A well-stocked car goes a long way when you’re going… a long way. These six products are designed to make the journey even more fun.

By Katy Kiick Condon
Updated June 30, 2020
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

As the global pandemic continues to alter summer travel plans, we plan to swap our plane tickets for road trips through the next few months. If you're keeping your vacation on the calendar, be sure to learn about the latest Coronavirus travel advisories and consider driving to your destination rather than flying. If you're not used to traveling long distances on four wheels, it can be hard to know what to bring. Piling into the car to drive by the country's most beautiful sunflower fields or get to grandma's house is much more comfortable if you know what to pack for a road trip. After all, bringing the right stuff can keep the whole family relaxed, happy, and carefree—noble goals, especially in close quarters. Stash favorite snacks in a back seat cooler, break out a new deck of cards, and, whatever you do, don’t forget a pillow!

Whether you’re driving a few hours to the beach or crisscrossing the country, these creature comforts will improve the journey, keep the kids from asking “Are we there yet?” and help you capture the sights. This year's summer vacation might look a bit different than you pictured, but you can still travel in style with fun and nostalgic road trip accessories. Here are a few must-have items to pack for your next adventure.

Courtesy of Anthropologie

Cloth Face Mask

One of the main reasons we'll be driving instead of flying is that you can avoid crowds of strangers by traveling inside a vehicle with just the people you live with. But any road trip longer than a few hours will likely require a stop for a bathroom break, so be sure to pack a mask in the event you need to get out of the car. Of course, you can make your own face mask (our easy sewing instructions will help you get started), but if you'd rather purchase a matching set for the family, there are dozens of options available online. This set from Anthropologie contains three cotton face masks made from gorgeous patterned fabric and comfortable elastic ear bands.

Courtesy of Amazon

Hand Sanitizer

Another bathroom break essential: Hand sanitizer. You can't always count on the cleanliness of gas stations and rest stops, so come prepared to sanitize your hands after pumping gas or stopping to use the restroom. Be sure to pack a CDC-grade hand sanitizer (that means at least 60% alcohol concentration), such as one of these sanitizers that are currently in stock online. We like this one from Amazon because it's easy to spray directly on your hands (or any other surface) to immediately sanitize them. Plus, it comes in a 4-pack so you can pack one bottle in every bag and purse for easy access. And don't worry—the rumor that hand sanitizer will catch fire in your car was proven false by the National Fire Prevention Association.

Courtesy of REI

Stanley Go CeramiVac Tumbler

Don't stress about drinks spilling while you travel. This versatile tumbler is stainless steel and ceramic to keep hot drinks hot, and cold drinks cold, and the wide, splash-proof lid will help you cut down on potential spills. Plus, it won't sweat or slide around in the cup holder!

Courtesy of Powell's

Interactive Travel Diary and Journal

The Go! Adventure Journal is a fun interactive diary to keep kids busy capturing memories during your trip. Read the prompts to the kids and record their answers as you ride in the car, or keep them busy by having them write down their own responses. It'll create the perfect souvenir to cherish from your latest family vacation.

Courtesy of High Road

Back Seat Cooler and Play Station

Chill snacks, hold drinks, and keep kids in the back separated. What's not to love? This insulated cooler can easily transport your snacks from the car to the beach, park, or wherever your trip takes you! If you'll be driving all day, pack lunch in the cooler to cut down on the number of stops you need to make along the way.

Courtesy of Ban.Do.

Getaway Travel Pillow

Prevent nappers from getting cricks in their necks with this comfy (and cute!) neck pillow. A handy drawstring helps to keep it in position for sleeping, or you can use it to tie onto your carry-on bag. It comes in five gorgeous patterns, so you'll easily be able to find one that matches your style.

Buy It: Getaway Travel Pillow, ($24, Ban.Do)

Courtesy of Amazon

First Aid Kit

In the middle of a global pandemic is not the time to be making extra doctor visits if you don't have to, so be sure you're prepared with a first-aid kit before you hit the road. It's a good idea to keep one in the car at all times anyway, so if you don't already have one in the glove box, we recommend this 140-piece kit. Of course, it's no substitute for professional medical care if you do end up with a serious injury, but it will help you easily clean and treat simple cuts, scrapes, and sprains on the road.

Courtesy of Art of Play

Richard McGuire's Go Fish

What better way to pass time while you travel (or enjoy an evening together) than by playing a fun game everyone knows and loves? Illustrator Richard McGuire's version of Go Fish is a humorous twist on this classic card game, and it comes in a travel-friendly tin. If your road-tripping crew is small, bring along one of our favorite two-person card games too.

Courtesy of Amazon

Polaroid Originals OneStep 2 Camera

Enjoy moonlighting as a photographer when you hit the road? This Polaroid is a reboot of the original, with a high-quality lens and rechargeable battery. All of the nostalgia with none of the hassle of using a decades-old device. Use it to capture fond memories of time spent together and reminisce about them for years to come.

Tire Repair Kit

It's a good idea to have a routine maintenance check performed before any long road trip, but you can't always plan for travel inconveniences like a flat tire, so be sure you're prepared before you pull out of the driveway. You can learn how to change a flat tire by watching videos online, and a car servicing kit will help you out while you're on the road. This 75-piece kit can help you change, repair, or patch any kind of tire if the need arises.

Buy It: AUTOWN Tire Repair Kit, ($29, Amazon)

Packing the right gear is an easy way to ensure your family's road trip is as smooth as possible. Take away some of the stress of car travel with products that simplify the experience, and of course, make it a fun one!


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