Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means Venuelusters everywhere are hopping in their cars for an annual road-trip. In fact, in 2015 AAA estimated that nearly 42 million Americans would embark on a road trip for the holiday. But, as any seasoned traveler knows, traveling (especially by car) without proper preparation and the right accessories can be an absolute nightmare. To help you avoid the dreaded pitfalls of holiday travel, then, we’re breaking down our favorite road trip travel gear for you today. Say goodbye to spilled sodas and hello to 70-mph organization like you’ve never seen before. From chic coolers to strategic packing cubes, we’ve got quite the roundup for you today.
1. Hydro Flask Water Bottles
We recommend skipping the sticky sodas and sticking to water when travelling by car. Water will help you avoid that dreaded mid-road-trip crash and will leave you feeling refreshed and hydrated, both of which often seem unattainable after you’ve been stuck in a car for hours on end. To help keep that water ice-cold, we recommend bringing along a Hydro Flask or two (or three). Guaranteed to keep water icy-cold for up to 24 hours (we’ve tested it—and it definitely works), we can’t get enough of Hydro Flask’s ingenious vacuum-sealed design. For those who can’t stand to forego their coffee, Hydro Flask also offers thermoses (ranging in size from 12-20 oz) designed to keep coffee hot for up to six hours. With a wide range of bright colors and a recently added option to customize your own Hydro Flask, why not keep the entire car happy (and hydrated) by purchasing one for every passenger?
2. Lululemon Travel Yoga Mat
For the Yogi who can’t stand to leave their practice behind when they hit the road, we love this super-thin travel yoga mat by Lululemon. Available for $48 in three stylish colors, we’re especially excited over the reversible design of the mat, which allows for a side that offers more grip (ideal for hot yoga) and a side that offers less grip (for your less sweaty practices).
3. High Road Expandable Trunk Organizer
Next up on our list of must-have road trip travel gear is this super handy expandable trunk organizer by High Road. While it’s ideal for holding emergency gear (like tire gauges, flashlights, cables, etc.), we love the idea of filling it with everything you need within easy reach while travelling (water, snacks, iPads, phone chargers, etc.) instead. Available for around a mere $20 through a number of retailers, this is one of our all-time favorite road trip travel accessories for staying organized and keeping everything you need at arm’s length.
4. Patagonia Black Hole Luggage
Patagonia Black Hole Bags are among our favorite luggage options for a number of reasons: they’re water-resistant, super durable, and can fit more than you can imagine (hence the name “black hole”)—making them particularly perfect for that upcoming Thanksgiving road trip of yours. We particularly like the 10L Black Hole Cube for all of those loose accessories—like phone chargers and electronic cords, or toiletries. For packing all of that cold-weather gear, we love the 60L Black Hole Duffel, a bag that can fit your entire family’s wardrobe for the week (and then some).
5. AcousticSheep SleepPhones
Number 5 on our list of must-have road trip travel gear is something that keeps everyone in the car happy. SleepPhones by AcousticSheep allow passengers to nap to their favorite tunes in pure, lush comfort. Boasting built-in Bluetooth earbuds and made from a super-soft hypoallergenic fabric, AcousticSheep calls these lifesavers “pajamas for your ears,” and we couldn’t agree more. We love the idea of putting these on the little ones in the back seat and letting them lull themselves to sleep while you focus on the road (and control the radio without passenger protests).
6. Joby GorillaPod
Next up on our roundup of our favorite road trip travel gear is the Joby GorillaPod—the perfect accessory for the family who can't resist a good road-trip photoshoot. Boasting over two dozen leg joints with rubberized ring and foot grips, the Joby GorillaPod can adapt to nearly any surface, so you can hop out of the car and snap a shot with that beautiful mountain or serene river in the background without having to hunt for a flat surface to prop your camera on. We especially love its portable design—the GorillaPod strategically folds up into a compact and easy-to-carry item.
7. Yeti Hopper Flip 12 Cooler
Anyone who knows their travel and outdoor gear knows that Yeti is the Rolls Royce of coolers. So, we absolutely love this indestructible Yeti Hopper Flip Cooler for your upcoming Thanksgiving road trip. With 1”-thick insulation, neoprene construction details, and—one of Yeti’s most ingenious design details—a HydroLok zipper, the Hopper Flip Cooler will keep your beverages and snacks ice-cold for even the furthest of cross-country road trips.
8. Patagonia Provisions Car Snacks
In need of something to stock that new Yeti cooler with? Not to worry—Number 8 on our list has you covered. Patagonia Provisions offers some of the freshest, tastiest, and healthiest road-trip snacking options we’ve ever tasted. Because who said road-trip food had to be coated in bright-orange powder? We’re especially fans of the free-range buffalo jerky, the smoked lemon-pepper sockeye salmon, and the fan-favorite apricot and almond bar.
9. Eagle Creek Pack-It Set
Need an easy way to pack that nice button-up for Thanksgiving dinner without wrinkling it? We love Eagle Creek’s iconic Pack-It set for everything from fitting a week’s worth of rolled up children’s t-shirts in one tiny bag to keeping dress shirts and pants wrinkle-free and compact (without the hassle and bulk of a traditional garment bag). We especially love their packing cubes for the kiddo’s clothes and their Pack-It Sport line for those who are traveling with swimsuits or other gear that might get dirty or wet.
10. iPad Headrest Mount
Number 10 on our list brings us to an item anyone embarking on a long Thanksgiving road trip should have: an iPad headrest mount. Perfect for keeping those back-seat passengers occupied (so you can focus on the road), at merely $30, this is one of the best road-trip investments a driver can make.
11. SlateGo Mobile Lap Desk
For the passenger who can't put their work away while on the road, we love the SlateGo Mobile Lap Desk. SlateGo's sleek and smart air-ventilated design helps to cool down laptops (which tend to over heat), and any remaining heat is absorbed through the bamboo (rather than landing in your lap). Available for just $49.99, this one is an absolute must-buy for busy road-trippers everywhere.
12. GlocalMe WiFi Hotspot
Now that you have your laptop in order, you'll need to be sure you have WiFi access for that cross-country car trip you're taking. With a virtually embedded SIM card, GlocalMe G1 is the first-ever mobile WiFi hotspot that doesn't require the use of a wireless phone. We especially love that this super-smart gadget allows up to five devices to connect to it at once, so you can be sure every one of your passengers stays busy while you focus on the road.
13. USB Humidifier
Next up on our roundup of road trip travel gear is one of those inventions that will have you saying Why didn't I think of that? : The Satechi USB Portable Humidifier. Simply attach the Satechi humidifier to a water bottle or glass filled with purified water and plug the device into a USB outlet for instant moisture. We love that this smart gadget helps your skin to stay fresh and hydrated while on the road, which is often when it suffers most. This is particularly perfect for those heading to celebrate Thanksgiving in a dryer climate than they're normally used to.
14. Phonejoy Bluetooth Game Controller
Number 14 on our list brings us to a gadget that your game-loving passengers will thank you for (and that you'll thank us for as you focus on the road with a peaceful and quiet car). Guaranteed to give every gamer something to do as you head to your holiday destination, Phonejoy's Bluetooth Game Controller for Smartphones retails for $69 for a basic package and is worth every penny. Just be sure to shut it down before you huddle around the Thanksgiving table.
15. Satechi Universal Tablet Dashboard Mount
Next up is a piece of road-trip gear every Google Maps user should have. The Satechi Universal Tablet Dashboard Mount allows for easy access to and sight of your GPS directions, without ever obstructing your vision ahead. We especially love that it requires no tools to install, is super easy to mount, and keeps your tablet safe and secure. Available via satechi.net for just $24.99, this is a staple road trip travel accessory for Venuelusters who are planning on hitting the road for Thanksgiving.
16. High Road Backseat Organizer and Cooler
For those traveling with little ones in the back, we love the High Road Backseat Organizer to ensure they have everything they need for the trip at arm's length. Simply fill the organizer with snacks, water, games, and other goodies to ensure your backseat passengers stay entertained while you make the long haul. With ten outside storage pockets, we love that this is also leakproof and insulated, so it doubles as a cooler. Plus, its ingenious design means you can simply close the lid and use the removable shoulder strap to carry the organizer as an over-the-shoulder picnic cooler or tote.
17. Leather Car Seat Back Organizer
Number 17 on our roundup of our favorite road trip travel gear brings us to yet another ingenious car organizer. This Leather Car Seat Back Organizer helps to ensure everything your backseat passengers need is within reach, without cluttering the floor of the car or taking up precious real estate on the seats. Available for just $29 (and super simple to install), these organizers are an absolute must-have for those embarking on long road trips this Thanksgiving with busy-bodied backseat passengers.
18. Restoration Hardware Cashmere Travel Blanket
Every road-tripper needs a soft, compact, cozy blanket for the car, and—after testing out quite a few—we've found that we love Restoration Hardware's 555-Gram Cashmere Throw the best. Available for $199 in 12 dreamy hues, this is an investment piece that you'll have forever, and that will keep you warm and comfortable on that long holiday haul.
19. Car Seat Pocket Organizer
Now that we've covered quite a few ways to keep your trunk and backseat organized, we thought we should extend some of that organization love to the front seat. We love this simple Car Seat Pocket Organizer to help keep everything you need—files, phones, wallets, cords, gum, maps—within easy reach while you navigate the road. We especially love that the organizer comes in three different shades (black, tan, and brown), so you can choose the one that best matches the color of your car interior to create a streamlined and seamless look.
20. Tempur-Pedic Lumbar Support Pillow for Travel
As any road-tripper knows, a long haul on the road can do quite the number on your lower back. We close out our list of our favorite road trip travel gear today, then, with the lifesaving (and back saving) Tempur-Pedic Lumbar Support Travel Pillow. Designed to relieve pressure and conform to the shape of your body, this is an absolute must-have for any stiff or sore drivers or passengers. Available for $59.99, this is one of the best travel pillows you can invest in, and will make that upcoming Thanksgiving road trip of yours as painless as possible.
Did we miss any of your must-have road trip travel gear? Let us know in the comments section below. We'd love to hear what items you never leave home without.