A road trip is the classic vacation and a great way to see several national parks at once (or other parts of the country). However, it does take some planning and extra gear to make it comfortable and memorable.
If someone in your life is planning a road trip in the next year, giving them a gift that they can use is something they will love to receive. Here are 75 awesome gifts for car travelers, whether they are traveling solo, a couple on a romantic road trip together, or a family with the kids in the back of the car.
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ROAD TRIP GIFTS FOR EATING AND PICNICKING
1. Portable Cooler
On a road trip, they will want to keep drinks cool and have food for picnics on the side of the road or in a day trip destination. Having a portable cooler is an essential item that will help them save money and be more independent.
2. Hydro Flask Water Bottle
A water bottle is essential not only for the car, but also if they want to go on a hike during their trip. The Hydro Flask comes in 13 colors and two different sizes. It’s good for hot and cold liquids. It’s stainless steel, so will last through any adventure.
3. Stainless Steel Travel Mug
This 16 oz. travel mug is perfect for coffee in the car. It has double-wall insulation to keep their coffee or tea hot for longer, and a vacuum-sealed lid to prevent spills along the way.
4. National Parks Blanket
This blanket makes a great picnic blanket, but can also be used for keeping warm and snuggly in the car and for extra warmth if they are camping. The national parks label makes it a great souvenir of their trip as well if they are heading to that park on their road trp.
5. Picnic Backpack
Picnics are a great way to really take advantage of a road trip – and save money. This picnic backpack provides and helps organize all they will need for a picnic. And because it is in a waterproof backpack, if they want to go for a hike, they can easily have a fantastic picnic at their destination. It comes in six colors and includes a cutting board, glasses, plates, cutlery, a corkscrew and cheese knife.
6. Packable Camp Chair
This packable camp chair is great on two levels. One, it is a comfortable way for them to relax on the side of the road or at their destinations. And two, it breaks down and packs into a small carry bag, so takes up very little space – which is important on a road trip, since space is always at a premium.
7. Snacks Gift Basket
If there is one thing everyone needs on a road trip, it is snacks! This great gift box has 40 sweet and savory healthy snacks including bars, nuts, popcorn and veggie chips.
ROAD TRIP GIFTS FOR NAVIGATION
8. Rand McNally Road Atlas
While most of us rely on GPS these days, there are times when it doesn’t work properly – because it is out of service, the battery runs out or it is just plain wrong. Which is why they will love getting an old-fashioned real life Road Atlas for their trip.
9. Lonely Planet USA Planning Map
This map from Lonely Planet will help make their trip planning easier and more enjoyable – there is a lot to be said for being able to see the whole map in one view. It is waterproof and folds down into a small handy case so they can take it on the road with them easily. It includes top attractions, itinerary suggestions, a transport guide, travel tips and more.
10. Route 66 Illustrated Maps
If they’ll be traveling along even part of Route 66, they will love these illustrated maps when they are planning – and as a souvenir of their trip afterwards.
11. Garmin GPS Navigator System
For ease of navigation, a GPS system is hard to beat. While it is possible to use navigation on your phone, it chews through data and battery power like crazy, so having a real GPS navigator is essential. They will love getting this gift if they don’t have one already.
ROAD TRIP GIFTS FOR PHONES AND CAMERAS
12. Car Phone Mount
This is is essential if they are using their phones for navigation, but convenient no matter what. Having their phone handy when driving or even in the passenger seat will help make their road trip easier.
13. GoPro HERO9 Black
Of course they will want to take photos and videos of their trip. The GoPro is the best option for action photos and videos – whether they are shooting while driving along, or on hikes or other activities on their trip. It’s ideal for photos, video and even live streaming!
14. 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilizer for Smartphone
A gimbal stabilizer will help take all the bumps and jerks out of videos they film on their phones. Often you shoot videos from the car or while hiking and the videos can look jerky and make you feel a little seasick watching it later. Using the stabilizer helps ensure smooth, easy to watch videos.
Having a tripod for their camera will help them take much better photos and have much better souvenirs of their trip.
16. USB Car Charger
This is an essential item they should not start their road trip without! It fits into the car lighter and has an 18W USB-C port and a 12W USB-A port.
17. Power Inverter Car Charger
If they’ll be traveling with other electronics such as phones or laptops, then they will love/ need this power converter. It plugs into their car lighter, but then converts that 12V DC power to 110V AC power. Which means they can plug their laptops into it! There are two regular power outlets and two USB outlets, so it can charge/ power four electronic items at once.
18. Extra-long USB Cable for Smartphone
Having a power source in the front seat by the car lighter is greater, but what about the backseat? This extra long USB cable stretches into the backseat, so whoever is the back can charge their phones easily too.
ROAD TRIP GIFTS FOR KEEPING THE CAR ORGANIZED
19. Car Back Seat Organizer
One thing about a road trip – the car can get messy very quickly. Which is where this organizer comes in. It hangs on the back of the front seat and has compartments to keep everyone’s gear organized and tidy. This is a game changer!
20. Accessory Organizer
These days, we travel with all sorts of accessories – for our phones, cameras, tablets, etc. This accessory organizer helps keep everything together. Which not only helps keep the car organized, it also reduces the chance of something going missing. There is nothing worse then having to spend an hour crawling through every inch of the car looking for your charger!
21. Car Hooks
These are a simple way to help keep the car organized. They hook on to the back of the front seat and can be used to hang items of clothing or bags.
22. Tile Pro Key Finder
They do not that feeling in the pit of their stomach when they discover they’ve lost their car keys (take it from someone who knows that feeling all too well and spent over an hour scrambling through the dirt at a scenic viewpoint looking for the car keys!). Help them avoid that stress with this key finder.
23. Vehicle Trash Bin
Let’s face it. On a road trip, you start to accumulate trash very quickly. Sure, they can use a plastic bag sitting on the back seat for their trash, but it’s a whole lot nicer to have a trash can in their car that is especially designed for just that. This vehicle trash can has fasteners to keep it in place, a waterproof interior, an elasticized opening to keep the trash firmly inside and side pockets to store extra items.
24. Packing Cubes
Packing cubes are any experienced traveler’s packing secret. They come in a range of sizes and a great way to keep all similar items together in an organized and compact way.
25. Portable Car Vacuum Cleaner
This vacuum clear is compact and runs on the 12V power from the car lighter, so will always be handy to zoom up crumbs and other spills, which will help keep their car clean and comfortable for the whole road trip.
ROAD TRIP GIFTS FOR COMFORT INSIDE THE CAR
26. Car Air Freshener
They will be spending a lot of time in their car on a road trip, so having the car smell nice makes a huge difference to their comfort. If, like me, they hate smelly air fresheners, they will love this option. It is a fragrance-free air neutralizer that will keep their car smelling fresh for their whole trip.
27. Syntus USB Car Essential Oil Diffuser
Another great way to keep their car smelling lovely for their trip is this essential oil diffuser. It is USB powered and fits perfectly into car cup holder. Just add some water and a few drops of their favorite essential oils and they will be set.
28. Travel Pillow
They can stay comfortable with this small pillow that provides great neck support for those longer legs of the trip.
29. Log Head Rest Cushion
Another great option for comfortable napping and resting on longer or overnight sections of their road trip.
30. Ostrich Pillow Light
This cool pillow is a padded ring that fits around their neck or over their eyes, so it blocks out light while providing comfortable support for the rest their head against the side of the car. It also works well on planes.
31. Rumpl The Original Puffy Camping Blanket
This puffy warm blanket is suitable for staying warm and cozy inside the car, but can also be used outdoors for picnics or for camping if they’ll be doing that too on their road trip. It comes in six different designs.
32. Electric Car Blanket
This is super cool. It’s an electric blanket that can be used to keep them warm and cozy – and it is powered by the 12V car lighter! It has a 96-inch cord, so can used in the backseat or the front seat.
ROAD TRIP GIFTS FOR IN-CAR ENTERTAINMENT
33. Portable DVD Player Screen
On long trips, they will soon get sick of hearing “Are we there yet?” This is a great way to keep the kids entertained. It has two screens and a 5-hour rechargeable battery.
34. Car Headrest iPad Mount
If they have an iPad to keep the kids (or themselves) entertained, then they will love this mount. It attaches to the headrest so that they can easily view the iPad from the back seat.
35. Noise-Canceling Headphones
They won’t all necessarily want to listen to that movie (or the same music). Having headphones is an essential road trip item. Noise-cancelling headphones make a huge difference, as they help block out the noise of the car and other sounds around them. These are also great on planes, when the drone of the engines can drown out the movies or music.
36. National Parks Playing Cards
These are a great way to stay entertained throughout the road trip and engage the whole group. Plus, they take up almost no space!
37. Table Topics to Go: Road Trip
Another fun way to keep everyone entertained for those long hours in the car between destinations. There are 40 conversation starters, stored in a plastic case.
38. Our Moments Couples: Conversation Starters for Couples
If they will be traveling as a couple, then these conversation starters are just what they need. Being in the car together on a long road trip can bring a couple closer together. These 100 conversation starters will help couples get to know each other more and focus on each other during the trip.
39. USA License Plate Game
This travel game has a wooden board that will last throughout the trip. It is a two-player game that will keep the kids engaged and help them learn more about the states, their capitals and license plate design. Features all fifty states.
40. MadLibs on the Road
A road trip-themed version of Mad Libs that is another fun way for the whole family to stay entertained on the trip.
41. Travel Bingo
This travel game has four reusable road trip-themed bingo cards. It has slide windows that players move when they spot the road trip items on the cards. It will keep the whole family entertained for hours.
ROAD TRIP GIFTS FOR KEEPING TRIP MEMORIES ALIVE
42. Scratch Off USA Map Poster
Not all road trip gifts need to be used on the actual road trip. This scratch off poster is a wonderful way for them to keep a record of their road trip. They can scratch off states they visit after their trip or before when they are planning it. It includes a color brochure Discover America.
43. Road Trip Personalized Ornament
This is a great way for them to remember their trip every year. It has blank sections where you can write in their names to personalize it.
44. Road Trip Passport – Travel Journal
A 48-page pockets-sized journal is the perfect way for them to record key details abut their trip as they go along. There are also eight bonus pages with checklists, bucket lists and fun activities and information.
45. Customized Wall Map
This 24 x 18-inch customized wall map is both a wonderful souvenir of their trip and a home decoration. There are 16 star stickers that they can place on the map to commemorate significant places on their trip.
46. Homesick Scented Candle, Road Trip
They will love this scented candle that has a special scent that will remind them of their time on the road. It’s hand-poured in the USA and burns for 60-80 hours.
ROAD TRIP GIFTS FOR THEMSELVES
47. Compression Socks
When you sit for long periods of time without moving, your blood circulation can be affected and this can actually be dangerous for your health. Compression socks help prevent this. Usually they come in plain colors, but this set of eight pairs come in fun designs and bright colors that make great gifts.
48. Maui Jim Polarized Sunglasses
Protect their eyes on the road with polaroid sunglasses. There are plenty of styles to choose from.
49. Hidden Pocket Infinity Scarf
This super soft, lightweight scarf has two hidden zipper pockets to store/ hide essential travel documents. It has button snaps at each end, so it can be worn as a traditional scarf or looped into an infinity design.
50. Waterproof Toiletry Case
A convenient way for them to keep their personal toiletry items together. Special dry-through technology lets water evaporate when it is closed. It has a hang loop for hanging in showers.
51. Travel Toiletry Kit
This makes a great gift. There are travel-sized items for all major toiletries such as hair care, dental hygiene and personal hygiene items. There is a set for women and a different one for men.
52. Matador Toiletry Bottle 3-pack
These three 3-oz toiletry bottles are convenient ways for road trippers to put their regular toiletries into and take with them on the road. They are suitable for creams, gels, toothpaste, etc.
ROAD TRIP GIFTS FOR SAFETY
53. Roadside Emergency Kit
Of course we all hope we never have a roadside emergency, but having what you need just in case provides ease of mind AND it is there IF they do need it. This 156-piece kit comes in a handy compact carry bag, so is easy to keep in the trunk. It includes everything they will need for basic roadside emergencies.
54. First Aid Kit
No one should set off on a road trip without a first aid kit. This 300-piece first aid kit has everything they need for basic first aid needs. It also comes in a compact, easily-stored carry bag.
55. Portable Car Jump Starter
This is an update on the traditional jumper starters, which you need a second vehicle for. They can jump start their vehicle without needing any assistance. It has a built-in power pack that kickstarts a flat car battery by itself. It also has has USB ports to charge their personal electronics.
56. EverBrite Mini LED Flashlights
Four mini LED flashlights that they can store them around the car so that they have a flashlight no matter what they need it for. They come in fun party colors too.
57. Roadside Flares
If they break down at night, they will truly appreciate having these flares so they can safely notify other drivers of their need.
ROAD TRIP GIFTS FOR READING
58. 50 States, 5,000 Ideas
There are some great reads for people planning a road trip. This one provides plenty of amazing ideas for things to do in each and every one of the states.
59. 100 Parks, 5,000 Ideas
If they are planning to visit any of the national parks on their road trip, this book has more great ideas for things to do there.
60. The Road Trip Book: 1001 Drives of a Lifetime
This isn’t limited to the US, but 200 of the 1,000 classic scenic drives around the world are in the Unites States. Organized into three sections – Scenic, Adventure and Culture – this will inspire many epic road trips.
61. The Most Scenic Drives in America
For something US-based, here are 120 spectacular road trips around the United States. They can use the book for inspiration, to help plan their trip or as a guide while they are on the road.
62. The Open Road: 50 Best Road Trips in the USA
More road trip inspiration to inspire envy and get the creative planning juices flowing. Includes itineraries, don’t-miss stops, planning resources and travel advice, and, of course, a map.
63. Road Trip USA: Cross-Country Adventures on America’s Two-Lane Highways
This book focuses on the two-lane highways that crisscross the United States, so they can get off the boring major highways and discover more scenic byways. With more than 125 detailed driving maps and a comprehensive list of highlights along the way, this makes a great planning tool for any US road trip.
64. Unique America – Strange, Unusual, and Just Plain Fun: A Trip Through America
A fun gift for road trippers filled with interesting and unusual events, sights and structures around the United States. Includes fun facts, color photos and practical information about how to see them.
65. Roadside Attractions Adult Coloring Book
This may not have been meant as companion for the #64 gift idea, but they go perfectly together! This is a coloring book for adults featuring quirky and unique places you can see around the United States.
66. She Explores: Stories of Life-Changing Adventures on the Road and in the Wild
A collection of forty stories of women who set out on epic travel adventures. From road trips, backpacking expeditions, biking journeys or van life experiences, these stories will inspire and give them practical trips for their own upcoming adventure.
67. Life’s a Road Trip Journal (Insert Your Story)
A book to inspire and help them kick start their dream road trip. Includes travel prompts, inspirational quotes, tips and stories from other travelers. They can use it to plan their trip and then as a place to keep a travel journal and store mementos from their vacation.
68. National Geographic Complete Photo Guide: How to Take Better Pictures
They can use this guide to improve their travel photos on their trip and add another layer to their road trip adventure.
ROAD TRIP GIFTS FOR CAR CAMPING
69. Portable Hammock
Not all road trippers will be camping, but if they are, there are some great gifts for car campers. This portable hammock will be something they can use even if they aren’t full-on camping, but want to hang out in a lovely spot along the way.
70. Portable Light
This portable light is rechargeable and doubles as a power bank to charge their phones and other electronic devices. It has six light modes, is water resistant and is safe to be outside or inside a tent.
71. Folding Table
A folding table that takes up little space is invaluable on a road trip so they can set up anywhere outside. They can use it for meals, picnics or multiple other uses. It folds down into a small carry case that can be easily stored in the trunk.
72. Portable Stove
If they plan to cook their own meals, this portable camp stove is perfect. It has a regular sized hot plate, so it won’t feel like camping. It comes in its own convenient carry case and can be set up on any surface.
73. Outdoor Cook Prep Set
This outdoor cook set includes a large pot, two bowls, and a folding cutting board, plus a spatula and ladle. The items nest within each other for easy storage.
ROAD TRIP GIFTS FOR EXPERIENCING
74. America the Beautiful National Parks Pass
If they will be visiting national parks on their road trip, then this pass is for them! It gives access to all of the 63 national parks, but about 2,000 other federal recreation sites as well.
75. A Day Tour Booked Through Viator
Make their trip extra special with a day tour. There are thousands of day trips available on Viator from rafting trips, walking tours, cultural tours, food tours, guided visits to national parks, wildlife viewing trips and much more.
More Gift Ideas
- 100 Gift Ideas for National Parks Lovers
- 25 Gift Ideas for Hikers
- 35 Camping Gift Ideas
- 30 Gifts for Outdoors Lovers
- 35 Best Gifts for Nature Lovers
I hope your road tripper enjoys their gifts!
Do you have any other recommended gifts for car travelers? I’d love to hear what they are. Join my private Facebook group National Parks Collectors and comment and let me know.
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James Ian has traveled to 82 countries and all 7 continents. He has visited all of the main national parks in the United States, as well as many national monuments and state parks.
He has rafted through the Grand Canyon; rappelled down slot canyons near Zion and Arches; hiked among the hoodoos in Bryce and the enormous trees in Sequoia; admired the waterfalls in Yosemite and the colored hot springs in Yellowstone; seen moose in Grand Tetons and seals in the Channel Islands, and much more.
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