12 Game-Changing Essentials for Your Next Road Trip

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The good ol' family road trip is seeing a revival this summer, as the pandemic continues to render other forms of travel momentarily obsolete. Honestly, though, we're not complaining — road tripping is one of the best ways to see the United States. Technically, all you need is a car and the open road, but we'd like to make the case for an upgraded experience. With the addition of select items, like a gel seat cushion, a relaxing scent diffuser, and an insulated water bottle, your journey can become fairly luxurious. Here are 12 essentials that will help you achieve a seamless, comfortable road trip. After all, half the fun is getting there, right?

1. High Road Car Visor Organizer, $11.99

Even if you want to have a spontaneous road trip, some elements need to be in order. Your important documents and vital items should not be strewn around the car. Losing your license or map is fun for no one, and this visor organizer will make sure that doesn't happen. With a variety of pockets, this practical item fits everything from registration and insurance paperwork to cords and coins. It's guaranteed to keep you sane and organized on the road.

2. Thule Pulse Rooftop Cargo Box, $499.95

We can all agree it's best if the driver can actually see out of the rear-view mirror, so you don't want to stack the trunk all the way up to the top. If packing light isn't your style, this rooftop cargo carrier will provide the extra space you need for your belongings. Aerodynamic and glossy, it looks sleek atop your car. It's also super easy to use, with a quick-mount system and grip-friendly handles.

3. Feeyoo 5-Port USB Car Charger, $16.99

Road trips are an ideal time to unplug and get away from social media, but smartphones do come in handy for directions, weather, and other helpful information. This multi-USB car charger can keep up to five different devices juiced up and ready to go — so you can keep charging fights at a minimum.

4. WizGear Universal Air Vent Magnetic Phone Car Mount Holder, $9.49

If your smartphone is your GPS source, it's crucial to have a hands-free holder. This magnetic mount clips onto your air vent and powerfully attracts your device with provided adhesive metal plates. There is no quicker, simpler way to attach and detach your phone.

5. ComfiLife Gel Enhanced Seat Cushion, $32.95

Many hours of a road trip are spent sitting, so you might as well sit like royalty. This seat cushion is made of high-density memory foam and cooling gel for superior comfort. The shape is designed to reduce pressure on the tailbone, which helps to prevent and relieve back pain. Plus, the cover is washable and features a non-slip rubber base.

6. Trtl Travel Pillow, $29.99

When it's your turn in the passenger seat, you may want to take a snooze. Last time we checked, car doors are anything but plush, so a neck pillow is key for in-transit rest. This wraparound, fleece version is extremely compact, lightweight, and soft. Internal support eliminates stiffness and soreness, promoting a cozy sleep.

7. AO Coolers Original Soft Cooler, $69.99

Snacks might just be the best part of a road trip, so a well-stocked cooler is quite necessary. This soft-sided, canvas variety maintains ice for 24 hours without any leaking or sweating. When unzipped, it stands straight up for convenient packing and unpacking. It boasts a shoulder strap for easy mobility and a side pocket to store dry food, too.

8. Stasher Reusable Silicone Food Bag Bundle, $49.99

You can pack all your favorite goodies in reusable, silicone bags for an environmentally-friendly approach to road trip eats. This way, everyone can have their own serving and no one has to share. This colorful bundle is made of non-toxic material that's dishwasher and microwave safe.

9. Hydro Flask Standard Mouth Water Bottle, $34.95

Of course, hydration is vital to any excursion. This Hydro Flask water bottle is the best in the business at keeping liquids cold. The interior is clean stainless steel, while the exterior is powder coated for a durable, grippy texture that doesn't sweat — plus this model is skinny enough to fit in standard car cupholders so you don't have to worry about it rolling around at your feet or getting in the way.

10. Kinto Travel Tumbler, $29

For coffee, tea, and other hot beverages, this Kinto tumbler is the tops. Its minimal, Japanese design is beautiful, but that's not the only reason why it's so great. The insulated bottle includes a leakproof, two-tier lid system and a clever mouthpiece that allows you to sip from any angle without spilling. It keeps liquids piping for hours.

11. Diptyque Car Diffuser with Baies Insert, $105

Renowned French perfumer Diptyque offers its cult-favorite scents in car diffuser form. Quite possibly the ultimate road trip luxury, these olfactory creations snap onto your ventilation grill and fill the car with captivating aromas. Baies is one of the company's most famous fragrances, with fruity notes of blackcurrant leaves and rose blossoms.

12. Lifeline AAA Premium Road Kit, $25.59

Fingers crossed, you'll never need this kit, but you'll be glad you have it if car troubles arise. This set is built to mitigate a roadside emergency, with booster cables, first aid supplies, a flashlight, tools, and more. The peace of mind is certainly worth the purchase.


Morgan Goldberg is a writer based in Los Angeles. She likes pasta, hiking, and crossword puzzles.

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