7 Essential Car Accessories for Long Trips

A road trip can be a great adventure, but being confined to your car for hours cross-country certainly isn’t the most comfortable experience in the world. This can be doubly true if you’re traveling with a lot of people! If you’ve got a long journey up ahead then, it’s a good idea to stock up on some useful accessories to make your trip easier. Fortunately, today there are plenty of widely available gadgets and tools which will make any long car journey much more comfortable. Here are a few things for making your road trip go as smoothly as possible. 

Portable Power Unit

If you’re travelling cross-country, it’s likely you’re going to need to charge some electronics at some point. An extra battery pack with charging ports will thus be a welcome addition to any trip, and will likely make you very popular with the people you’re travelling with, too! The only issue with widely available power packs however is their battery life is often not sufficient for longer journeys. In these instances, consider investing in a portable power unit. Solar power generators, for example, can be highly useful if you want to be certain you’ll have electricity on a journey. These are especially useful for camping trips, but also will guarantee a source of power in case of mid-trip emergencies, too. 

Car Dash Cam

Safety should always be a major concern for drivers, for long and short journeys. In terms of accessories for improving road safety, dash cameras are currently one of the most popular additions to vehicles. Dash cameras allow for full visibility when driving in less ideal conditions like foggy or snowy weather. They also can be a very helpful asset when parking, by giving you views of your car from different angles. The newest dash cams also come with a variety of other innovative features. Many can now monitor information about your car as you are driving, including your location, speed, and proximity to other vehicles. Another useful feature that some dash cams have installed is a detector for unusual bumps and collisions. Upon detection, these cameras automatically start recording, which can be highly useful for any potential incidents which require insurance claims. 

Smartphone Mount

Being attentive to goings-on in the road is crucial for any driver. However, this is particularly important on extended car trips, when fatigue becomes a factor. Naturally, if you are overly tired, you should stop driving. Even if you’re awake, however, reducing your distractions while driving is never a bad idea. Using phones while driving, in particular, is a major cause of car accidents today. In fact, the National Safety Council states that today, phones are involved in one quarter of all car accidents in the US, even more than the number of accidents that result from drunk driving. 

In view of this problem, phone mounts can be an inexpensive but highly useful addition to your car. A magnetic mount which attaches your phone to the dashboard allows you to monitor any messages or applications without taking your eye off the road. Some also have technological capabilities built-in, allowing you to take phone calls hands-free. 

Back Rest

If you are working or have worked in an office previously, you will know the toll sitting down all day can have on your back. Unlike office chairs, though, car seats aren’t designed for extended periods of use. As such, they can offer insufficient support for your spine, as well as promote incorrect posture. If you make long trips regularly, purchasing an additional back rest for your car can thus be a very wise investment. This is not only because they can make road trips substantially more comfortable, but they also ensure that you are in a correct sitting position. Improper posture over a long period of time can cause permanent damage to your spine and back, so it is crucial that you look after yourself in this regard, while driving. 

Car Bin

An unexpected side-effect of long road trips can be the accumulation of waste. Packaging, food waste, and tissue paper can all mount up fast, and with no place for it to go, your car can quickly turn into a mess. Given that you’ll have to be in the car for a long time as well, adding a small car waste bin will keep your vehicle clean and tidy, so that it remains a comfortable place to be throughout the whole trip. Keeping all of your trash in one place will also allow you to store any recyclable waste until you can dispose of it in an environmentally friendly way. 

GPS

Ensuring you don’t get lost is an important part of any road trip. And while most modern smartphones have in-built satellite navigation, traditional, dedicated GPS systems also offer several distinct advantages over mobile phones. First, they connect directly to your car. As such, they run off the vehicle’s battery, so aren’t a risk  to die in the middle of a journey. The best GPS also incorporate useful features, including intelligent rerouting, real-time traffic updates, and 3D mapping. Using a dedicated GPS will also prevent your directions from being disrupted by phone calls or applications. 

Emergency Toolkit

An often-unanticipated part of longer car trips is the fact that it puts added strain on your car’s engine and batteries. Consequently, there’s always a small chance that your vehicle breaks down in the middle of your journey. Making sure to pack an emergency toolkit can therefore become an absolute life-saver when the worst happens and your car won’t start. Most of these come with several of the most common tools for car repair, as well as jumper cables. Naturally, for major vehicle issues, it is likely you will need to contact a mechanic, regardless. However, for things like removing a tyre, jumpstarting a battery, or more minor repair work, emergency toolkits can be incredibly handy. In case of breakdowns, you may also consider packing some spare cold weather clothing, as well. 

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Emily Muelford

Emily is a British writer whose love of car culture is augmented by a fascination with both the European and American automotive markets. Her perspective is uniquely fish and chips.

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Emily Muelford
Emily is a British writer whose love of car culture is augmented by a fascination with both the European and American automotive markets. Her perspective is uniquely fish and chips.