10 Road Trip Gift Ideas for a Cross-Country Trip


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On a road trip, kids are pretty easy to shop for – they want stuffed animals, coloring books, kids magazines to flip through. Maybe a deck of Bluey cards to play Go Fish or an iPad with some educational games loaded up. Aaaand done.

When you’re gift shopping for an adult who’s headed out on a road trip, on the other hand, it can be tricky to strike the right balance between practical and fun. Is it helpful enough that it’s okay it’s boring? Is it so “fun” they won’t even pack it to save space? That’s why we’re walking you through some of the best road trip gift ideas for adults – ones they’ll be happy to have, mile after mile, day after day.

Stay tuned for our road trip gift ideas, like:

  • Practical car gifts they can pull out in case of emergency
  • Gifts that will keep them awake on the road with road trip themed entertainment
  • Even road trips gift that help them get the most out of each stop along the way

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

1. New Shades from Knockaround

High Quality Sunglasses That Won’t Break the Bank

Sunglasses are absolutely a road trip essential. When you’re driving for hours, for hundreds of miles of highway at a time, keeping the sun out of your eyes is the key to staying safe. So rather than popping down the sun visor and hoping that it cuts the glare enough, pick up a pair of shades from Knockaround. 

Knockaround is to sunglasses what Roku is to TVs – they use all the same high-quality parts as high-end luxury brands, but they cut out the middle man to sell them cheaper.

With a variety of silhouettes to choose from and designs in everything from sleek classic colors to bright fun ones, you’re sure to find a pair they’ll be happy to keep on their head or dashboard. Not to mention, Knockaround is always joining new partnerships to bring truly unique glasses to its customers – including present and past collabs with brands such as Care Bears, The American Cancer Society, Bob Marley, and the NHL.

Image Credit: PeopleImages/istockphoto.

2. Pep Boys Gift Card

So They’re Prepared in the Event of Automotive Difficulties

Text a Pep Boys gift card

When you’re heading out on the open road, it helps to be prepared. And that means more than carrying a bag of kitty litter in case of icy mountain terrain or brushing up on how to change a tire. They’ve probably got survival essentials like water bottles in the trunk already, so get them a Pep Boys gift card to keep them covered in case something more catastrophic derails their road trip.

Whether they drive over some glass and pop a tire, get into a fender bender or their battery stalls out, this gift is a practical way to show you care about their safety. With everything from tires to towing to car batteries available, Pep Boys will be able to help your road tripper no matter what the highway throws their way.

Image Credit: andresr/istockphoto.

3. Travel Journal

Give Them Space to Record Their Adventures So They’ll Never Forget a Detail of Their Road Trip

For many Americans, road tripping across the country is something of a spiritual experience, a bucket list item they finally get to cross off. There’s just something about experiencing the country from coast to coast or top to bottom that feels a little magical – the way plains transition to mountains transition to rainforest transition to coastline. 

Give them space to plan their trip and preserve every memory when you gift them a travel journal like this one from Papier. With room to record six journeys, this handy book will serve them well on this adventure and more down the line. They’ll record their favorite memories from their own perspective in the journal, scrapbook souvenirs, and evey play travel games to kill time on long journeys.

Image Credit: Suwaree Tangbovornpichet/istockphoto.

4. Book or Audiobook

Entertain Them With Tales of The Most Famous Travels in All of American Literature

Whether they’re holed up in a hotel until morning or sleeping in the backseat under a streetlight, there’s bound to be some downtime on any adventure. Keep the spirit of travel alive even in the dull moments when you get them one of America’s quintessential travel stories to read in the evenings or listen to by audiobook while they drive. 

American writers ranging from F. Scott Fitzgerald to John Steinbeck to Hunter S. Thompson have taken to the open road and written about the experience. These are must-read stories for anyone taking up the tradition of traveling across the greatest country on earth.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few road trip reads we recommend for any type of road tripper:

  • The Road by Jack Kerouac: The ultimate road trip story. Inspired by his own adventures, two friends take off on a cross country road trip.
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson: A wild and drug-fueled road trip through the desert to Las Vegas that isn’t for the faint of heart.
  • Travels With Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck: Yes, the John Steinbeck. Traveling the country he loved one last time.
  • American Nomads by Richard Grant: A nonfiction look about the country’s travelers and drifters by a lifelong essayist.

Text a Barnes & Noble gift card to complete the gift. With millions of books and audio books to choose from, they’ll have entertainment for their whole road trip and beyond.

Image Credit: Rawpixel/istockphoto.

5. Sheetz Gift Card

One of Our Favorite Brands, Where They Can Also Get Fuel for Themselves and Fuel for Their Car

Text a Sheetz gift card

With locations across the Eastern seaboard and mid-central US, Sheetz makes a great gift for any traveler whose adventures take them through the region. Based in Altoona, PA, Sheetz is founded on the promise of awesome made to order food, excellent service, and great rewards on fuel for cars and people 24/7/365.

Seriously, it’s like the best fast food restaurant you’ve had attached to a gas station with major savings and fancy artisan coffee and energy drinks thrown in. They can grab caffeine to help them get through a long stretch of road or just put some gas in the tank. Either way, Sheetz is a must-have gift card for any roadtripper traveling through Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, and more.

Image Credit: mladenbalinovac/istockphoto.

6. Portable Charger

For the Friend Who Wants to Upgrade Their Job

Not all portable chargers are creative equal. This one is eco-friendly, fast charging, and charges two devices at once, putting at the top of our list!

Image Credit: Andrey Deryabin/istockphoto.

7. Car Organizer

When you head out for a long car trip, you’ve gotta pack all the essentials. From clothes to safety gear to snacks, help them keep it all organized with this handy hex organizer that fits right in their truck. Whether they’re renting a car or bringing their own, this is a must-have.

Image Credit: Lightven/istockphoto.

8. Citgo

Get Them Where They Need to Go with a Full Tank of Gas

Send a Citgo gift card

No matter how well maintained your road tripper’s vehicle of choice is – how carefully the waxed, how meticulously they vacuumed the interior ahead of their adventure – it won’t take them anywhere without a full tank of gas. And with gas prices fluctuating wildly over the last couple of years, it can be a strain to fill ‘er up enough to get to the next gas pump let alone all the way to their destination.

Keep your favorite road tripper, well, on the road with a gift card to Citgo. Plus with Citgo Pay, saving money on gas and paying for their trip to the pump has never been easier. With a few taps on the Citgo smartphone app, they can pay the bill from the comfort of their car or while they’re pursuing the snacks inside… which means on a road trip, they’ll rack up tons of rewards!

Image Credit: M. Suhail/istockphoto.

9. ROAM Museum Membership

Keep Your Pals Out of Some Stinky Stituations 

Museums are a great way for road trippers to experience the culture of stops across the country. And for people who have a tight schedule to keep, it’s perhaps the best one-stop option. 

When you purchase them a membership to any museum participant in the ROAM (Reciprocal Organization of Associated Museums) program, they get free admission to not only their home museum, but admission and perks at other museums in the organization as well. That includes over 500 museums in 46 states and several countries, including big names like San Francisco’s Cartoon Art Museum, New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Pittsburgh’s four Carnegie Museums among many others.

Plus, a museum membership isn’t as expensive as it sounds. Typically, it costs little more than two admissions. And it goes towards supporting museum programs and preserving culturally significant art!

Image Credit: wdstock/istockphoto.

10. Visa Gift Card

Design a Gift Card They Can Use on Practically Anything

Build a custom Visa gift card

Still feel like you’re searching for the ultimate road trip gift ideas? Then consider building them a custom Visa gift card. Accepted anywhere that Visa credit cards are accepted, this gift can be used for practically anything they want or need on the road

Plus, in just a few clicks you can customize the gift card with a preset design or a photo of your own.Most customized Visa gift cards print the same day and ship out the next, so you’ll have this awesome gift in hand in no time. 

This article originally appeared on Giftya.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

Image Credit: FinkAvenue/istockphoto.

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Trae Bodge

Trae Bodge is an accomplished lifestyle journalist and TV commentator who specializes in smart shopping, personal finance, parenting, and retail. Trae has been named a Top Voice in Retail by LinkedIn and a top personal finance expert by GoBankingRates and Flexjobs. She is a contributor at Millie Magazine and CNN Underscored, and her writing and expert commentary have appeared in Newsweek, Woman's Day, Forbes, USNews.com, Kiplinger, Marketwatch, MSN.com, Yahoo Finance and numerous others. She has also appeared on TV hundreds of times; including Good Morning America's GMA3: What You Need to Know, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, Inside Edition, CNBC and local network affiliates nationwide.