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There’s nothing like hitting the open road for an adventure.
And if you have friends and family who are planning a trip, picking up a thoughtful present shows you care.
The problem is deciding what to buy.
The best road trip gifts for adults depend largely on the type of person and the type of trip.
To make things easy, we’ve found ideas for pretty much everyone.
Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
Best road trip gifts for adults
To help you find the best road trip gift STAT, we’ve organized ideas into five different categories.
You can scroll through all the ideas, or skip around to categories using the links below:
And if you’re shopping for an RVer, here are even more gifts for RV owners.
Useful road trip gifts ideas for adults
1. GPS System
Sure, they can use a smartphone. But after our six-month van life experience, I can tell you there are downsides to this strategy.
If you use your phone for your GPS and music for long hours, the battery may drain faster than your vehicle can charge it. GPS also stops working when it overheats from sitting in sunlight for too long while driving.
By gifting a dedicated GPS — which has gotten much cheaper in recent years — you help solve these problems.
Let’s be honest, no road trip is complete without snacks. Well, at least it’s not enjoyable. Unfortunately, traditional coolers are big, bulky, and a pain to transport. The answer?
A Yeti soft cooler.
Not only is it considerably lighter and more packable than a normal cooler, but it also comes with a handy carrying strap.
Long car rides expose travelers to more UV rays than they’d encounter during a plane or train ride.
Keep the people in your life safe from premature aging, sunburns, and skin cancer with UV window shades for their car.
Not only does it block out the majority of the harmful UV rays, but it also helps keep the temperature down in the summer.
Listening to the radio is so 2000s. These days, people like more control over their music choices — especially during long road trips.
If you want to earn the affection of the travelers in your life, a Spotify Premium subscription will help you achieve that.
Spotify lets your traveler download all their favorite songs to their road trip playlist. So when they don’t have a strong data signal, they can still jam out.
With limited means to reheat food while on the road, tools to keep food hot as long as possible are clutch.
This insulated food canister keeps food hot so people can bypass microwave ovens. It also helps keep food above the danger temperature zone, where yucky bacteria can grow.
The last thing you want is a rumbly stomach on the road!
6. YETI Tumbler
Don’t let your road trippers settle for lukewarm coffee or hot water.
These YETI tumblers are like magic. They maintain a drink’s appropriate temperature — whether hot or cold — for what seems like forever.
These cups have a cult-like following, with over 100,000 5-star reviews.
Depending on the number of people on the trip, it might prove tricky for everyone to keep their phones and devices charged.
A portable power station easily solves this problem by providing portable power to charge everyone’s devices and even small appliances.
These also make awesome gifts for RVers.
Car trouble is the arch-nemesis of road trips. And sometimes it’s unavoidable and unpredictable.
For roadies who find themselves stranded on the side of the road, a roadside assistance kit has the tools to help.
Basic kits include jumper cables, motor oil, water, flashlights, and other things to help aid minor mechanical failure.
Similar to long flights, long road trips without enough stretch breaks can affect your circulation.
If blood isn’t moving well, it can cause sore and swollen feet and legs. This is especially dangerous for passengers prone to blood clots.
These fun compression socks help prevent blood from pooling in your feet when sitting for prolonged periods.
10. Dog booster seat
If the road trip lover in your life has a furry friend, a dog booster seat can make driving more enjoyable for everyone in the car.
Dogs get a comfortable elevated seat that allows them to look out the window, and passengers don’t have to stress about their pooch jumping all over their lap for the entire journey.
Funny road trip gifts
There’s a slogan that goes, “What’s said on the road, stays on the road.” Okay, maybe that’s not an official staying, but habitual road trippers would do well to adopt it.
Life on the road is a different beast that tends to test your patience muscles. Cramped quarters, long drives, and lack of bathrooms can make anyone a tad prickly.
Help the road trippers in your life introduce a little levity with this fun pillow.
12. Carpool Chaos
No matter who you’re road tripping with, this game will have you laughing the entire ride.
Full of fun and thought-provoking challenges and conversation starters, it’s also a great way to get to know your travel companions — whether they be friends, family, or a significant other.
Best of all, the compact package fits perfectly in a seatback pocket.
Road trips often involve venturing into not-so-clean public bathrooms. When your bladder is about to burst, you don’t always have the luxury of searching for a clean one.
Help to ease their germ anxiety with this public toilet survival kit.
Though it’s more of a gag gift, it also comes with practical items like toilet seat covers, sanitizing wipes, and gloves to make the experience more enjoyable.
Therapy has its benefits, but affordability usually isn’t one of them. This pouch acknowledges this and offers a reasonable alternative — a girl’s trip.
For the women in your life who use girl’s trips to cope with life, this pouch is the perfect accessory and yet another funny road trip gift.
Road trip gift basket ideas for adults
15. Pamper Basket
Road trips might be unconventional, but that doesn’t mean personal pampering should have to take a back seat. In fact, a road trip makes the need for pampering even more crucial.
After hours or days cramped in a car, the body needs a little extra nurturing. Show the road trippers in your life that you care by putting together a pampering gift basket.
What you include depends largely on what the road tripper likes. Start building your basket with various lotions, shaving cream, loofahs, and scents.
16. Snack Basket
Road trip care packages for adults don’t always have to be fancy. Sometimes it’s the little things that make a trip richer and more enjoyable.
One simple way to show your traveling buddies that you care is to put together a snack basket. They’ll love you for helping them avoid extra stops at convenience stores and fast-food joints.
Even though they’ll likely have a cooler, you should opt for non-perishable foods that don’t require refrigeration. Things like chips, nuts, granola bars, cookies, and dried fruits are a great place to start. Just make sure you account for allergies.
17. Book Basket
There’s no better time to catch up on good books than during a road trip.
For the bookish among you, consider putting together a book basket. Think about including a couple of novels, a crossword puzzle book, and another special book that teaches them something.
If your road tripper is prone to car sickness, an alternative option is to buy them an Audible subscription. This gives them access to audiobooks while they drive.
18. Road Trip Games
For those travelers with a childlike spirit, a road trip games basket might be the thing they need in their lives.
There’s a ton of downtime during road trips and games can help fill the time. Plus, it can help keep drivers from becoming disoriented during long drives.
This particular idea is super easy to put together. You can just visit a dollar store, print off your games from Etsy, or check out this list of best road trip games.
19. Cleaning Basket
Life will be better for all trip attendees if their space is clean and tidy. Help them achieve this goal by gifting them a nifty little cleaning basket.
Include things like Lysol wipes, paper towels, hand sanitizer, and air freshener — all things you can find at the dollar store.
20. Cozy Basket
Sometimes a road trip means sleeping in a car for a night or two. And whether that car is moving or parked for the night, your road-tripping friends will appreciate anything that adds to their comfort.
Think about things like neck pillows, moisture-wicking throw blankets, and maybe even thick mats to put over the car seats. Just don’t go overboard because their space is limited.
21. Boozy Basket
Again, this basket idea isn’t meant for the designated driver (at least until they safely reach their destination). But all other adults are game.
Putting together a gift basket of alcoholic drinks doesn’t have to be expensive. This isn’t the time to try to impress, you’re just trying to help them take the edge off during a long car ride.
Cheap wine and spirits work like a charm.
Road trip gifts for guys
22. GPS Watch
The best road trip gifts for guys are things that reduce the pressure of planning and coordinating a successful trip.
And while larger GPS systems are great for the car, he can’t take it with him if the group decides to pull over for an impromptu hike.
Help his mind rest by gifting him a GPS watch, which will help keep him and his loved one from venturing too far out. And if they do, they’ll be able to easily find their way back.
As drones have become more mainstream, prices are coming down. There are now drones available at nearly every price point.
And what better time to whip out a drone than during a road trip?
Whenever your friends reach a particularly interesting patch of terrain, they can use the drone to get some cool aerial footage.
We use the Mavic Mini, but this is a cheaper option with great reviews.
Many men have a weird thing for maps. Especially physical maps.
This top-rated road atlas allows for road trip planning the old-fashioned way, which is certainly more adventurous than simply following Google Maps.
It also allows them to easily find the scenic driving routes that Google Maps is almost guaranteed to miss.
Packing is a chore, no matter what the ultimate destination is. But what’s more annoying than the time it takes to pack is the stress that comes with accidentally forgetting necessities.
Eliminate the guesswork with this ‘Pack This’ notepad. It comes pre-listed with the basic things a traveler needs — socks, underwear, clothes, and other basics.
But it also delves deeper and includes things like travel documents, toiletries, and medicine.
26. Travel Pillow
There’s almost nothing worse than a stiff neck after a long car ride. But sometimes it’s inevitable — cars just aren’t optimized for long periods of sleep.
Help your man friend avoid painful kinks by giving them a travel pillow that supports their muscles and keeps everything aligned.
Don’t get it twisted, men also want to feel fresh and clean during road trips.
Unfortunately, keeping up with hygiene habits can be tricky during road trips. Shaving on the road, in particular, can be a pain.
Thankfully, this waterproof toiletry bag makes things easier. It’s small enough for easy packing, but still large enough to hold several travel-size hygiene items.
Sometimes, you just need to drown out all the noise.
When loved ones are screaming car sing-a-longs or arguing over whose turn it is to drive, he can descend into his happy place with these noise-canceling headphones.
This makes a good travel gift for any type of traveler, whether they prefer the open road or flights.
Road trip gifts for her
29. Video Projector
When thinking of road trip gifts for her, consider things that add a little charm to her life.
For those nights when it’s just too crisp to stay inside, an outdoor projector can be the perfect way to encourage her to get outside and enjoy the fresh air.
This particular projector has built-in speakers and can connect directly to your phone or laptop.
30. Fairy Lights
Nothing can compete with the beauty of a star-filled sky on a clear night.
But when you’re cooped inside of a car overnight at a campground, fairy lights can make a cramped vehicle feel like a studio apartment.
These lightweight lights are affordable, easy to set up, and are guaranteed to dazzle.
31. Electric Candle
Candles and open flames are generally a no-go inside of vehicles.
So where does this leave the wistful traveler who wants to unwind and meditate at the end of a long day?
Electric candles, of course. These give ambiance without the risk. They also eliminate the need to remember to pack a lighter.
People travel for different reasons. Some want to experience new things, and others want to put some distance between themselves and their past.
Figuring out why you’re traveling is just as important as the journey itself. Help push your friends and family towards introspection and mediation by giving them a leather-bound journal.
For some women, it doesn’t matter how far she travels, Starbucks will always be a priority.
If this sounds like the woman in your life, help quench her thirst with a Starbucks gift card.
Thankfully, you can find a Starbucks in nearly every major city in the continental U.S, so your money won’t go to waste. Go ahead, splurge a little!
There’s nothing quite like taking a break from a long trip and exploring the local terrain. But after a few hours in the blazing sun, your skin needs more TLC.
Help her rejuvenate the sensitive skin on her face with this after-sun body spray. It’s formulated to rehydrate the skin and ward off sun damage.
Best of all, it comes in a delicious coconut vanilla scent that lingers for hours.
35. Sleeping Mask
Car sleeping can be hit or miss. For some, motion sickness makes it difficult. Others sleep like babies.
No matter where the woman in your life lands on the spectrum, a sleep mask can only improve the situation.
These particular masks block out 100 % of light, won’t smudge any of her lingering eye makeup, and won’t snag her hair. Win-win-win!
Mitch is your typical nomadic backpacker. Or at least, he was. But after stopping in Colombia to take “one week” of salsa lessons, his life took a sharp left turn. He met a cute Colombian girl in dance class, fell in love, and got married. Over half a decade has passed since he left his career to travel the world as a digital nomad, and he’s never looked back.
Nowadays, he’s the blogger behind Project Untethered—where he runs an awesome email newsletter and Youtube channel teaching adventure-craved wanderlusters how to escape the rat race, earn money from anywhere, and build an “untethered life”.
His advice has been featured in Forbes, USA Today, Yahoo, Reader’s Digest, Condé Nast Traveler, and more.
Mitch's Travel Recommendations:
Travel Planning Resources - Everything you need to plan your trip on one convenient page.
Safetywing Insurance - This cheap travel insurance has saved me over $15,000 in medical bills.
Booking.com - Book accommodation without adding your credit card (in case you need to cancel).
Skyscanner - Find cheap flights.
Trusted House Sitters - Take care of pets in exchange for free (sometimes luxury) accommodation.
Flexjobs - Find remote jobs without having to sift through crappy ones.
Skillshare - Free trial to take unlimited classes that teach digital nomad skills.
Anytime Mailbox - Virtual mail service that can handle your mail while you’re away.
Wise - Send and receive money abroad cheaply (great for freelancers).