Below are 55 great road trip gifts that a road tripper will love to have. Who knows–maybe you will get a few gifts for yourself, too.
55 Great Gifts For Road Trip Addicts
My husband Jack and I love road trips. We have been taking monthly weekend road trips since we got home from our 5 1/2 month RV road trip with our kids in 2017. We have traveled in a DIY minivan camper, an SUV, a comfortable sedan, and a DIY truck topper camper. Currently, our favorite road-tripping vehicle is an F-250 with a renovated slide-in pop-up truck camper, but we also take weekend trips in our Ford Escape.
Over the years, we have tried many road trip items and now know which ones are road trip essentials and which are luxury items worth the space they take up. With this knowledge in mind, we have created a list of the best road trip gifts you can give your loved ones for Christmas, their birthday, or a hitting the open road party.
(Links in this post are affiliate links. I will receive a small commission when you make a purchase by clicking those links. See disclosure page for more information.)
Upgrade your favorite road tripper’s cooler to the best cooler bag on the market that fits nicely behind the front row of seats in any vehicle.
If that cooler is a bit more than you want to spend, this brand has excellent reviews on Amazon and is significantly less money.
2. Road trip snacks
Fill a lightly insulated bag like this one with a collection of all their favorite snacks. Why insulated? It will help keep their snacks from getting too hot or too cold.
3. Everything For Taking A Nap In The Car
If you are buying for the driver, I have a few gift ideas specifically for them too, but this idea is excellent for the passengers.
- Travel Pillow: This one will twist and turn to support you no matter how you like to sleep.
- Eye Mask
- Ear Plugs: We love this brand as they mold to the shape of your ear, blocking out more noise than any other brand we have tried.
- Travel Blanket
- Travel Footrest Pillow: These inflatable footrest pillows fill up the area in front of the passenger’s feet, allowing them to sleep more comfortably. Since they are inflatable, they take up very little room when you are not using them.
4. Packing cubes
Packing cubes might not be the most exciting gift, but they will be an appreciated one. Road trip travelers use these for so much more than clothes.
Make the gift more exciting by adding a few things inside the packing cubes, such as
- A travel poncho blanket.
- A notepad, pens, and other handy items to have on the trip.
- A rain poncho–here is one by a reliable brand.
5. Portable Charger
These come in all sizes, from one that is just bigger than a tube of lipstick yet powerful enough to charge a smartphone to one big enough to charge a laptop. Anker is our favorite brand.
6. Travel Mug
I recently bought one of these stainless steel travel mugs, and I am super impressed by its ability to keep beverages cold. I had an icy drink one evening before bed, and when I woke up the following day, there was still ice in my cup, even though I had left the lid off all night.
7. Roadside Assistance
Is your recently grown son or daughter about to hit the open road? Purchase a roadside assistance package. It is a gift for them and you (since it will help you sleep better knowing if they break down, they can get help).
8. Roadside Emergency Kit
Another way to increase your peace of mind about loved ones on the road is to gift them a road-size emergency kit that includes basic supplies they may need to get the car up and running, such as jumper cables, fuses, essential tools, and more.
9. Emergency Laundry Supplies
Stains happen; help your loved ones prepare for them with a few basic laundry supplies.
- Baby wipes or a stain stick. We prefer baby wipes. They seem to get out most stains and are also great for many other uses during a road trip.
- A super portable washing device for clothes. Have you heard of the Scrubba Wash Bag? You can’t wash a whole load of clothes in it, but you can wash up that favorite blouse you spilled mustard on.
- A travel washline. This one is like a bungee cord with hooks on either end, allowing you to hang it up in all sorts of places. And it takes up very little room.
10. Jumper Cables That Don’t Require Another Vehicle
Vehicles always seem to pick the wrong time to allow their battery to die, like at a free public land campsite miles away from any other people that might be willing to give you a jump start.
This is why a lithium car battery jump starter makes a perfect gift for road trip travelers. We have this particular brand and love that it has a USB port should our phones die when we need to make a call for help and has a powerful flashlight that allows us to see where we need to connect the jumper cables if our car battery should let us down in the dark hours of the night.
11. First Aid Kit
It is human nature to think about getting a first aid kit for the car and then never take action on that thought. Help your loved ones knock this off their to-do list by giving them a compact first aid kit to keep in their vehicle.
12. Audiobooks Or Tunes
If you know a road trip lover who is also a bookworm, consider gifting them an audible subscription.
If you know they have a CD player in their car, take a trip to the local thrift store and pick up some tunes from the past that you know they will enjoy.
13. Road Trip Gift Basket
Here is a road trip-themed gift basket idea. Grab one of these canvas totes with pockets and handles and fill it with items such as
- Dry shampoo
- Hand sanitizer
- Baby wipes
- Paper towels
- lip balm
- nail clippers
- road trip snacks
The ideas are endless, and the bag is excellent for keeping on the back seat full of items needed during the journey.
14. Compression Socks
Compression socks are no longer ugly and just for those with medical conditions. They now come in all types of patterns and colors. People have finally discovered they can reduce achy legs by increasing circulation.
15. Road Trip Games
Road trip games are not just to stop little kids from saying, “are we there yet?” for the umpteenth time. There are also ones for adults who want to pass the time on long drives in a fun way.
Here are a few travel game suggestions.
- Conversation Starters: This pack of 52 cards contains questions that will increase the depth of the travelers’ relationship
- Create a license plate cross-off game: This works best for road-tripping across America or another country with a great variety of license plates. Purchase a clipboard, print out a map that shows the various states, laminate the map, and tie a dry-erase marker to the clipboard. Give it as a gift. Trust me, this game is fun, no matter how old you are.
- A book full of riddles and trick questions: The front cover might say it is for 9 to 12-year-olds, but look at the preview for the book–those are tough!
16. Compact Folding Chairs
The average folding camp chairs take up a significant amount of room, making them the first thing that gets left behind when the luggage won’t all fit in the car. But these chairs take up half the space, making them easy to squish into those little spots of the trunk where nothing else will fit.
17. Folding Table
Eating out can get expensive! To avoid it, travelers like ourselves like to pack items that make it easier to make meals along the way to our destination. One such item is a folding table, as picnic tables are not always available, and when they are, they are not always the cleanest. This one folds down super small yet is big enough to make a meal on.
18. Compact Hammock
Give the gift of relaxation–with a compact hammock. Of course, your loved ones won’t use it on the road trip, but they will use it once they reach their destination.
19. Small Camp Stove
If you are buying for a coffee snob, a small one-burner camp stove could become their favorite gift, as it will allow them to be able to make their favorite coffee no matter where their journeys take them.
20. Every Thing They Need To Make Coffee On The Go
If the coffee addict already has a camp stove, you could up their on-the-go coffee-making abilities with this pour-over that folds flat, plus filters for it and a pound of their favorite coffee.
21. Gift Cards
Fill one of these inexpensive minimalist wallets with gift cards for their favorite chain restaurants most commonly found at interstate exits.
22. National Park Pass Or State Park Pass
These passes are usually good for an entire year and great for those who prefer experience gifts over material items.
23. Tile Key Finder
Sleeping in strange beds leads to reduced quality of sleep, which makes one even more forgetful than they already are, and the number one item that always seems to go missing is the keys! A tile mate will put an end to this problem.
24. Inflatable Mattress
One of the best road trip gift ideas for those on a tight budget is an inflatable mattress that fits the back seat of their vehicle. With the ability to skip accommodation costs, they can afford to keep the road trip going longer.
25. Car Window Bug Screens
One more gift idea for those who sleep in their vehicle is bug screens. These allow you to open your windows at night for ventilation without the worry of being eaten alive by mosquitos.
26. Steering Wheel Cover
The following few gift ideas are for drivers facing one long day of driving after another. An inexpensive gift that will be appreciated is a steering wheel cover. It will keep the steering wheel from getting too hot or too cold, bringing comfort to the driver’s hands.
27. Lumbar Support
Treat your driver to a more comfy ride for their back with a lumbar support pillow. This model has two adjustable straps to help the driver get it in just the right spot.
A good umbrella is hard to find at convenience stores along most highways’ exits. Make sure your loved one has a great umbrella before you leave, one that is big enough to fit two in a pinch and strong enough to sustain the winds that often come with rain.
29. Quick Drying Travel Towels
We bought these quick-drying travel towels a few years ago, and they are still going strong. We love how fast they dry, eliminating the damp towel smell from our lives. The bonus is that sand does not stick to them, so if you use them at the beach, the sand stays there.
30. Warm Hat And Gloves
These items go missing quickly–or is that just our house? Anyways, because they often get misplaced, they make great gifts.
31. Gifts For The Perpetually Cold
If you are buying for a person who is always cold, consider including a rechargeable hand warmer. I got one of these for my daughter, and she loves it!
Another great gift is a 12-volt heated blanket. Even if their car has seat warmers, those only keep the rear-end warm; a heated blanket will help keep the rest of their body warm.
32. Sun Hat, Glasses, and Sunscreen
These are also items that tend to go missing, and therefore you could always use another one as a gift.
Tripods are the answers for times that you want that epic shot of you and your partner, but a selfie just isn’t going to cut it. Look for a tripod that works with most cell phones and has flexible arms so that it can be set up in hundreds of different ways.
34. Selfie Stick
I have a selfie stick and a tripod and find them useful for different situations.
A set of sporks is a handy, environmentally conscious gift. Think of how often you have been on a road trip and went to eat your take-out only to discover the employee had forgotten to include a fork or spoon. If you are like me, it happens pretty often.
36. Folding Daypack
We have this brand of backpack and enjoy using it. The shoulder straps are comfortable, and it has pockets for all our day hike needs. Plus, it folds up into a small bag when not in use.
37. Reusable Ziploc Bags
I pack many of my items for travel in Ziploc bags, and lately, my eyes have been opened to just how wasteful that practice is, and I am planning to switch to reusable silicone storage bags. If you are buying for someone trying to reduce their carbon footprint, a set of these bags would be an appreciated gift.
38. Portable Picture Printer
If your traveler keeps a travel journal, they will love a portable picture printer allowing them to stick photos from their day alongside their written notes.
39. Seat Cushions
Save your loved one from an achy rear end from sitting in a car for numerous days by buying them a gel-infused seat cushion.
40. A Waterproof Picnic Blanket
Joyradise has come out with a waterproof reversible picnic blanket with a carrying case and an adjustable shoulder strap. There are many uses for a blanket like this, making it a great gift.
41. Tiny multi-tool
This tiny multi-tool can be added to their key chain and be used to help them out in a pinch.
Headlamps are super handy to have along with you on a road trip. They can be used to find a small item that rolled under the seats or to see why the van isn’t starting.
43. Dash Cam
We have yet to get one, but my husband sure does want one. They are becoming more affordable, adding a layer of security to your vehicle. This one has good reviews on Amazon.
Binoculars small enough to be stashed in the glove box of a vehicle are handy to have when you see wildlife off in the distance while traveling down a remote road. Newer models like these ones come with the ability to be attached to your smartphone, allowing you to snap an up-close picture of your wildlife sightings.
45. Car Essential Oil Diffuser
Nothing is worse than spending hours inside a car with a strange odor; gift your friend good smells with a car essential oil diffuser and a few bottles of essential oils. Vehicle diffusers come in two different styles; they either clip into the air vent like this one or are USB powered and designed to sit inside the vehicle’s cup holder like this one.
46. Upgrade Their Car Mount Phone Holder
Even if they currently have a car mount cellphone holder for their phone that they love, this magnetic system is so small it could be easily slipped into their glove box for when their current one stops working because let’s face it, car phone holders, especially the suction cup style don’t last forever.
47. Car Organizer Accessories
We have tried a lot of different car organizers in our day and found that most of them are not worth the money.
Here are a few items we use as car organizers;
These CleverMade snap-up style baskets fit the backseat of any vehicle and are great for stashing items that you use frequently. We love how they take up next to no room when empty; we also like the velcro handles that allow us to fix several together in a row across the backseat.
We have two heavy-duty canvas bags with outer pockets and flat bottoms similar to these on Amazon that fit in the footwell space behind the front seats. They have plenty of room inside for our hiking shoes and socks, raincoats, ball caps, and other items we like to have easy to grab for our hikes along the way to our destination.
We just purchased a set of these car rest hooks and plan to use them to hang items like my purse and our dog’s leash, so they stop getting lost in the sea of stuff. These will also be great for hanging a lightweight canvas bag that we can line with a plastic bag for trash.
48. Small Power Inverter
Not everything can be charged by a USB charger popped into the 12V socket in your car ( otherwise known as the cigarette lighter socket by my generation, although I think it is rare to find one with that function anymore).
It is super handy to have a small car power inverter for items that can’t be charged this way. This one weighs half a pound and comes with 110V plugs, two USB ports, and one type C port.
49. Reusable Water Bottle
Single-use water bottles are an environmental nightmare and hard on the budget.
I bought my son a 32-ounce Camelbak stainless steel water bottle, and he loves it. It doesn’t leak, keeps water cool all day, and fits most cup holders.
If the giftee is going on a lengthy road trip, they will appreciate a manual drinking water pump that fits on the 5-gallon refillable water jugs you can find at most major grocery stores. We have one for our road trips, and we love how convenient it is to refill our water bottles and the dog’s water bowl.
50. RV Navigation App Subscription
If your gift recipients are RV road trippers, they will find so much value in the gift of a one-year membership to Togo’s Roadpass Pro subscription. This app-driven membership gives them worry-free RV routes, as well as premium memberships to Roadtrippers to help them find unique places to explore, Campendium to find reviews on campgrounds, RVvillage for the community on the road, free camping through OvernightRVParking.com, and numerous other benefits to save them time, money and frustration.
51. A Paper Map And A Road Atlas
GPS navigation systems are fantastic until you lose service and realize you haven’t downloaded the map, or your phone dies, and you realize you forgot to pack a charger.
This is when your friend will thank you for the road atlas you gifted them. If your friend is going to explore one State, give them a laminated paper map that will gift them more details than a country-wide road atlas.
52. Dashboard Decorations
This gift is for those unique folks who love to add knick-knacks to all their spaces, including their vehicles.
How about these cute flower-shaped vent ornaments that act as essential oil diffusers for the flower lover?
For the bobblehead lover, this adorable crocheted smiling sunflower.
Got a rubber ducky lover? This beach-bound pair of ducks would be a perfect gift.
53. Everything They Need To Send Postcards
Increase your chances of getting a postcard in the mail from your road-tripping relative or friend by gifting them a dozen or so stamps with a package of pens and a small address book. Slip the items into a small zippered pencil case, and you have a gift basket that makes sending postcards a whole lot easier.
54. Gifts For Those Road Tripping With Kids
I could come up with dozens of ideas for gifts for kids taking long road trips, but since this article caters to adults, I will just include my top three ideas.
- A sizeable magnetic tray that they can use on their laps for playing with magnetic toys such as this high-quality animal magnet set.
- A new coloring book and a box of crayons. Purchase an easy-to-open plastic pencil case for the crayons to go to reduce the chances of them getting lost in the car.
- This travel game by I Spy can be played by and enjoyed by those four years old and up.
55. Gifts For Those Road Tripping With Dogs
Jack and I bring our Yorkie-poodle on all our road trips. Here are a few things we have found handy for road tripping with a dog.
- Having a dog wander around the vehicle while driving is dangerous for the driver and the dog (if you were in an accident, they would be thrown through the windshield). This hazard can be avoided with a dog set belt.
- Help the dog owners on your gift list protect their backseat from pet hair and give larger dogs a wider seat to curl up on with a hammock-style seat cover.
- A pack of pet wipes. These are great for wiping dirty paws when a bath is not an option. They are larger and stronger than baby wipes.
More Gift Ideas For People Who Love Travel & The Outdoors
29 Gift Ideas For The Dad Who Can’t Get Enough Of The Outdoors
29 Gift Ideas For The Outdoorsy Mom (Ideas For All Budgets)
25 Gift Ideas For Hikers: Ideas That Will Suit Small And Large Budgets
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