Are you a road trip lover, or want to instill that passion in someone else?
After years of road trips and day trips on several continents, this writer has acquired more than a few tips and tricks on preparing for the perfect road trip.
And yes, a lot of it is about preparation.
This list of the best gifts for road trip travelers is organized by type of gift. Plus, includes ideas for the road trip enthusiast who has it all. We’ve got sections for camping, technology, comfort, organization, and entertainment. The guide includes safety items among other thoughtful gifts for road trippers.
Our list includes both essentials and out-of-the-box ideas, so it’s an excellent resource for visiting new places. There’s even a section on books to inspire and advise aspiring road trippers. It’s an excellent way to find the ideal gift for road trip lovers, whether they’re adventurous day trippers, or cross-country travelers. So, before you head out on the best road trips from NYC, make sure you’ve got the right gear!
Absolute Best Road Trip Gifts
After road tripping thousands of miles through different states and parks on various day trips and even longer, we have a good idea of what makes a great road trip. This guide gives recommendations to help you see more and explore further on your future road trips.
As a heads-up, I research (and use) the heck out of the stuff we recommend. If you click on a link and purchase, we may get a commission. Or we may not. It’s more about making good recommendations for us.
The 5 best gifts for road trips that make the perfect gift for anyone include:
- The iOttie iTap Magnetic 2 is a dashboard and windshield phone holder. It is simple to use and safe. It uses magnets to keep smartphones in place while driving hands-free without interfering with essential car functions.
- The CamelBak Eddy+ 25-ounce water bottle is a reliable and adaptable travel companion. It has a straw lid integrated with a plastic bite valve that allows you to sip while keeping your eyes on the road. The leak-proof lid fits in a cup holder and makes adding ice simple. The plastic bottle, on the other hand, may cause it to sweat. So choose the insulated version to avoid moisture buildup on the bottle.
- The Nekteck PD 45W Type-C Car Charger allows for fast charging via USB-C. It also includes a USB-C to Lightning cable. This charger charges modern phones, tablets, and laptops faster than USB-A wall chargers. On Android phones and laptops, it also supports maximum charge rates.
- The Rumpl Down Puffy is an excellent outdoor blanket that provides warmth and durability at a low price and size. The jacket is made of a soft nylon shell. It is filled with water-repellent down sourced from sustainable sources. The down keeps you warm for a long time. After a durability test, it remained intact after multiple washes. An added plus is it’s stain resistant to dirt, mildew, and coffee. And thanks to its small size, it is ideal for winter road trips.
- The RTIC Soft Pack Cooler 20 Can is a lunch-box-style cooler constructed of thick closed-cell foam and durable coated nylon. It is ideal for long trips because it can carry both healthy snacks and emergency ice packs. In comparison to the Yeti Hopper Flip, the lid has over 2 inches of insulation, which provides an insulating edge in keeping drinks cold. The exterior is made of waterproof and durable nylon. The zippers are also waterproof. Loading and unloading are simple because the cooler stands upright like a grocery bag. That said, do not leave the cooler in direct sunlight as light and heat can degrade the material.
Essential Road Trip Gift Ideas
When it comes to road trips, practical and useful gifts can make or break the trip. These necessities not only improve the travel experience. They also provide comfort during those long car rides. This list of road trip gifts includes items for emergency and safety as well as comfort and convenience. They are ideal for road trippers and are sure to impress your recipient.
Read on for road trip essentials and get everything you need for a safe journey.
Emergency and Safety Items
A roadside emergency kit is required for both everyday driving and long-distance road trips. Preassembled kits are not always the best option because manufacturers frequently sacrifice quality to meet a specific price point. To ensure a high quality kit, build one yourself.
Joining a roadside assistance program is a solid idea. Popular Mechanics offers a guide to choosing a plan that meets your requirements. For example, in a city, 3 miles of free towing may be sufficient, but paying for more range may be worth it on a cross-country road trip.
- For minor injuries, the First Aid Only 298 Piece All-Purpose First Aid Kit (FAO-442) includes bandages, cleaning supplies, and disinfectants. On the road, a basic first aid kit is required to ensure that bandages and disinfectants are not degraded or expired. Although the kit lacks the best tools, it contains enough supplies to treat minor injuries on a weekend trip for four people.
- A portable jump starter is a small battery connected to two booster cables, used to jump-start a car. The Weego Jump Starter 44s is a popular choice thanks to its safety features. It has enough juice to start most cars and SUVs. It weighs less than a pound and is compatible with gas and diesel engines with capacities of up to 7 liters. The unit can be recharged up to 1,000 times and provides multiple jumps before requiring recharging. Heads-up, though: leaving the battery in extreme heat or cold can permanently damage it.
- If you’re looking for jumper cables, Lifeline’s AAA Heavy Duty 16-foot 6 Gauge Booster Cables are ideal. They have a long and thick cable, a current rating of 400 amps, and a sturdy mesh storage bag. These 6-gauge cables are precise, so they’re good for a wide range of applications and vehicles. When using booster cables, pay close attention to the instructions and avoid connecting the black clamp to the dead battery post. Touching the exposed clamps during connection can cause a spark. Seriously, only get these if you’re confident you know what you’re doing.
- The Decked x BoxoUSA Tool Bag with Tool Roll is an ideal tool kit for home mechanics, with 65 individual tools for off-road emergencies. The kit weighs 31 pounds and is divided into compartments for easy selection. Combination wrenches, sockets, impact sockets, hex and torx keys are all included in the set. It also includes breaker bars as well as various hammers, pliers, and screwdrivers. The Cordura nylon bag is tough enough for car maintenance or emergencies.
- The Leatherman Skeletool CX is a compact, long-lasting multi-tool that is ideal for use in emergency situations. Pliers, a bit driver, a pocket clip, a carabiner/bottle opener, and a 2.6-inch carbon-fiber stainless steel blade are all included. Unlike other multi-tools, this one is portable and contains essential repair tools. It’s practical, ergonomic, and well-made.
- The most popular tire gauge among professionals for avoiding the dreaded flat tire on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere is the Accu-Gage RRA60X. A smooth ride requires proper tire inflation. Too much air can cause bumps and make stopping difficult. Meanwhile, a lack of air can cause tire wear and overheating. Unlike digital gauges, it is accurate, long-lasting, and does not require a battery replacement. The Accu-Gage model is available in several configurations, but the performance is consistent. The version with a hose attached and a straight chuck is better , as it’s easier to hold while checking tire pressure. A detachable rubber bumper is also included for accidental drops.
Your road tripper will be well-prepared for any situation that may arise while on the road.
Comfort and Convenience Items
Long road trips can be uncomfortable because of long periods of sitting, camping, and cheap motel beds. You can, however, keep your trip exciting with proper planning and small luxuries. Instead of fast food, bring snacks and a water bottle or two, stay off major highways, and pull over whenever the scenery calls. Remember that the journey is more important than the destination. Try to enjoy the journey as much as you can.
Travel gifts like these are ideal for improving the overall travel experience, especially on long journeys.
The Nemo Victory Picnic Blanket is a portable picnic blanket that can accommodate four people. It’s ideal for stopping and having an impromptu picnic while on the road.
The Therm-A-Rest Compressible Pillow Cinch is a versatile and portable travel pillow. It can meet all of your portability, expansion, and support requirements. It folds easily for storage in a backpack or backseat and can be used as a shoulder or neck pillow as needed. Although the pillow is slightly larger than standard travel pillows, it is not as bulky for packing. It unrolls and expands into a decent bed pillow at night, though side sleepers may find it too thin.
Road trip gift ideas for staying organized
A well-packed car contains more than you think you need but less than you want. It does not have to contain everything; only the necessities are required. This eliminates the need to be concerned about countless items that may be misplaced or lost, making the drive more enjoyable. Organize your belongings into groups to avoid leaving anything behind at the motel. Put emergency supplies in the trunk, water in the back left, spare batteries in the glove compartment, and a power inverter in the glove compartment, for example.
Packing cubes are essential for traveling light on a long road trip. Eagle Creek Packing Cubes can be used to organize a variety of items, including small items and large clothing. The cubes incorporate compression technology to save even more space. Added benefit.
A trunk organizer is a versatile tool that can hold a variety of necessities, such as first aid kits, shopping bags, starter cables, and snacks, all in one place. It’s also better than a car seat organizer because it saves space in the living room of the car. Drive Automotive Products The Car Trunk Storage Organizer With Straps has strong, adjustable, straps, which is a popular feature. This adaptable organizer is ideal for use as a backseat car organizer or in the trunk.
The Yakima Skybox 16 Carbonite is a highly rated car mount cargo box that features an aerodynamic design, simple mounting, and storage. It doubles trunk space and provides 16 cubic feet of storage while reducing wind noise and fuel economy. The box is simple to assemble, with no tools required and sliding brackets for easy attachment to crossbars.
Helping your favorite road trip lover keep the car clean
Road trips are notorious for making cars filthy. A road tripper on a long trip is likely to use the entire car as a trash can, making it difficult to collect garbage at the next stop.
So, in order to avoid the “messy car, messy head” syndrome, one of those unique gift ideas could be road trip essentials.
The Hotor car trash can is an affordable and versatile way to keep your vehicle clean. It has a waterproof vinyl interior and a zippered lid and can be hung on seats, footwells, or behind the center console. The can is leakproof and convenient for on-the-go trash storage. It is available in seven different colors and can hold a lot of trash while also serving as a car cooler or a place to keep first aid kits, snacks, or toys. To save money on replacements, avoid using it for perishable food waste and stock up on trash bags.
The Black+Decker 20V Max Dustbuster AdvancedClean+ Pet Hand Vacuum HHVK515JP07 is a dependable car vacuum for pets. The motorized brush is effective at removing tough fur from car upholstery. The extendable crevice tool allows you to reach into tight spaces. The vacuum has a motorized brush that agitates debris and stubborn fur to help remove it. The 25-ounce bin volume is the largest of the handheld vacs tested, making it ideal for large amounts of fur. It has a run time of up to 25 minutes and charges in less than three hours. The HHVK515JP07 comes with a two-year warranty.
Entertainment Road Trip Gift Ideas
Solitary driving can teach the value of being alone, sans instant gratification. The lack of distractions allows you to notice small details that can awe and inspire you.
On the other hand, close proximity can help road tripping friends and families bond, but a crowded car can become a pressure cooker. Games, toys, and electronics can all be sources of distraction. And, if the scenery changes every 100 miles, you’ll need to keep your phone charged in order to capture some of the most breathtaking sights.
While staying in a hotel room, these items allow travelers to have fun and connect with one another:
Non-electronic entertainment options such as travel bingo and trivia games can make road trips more enjoyable. Playing cards with a road trip theme are fun things that add a nostalgic touch. These games provide an excellent opportunity for family and friends to bond while competing.
Some excellent road trip games, for example, include:
- Chat Pack is a game that aims to assist travelers in striking up conversations. The game isn’t always thought-provoking, but it can spark lively debate. The questions may be provocative or clumsy, but they may also be abrupt and unintentional. The game kills time while taking up little space.
- Sushi Go, a fast-paced “pick and pass” card game, is simple enough for five-year-olds to learn but challenging enough for older players to enjoy.
- The Travel Bingo pack from Regal Games is a fun game for the whole family. Interstate and license plate cards are included.
- TableTopics to Go Road Trip Game is a great conversation starter game for long car rides.
- The National Parks Playing Cards feature beautiful images of famous parks in the United States.
You can give tablets, e-readers, and portable speakers as road trip gifts if you’re a fan of modern gadgets. They can use these road trip gadgets to watch movies and play games, among other things. Music and audiobooks are also a great gift idea.
A dedicated ebook reader allows you to read books without being distracted by your phone or tablet. E-readers are more compact than paperbacks and can last for weeks on a single charge, making them ideal for reading in the car. For the majority of people, the most affordable Amazon Kindle is the best option. It has a 6-inch screen with improved picture quality as well as USB-C charging. The Kids version, which costs $20 more, has additional features that make it an excellent choice for keeping children entertained on long stretches.
The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 is a portable speaker designed for outdoor use. It has a natural sound and a fashionable design. It has an IP67 water-resistance rating, can be immersed in 1 meter of water for 30 minutes, and is dustproof. The speaker floats in tests and has an 11-hour battery life. It is, however, a little bulky and charges via an outmoded Micro-USB port.
Inspirational Road Trip Books
Road trip books can be a great source of inspiration and planning. Travel guides, personal narratives, memoirs, fictional stories, and photography books are among them. Popular titles for road trip enthusiasts include Road Trip USA, Moon Road Trip Travel Guides, 50 States, 5,000 Ideas, 100 Parks, 5,000 Ideas, and Epic Drives of the World.
The age of paper road atlases may appear to be over with GPS units and smartphone navigation apps. That said, a road atlas is still required for any road trip. The first step in planning a trip is fantasizing about where you could be on your next weekend getaway. Remember that the beating heart of every journey is a road atlas, inspiring you to discover new places and experiences.
Google Maps can help you find popular tourist destinations, plan your route, and save a PDF for easy access at each stage of your journey. But that sounds far less appealing.
For use in the car, we’re fans of the classic Rand McNally Road Atlas—just make sure to get an updated edition. Its large size allows it to be easily read and spread out on the hood or in your lap, and the user-friendly design is unrivaled. The layout of state and keyhole maps in this paper map atlas is ideal for car trips.
Some more popular travel guides for their next road trip include:
- The Road Trip Book
- The Most Scenic Drives in America
- And the Lonely Planet USA Planning Map
These guides make excellent gifts for anyone who enjoys taking road trips and discovering new places. They offer advice, maps, and itineraries to make the journey easier.
Personal narratives tell the stories of other travelers on the road. They both inspire and assist people in planning their own adventures. These books contain a variety of ideas and important lessons, making them an ideal gift for anyone who enjoys road trips.
Among the notable personal narratives, full of travel tips, are:
- Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck, which began this writer’s wanderlust in high school
- On the Road by Jack Kerouac
- The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto Che Guevara
- And Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
Road Trip Gifts for Pet Lovers
If your recipient enjoys road trips with their best friend, get them gifts that help them travel more comfortably. These gifts, which include travel gear and activities, are ideal for both road trippers and their pets.
Here are some great road trip gifts for pet lovers:
- Booster seats for dogs
- Pet transporters
- Seat covers for pets
- Portable water bowls
These items ensure that pets are safe, comfortable, and well-cared for while on the road. While some dog-friendly bed and breakfasts will have the necessary accoutrements, that’s not a guarantee for all.
Pet Travel Gear
It is critical to have the proper equipment when traveling with your pet, so your pet is comfortable and ready for the trip. Pet seat belts, travel organizers, and portable water bowls are practical and useful gifts.
Pet travel gear makes road trips more enjoyable for pets and provides owners with peace of mind. Pets are safe and well-cared for. Pets can enjoy the adventure just as much as their human companions with the right travel gear.
Road trippers with pets require gifts that allow the entire group to have fun. On an upcoming trip, consider the following:
- Parks and beaches that allow pets
- Pet-friendly hiking trails and destinations
- Pet-friendly restaurants with outdoor seating
- Pet-friendly hotels and lodging
These activities allow pets and their owners to make memories together that will last a lifetime. Be sure to explore our guide to dog friendly Connecticut for more ideas.
Consider the following pet-friendly activities:
- Going to pet-friendly parks
- Going to pet-friendly beaches
- Going to pet-friendly restaurants
You can make the road trip even more memorable and enjoyable by gifting experiences that cater to both the road tripper and their pet.
Unique and Thoughtful Road Trip Gifts
Personalized or experience-based gifts are sometimes the most memorable. These unique road trip gifts demonstrate that you have chosen something meaningful and treasured.
You can give personalized luggage tags and keychains to your favorite road trippers as unique gifts. Tour vouchers and attraction passes are also available. These gifts are personalized based on their interests and travel preferences. These gifts will make their trip to a national park or on a road trip even more memorable:
- Personalized luggage tags
- Keychains with engraving
- Vouchers for tours
- Attraction fades away
Road Trip Gift Cards
The benefits of travel are difficult to neatly package with a bow. You can’t put a price on the thrill of the open road, a breathtaking view, or triumphing over a challenge that helps you grow. A travel-related gift card, on the other hand, is probably the closest you’ll get to giving your loved ones the actual gift of travel. Unless you reserve their motel and hotel rooms.
You should select a gift card that you know they will be able to use. A local gift card will be far more useful than one from a luxury hotel chain if they’re planning a road trip to national parks in the American West. Or a bed and breakfast gift card would be ideal if they’re exploring somewhere in the Northeast, for example.
And Select Registry offers gift certificates for their affiliation of inns throughout the United States.
National Park Pass for America the Beautiful
The America the Beautiful Pass is one of the best road trip gifts. This simple gift opens the door to a world of possibilities! With the annual pass, you can visit over 400 attractions, including:
- National Parks
- National Forests
- And National Historic Sites
For an entire year. The pass covers the holder as well as everyone in their vehicle. At only $80 per year, a national park pass provides incredible value and the potential for hundreds of dollars in savings.
Hotels.com Gift Card
Expedia’s hotel division, Hotels.com, is one of the best places to find cheap hotel reservations and vacation packages. Whether you book now or later, the website is constantly offering discounts at some of the world’s most popular destinations. You’ll be giving a discount while also paying the bill. And it appears that everyone and their mom lists their accommodations on this website. So, hopefully, they’ll find something reasonable (and well-rated) even in the most remote of locations.
Airbnb Gift Card
Checking into an Airbnb can make some travelers feel much more at ease, especially if they’re planning a long-term trip. They can choose their own place to stay and save money with an Airbnb gift card.
Apple Gift Card
Have a digital nomad friend who is constantly posting photos of their van life on Instagram? They’ve found the cheapest lodging along the way, but their most valuable asset: their technology, could always use some protection. With an Apple gift card, they’ll be able to buy accessories or get a discount if their laptop or iPhone breaks down on the road.
Personalized road trip gifts add a one-of-a-kind and personal touch to any journey. To match someone’s preferences, you can personalize luggage tags, travel bags, and travel journals.
Personalized items show thoughtfulness and prevent luggage and belongings mix-ups on road trips. You can find the ideal personalized gift for a friend or family member who enjoys road trips. There are numerous customization options available.
Experiential gifts provide road trippers with a one-of-a-kind and memorable way to enjoy their journey. Tour vouchers, attraction passes, and travel memberships can be used to enjoy fun activities and see interesting places. This will assist your loved ones in making the most of their road trip experiences.
Among the most popular experience-based gifts are:
- IncredibleCo Mystery Adventure
- Gift Box Tinggly Experience
- Also included is a CityPASS E-Voucher for Adventure
These gifts offer a variety of experiences, such as hot air balloon rides and guided tours, that are ideal for road trippers.
Road Trip Gift Baskets and Sets
Consider making a themed road trip gift basket or set for a truly thoughtful and comprehensive road trip gift idea. Curated collections for road trip enthusiasts make excellent gifts.
You can tailor your road trip gift basket or set to the recipient’s preferences and requirements. Some great road trip gift basket or set ideas include:
- A snack-filled road trip care package containing a variety of roadside treats
- Relaxation and self-care sets that include items such as travel-sized toiletries, a cozy blanket, and a scented candle
- Sets of books, puzzles, and games to keep the recipient entertained during the journey
A road trip isn’t complete without some tasty snacks to munch on along the way. Gifts of snack baskets are popular among road trippers. These baskets are filled with delectable treats that they can snack on while traveling. It’s a thoughtful and tasty way to demonstrate your concern. Snacks that are popular for road trip baskets include:
- Bars of granola
- Snacks made with fruits
These road trip snacks will keep you fueled and satisfied throughout your journey, even if you can’t find a gas station to replenish your supplies.
You can create a snack-filled basket that will be appreciated and enjoyed by tailoring the selection to the recipient’s tastes.
In my poorer days, I lived off of Cliff bars while on the road. Just a thought.
Relaxation and Self-Care Sets
Long road trips can be exhausting, so relaxation and self-care are ideal gifts for tired travelers. Sets with small toiletries, aromatherapy items, and cozy blankets can be given to loved ones. This will allow them to unwind and recharge while traveling.
Items of note include:
- Perfume in the form of a roll-on
- Wipes for the skin
- Masks for the face
- Polish for your nails
Can also be included in relaxation and self-care sets for on-the-go luxury and pampering. These sets are a great way to show road trippers that you care about their safety and comfort while on the road.
Tips for Choosing the Perfect Road Trip Gift
When choosing the best road trip gifts, keep the recipient’s interests, travel style, and practical needs in mind. By taking these factors into account, you can select a gift that is both useful and meaningful to the road trip enthusiast in your life.
Some ways to come up with ideas for the best road trip gift include:
- Given the length of the journey
- Considering the recipient’s entertainment preferences
- Taking into account any special requirements or challenges they may face along the way
You can ensure that your gift will be appreciated and treasured long after the trip is over with a little empathy.
A great road trip gift can make traveling more enjoyable and help road trippers create fond memories. This list contains over 50 gift ideas for road trippers, including safety items and personalized gifts. So buckle up, hit the road, and make your next trip unforgettable with the ideal road trip gift.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a suitable gift for someone who frequently travels by car?
Road Trip Essentials are a great gift for anyone who travels frequently, ensuring they have everything they need to stay safe and comfortable.
They may contain items such as a first-aid kit, a flashlight, a tire pressure gauge, a multi-tool, and some snacks. All of these items can make a long drive more bearable and even come in handy in an emergency.
What do you give someone who is about to embark on a long journey?
These gifts range from practical travel items to planning tools and safety products. They will assist your loved one in traveling in style.
What do you put in a road trip gift bag?
Pack a gift bag with everything you’ll need for a fun road trip. Include a travel journal, a word puzzle book, crossword puzzles, old-fashioned games, a sudoku book, window crayons, a joke book, and a deck of cards.
These items will keep you entertained and engaged while traveling. They can also assist you in passing the time and making the most of your journey. They also make excellent souvenirs to remember your adventure by.
What are some entertaining items to bring on a road trip?
Having a good time on a road trip begins with the right equipment! So bring a tablet, card games, your favorite playlist, a GoPro, a travel journal, a portable wifi hotspot, and snacks with you.
You’ll have a great time and laugh a lot along the way!
What are some of the most important road trip gifts for safety and convenience?
It’s critical to have some essential items with you on your road trip to ensure your safety and comfort. A roadside assistance kit, first aid kit, portable jump starter, car phone charger, compressible pillow, and car organizer are among them. Having these items on hand will provide you with peace of mind and enhance the enjoyment of your journey. It’s critical to have the right items for your car as well as the right supplies for your destination. Take the time to research what you require and ensure that you have everything you require.