Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links that earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. The Globetrotting Teacher has also partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. The Globetrotting Teacher and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Please read my Disclosure to learn more.
Are you searching for the best road trip gifts for someone on your shopping list?
Good on you for taking the time to think about a gift that speaks to that family member or friend’s interests and passions!
This list has 27 of the best road trip gift ideas, including road trip essentials and some out-of-the-box ideas you might not have considered.
27 Best Road Trip Gifts for People Who Love the Open Road
Road Trip Essentials
Fun road trips begin before the car, campervan, or RV leave the driveway. Nothing ruins a good road-tripping-time like being ill-prepared or unorganized.
1. Roadside Emergency Kit
A perfect gift for road trip peace of mind! This Emergency Roadside Kit comes with jumper cables, an air compressor, a tow strap and much more all packaged inside a handy, portable case. It can handle roadside assistance for cars, trucks, vans, and RVs.
Road trips can come with long stretches where there are no gas stations and rugged roads. It’s essential to have some tools at the ready in case of vehicle troubles.
2. Paper Road Atlas
All serious road trippers must have a paper map. The Rand McNally 2021 Road Atlas is a spiral-bound booklet with large, easy-to-read print that covers all 50 States. The atlas zooms in on cities and National Parks for a complete look at the area.
GPS and Google Maps are certainly useful tools but driving around remote areas or making spontaneous stops could come with gaps in cell phone coverage or area maps that haven’t been downloaded for offline use. As a road tripper myself, not having a physical map is a road trip mistake I won’t make again!
3. First Aid Kit
Small, portable, and packed with the essentials, this First Aid Kit is a must for car trips. The kit includes bandages and ointments for injuries, sting and burn relief medicine, aspirin, ibuprofen, and more.
Whether it’s needed to attend to a sick passenger or dress a wound from a trip and fall outside the car, all road trippers should have first aid basics at the ready.
4. Car Mount Phone Holder
If the road tripper on your gift-giving list uses their phone for Google Maps or navigation tools, a car mount phone holder keeps their phone screen in view without moving or needing any hand adjustments while driving.
Be sure to include an adhesive dashboard pad and as a stocking stuffer. I’ve used this exact phone mount for my road trips and found the adhesive pad is stronger, especially in warmer temperatures, compared to the suction cup.
5. Car Phone Charger
Navigation, travel apps, and listening to favorite podcasts and music for long periods of time is a sure-fire way to burn a phone’s battery. A car phone charger plugs into the lighter socket for quick, full-speed charging.
This charger is a great road-themed gift because it’s compact and the double USB ports allow more than one device to be plugged in at a time.
Organizational Gift Ideas for Road Trippers
If you’ve ever been on a road trip, you know it’s not long before the inside of the car can become messy and disorganized. It’s during one of those moments when road-trippers panic thinking they’ve left their favorite travel coffee cup behind or dig unsuccessfully for their snacks and sunglasses.
That’s why a road trip gift to keep things in their places can go along way to saving sanity.
6. Backseat Car Organizer
This 2-pack seatback pocket organizer holds snacks, water bottles, toys, books, and necessities like kleenex and glasses. There’s even a clear pouch designed to hold a standard-sized iPad or tablet. The material is water-resistant and durable. It also functions as a kick mat that can be cleaned with a wet wipe. Whether on a short weekend car trip or a cross-country road trip, the many pockets in this organizer will be put to good use and keep clutter off the floor.
7. Vehicle Trash Bin
One banana peel is all it takes to realize how important having a trash bin for the car is. Imagine hundreds of miles of snack wrappers and drink cups!
This strong bag container helps to avoid the inevitable mess that comes from eating and drinking on the go. It protects the inside of the car from leaks and can fit securely on the floor or around a headrest all without blocking any vents.
The bag also doubles as a cooler bag that can keep water bottles and other drinks cold. When not in use, the container folds up flat and can be stored away.
8. Accessory Organizer
Your road-trip loving family and friends will thank you for this genius organization gift. No need to throw cords, gadgets, tools, even toiletries into a bag only to waste time digging to the bottom to finally find what you need. The straps hold items firmly in place and the zipper encloses everything inside the case to keep all items securely where they need to be. Cords are no longer tangled and with just a glance you’ll know if something is missing. The organizer can even fit into a daypack or a seatback for convenient on-the-go use.
9. Packing Cubes
Of course, packing cubes are great for all kinds of travelers. But for road-trippers, packing cubes make it easy to just grab the necessities instead of lugging an entire suitcase or bag into a tent or hotel room for the night.Organize packing cubes with complete outfits and pajamas. The mesh on top makes it easy to see what’s inside and their compact sizes can easily be stowed in hotel drawers. These can even be stowed inside car storage bins to eliminate the need for bulky suitcases on a road trip!
Road Trip Gifts for Comfort in the Car, Campervan, or RV
Any guide with gifts for road trip travelers has to list ideas that’ll get everyone feeling comfy! The beauty of these items, though, is their versatility. They can be used outside of the car for any road trip camping combo, as well as for other travel adventures.
10. Travel Pillow
The beauty of this Therm-a-Rest compressible pillow is that it’s both a compact travel size but can also open up into a full-size pillow. It can easily serve as a headrest in the car and then used with a favorite sleeping bag for a comfortable night of camping.
It has a soft, true pillow-like feeling and expands into a fuller pillow the longer it’s open to its full size. Road-trippers and campers will love the comfort and convenience of this pillow!
11. Versatile Puffy Blanket
The Rumpl Original Puffy Blanket pairs perfectly with the above travel pillow for ultimate comfort whether in the car trying to catch a snooze or cozying up in the campervan for a night of sleep.
This blanket makes the perfect gift because it’s warm, waterproof, lightweight, and can withstand being used for everything from a picnic blanket to a sleeping bag replacement. It repels stains and is machine-washable. This blanket also packs down into a stuff sack for easy, low-profile storage when not in use.
ProTip: Outdoor gear merchant REI sells the Rumpl Blanket in different sizes and patterns in clearance or on sale.
12. Compression Socks
Road trips come with a lot of time sitting in a car, campervan, or RV. Compressions socks help with circulation and are perfect gifts for travelers whether they’re on a long drive or a long flight.
These socks wick moisture and odors away and won’t lose their grip after being washed. Travelers and road trippers can arrive at their destination with fresh legs, not swollen from sitting, ready to take on a national park hike or some city sightseeing.
Whether it’s a road trip with kids, friends, or family, headphones let everyone enjoy their favorite movies, music, and games without disturbing others. Kids’ headphones with a wired cord mean no charging or batteries necessary. They also happen to be one of the most loved road trip gifts for adults, too! 😉
While noise-canceling headphones for adults can help someone sleep before taking over behind the wheel as they connect wirelessly to a favorite podcast or playlist.
14. Road Trip Gift Basket
All successful road trips need snacks or else you inevitably wind up feeling hungry along a long stretch of dusty road where there’s barely a gas station in sight. A road trip basket full of snacks is a surefire way to keep road trippers of all ages happy.
The gift box is packed with an assortment of the best road trip snacks including granola bars, fruit snacks, and popcorn to satisfy sweet and salty cravings. Not to mention, everything stays fresh because everyone gets to open and eat the snack they want.
15. Iceless Cooler
Keeping road trip food does not need to be messy or a hassle. A leaky cooler full of melted ice soaking the inside of the car doesn’t make for fun times. This Igloo Iceless Cooler plugs into the vehicle’s lighter outlet and keeps foods fresh and cool inside and everything else dry outside.
This cooler fits on the floor behind the front seats and has a handle for easy carrying. For overnights in a hotel, plug the cooler into a standard electrical outlet to keep the items inside cool while the car or campervan is off.
16. Conversation Starters
TableTopics are the top-selling conversation cards game and what better way to get everyone off their devices and talking than 135 questions designed to help families and friends reconnect!
The original set is designed for ages 12+, but box sets are also available for families and couples and in themes like “Happiness” or “What Would You Do.” Road trips are all about being together and engaging with the world in real-time. With no small pieces and nothing to charge, this is one of the best road trip games whether in the car or around the campfire.
17. Dog Booster Seat
Road trips are the ultimate form of pet-friendly travel! And fur babies deserve some car comfort (and safety), too. This pet booster seat elevates off the seat with a strap around the seat headrest so dogs can see out the window and secures in place with a lower strap around the back of the seat.
Best of all, this durable seat with a machine-washable inside liner comes with a safety leash to protect pups from sudden stops or vehicle movements. My fur baby loves this seat and has used it from puppy to senior on all of our road trips.
Road Trip Gifts for Comfort Outside the Vehicle
Half the fun of a road trip is getting out of the car to hike, explore, sightsee, and enjoy all the destinations along the drive. But in order to enjoy every moment, comfort, convenience, and of course, good eats are required.
18. Portable Hammock
Give the gift of throwing any sense of time out the window. This comes while lying from an ENO DoubleBreasted hammock in a peaceful slice of forest discovered only because the road led to this unplanned solitude.
This hammock just needs 2 trees and a couple of minutes to be strung up and enjoyed. When not in use, it stuffs down to the size of a softball perfect for road trip travel where storage space comes at a premium. But don’t let the small size fool you, this hammock is stitched to hold 2 adults and belongs on any list highlighting the best road trip gear.
19. Portable Light
Portable solar-powered lighting is the perfect solution for road-trippers who can charge lanterns during the day, either from the dashboard or strategically placed to catch the sun. And if the daytime drive turns into a night of camping, both of these lighting options are easily set up in tents and around campsites.
20. Folding Table
Road trips come with the freedom to go where the road leads but it’s also an opportunity to pull over and enjoy the surroundings. No camping necessary to get use out of this small, portable folding table.
Use it for picnic lunch prep, sipping a morning coffee, or just about anytime extra space is needed outdoors or in. Whether in a car or an RV, all road trippers will appreciate the versatility of this table and its adjustable legs to accommodate different heights. Not to mention, it folds up discreetly and can be stored away in a narrow space.
21. Travel Chair
Road trip stops are certainly meant for stretching those legs. But when it’s time to enjoy a cup of coffee a car camping meal or just to take in the view, the road tripper on your list will appreciate a travel folding stool.
22. Portable Stove
Car campers will l-o-v-e this Coleman Stove for making the best road trip food! It sets up quickly, is super portable, and can cook for more than an hour at high heat. It’s great for prepping breakfast, heating a kettle, or slow-cooking a hearty stew for a chilly night.
As with all the best road trip gifts, size matters. This stove has a low-profile and can be neatly stored away. And, the carrying case makes it easy to transport.
23. French-Press Coffee Maker
For most people, morning coffee is non-negotiable. This French-Press Coffee Maker guarantees no-such sacrifice has to be made from the road and is much more eco-friendly than purchasing a coffee in a styrofoam cup each morning.
The stainless-steel design means more durability than some of the glass-bodied competitors and the double screen filter eliminates the need for paper filters. Just add hot water and press for a rich-tasting cup of morning joe. Not only is it one of the best road trip gadgets on this list, but it’s also essential for morning caffeine happiness!
24. Outdoor Cook Prep Set
To enjoy a road trip meal out of the car or campervan, some basic meal prep tools are essential. This 24-piece Outdoor Cook Set comes in a portable case to keep everything organized. It’s also one of the best road trip gifts for guys who are missing their BBQ cooking tools back home!
This set pairs perfectly with the folding table and 2-burner stove above for a convenient, compact way to prepare and enjoy meals on the go. The kit includes a utility knife and cutting board, along with cooking utensils like a spatula and whisk, all of which store away in the zipper case.
Out-of-the-Box Road Trip Gifts
If you’re looking for gifts for road warriors who have it all, how about a more experiential gift that creates a happy memory.
25. National Park Pass
One of the most popular types of road trips is to explore some of the 61 National Parks, not to mention the 400+ monuments, forests, seashores, and recreation areas that are part of the National Parks system.
An America the Beautiful National Parks Pass is good for 1 year from the month of purchase. The pass includes admission for the driver of the vehicle and all the passengers (up to 4 adults.) to all National Parks including popular road trip destinations like the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park. Kids 15 and younger are free.
26. Airbnb Gift Card
With millions of Airbnb properties around the globe, there’s bound to be a cozy apartment, an entire home, or even a unique place to stay to suit any kind of road tripper. An Airbnb gift card can be redeemed for stays no matter where the road leads.
And, with Airbnb experiences, there are plenty of ways for the road tripper on your list to use this gift card for unique food tastings and locally-led tours and activities.
27. Get Your Guide Gift Card
Give experiences over stuff and let the recipient choose depending on their destination and their interests. With a Get Your Guide Gift Card, you can choose from thousands of experiences including activities and tours in National Parks and U.S. cities like New York, New Orleans, and Chicago. How it works is simple. Just select a value for your gift card and let the lucky traveler choose! The gift card is valid for up to 3 years from the purchase date.
So if the road-tripper on your list is headed off on a National Park road trip to Utah, they can choose a 4×4 off-roading adventure. Or while in Grand Teton National Park, head off on a guided wildlife safari. It’ll be their choice to decide what’s right for their travel plans and the best souvenir with which to return home.
Gifts for road travelers combine versatility, usefulness, and size. But they’re also items that make the whole trip an unforgettable success!
Which road trip gifts are on your list?
Like this post? Please share it on social media using the share buttons below.