The 30 Best Road Trip Essentials I Promise You Didn't Even Know You Needed
Remember what is was like to travel? To hop on a plane completely carefree and hit up every restaurant, bar, and attraction with reckless abandon? No? Me either. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced most people into their homes, leaving, for me at least, the severe itch to travel unscratched. And where plane trips, cruises, and train rides ruled my calendar last year, there remains one much safer, more COVID-friendly type of trip: a road trip. With the right road trip products, gadgets, and accessories at your disposal, you can hop in your car and (safely!) see some places you've been yearning to explore.
Before you even set foot in the car, however, give the CDC's coronavirus travel guidelines a thorough read to ensure you've taken allllllll the necessary precautions to protect yourself and those around you. Make sure you assess any travel restrictions or COVID case updates for your travel destination, and follow the usual protocol: Wear your mask as often as possible, keep a safe distance (at least 6 feet) from others while traveling or if you have to make any stops, wash your hands frequently, and avoid touching your face. Remember, even if you're free of any symptoms, you could still carry the virus.
After you've done your research and you're almost ready to hit the open road, it's time to get packing. Before you do, peep these best road trip products, tech, accessories, and beyond, so you can cruise through your trip safely and stylishly.
We only include products that have been independently selected by Elite Daily's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Never go on any trip without a trusty backpack, you hear me? This pick from Jansport is durable, comfy, and hella spacious, so you can jump from the car to all your activities, without wondering "where did I put that?"
For several years now, I have owned the Herschel Novel Duffle, and for several years, I have never needed another travel bag. The prints are to die for, the bag is easy to carry, and the added feature of a separate shoe space so my clothes don't get dirty is the cherry on top.
If you're a light packer, first, teach me how you do it. Second, this weekender from Universal Thread is the prime size for a short weekend getaway. Not to mention, the neutral, striped design is so freaking cute.
Never in my life has a bag so deeply resonated with my soul. Calpak's shiny, soft Luka Duffle is the perfect size in which to stow all your extras and toiletries, and it, too, comes with a small slot for shoes.
If by "road trip" you mean driving until you hit a good hiking spot, don't leave without The North Face's Borealis Backpack. It's got tons of pockets and pouches to keep all your belongings safe and snug, but it's compact enough to carry along a trail with ease.
I am, by no means, an organized packer. In fact, I am a "throw everything I own in a bag at the last second and hope for the best" packer. With smaller travel pouch sets like these, I can easily divide up all my stuff and (slightly) organize the chaos.
The bucket hat is alive and well for fall, as is a check or plaid pattern. Truly complete any outfit with this neutral colorway, or wear the hat inside out if plain black is more your thing.
With a small strip of rhinestones along the top, these sunglasses don't have to work hard to elevate a look. Striking yet subtle bling — you really do love to see it!
What did I just say about check patterns? This graphic chest bag from Mon Cheri by Cherish is the most stylish way to keep your essentials within reach at all times.
Wear! Your! Mask! Seriously, do not take it off! And while you're at it, make sure the one you're wearing is this effing adorable one from Stoney Clover Lane.
I've tested this new innovation from Puma for the last couple months, and the comfort in this sneaker is as-tro-nomical. The shoe is snug and supportive, while also incredibly lightweight.
The year 2020 genuinely feels like the Twilight Zone, but at least it's brought bandanas back. It's a useful accessory to bring on any trip for its versatility: Wear it around your neck, around your wrist, or around your head as a headband.
As the weather gets colder, your skin gets drier, making a good moisturizer key. Topicals' Like Butter acts as both an everyday moisturizer and a mask, and the texture is exactly as it's named: smooth like fresh butter.
A road trip usually means long hours in the car, and long hours in the car mean a little more eye-related baggage than you bargained for. That's nothing some of Sephora Collection's hydrating and de-puffing Brightening Eye Cream can't fix.
A concept: Instead of lugging a bunch of makeup on trips, pack Starface's freaking adorable Hydro-Star pimple spot treatments to slap on over any blemishes to look cute and treat breakouts in the process. You've seen them on many an influencer, but TBH, they'd look even cuter on you.
Before you say anything, yes, you do still need to wear an SPF — even in the cold and even in the car. You'd be hard-pressed to find one thing you won't love about UnSun Cosmetics' Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen. It's formulated with a slight tint that primes and color-corrects a wide range of skin tones, without the white cast so many other sunscreens leave.
Yes, Uoma Beauty, serve us volume! To save you some time packing and some room in your bags, rest assured this mascara is one of the only makeup items you need to pack. It instantly volumizes lashes for dramatic length and fullness that creates a whole look on its own.
Leave it to Selena Gomez's Rare Beauty to launch the most gorgeous tinted lip balm of the year. Hydrating, nourishing, and offering the subtlest hint of color, the With Gratitude Dewy Lip Balm keeps your lips feeling soft, without sticking to your mask.
BRB, losing my chill over this adorable mini cooler. It comes with a car cord, so it'll keep drinks and snacks nice and cold for the entire ride. When you're back from your trip, pop it in your room for the cutest lil skincare fridge.
With this iOttie car charging mount, you can easily prop your phone up at eye level, so you don't have to look up, down, and around for directions. Your phone will stay juiced up and ready to go when you hit your destination.
I always travel with a pillow-and-blanket combo. You never know when it might be cold, and it's impossible to get comfy in a car. Luckily, this super compact option can hook on to your bag and won't take up a ton of room.
If you're the one in the driver's seat, sitting upright without any neck support can put some strain on your neck. This memory foam pillow will offer some much-needed support and comfort, so your neck isn't screaming by the end of the trip.
If you're traveling with your beloved pet, they deserve some comfort, too. This quilted booster seat easily and securely connects to your car seat, so your fur baby has a soft, safe place to chill.
How epic is this crystal water bottle? The amethyst pod is removable in case you want to save the stone for special occasions. Amethyst is also a powerful, protective crystal that's said to relieve stress and promote a relaxing, meditative environment — the ideal road trip vibe.
Party in the car(ty)! With just a couple strips of these LED lights, you can easily turn your car into the most Instagrammable light show. As the sun goes down, turn the lights and the music up — just keep your eyes on the road.
You can memorialize your trip in tons of phone pics, but there's something so special about the throwback of getting a roll of film developed. With this reusable film camera, you only need to top up on film, as opposed to disposable cameras, so you can take it with you on every trip.
For any aspiring vloggers out there wanting to document all their major trips and events, investing in a gimbal makes filming a smooth video in a changing, chaotic environment so easy. With a simple touch of certain buttons on the handle, you can swivel your phone around at every angle, and with the handle's trigger, you can capture clear, clean content, even while you're moving.
A portable mini speaker comes in clutch more often than you think — especially on a road trip. Once you hit a prime spot to hop out of the car and take a break, you can take the tunes with you wherever you go. Even better, this option is super compact and easily attaches to a keychain.
As much as you want to pull out your phone, it might be a good idea to relax on the scrolling as you vacation... at least a little bit. Fossil's Sport Smartwatch is sleek, stylish, and even swim-proof, and it'll keep you just a teensy bit connected — with notifications, GPS, music, etc. — to make sure you're in the know without getting lost in the internet.
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There is genuinely nothing worse than piling in the car with your friends or family, and everyone starts hogging the charger. Like, step off, Jordan, I'm on 5%. With this six-port USB car charger, everyone in the car can connect their cords and charge up simultaneously.