While Americans are returning to all types of travel, road trips continue to dominate this summer. According to travel experts at AAA, more than 91% of vacation trips this summer will be by car, so travelers should expect delays.
If you’ve been out and about for hours or even days, you may have packed snacks, but are you ready for whatever comes your way? We spoke to experts about what it takes to keep moving, stay entertained, and make sure you are covered for any problems that may arise on the go.
Zojirushi travel mug, 16 oz
No road trip is complete without plenty of snacks, especially if you travel long distances and try to avoid fast food. You’ll need storage space to keep your snacks separate and cool, and insulated mugs for every traveler’s best friend: coffee.
“Zojirushi makes the best travel mug I’ve ever found,” says TripScout CEO and co-founder Konrad Waliszewski.
Zojirushi Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Mug, 20 oz
“This mug, made in Japan, miraculously holds the temperature of coffee or tea for almost a day,” says Waliszewski. “I bring it with me on every road trip to both reduce waste and enjoy a nice, hot cup of coffee throughout my journey.”
Stasher reusable storage bag made from 100% food grade silicone
Eating healthy – or just sensible – is a huge challenge for any road tripper, says Waliszewski. “You sit most of the day and usually fast food and gas stations are your only options,” he says. “In order to stay healthy during the trip and avoid rubbish, I pack fruit, vegetables and nuts in reusable zipper bags in advance.”
Stasher bags are reusable bags made of platinum quality silicone, the highest quality silicone. Read our enthusiastic review here.
Yeti Roadie 24 cooler
Perfect for a short trip or as a couple, this cool box keeps your snacks and drinks cool.
Waliszewski has a strategy: “I find grocery stores on the way to restock every few days. I store everything in a Yeti cooler so that everything stays cool and fresh. ”
YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheel Cooler
Bigger crew? Try this big wheeled yeti for all of your goodies.
“The United States’ Activity and Fact Book,” by Dylanna Press
If you’ve ever been to a road trip with kids or been a kid on a road trip, you’ve heard the chorus, “Are we there yet?” If you want to minimize that kind of excitement, there are a few ways to keep the kids busy while you are focus on the road.
“Inspire the children by bringing destination information and tracking your road trip progress together on a map,” says AAA spokeswoman Julie Hall. “Also bring stuffed toys, books, and games to keep kids busy while traveling.”
Help them know where you are going and what they will see with this map and activity book.
National Geographic Kids Ultimate US Road Trip Atlas
This atlas has activities, maps, games, and fun facts to keep the kids busy and occupied.
“We bring all sorts of imaginative games, like magnetic boards to get lost in your own little stories, lots of books, and an I Spy travel package to help you look for things out of the window like articulated trucks and kinds of signs looking, ”says Waliszewski.
Magnetic drawing board for toddlers
This highly rated magnetic drawing board will keep you creative and won’t complain.
Mud Puppy Eric Carle The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Friends Magnetic Character Set
With the classic characters from Eric Carle, they can tell their own stories.
My Super Pops Popcorn Chips, White Cheddar
Waliszewski adds: “We find playgrounds on the way to quickly escape from the car seat, and we always have a favorite snack close at hand.”
Kids love popcorn, and this healthy version is sure to please them.
Rockin ‘Straw-Beary Children’s Bars
Honestly, it doesn’t get much easier than a bar.
Good & Gather Mozzarella Mini String Cheese Bites
Throw these cheeses in your cooler and you have a filling snack that you can feel good about.
Anker Soundcore Life Q20
It’s not just children who can get nervous. When taking long distance trips, it is important to decompress at the end of the day.
“A good pair of earplugs or noise-canceling headphones can be a lifesaver when it’s time to rest after a long drive,” says Waliszewski.
This is our pick for the best noise-canceling headphones on the budget; put these on your ears and turn on – or don’t leave – some soothing sounds to block out any surrounding noise.
Mack’s Ultra Soft Foam earplugs
These inexpensive foam earbuds are highly rated for one simple reason – they work!
Hatch – Restore Sound Machine, Smart Light and Sleep Sounds – White
Can’t you sleep with something in or over your ears? Pack a little sound machine for you – or the kids – with.
Mavogel sleeping eye mask made of cotton
Have a happy face in the morning after fading out strange lights for a good night’s sleep with our pick for the best sleep mask of 2021.
Cabeau Evolution S3
“A travel pillow and blanket are definitely a good idea for the passenger to relax when they have the opportunity,” says Hall.
Our selection for the best travel pillow 2021 prevents neck pain if you drift off in the back seat.
The cosiest cashmere blanket scarf
This blanket scarf keeps you cozy in the car and in highly air-conditioned hotels and restaurants – we love a double tasker!
Merino travel set
This chic kit has everything you need to stay cozy and sleep well on the go.
Roadside Assistance Auto Kit with Jumper Cables
“Always have an emergency kit ready,” says Hall. “The kit should contain a cell phone and a car charger; Flashlight with extra batteries; Jumper cables or jump pack; a basic set of tools (screwdriver, pliers, adjustable wrench, tape, plastic zip ties); a tarpaulin; Raincoat and gloves for clean / dry roadside work; Rags, paper towels or pre-moistened wipes; Warning devices (torches, reflective triangles or LED beacons); First aid kit; small, portable and battery operated fan; Windscreen washer solvents; and plenty of drinking water, snacks or food for your passengers and pets. ”
You don’t have all of this at hand? You can get almost everything you need in one pre-filled kit.
Thrive Auto Emergency Kit with Jumper Cable + First Aid Kit
This kit comes with a first aid kit that contains everything you need for the car.
Syncwire iPhone car charger
If you don’t have a charger in your car, get one before you head out.
Finally, Hall wants you to remind yourself, “Before you go on a road trip, make sure your vehicle is ready for a road trip. AAA expects to save 9.4 million drivers from Memorial Day through Labor Day this summer. Before you set off, check all fluids, test the car battery, make sure your tires are at normal pressure and have an oil change if necessary, change your air filter and replace the wiper blades. ”
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