Last Updated on December 19, 2020 by Anisa
Road trips are one of my favorite ways to travel. I love the flexibility it gives you and it’s easier to visit some lesser known spots. Plus, it avoids the hassles that can come with air travel.
Are you trying to shop for someone who loves road trips? Since I have done my fair share of this type of travel, I have a few road trip gift ideas that I know they will love. I think you will find something no matter your budget or whether you are buying for a man or woman.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. I earn a commission if someone clicks the links on this page and shops at Cratejoy or one of my other partners. Please see disclosure for more information.
15 Best Road Trip Gifts
A road trip gift is perfect for someone who enjoys traveling by car. Every time that individual goes on a driving vacation they will think of you and be thankful. These gifts for adults will help with road trip preparation and make the trips even more enjoyable.
#1 Road Trip Games
Road trip games have come a long way since I was a child. We would always play the license plate game, but now there are many options for both kids and adults. Whether you are looking for something fun or more thought-provoking, these games will make the time on the road fly.
Those who travel as a family will enjoy a scavenger hunt or this collection of 60 fun games to play in the car. For couples, something that provokes interesting conversations like Our Moments for Couples can provide hours of entertainment.
# 2 Car Organizers
One of the reasons I love road trips is not having to worry about any overweight baggage fees. I can take as much with me as I can fit in the vehicle. Car organizers make it easier to keep the car clean and to fit more in. A clean and organized car makes a road trip better because it will be easier to find things you need and there will be more space.
There are several types of organizers for cars: back of the seat, trunk, sunvisor, console, etc. Depending on the type of vehicle, one may work better than another. Here are some appealing options:
- Drive Auto Products Car Cargo Trunk Organizer – it’s easily expandable to meet various needs, can be secured with a tie-down strap system and used in a car seat, and every panel is reinforced with stiff base plates to make it sturdy and durable.
- ULEEKA Car Backseat Organizer with Table Holder – this is perfect for road trips with kids, it has multiple storage compartments, a tablet holder, and is easy to clean. It comes with a one-year warranty.
- Lynkaye Car Sun Visor Organizer – this compact sleeve is ideal for storing sunglasses, tickets, pens, earphones, and other smaller items that could easily get lost. It fits most cars and stays in place with two elastic straps.
- Lebogner 2 Pack Car Seat Gap Filler – this pocket fits in the gap next to the seat so that the area can be used for storage rather than as a black hole where things fall and get lost. It’s just right for storing your cell phone, wallet, keys, coins, and more within easy reach.
#3 Car Cooler
If you are able to keep beverages and other chilled food cold while driving to the destination, you open up a lot more food options. Those who plan on only traveling in cooler environments can use pretty much any normal cooler as long as they don’t mind supplying ice. One with wheels (like this one) will be easier than having to carry a heavy one full of drinks.
For long trips or when it’s warmer, it is worth getting a cooler that can be plugged into your car to keep things chilled. It’s like having a mini portable refrigerator on your trip. You won’t have to worry about getting ice or refreezing cooler packs.
If you don’t need to bring too much cold food, this small fridge is an affordable option. It has an ac/dc adapter so it can be used in the car and then plugged in when you get to your location. The fridge uses a semiconductor refrigeration chip that is freon-free and environmentally friendly. It also has quiet technology to keep sound at a minimum (25dB).
# 4 Food and Beverage Containers
Drinks and snacks are a must for every road trip, but sometimes it can be difficult to pack. Some need to be kept cool and others need to be kept hot during the long journey. A portable container with good insulation will do both.
Many people swear by the Yeti brand for travel mugs, but it is pricey. Other brands will do the job and save some money. Choose one that is within your budget and fits the personality of the person who will use it. Maybe it’s their favorite color, sports team, or just a cute design. Check out the travel cups on Amazon here.
For snacks and other food, a picnic basket or bag might be helpful especially if it includes cutlery. This picnic backpack is large enough to hold four people’s stainless steel flatware, napkins, plates, plastic wine glasses, food and drink and has an insulated food compartment keep it fresh for hours. It also comes with a cutting board and picnic blanket.
#5 Road Trip Books
Road trip books can provide inspiration and be valuable resources. There is something satisfying about a hardback book with alluring photos on a coffee table. The Ultimate Travel List from Lonely Planet will to spark conversation and grow bucket lists.
This book of the most scenic drives in the USA has vivid pictures with maps and other information to plan your vacation. These practical reference guides like a spiral-bound atlas (like this one) or a highway guide (like this one) are perfect for taking along on a trip.
Road trip lovers would also enjoy reading novels while they are on their journeys. Maybe something about someone else’s crazy adventure like:
- Not Tonight, Josephine: A Road Trip Through Small-Town America – The hilarious story about two British men who set off from New York City to explore the back roads of the USA.
- Round Ireland with a Fridge – The story of a man who hitchhiked around Ireland with a fridge.
- Detour: My Bipolar Road Trip in 4-D – For someone looking for a more serious read, this fast-paced memoir aims to demystify mental illness. On the road trip, she wants to find other young, successful people with bipolar disorder.
# 6 Audible Subscription
Another fun way to pass the time on a long road trip is to listen to audiobooks. With an audible subscription, you get to choose one or more audiobooks per month (depending on subscription level). It also includes unlimited access to Audible podcasts and exclusive deals off selected audiobooks. They allow you to exchange audiobooks if you don’t love them and rollover any unused credits.
All the audiobooks that you choose while you are a member are yours forever, even if you cancel the membership. The books can be accessed on the app from anywhere, you don’t need to have wifi to listen. The narration speed can be adjusted and there is a sleep timer.
Get more information about gifting an audible subscription here.
# 7 Road Trip Snack Subscription Box
Roadtrippers need snacks! It is easy to get into a snack rut especially if you are trying to be healthy. A snack subscription box will help the recipient maintain variety with snacks and discover some new ones too with periodic deliveries. You can find something for anyone’s taste buds,some example themes include:
- HealthyMe Living – This box is filled with items selected by a Certified Health Coach made of quality ingredients that taste great! Get more info here.
- The Sweets Box – Get different candies including classics and some that are international. It will satisfy those cravings! Get more info here.
- SnackSack – This is perfect for those with dietary restrictions as there are options for gluten-free and vegan snacks. Get more info here.
#8 Travel Coffee Maker
Roadtripping doesn’t mean you can’t have good quality coffee. A travel coffee maker lets you make the brew you love anywhere. You may be surprised to see how many quality travel coffee makers are on the market.
We have the Aeropress, which we use at home and when we travel. It’s made of sturdy plastic and small so it fits easily in carryon luggage. You don’t have to worry about plugging it in or having batteries. All you need is hot water, a small filter, and the coffee grounds. In a few minutes, you have the perfect cup of coffee. Cleanup is a breeze.
It is easy to see why Aeropress has developed almost a cult following. Check the current price and read more reviews here.
#9 Roadside Emergency Kit
Nothing ruins a road trip like being unprepared. You hope you will never need to use a roadside emergency kit, but when you do need it, you will be thankful to have it. Road trips can have long stretches where there are no services available. It’s essential to have some tools at the ready in case of vehicle troubles.
Make sure the emergency kit you choose is comprehensive. At a minimum, it needs to include jumper cables, mylar blanket, tow rope, tools (including seat belt cutter, tire gauge, warning triangles, and a first aid kit. I found this kit with 156 pieces to be a fantastic value. Check the price and read more reviews here.
Some countries, like France, also have specific requirements for things that must be kept in the car like a warning triangle, reflective safety jackets, and breathalyzer. If you know that the person you are shopping for is planning an international road trip, you could look into the rules of the country where they are going.
#10 Car Mount Phone holder
We have become dependent on smartphones, especially when traveling. GPS technology makes getting places much easier. With a car mount phone holder, you can utilize a GPS app from your phone. It can be a lifesaver for those driving alone without a built in GPS in the car.
When choosing a car mount phone holder, look for one that won’t block the line of sight and will stay in place. It also needs to be able to fit different types of phones, so you don’t need to get a new one each time you get a new phone. This one has a strong suction cup with sticky gel and anti-shake stabilizer. It has a flexible gooseneck with a 360 degree ball-head that can be bent to the shape you like, making it easy to adjust the positioning.
Note: You should never text while driving.
#11 Compression Socks
Socks are never the most exciting gift, but it’s surprising the difference compression socks can make when you travel. I wasn’t a believer until about two years ago, but now I wear them whenever I fly or travel long distances in the car. Russell wears his compression socks when he runs.
The socks use graduated compression to help move blood through veins towards the heart which increases circulation, energizes tired, achy legs, and helps to prevent and reduce swelling. You will feel better when you arrive at your destination.
The one complication with buying compression socks as a gift is that you will need to know the recipient’s size. Check out my buying guide for travel compression socks.
#12 Car Essential Oil Diffuser
If a bad smell gets into the car on a road trip things can get uncomfortable. If you have a car diffuser, the problem is easily solved. Using essential oils in the car can also help improve your mood and/or give you more energy depending on the oils used.
This car essential oil diffuser is also a humidifier which helps with dry skin, sinuses and coughs. It fits easily in a cup holder and has two USB charging ports. It’s a bargain for a multi-functional device!
#13 Electric Blanket for the Car
Just because you are traveling in a car, doesn’t mean you can’t have an electric blanket. They can be so soothing and great for healing some ailments. I love that this one plugs right into the car’s AC adaptor. It has a long cord so even passengers in the back seat can use it.
#14 Car Power Inverter
If you are shopping for someone who has a lot of electronics (like us), they might find a car power inverter handy. It plugs into the cigarette lighter and then it allows you to plug in multiple gadgets (phones, cameras, drones) that may need charging.
This one provides 300 Watts continuous DC to AC power and 700 Watts instantaneous power and has 2 AC outlets and 2 USB ports. It’s compact, lightweight, and has a built-in 40 amps fuse to protect your devices.
#15 Car Roof Bag
If the person you are shopping for likes to bring more than what can fit inside the car on a trip, then he/she needs this car roof bag. It’s designed to fit all cars. This bag increases the vehicle’s cargo space by 15 cubic feet without compromising passenger comfort, making it ideal for anyone who needs extra space while traveling.
#16 An Experience Gift
If you are trying to buy a gift for someone who already has all the gear and games they could ever want, consider giving an experience rather than something tangible. After all, travel is all about the experiences!
With Tinggly, the recipient can redeem their “gift box” for any one of hundreds of experiences around the globe. You can send an e-voucher or an eco-friendly box, and it never expires! Plus, you can feel good about the gift as a part of Tinggly profit goes to sustainable projects to remove polluting plastics from the environment.
More Travel Gift Ideas
If you need more gift ideas for the travelers in your life, check out my other gift guides:
- Best Gifts for Travel Enthusiasts
- Best Gifts for Drone Lovers
- Best Travel Subscription Boxes
- Best Gifts for Beach Lovers
What are some of your favorite road trip accessories?
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