Reviews Tech & Electronics

10 Genius Gadgets to Bring on Your Next Road Trip

Don't leave for your next road trip without these cool gadgets that you can plug into your car.

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Get your gear together

Your car might not have all the bells and whistles, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a tricked out ride. The car cigarette lighter endures as a DC power connector. While most drivers already plug GPS navigation systems or phone chargers into the car cigarette lighter receptacle, there’s so much more this little outlet can do. Read on to see some of the wildest products you can power in the car.

Hot Coffee

Life is full of mysteries—such as, if cold brew coffee is so delicious, then why does lukewarm coffee taste so bad? Road trippers will never need to ponder this deep question while on the move, provided they’re plugged into a trusty mug warmer. This travel mug keeps coffee piping hot but not too hot (it alerts you when it reaches the ideal preset temperature), for optimum tastiness. Available on Amazon; $27.95.

Document Everything

Before you embark on your next epic road trip, do yourself a favor: Equip your vehicle with a dashboard camera to capture footage of everything you see along the way—and to keep yourself covered incase you’re involved in an accident. The APEMAN Dash Cam is easy to set up and is a budget-friendly option. But the low cost doesn’t mean you skimp out on high-quality features. The camera has 170° super-wide angle lens, so it records the entire scene, as well as 1080P resolution and super night vision, which provides quality video no matter the time of day. Available on Amazon; $44.99.

Related: The 10 Best Accessories You Can Buy for Your Car

On Your Radar

It’s not the cheapest radar detector, but it’s among the best. While long-range front and rear antennas scan for threats in all directions, built-in filtering minimizes interference. That means, unlike cheap, garden-variety radar detectors, the Escort Max 360 rarely triggers false alarms. In short, it’s reliable—and if you’re the kind of driver who likes to push the limits, the device can pay for itself many times over. Best of all, keeping the Max 360 powered up is by no means a chore. Simply plug its cord into a USB car charger (the kind that slots right into the cigarette lighter of any car). Available on Amazon; $499.95

Toasty Warm

Say goodbye to the winter tradition of sitting like an ice cube in your front seat while you wait for the car heater to finally kick in. With the Wagan Heated Seat Cushion your bum will be warm in a matter of seconds. The affordable cushion easily straps around the back of the car seat and can has two heating levels for personalized comfort. Available on Amazon; $26.95. 

Related: 10 Life-Changing Buys to Help You Survive Winter Mornings

Shine Bright

A flashlight is a key component of every car preparedness kit. The handy tool can alert traffic if your car breaks down, illuminate your workspace while changing a tire, help you find missing items in the dark, and even double as a headlight in emergency situations. If you’re in the market for a new flashlight, consider this one from Maglite. It plugs into your cigarette lighter for charging, so you don’t have to worry about the battery running out, and it also has a detachable pocket clip, four different functions (momentary, full power, power save, and strobe), and a beam distance of 181 meters. Available on Amazon; $86.95.

Related: 10 Things You Never Thought to Keep in Your Car

The Portable Kettle

The craving for a cuppa can hit anytime—even while cruising down the highway at 65 mph. Be prepared with the Unix Electric Kettle, which plugs into the cigarette lighter for on-the-go usage. Made with stainless steel and food-grade silicone, the kettle safely and quickly brings water to boil, while a digital display lets you monitor its temperature. The kettle is also good for more than making tea; consider using it for instant noodles, boiled eggs, and baby formula! Available on Amazon; $47.40.

Related: 10 Kitchen Products That Will Last a Lifetime

Hot Plate

Road trips are a great way to see America—and sample regional fast food along the highway. No matter where the road takes you, you can keep your eats hot with this portable food warmer. The toolbox-sized stove heats to 300 degrees to reheat your carry-out meals, or cook a tailgating feast. Available on Amazon; $29.95.

Related: 12 Kitchen Gadgets People Always Regret Buying

Clean on the Go

The car is the site of many tiny messes but it’s the last place many of us think to clean. Over time, dust collects in the cup holders, dirt and leaves accumulate along the floor, and the occasional puddle of snow melt ends up on the floor mats. This mighty machine—small enough to be stored in the trunk of your car—can clean all of that and more. The cord plugs directly into the car cigarette lighter, so you’ll never need to wrestle with an extension cord. Available on Amazon; $22.99.

Related: 9 Products You’ll Love—Even If You Hate Cleaning

Spa Treatment

If you find that hours slumped over your office desk or tense at the wheel during deadlock are finally taking a toll on your back, you might consider hopping in the car to drive yourself to a masseuse for some deep-tissue therapy. Now, you can get relief on the road! Simply power this back and neck pillow in your car’s cigarette lighter and position it between your back and your seat. Its kneading massage balls will roll over your muscles (with or without heat!) for up to 20 minutes so that you can squeeze in a soothing massage just about anywhere.
Available on Amazon; $49.99.

Related: 9 Crazy Gadgets That Cost More Than Your Mortgage

A Quick Shave

Discovered a rough patch you missed during your routine morning shave? This portable electric razor can be kept in the glove compartment for just such emergencies, charged via an adapter that plugs right into the cigarette car lighter. Available on Amazon; $16.83.

Related: 10 Gadgets for Every Lazy Cook’s Kitchen