Now that we’ve fully transitioned into 2021, experts are deeming this the “Year of the Road Trip”!
While many people are busting to get out and explore again, it seems like they’re looking for adventures that keep them closer to home.
Road trips are ideal in this regard, offering you the opportunity to see the world outside your door, but keeping the trip within driving distance.
Do you know someone who’s itching to get out on the open road? And are you looking for gifts to send them on their merry way with?!
Well, today I’m going to go through 25 of the best gifts for a road tripper that might help with the hunt.
Whether they’ve planned an epic cross-country jaunt or a local adventure, these road trip gift ideas should help them stay safe, happy, and comfortable around every corner.
Heads up, this post contains affiliate links.
25 Best Gifts for Road Trips
Let’s get into it then! Here’s a big bunch of amazing road trip gift ideas that anybody getting behind the wheel is sure to love.
1. Scenic Drive Book
The movies make it look glamorous to simply close your eyes and point to a spot on the map where you’d like to travel. However, most people like to have some sort of itinerary before they head out!
Get your friend or loved one a book that charts some of the most breath-taking drives across the country to help inspire and direct their plans.
2. Bluetooth FM Transmitter
Every seasoned road-tripper knows that you can’t just drive in silence. Well, you could, but what’s the fun in that? You need an awesome playlist to serve as a soundtrack!
A Bluetooth FM transmitter does more than just play their favourite jams from a USB/MP3 player. It also works as a charger and a hands-free calling device so they can check in at any time.
3. Heated Travel Mug
Coffee just tastes better when you’re sipping it from the passenger seat at sunrise, headed to your next destination. It also tastes better when it’s hot, not lukewarm!
Your favourite road-tripper will appreciate a heated travel mug that’ll keep their beverage at the right temperature all day long. It might seem like a little thing, but it makes a huge difference.
This post about the best travel french press coffee makers might also come in handy!
4. Conversation Starter Cards
The scenery outside the window might be jaw-dropping, but there will inevitably come a time in every road trip where the energy starts to lull. This is especially the case on those long, flat drives between stops.
A pack of conversation starter cards can perk the mood up in an instant. Each one features interesting, thought-provoking questions meant to help you learn more about your travel companions.
Looking for more cool road trip games and questions? Check out my ultimate guide to keep everyone entertained!
5. Travel Pillow
If you’ve ever tried to awkwardly wedge a full-sized pillow between your head and the car window, you know that the setup isn’t exactly ideal.
A convenient travel pillow is one of the best gifts for road trips, offering a ton more comfort and support! Find a gel-filled one to keep your friend cool on a summer trip too.
6. Universal Car Phone Mount
Road trippers everywhere rejoiced when GPS technology emerged on the scene. Now, it’s nearly impossible to imagine a sojourn that isn’t directed by a voice telling you exactly where to turn and how far to drive.
Of course, it’s never wise to take your eyes off the road, even to read directions. This is where a car phone mount will come in handy! Magnetic models attach to the dashboard in seconds, and can hold a variety of smart devices for easy (and safe) navigation.
7. Car Trash Can
On-the-go meals help make road trips unforgettable. Unfortunately, they can also result in piles of paper wrappers, cups, and other general debris.
A car trash can is one of those essential, yet easy-to-forget gifts for road trips. Most attach in seconds to the back of a car seat, offering tons of storage and opening up extra floor space.
8. Portable Bladder Reliever
If you know, you know. It can be absolutely miserable when nature calls but you’re an hour away from the closest restroom. While no one exactly plans to use these bottles, they can be lifesavers when you need them the most. It’d also make a nice and funny gift for road trippers!
9. Premium Road Kit
Nothing ruins a great road trip like a flat tire or a dead battery.
Give your friend the gift of peace of mind with a multi-piece road kit that includes essentials including jumper cables, flashlights, first-aid gear and other basic tools. They’ll be glad it’s in the trunk if they ever need it.
10. Coccyx Seat Cushion
Even the comfiest car seats can turn your tailbone numb. This is due to the extra pressure created as you sit for an extended period of time.
A coccyx seat cushion is designed to alleviate this pressure, keeping both drivers and riders as supported as possible. The best ones are made of gel or premium memory foam for hours of comfort.
11. Car Seat Gap Organizer
You’d think that by now, car manufacturers would have come up with a design to eliminate that pesky gap between the car seat and the centre console.
Still, most vehicles continue to leave just the right amount of room for you to accidentally lose your keys, credit card or other small accessories. To fill it up and eliminate this worry, give your loved one a car seat gap organizer! These include different compartments to keep all of their essentials safe and within reach.
12. Portable Safe
Regardless of where they’re spending the night, your friend will likely have a few high-value possessions that they want to keep safe during their road trip.
A portable safe is a great, compact spot to store their smartphone, camera, jewellery and more. Most allow users to set their own combinations and are easy to conceal.
13. On-the-Go Laundry System
Sure, road trippers can look for the nearest laundry facility and take care of their washing and drying needs.
Yet that isn’t always the most feasible, practical or economic route. Plus, there are many destinations where such resources are simply nowhere to be found.
Today, you can find portable and lightweight wash bags that take care of this task with ease. Just add laundry, soap and water and scrub!
14. Stainless Steel Water Bottle
Is the road-tripper in your life planning to stop along the way for some gorgeous hikes? If so, then a solid, durable water bottle is a must-have.
Look for one made of stainless steel, designed to offer cool refreshment for hours. There are lots of options on the market, so find one in their favourite colour and you’re good to go!
15. Hiking Backpack
Speaking of hikes, if they don’t already have a hiking backpack they love, this is a great time to get them one.
Look for a lightweight day pack that they can easily take up a mountain or on an impromptu downtown adventure. This way, they can keep their luggage in the trunk and only take what they need.
Don’t want to spend too much? Check out my guide to the best hiking backpacks under $100.
16. Portable Cooler
What’s more fun than a road trip? Road trip snacks!
Even if you’re only planning a short excursion, it’s always a smart idea to bring along refreshments. A portable cooler can help keep these items fresh, which is ideal for deli sandwiches or anything else that needs to stay cold.
Print out this comprehensive road trip food list to inspire the recipient with 50 snacks and meals that travel exceptionally well.
17. Camping Blanket
One of the beautiful things about road-tripping is that you never know what surprises might await you around the next turn. Before you know it, you could be sitting on the hood of your car, looking up at the stars and down at the city below.
A comfy, indoor/outdoor camping blanket allows travellers to be spontaneous, even if it’s a little chilly out.
Heads up, you might also like this post about the 30 Best Gifts for Beach Lovers!
18. Compression Socks
I know, no one exactly likes to give (or receive) socks as a gift. However, hear me out! These aren’t covered with smiling puppies or designed in a pattern that would make your grandma reminisce.
Modern compression socks are actually cool, and they serve a great purpose. They increase the circulation and blood flow in a wearer’s legs, making them ideal for anyone riding in a car for a long period of time. No more cramped calves or sleeping feet!
19. Great Set of Luggage
Luggage can be an investment, but it’s a smart one that any recipient will appreciate.
If your budget allows, look for a wheeled, hardside set that will last for years, maintaining its shape and safeguarding the items inside. The ideal pieces are rugged and high-quality, but streamlined enough to easily slip inside a trunk.
20. Selfie Stick
Part of the joy of this kind of travel is that you’re guaranteed to pass by plenty of unique and interesting sights along the way.
Selfie sticks get a bad rap, but they can be super useful for all of those infamous road trip pit stops. Print out this list of weird roadside attractions and you’ve got one of the most unique and useful road trip gifts!
21. Portable DVD Player
Does your pal intend to road trip with little ones in tow? While this can be a magical experience for children, there may be a few meltdowns along the way.
This is when they’ll be glad they have a portable DVD player on board. Pop in Paw Patrol, avert the crisis, and take in the view.
This is one of the priciest road trip gift ideas, but it can help anyone make the most of their experience.
A drone can follow above the car, capturing each back road travelled and every vista viewed. Your loved one can compile the footage to make a special video of their trip when they return home.
23. Mini Instant Camera
What’s old will one day become new again, and that’s certainly the case with fast film.
A step up from the Polaroids of old, today’s mini instant cameras allow users to easily capture the scenes outside their window. Then, they print out the image immediately, so there’s no delayed gratification.
The best part? No shaking required!
24. Car Essential Oil Diffuser
A few days on the road is enough to make any car smell…less than fresh.
While air fresheners are always a fun and quirky gift, you can take it up a notch with a sophisticated essential oil diffuser!
Portable models make it easy to spruce up the scent of your car on the go, and can also act as valuable stress relievers if the drive gets a little tense.
25. Road Trip Passport
Think of this as a mini journal, with space to record thoughts, plans and experiences on the road.
A road trip passport is a welcome companion on any journey, allowing users to record their favourite moments, memorable stops and more. Many will also include descriptions of popular destinations, as well as helpful checklists and road trip games.
Gifts for a Road Tripper They’ll Actually Use
Do you know someone who plans to explore more in 2021? A road trip is a great way to get outdoors, experience new destinations, and enjoy sights that others miss as they cruise through rush hour.
These gifts for a road tripper are ideal for anyone in your life who’s filled with wanderlust and can’t wait to hit the road. Thinking about hopping in your car and taking off yourself?
Here are 40 epic ideas for what to do on your next adventure behind the wheel!