Everything you need to enhance your roadtrip, from coolers to cozy blankets. (Photo: Getty Images / Weekend Images Inc.)
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As COVID-19 cases trend downward and vaccines remain widely available, more Americans are packing their bags and getting ready for a summer of long-awaited travel. And if you’re one of the estimated 37 million people expected to travel 50 miles or more this weekend, the time to stock up on road trip essentials is now.
Whether you’re the driver, the co-pilot, or the sleepy passenger in the backseat, you can benefit from a well-packed car with products to keep you entertained, hydrated, cozy and—most of all— safe on the road.
We’ve got a list of 10 essentials you’ll want to have at the ready as you prep for your Memorial Day weekend travel or for the ultimate road trip later this summer.
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1. A phone mount to keep your eyes on the road
Keep your smartphone steady and easily visible with a car mount. (Photo: Reviewed / Dan Roth)
Distracted driving is extremely risky is the cause of an estimated 400,000 injuries in car crashes every year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To eliminate diversions—like looking down at your phone in your hand or lap to follow your phone’s navigation—keep your phone eye-level with a car mount. This device will allow you to glance at your device in a safer manner, but we’d still recommend asking your co-pilot to assist with navigation.
Out of all the car phone holders we’ve tested, Reviewed recommends iOttie. Its suction stays in place on your windshield, allowing you to focus on the road instead of any texts or notifications.
Get the iOttie Easy One Touch at Amazon for $33.48
2. A reusable water bottle that stays cool for hours
Keep water cold—without the cooler. (Photo: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser)
Making pit stops for bathroom breaks will always add time to your trip—especially on a busy holiday weekend. However, staying hydrated is essential when traveling. No one wants lukewarm water, so we recommend the Brita Stainless Steel Filtering Water Bottle, which not only keeps your water cold, but also filters out the taste and odor of chlorine.
Get the Brita Filtering Water Bottle at Amazon for $25.99
3. Screen-free games to keep kids entertained
Bring plenty of no-screen entertainment options for the kids. (Photo: Crayola)
Long road trips can be a challenge with younger ones. To keep them entertained without Wi-Fi or electronic devices, try Rory’s Story Cubes, an award-winning family game. The pocket-sized set of nine cubes includes a whopping 54 icons to inspire an adventurous story to act out. You can even get the whole car in on the fun with this game.
For a little more quiet time in the car, the Crayola Wonder Mess Free Desk is another go-to. Don’t worry—the markers only work on the Crayola “wonder paper”, so clean-up is minimal.
Get Rory’s Story Cubes: Voyages on Amazon for $12.99
Get the Crayola Wonder Mess Free Desk on Amazon for $21.65
4. Audiobooks to turn drive time into storytime
Just like podcasts, audiobooks can make the long car ride feel shorter. (Photo: Amazon)
Audiobooks are one of the best ways to pass time during a long road trip, and services like Audible make accessing hundreds of thousands of titles easy. A few popular titles to choose from include “Where the Crawdads Sing”, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and “Ready Player One”.
If you have little ones, we’ve compiled a list of must-have audiobooks for your family road trip, including titles like “A Bear Called Paddington” and “Matilda” that last anywhere from 2 hours to 11 hours.
Try Audible for Free for 30 Days
5. A cooler for all the snacks
Keep snacks and sandwiches cold (and organized) with a convenient cooler. (Photo: Scout)
If you’re looking to minimize snack stops while on the road—or soothe hangry family members—stock a cooler or two with snacks, sandwiches, drinks, and more.
Reviewed’s commerce editor, Courtney Campbell, recommends the insulated Scout bags because they’re cute, fun, and most importantly—practical. With over 800 glowing 5-star reviews, Amazon buyers love just how cold this little stylish pack keeps their food.
Get the Scout Nooner Lunch Box at Amazon for $26
6. Hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes
Keeping hand sanitizer by your side is a must these days. (Photo: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser)
While COVID-19 cases continue to trend downward, there’s no harm in continuing to practice safe hygiene, especially with colds making a comeback. Plus, you’ll probably be handling high-touch surfaces like gas pumps and rest-stop doors.
Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes are a must for your weekend road trip. Fortunately, these two products are much easier to find and stock up on than they were last year. And why stop at just using them on the road? You can always use them when you arrive at your destination, too.
Get Lysol Disinfecting Wipes (Pack of 4) at Amazon for $11.27
Get Purell Refreshing Hand Sanitizer (8 fl oz.) at Target for $2.99
7. A cozy blanket to stay comfy
It can be hard to get comfortable in a car, but cozy items like blankets can help. (Photo: Bedsure)
Whether you’re snoozing through the long drive or just want to be comfy and cozy while watching a movie on your tablet, a soft blanket will come in handy.
This fuzzy sherpa blanket is well-loved by reviewers on Amazon, with one reviewer saying the product “should come with a warning label” for how much you’ll love it. This throw is quick-drying in case of any accidental spills, and wrinkle-resistant, making it a great option for the car.
Get the Bedsure Sherpa Throw Blanket at Amazon for $28.99
8. A car organizer to keep your vehicle clean
Keep post-road trip clean-up to a minimum with these bad boys. (Photo: Ucart)
If you’ve ever been on a road trip, you know just how cluttered the car can get. Between car chargers, coolers, blankets, and toys, we recommend something like these Uleeka backseat organizers. With tons of pockets, these organizers will keep your car in tip-top shape throughout the journey.
These particular models are easy to install—just slip them right over the front-seat headrests. Reviewers say the product feels high-quality and is well-made, so it’ll last for months, or even years, of everyday use.
Get the Uleeka Car Backseat Organizer (2-Pack) at Amazon for $16.99
9. A combination jump-starter/power pack in case of emergencies
An all-in-one tool like the Noco Boost Plus can really come in handy. (Photo: Noco)
When driving, FEMA recommends you always have an emergency kit on hand with items like jumper cables, flares, and a car charger for your cell phone to keep you safe if something goes wrong.
This top-rated car tool works as a jumper, a battery pack for charging electronics, and an LED flashlight that features an emergency strobe all in one. With more than 35,000 positive reviews, the ultra-compact pack is a must-have for your car’s glovebox, because you never know when you’ll need it.
Get the Noco Boost Plus Jump Starter/Power Bank at Amazon for $99.95
10. A first aid kit, because accidents happen
Accidents happen—for this reason, always keep an extra first aid kit in the car. (Photo: Swiss Safe)
If you haven’t already, we 100% recommend adding a first aid kit to your stock of emergency supplies in your car—and keeping it there at all times.
This travel-size kit features everything you’d need in case of emergency: Band-Aids, gauze, alcohol prep pads, an ice pack, and more—all in a compact nine-by-six-inch bag. Plus, this model comes with a comprehensive 18-page first aid guide to help you properly administer first aid in a variety of emergencies.
Get the Swiss Safe 2-in-1 First Aid Kit (120 Piece) from Amazon for $24.79
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