area or plan to use the cooler at your destination. And there’s a bottle opener built into one of the carrying straps.
Anker PowerDrive Speed 2 Car Charger
Keep all of your devices fully charged with Anker’s newest dual USB charger. It’s made to deliver the fastest possible charge to any device, including those with Quick Charge 3.0 compatibility like the Galaxy S8. Plug it in and keep your devise fully charged, even while playing music or using GPS. The soft blue LED makes it easy to find at night.
Eliminate the annoyance of tangled up headphones with these that wrap around your wrist. The new Natural Series are made with real wooden beads or faux leather to compliment any outfit. Each one comes with small, medium, and large silicone tips so you can customize the fit. When you’re not using them, wrap them around your wrist and secure both ends in the attached clips.
Hydaway Collapsible Water Bottle
Save money and cut down on waste by using this refillable 21-ounce water bottle. And the best part—when it’s empty you can fold it down into a disc that’s only about an inch thick, making it much less clunky than a traditional refillable bottle. The food-grade silicone and plastic is watertight and machine washable. And it comes in eight bright colors.
Stash these small deodorizers in cup holders, under seats, or anywhere else to keep your car smelling fresh, no matter how long the drive. Filled with activated charcoal from coconut husks, these packets remove odors and moisture, and they don’t emit any fragrance. And they can last up to a year—just place in the sunlight to reactivate the charcoal.
JACO SmartPro Digital Tire Inflator Pump
Proper air pressure is critical for a safe and fuel-efficient trip. No need to drive around searching for an air pump when you have this compact inflator with you. Just plug it in to your car’s 12-volt DC outlet, set it to your desired PSI level and it will automatically shut off when the tire is properly inflated. It even has a built-in flashlight for use at night.
Shade-It Sun Shade
Summer sun can make your car feel like a hot oven in a matter of minutes. Keep your vehicle cool and comfortable with this pop-up windshield shade. When you’re not using it, just twist and fold into a compact circle that stores inside an included pouch—much less bulky than traditional accordion-style shades. Comes in three sizes to fit most vehicles.
AAA 121-Piece Road Trip First Aid Kit
Keep all the essential first-aid items handy with this kit that has everything you need to treat minor injuries. The set includes gloves, bandages, gauze pads, sting relief pads, and more.
Create more floor space and leg room with these hooks that convert your car’s headrest into storage hangers. Use the hooks to hang a water bottle, a trash bag, a purse, clothes, or just about anything up to 25 pounds. Each pack contains two hangers.
EXSHOW Car Mount
Mount your phone on the dash to keep up with navigation hands-free. This one is super-stable since it attaches to both the windshield and the dash. The 12-inch gooseneck arm has 360-degree adjustment to keep your device in easy reach.
Tide to Go
Carry one of these to take quick action on those inevitable spills and stains.
Honest Company Hand Sanitizer Gel
You’ll be pumping gas, using public restrooms, eating out, and more so banish unwanted germs with this gel that smells like freshly-squeezed orange. Best of it, it’s made without harsh chemicals and actually moisturizes your hands instead of drying them out.
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