From Tunes to Tires: A Guide to Essential Road Trip Gadgets
Traveling options are quite limited this year, but there’s never been a better time to take a road trip. Whether you’re just taking a local drive or planning to cross the country, we’ve got a roundup of gadgets and tips that will make your trip easier and more enjoyable.
Keeping your phone charged on road trips is important for entertainment, but also for safety. There are way too many horror movies that start with the main character’s car breaking down and their phone battery dying. Plus, no matter which device you have or the capabilities of your car, there is a charging solution available to you.
- USB ports: Many newer cars have USB ports that allow you to simultaneously charge your device and play media from it. All you need is the right USB cord for your device. Here is an example of one for Micro USB devices and one for lightning devices.
- Cigarette lighter: If your vehicle is a little older and doesn’t have any fancy bells or whistles, chances are it still has a cigarette lighter. You can use a cigarette lighter adapter and a USB charge cord to charge your device. You won’t be able to play media through the car this way, but at least your device will stay charged.
- Charging brick: If there is truly no way of using your vehicle’s power to keep your device charged on road trips, an external charging brick is a great and inexpensive option. Keeping a few of these charged at a time will ensure that you never run out of power even if you’re away from plugs.
- Mobile power inverter: This device is unique because while it has a USB port that allows you to charge your phone, you can also run or charge devices that use up to 150 watts of power, thanks to its three-prong outlet.
For your tunes:
It’s not a road trip without a meticulously curated road trip playlist, but as you’re choosing the songs, don’t forget to pack the tech you’ll need to hear them.
- Portable speaker: If you plan to set up camp along the way or you don’t have the ability to play media through your car speakers, a portable Bluetooth speaker is the best option for listening to music or podcasts. They’re easy to use and range in price depending on how fancy you want to get. If you’re okay with splurging a little, go with this one but if you just want something affordable that gets the job done, this one is great too.
- Bluetooth FM Transmitters: Another option is to get a Bluetooth FM transmitter, which turns any car with a cigarette lighter into a car with Bluetooth capabilities. These transmitters use vacant FM radio stations to stream your audio into your car. The sound isn’t always flawless and you may have to seek new stations as you’re driving from place to place, but if you really want Bluetooth capability in your car, this is the gadget for you. We recommend this one.
For your Keychains:
- Tile tracker: One of the worst party fouls you can commit on a road trip is losing your keys. Use a Tile tracker and connect it to multiple devices so that you’re never left stranded and stuck in yet another horror movie situation. Let’s just avoid all horror movie situations!
For your Car’s Health:
While these aren’t the highest of high tech devices, they are crucial to have before embarking on a road trip. You should also learn how to use them or download any manuals or helpful youtube videos onto your device before you need them.
- Portable jumper/tire pressure checker: Car batteries can die seemingly out of nowhere and it’s important to prepare for that situation. Portable jumpers connect to your 12-volt car battery and can give it the jump it needs to get you on the road again. Some even have pressure gauges built in so you can keep an eye on your tire pressure. They’re not cheap, but buying a jumper now is cheaper and more convenient than paying for a tow truck later.
Road trips are exciting, but they do take a lot of preparation. Check all of your gadgets well in advance before your trip to make sure they’re in great working condition. If you need any advice or help to get your devices ready, the helpful techs at your neighborhood uBreakiFix would love to lend a hand.