There is just something about a road trip that makes everything in life seem happier, slower, and more beautiful. Traveling the two-lane highways across the country can lead to amazing destinations and exciting discoveries. But before the road trip can be picture perfect, you might need a few accessories.
This Holiday Gift Guide includes a few things to buy someone for Christmas that will make any road trip more comfortable, safer, and more memorable.
2021 Holiday Gift Guides
Before you can buy the perfect Christmas gift, you have to find it. Each year, I publish a series of Holiday Gift Guides to help you find fantastic travel gear, accessories, unique gifts, and awesome items to put under the tree.
Road Trip Books
Before starting a road trip, you have to know where you’re going. Online research is the easiest way to get inspired these days – and Google Maps is my favorite road trip planning tool – but nothing beats a good old-fashioned travel book.
One of my favorite go-to books for inspiration is the Rail-Trails Series, published by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. The series includes over a dozen books dividing the country into regions – along with a Hall of Fame Edition – with each book covering dozens of rail-trails across the country.
I love exploring used bookstores as I travel, and that is where I found an old copy of The Most Scenic Drives in America by Readers Digest. The latest edition was published in 2012, but the content is still relevant and incredibly inspirational with 120 road trip ideas you’re certain to find something interesting in the book.
The National Geographic Guide to Scenic Highways and Byways is one of my favorite books when planning a road trip. The book includes a wealth of information like state and national parks, museums, quirky off-the-beaten-path towns, and tips for making the most of your road trip route.
Justin Case Premium Travel Safety Kit
The roadside emergency kit is one of those things people never think about until they need them. That’s exactly why it makes a wonderful Christmas gift! I’ve bought several kinds over the years – and now I buy individual pieces to build my own – but here are a few I would recommend for someone who loves road trips.
The Justin Case Premium Travel Safety Kit comes in a durable zippered case with carrying handle and features over a dozen items like jumper cables, tow strap, flashlight, and first aid kit.
Garage Monkey LED Road Safety Flare
Car problems stranding you on the side of a busy highway is scary enough to begin with, but at night it can be downright daunting. Traditional flares would do the trick for alerting other drivers, but the Garage Monkey LED Road Safety Flare is by far the best tool on the market.
The waterproof, battery powered devices have 9 flare modes including strobe, flash, and steady – the lights are powerful. The 4-pack bundle has been out of stock because of supply chain issues, but the 2-pack bundle is still available and would be a good starter kit.
Surviveware First Aid Kit
There are a lot of great first aid kits available and it can be daunting to know which one to pick. More pieces does not necessarily mean better. Key factors to look for in any first aid kit – especially one that goes in the trunk of the car – is a durable bag or case, appropriate items, and ease of use.
The Surviveware Large First Aid Kit is the ultimate first aid kit for road trips. The 200 pieces includes the items you would need for cuts, scraps, and other minor injuries you might sustain while traveling. The compartments are clearly marked and easy to access as the bag fully opens.
Rexing V1P Dash Cam
Chances are you will only be in one vehicle accident in your lifetime that is contested by the other driver. A dashcam would be a great way to make sure your safe driving is on record – that is if you’re the safe driver. The Rexing V1P Dash Cam is one of the best on the market and includes all the features you would need to record the traffic around you.
The V1P features a 1080p front-facing camera that mounts flush to your windshield and a rear standard definition camera. Both cameras are recorded onto an SD card, and all footage is saved until space is needed on the memory card. Along with an optional GPS logger, the ability to quickly save a video file from deletion, and the app to download footage to your phone, this is a must-have for the road tripper who spends a lot of time driving!
BAGGU Small Reusable Shopping Bag
Long road trips can be filled with miles of scenic views, laughter, and eating all your road snacks. What then? You buy more. BAGGU Small Reusable Shopping Bags are a great way to cut down on plastic waste by bringing your own bag to the grocery store. The ripstop nylon bags are sturdy – each can hold 30 pounds. How many road snacks will you need?
Plan a Road Trip with Google Maps
Use this step-by-step guide to create a custom map, add stops and a route, and upload to your mobile device.
Whether you drink water all day or crave those soda fountains at the gas stations, the Yeti Rambler is the perfect way to keep your drink chilled while traveling. The 30-ounce stainless steel vacuum insulated tumbler has a tapered bottom that fits in the cup holders of most cars and features a durable finish that won’t chip after repeatedly use.
The rambler comes with a standard MagSlider Lid – a slider that magnetically catches to prevent it from accidentally opening. Get the optional replacement lid with straw for an easy-to-use cup while traveling down the road.
Yeti Hopper 18 Cooler
Yeti changed the industry forever when they debuted a ginormous hardsided cooler with thick insulating foam and an exorbitant price. But despite the sky-high price tag, the fact remains that ice stays frozen – and drinks chilled – longer in a Yeti cooler than any other on the market.
The Yeti Hopper 18 Cooler is the perfect road trip companion. The softsided cooler features a waterproof hide, thick foam insulation, and can keep up to 18 cans cold for days. The leak-proof zipper is easy to open and close – perfect for getting to your next ice-cold drink on the road.
Sea to Summit Inflatable Neck Pillow
Whether you’re spending hours in the car, flying to your destination, or taking the train, you might need a great travel pillow along the way. The Sea to Summit Inflatable Neck Pillow is perfect for giving your sleepy head support while traveling.
The inflatable pillow fits in a tiny pouch smaller than your hand, perfect for dropping into a bag or purse. When you’re ready to use it, a few good puffs and the polyester knit pillow is ready to use. Use the clasp to secure it around your neck before nodding off in comfort.
Anker USB Car Charger
Cellphones, tablets, power banks, and headphones. Our lives are increasingly demanding on rechargeable lithium batteries. But if you’re anything like me, you only spend about 8-10 hours at a hotel each day, which can make it difficult to charge multiple devices.
The Anker 42W USB Car Charger is the perfect way to charge devices on the go. Plug the device into the 12V charger in the car – all cars have at least one – and you have access to a 30W USB-C port and 12W USB-A port. This will allow you to charge most mobile devices and accessories while road tripping!
Yakima EXO System
Have you ever needed more room for outdoor gear, clothing, or things you buy on a road trip? The Yakima EXO System is a versatile storage system that can significantly increase the amount of storage in your vehicle – and all you need is a trailer hitch. No more climbing onto the roof of the vehicle!
The EXO Swingbase securely attaches to a trailer hitch. The modular system can include the EXO GearLocker for extra storage, EXO Hitch Rack for hauling two bicycles, EXO TopShelf for adding an additional storage locker, and the EXO BackDeck to create a flat work surface. Press s release switch, and the entire system swings 90-degrees away from the hitch to allow quick access to the rear of the vehicle.
REI Big Haul Duffel Bag
Duffel bags are a much easier to pack, unload, and stow in the car during long road trips. The REI Big Haul Duffel Bag is one of the best duffel bags on the market. The entire top opens along a sturdy zipper, allowing easy access to all your clothing and toiletries without having to take the bag out of the car.
The REI Big Haul is available in a 90-liter, 60-liter, and 40-liter size. The carry handle straps are easily removable in favor of shoulder straps, turning the duffel into a backpack. The entire top of the duffel bag opens, providing easy access to the content. With a carry handle on all sides and additional loops, this is the best duffel bag I have ever traveled with.