I have a love/hate relationship with road trips. I love them in theory — the idea of travel, adventure, cruising across the country on I-66 while listening to hours of true crime podcasts — but in practice, they’re always a bit of a hassle. If I’m going on a road trip, I basically have to make my car my home for however long I’m traveling. I want it to be ultra organized, aesthetically pleasing, CLEAN, cozy, and I’ll be eating and drinking and charging all my electronics in it. Yeah, a bit overwhelming once you start thinking about the actual logistics of it all, right?
Apparently I wasn’t the first one to have these road trip woes (try saying “road trip woes” 10 times fast if you need a laugh), because once I decided to actually make my next road trip hassle-free, these products basically presented themselves to me. You know that scene in Mary Poppins where all the potential nannies are lined up outside to interview with the Banks family? Yeah, imagine that, except with road trip gear. Seriously, there’s a ton. We sifted through all our options and came up with the following list of items that will make your next road trip (and mine) go off without a hitch.
I got into my friend’s car and exclaimed, “Why does it smell like Christmas?!” He pointed to this little attachment on his dashboard and told me that it was two months old. Drift has amazing air fresheners that stay fresh for much longer than other car air fresheners. The company provides a subscription program to keep your car smelling clean for a while, but you can also make a one-time purchase if you just want to check it out. They have a few staple scents as well as a new scent every month. My personal favorite was May’s “Cereal Milk” smell. I mean, come on.
Do you love essential oils? Why not use them in your car? This mini car diffuser fits perfectly into your cup holder and just plugs into a USB plug. This compact diffuser can also be used at your desk or easily packed up for the office. It’s a perfect addition to a long car trip and a great solution to a smelly car!
I recently went on a long road trip, and my partner asked me to get a phone holder. Driving can be so much harder when you’re constantly looking down at your lap to check where your navigation is taking you. This car phone holder has a washable suction cup and an air vent clip, so you can put it anywhere on your dashboard! You can angle it anywhere too, depending on who you want to see the phone. I love it and use it every time I’m in my car.
Do you have a bunch of bits and bobs sitting around when you drive? I always throw my phone, wallet, AirPods, sunglasses, and keys in the cupholder. It’s a great system…until I want to get a drink, or my partner and I are driving together. This car dash grip pad is great for putting everything you need in one place. It sticks to the dashboard and holds all my necessities.
No matter how well I pack or how organized my bags are, things still fall all over the place in my backseat. I love these hooks because you can hang the need-to-grab bags or purses and you have easy access! Amazon also suggests hanging umbrellas, groceries, and water bottles too. These hooks are great for any additional storage and organization you need on your trip!
If you’re going to be on a long road trip, you’re going to accumulate trash — it’s inevitable. While some car trash cans are flimsy and can’t hold much, this one is 100% leak-proof and it has pockets!! You can store things like snacks on the sides and then place the trash in it neatly when you’re done. Just put it on the back of your car seat, and you’ll never have to worry about trash again.
Need more organization? What about waterproof eco-friendly organization? These car seat organizers are great if you have a few little ones in the back, or if you’re always on the go. Everyone has their car staples cluttering their back seats, so why not put the staples all in one place? This organizer is super clean and chic too!
We all pack food for car trips, and now car picnics are so much better. This three section folding trunk organizer has a removable cooler, so you can pack anything in it, from food to shoes! The best part is if you’re not using it, it’s collapsable, so you don’t have to take it out of your car after every trip. This is great if you have a lot of extra stuff floating around your car, like toys or Aldi bags (guilty).
Do you love road trip snacks? So do we, and we want you to enjoy them as best you can! This personal cooler/warmer lets you keep your food fresh. It’s compact and easy to keep in the car without getting in the way. Just plug it into the cigarette lighter and you’re ready to go! No more lugging around huge and bulky coolers and constantly refilling them with ice!
Just because you’re the driver doesn’t mean you don’t need to eat! While we wouldn’t suggest using this steering wheel desk while on the road (for obvious reasons), it’s wonderful if you need a little work break or a snack. It’s easy to store and easy to set up, and best of all, no more messy meals in the car.
This sauce holder is my favorite thing on the list. It takes up no space — it just attaches to your air vent, and it solves fast food’s biggest problem: What the heck do I do with my sauce? Even when I’m not the driver, I still struggle to keep my sauces steady when I’m riding in the passenger seat. This specific design was shown on Shark Tank and is designed to fit the four most common sauce sizes. This is so useful in any and every car!
What if I told you you could get a massage while you drove? Sign me up! This massaging car seat cushion has 10 vibrating motors, a fast heating setting, and customizable massage rollers. The seat can massage your neck, upper back, lower back, butt, and thighs. I know I get a backache from driving almost the second I sit down and this will alleviate all that!
I hate driving because the second you’re glued to that seat, your butt starts to hurt! I don’t know what it is about those seats, but they just aren’t comfortable. This car seat cushion is made with cooling gel memory foam, so you will be supported and comfortable throughout your trip. It’s great if you suffer from back pain and need that extra support too!
It’s astounding how dirty your car can get. I haven’t been to the beach for a year, and there’s still sand in my backseat! Thankfully, this vacuum can help. It’s small and portable, and it comes with three attachments, so it’ll clean any mess no matter the space. The cord is long enough to reach anywhere as well, so you won’t be limited by that either. All you need for this is a plug connector and you’re ready to go!
This cleaning gel is magic. Even though it’s gel, it doesn’t have a sticky feel or a rubbery smell. It actually smells a bit like lavender and won’t leave bits around your car. It’s wonderful for a laptop or those hard-to-reach parts of your car. Say goodbye to all the dust in your car once and for all!
There’s a curse on the back seats: you never get any air when you sit in them. Thankfully, these rotatable electric fans will provide that AC that my car is lacking. The fans don’t provide loud or obnoxious noise either. Just a gentle breeze with a quiet hum. They can be rotated 360°, so it doesn’t matter where anyone is sitting, they’ll all benefit from the cool! Just plug the fans into your cigarette lighter socket and you’re good to go!
No more fighting over the power cord again! I have an adapter for my cigarette lighter and it still only provides one charger. This multi-port converter is perfect if you are traveling with your partner or have some extra things that need to be plugged in, be it phones or laptops. It eliminates any problems with charging immediately!
Now I cannot wait to get back on the road! What is your road trip essential? Did we miss one? Let us know in the comments!
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