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Must-Have Gadgets and Gear for Your Next Road Trip

March 25, 2016
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10 Must-Have Gadgets and Gear for Your Next Road Trip
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Road trips are a great way to go on vacation without paying a fortune. After all, there aren’t any expensive plane tickets to book.

But before you load up the car and head out on your spring break adventure, don’t forget to pack these 10 items — listed in order from least to most expensive — that will help ensure your trip goes off without a hitch.

Mad Libs game: $2.49

Being on the road for hours on end equals a lot of free time. Even if you’re with friends, being in the car for so long can be a bore. Mix it up by bringing along the Mad Libs on the Road game to pass the time. For less than $3, you can keep your group occupied with the popular fill-in-the-blank word game.

5-in-1 safety tool: $9.99

Just in case the worst happens on your road trip, you’ll need to be prepared. Enter Luckystone’s 5-in-1 Auto Safety Emergency Escape Tool. You can use this simple batonlike device as a window breaker, seat belt cutter, flashing emergency light and more.

Neck pillow: $13.65

Cruise through the mountains, or wherever you may be going, in comfort with the patented Car Neck Pillow. The memory foam pillow shapes to your body and is designed to strap around your car seat.

Steering wheel desk: $13.99

The Car Laptop/Eating Steering Wheel Desk from Zone Tech mounts to the steering wheel to provide you with easy access to a flat surface and drink holder. When you need to pull over to look at a map or take a break from driving to refuel with a meal, use this desk to keep everything you need right in front of you.

Leakproof litter bag: $14.95

During those prolonged stretches between pit stops, you’ll probably accumulate some trash. Keep your car tidy with the High Road TrashStash Leakproof Car Litter Bag. This 3-gallon bag hangs from a seat and provides ample space for collecting litter.

Wireless headphones: $16.99

With your whole squad packed in the car, it’s likely not everyone will want to watch the same movie as you. But with the XO Vision IR620 Universal IR Infrared Wireless Foldable Headphones, you can listen to an in-car TV or DVD without disturbing anyone else.

These headphones feature a one-size-fits-all design, foam cushioning and volume control. They’re compatible with original equipment manufacturer and aftermarket in-car DVD systems.

Cup-shaped power port: $25.99

Bring power to your vehicle with the PowerLine PowerCup 200/400 Watt Mobile Inverter with USB Power Port. It fits in your cup holder and plugs into your car’s 12-volt power socket. It can power multiple devices so you can charge all your gear during your journey.

LED road flares: $35.95

Road flares are a safety must-have, but you can use the traditional kind only once. For around $36, buy a pack of two LED road flares that you can use over and over again. If your car breaks down or you need to change a tire, set these flares out behind your vehicle to alert oncoming cars up to a mile away.

They’re powered by AAA batteries and have a magnetic base, so you could also attach them to the car.

Portable espresso machine: $59

Being on the road doesn’t mean you have to forgo your morning cup of coffee. The $59 Minipresso GR is a portable espresso machine that looks like a thermos. Add ground coffee and hot water, then pump the device to brew.

Garmin GPS device: $89.99

Pick a GPS unit for less than $100 to ensure you don’t get lost and don’t bust your budget. The Garmin Nuvi 55LM GPS navigation system is the No. 1 best-seller in Amazon’s vehicle GPS units and equipment department.

Device features include 5-inch dual orientation displays, spoken turn-by-turn directions, and speed limit displays. Your phone’s map app might not work if you don’t have service while you’re on the road. The Garmin Nuvi offers preloaded maps with free lifetime updates, so you’ll always be able to find your way.

So what are you waiting for? Hop in the car and hit the open road.

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This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by USA Today College.

Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @CourtneyNerd.

Image via iStock.