life·9 min read

15 Things You’ll Need for a Smooth Road Trip

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Design: theSkimm | Photo: Unsplash, Averie Woodard
Mar 3, 2022

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This post was originally published in May 2021 and has been updated.

If you’re itching for a getaway this year, we get you. Hitting the open road with your crew is a great way to see new places and keep germ-spreading at a minimum. Of course we recommend packing the essentials: hand sanitizers, masks, medication, and disinfectant wipes. 

To help you with packing needs, we rounded up some products to stow in your car. Wherever you choose to go, always wear a seatbelt and remember that life is, indeed, a highway. 

For more helpful tips, check out the CDC’s considerations for travel.

Tissues that fit perfectly in your car’s cup holder…

Grab a tissue without taking your eyes off the road. And so you don’t need to use the inside of your elbow. Aka less germs floating around. A clean car is a happy car. ($18.39/4 pack, Amazon)

Buy it


A collapsible cooler for when you get a bit hangry a couple hours into the drive…

This cooler has an insulated, leakproof inside that can keep items cold for hours, plus a dry pocket for napkins and utensils. Once you’re done, it can fold flat so it won’t take up much space in your trunk. Voilá. ($44.99, Amazon)

Buy it


A mini garbage bin that attaches to the back of your passenger seat… 

Because you don’t want a sea of wrappers sitting below your feet. Now you’ll have a place to put chewed gum and used napkins. PS: Throwing stuff in the back doesn’t count. Stop doing that. ($7.99+, Amazon)

Buy it


A car charger that can charge multiple phones at the same time…

Your road trip crew will be able to  juice up all of their devices without fighting over cables, no matter the make of the phone. Yes, Androids included. Sharing is caring. ($21.99, Amazon)

Buy it


A car hammer tool to keep you extra safe……

This tool can cut seatbelts and break windows. Just in case of an emergency, because you should always be prepared when hitting the road. No excuses. ($14.95/set of 2, Amazon)

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And a roadside rescue kit that has it all…

This emergency duffle comes packed with road trip must-haves. Like a first aid kit, jumper cables, tow strap, flashlight, and more. Sigh of relief sold separately. ($49.99, Amazon)

Buy it


Disposable toilet seat covers if the only restroom in sight looks a bit dirty…

Maybe hold your breath. These covers are sticky so they’ll stay in place. Aka you won’t have to hold a squat while you go. Save leg day for later. ($5.99/6 pack, Amazon)

Buy it


Reusable silicone bags that’ll keep your sandwich fresh, not soggy...

These are leakproof. You can pack whatever you want without it getting waterlogged (hello, sandwiches on fresh bread). Dig in. ($45.96/4 pack, Amazon)

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A foldable caddy for a tidy trunk…

Nobody wants a Jenga situation going on. You can keep smaller items grouped together, or you can designate a cubby to each passenger. Easy peasy. ($27.99, Amazon)

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A packable travel neck pillow….

Because leaning your head against the window actually isn’t a comfortable option. This one will provide support, but can be rolled into a ball when not in use. It’s also lightweight, so adding it to your backpack will be no big deal. Sweet dreams. ($60, Uncommon Goods)

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A stain remover stick for any happy accidents… 

Enter: evidence of a pit stop at the local barbecue joint. Thanks to this trusty pen, it’ll easily come out. Just press it in small circles on the stain and watch it fade away. No mess here. We recommend keeping one in your purse and one in your glove compartment. Talk about being the prepared friend. Love to see it. ($8.99/3 pack, Amazon)

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A phone mount so that you can keep your eyes on the car ahead…

Scrolling and driving is definitely a no-go. This mount has a quick-release grip that securely holds phones up to 4 inches wide. Plus it tilts and rotates so that you can get your GPS right in place. Extra-hot day? No sweat. This mount is designed so that it won’t block your vents. We recommend mounting on the passenger side for optimal AC flow. ($12.99, Amazon)

Buy it


A handy car vac that will clean up any extra crumbs…

It’s time for your car to sparkle. This portable, handheld vacuum can take on wet and dry messes. Say goodbye to dirt, dust, pet hair, or kiddo messes all with the click of a button. Plus it comes with an extra-long 16-foot cord, so you won't be constrained by the outlet. Pop in your car’s glove compartment or cup holder for easy access. Road trip snacking? Count us in. ($34.99+,Amazon)

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A polarized sun visor extender that will keep you from squinting…

Good day, sunshine. There’s nothing better than extra-bright weather, but it can be a little stressful when you have a longer drive ahead. This sun visor extender uses polarizing technology to eliminate glare and help with discomfort when there’s a whole lotta sun. Eye can see clearly now… ($22.88, Amazon)

Buy it



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