- 1 A smaller, faster iPad
- 2 A GPS for future international road trips
- 3 A two-in-one power bank and phone charger
- 4 An insulated travel mug for less
- 5 An affordable travel towel
- 6 Small but spacious travel bags
- 7 The Best Gear for Your Road Trips
- 8 The Best Bike Racks and Carriers for Cars and Trucks
- 9 Should You Use Your Travel Credit Card Points for Things?
- 10 The Best Travel Credit Cards
- 11 Related
A smaller, faster iPad
Apple iPad mini (5th generation, 64 GB)
Deal price: $350; street price: $385
A tablet is a great travel companion because it provides (almost) endless entertainment options. Whether you want to binge an entire season of The Office, listen to a pre-downloaded playlist, or finally read your way through your Kindle library, the iPad mini can do it all. It’s a fast, easy-to-use tablet with a vast selection of apps—something you might consider a blessing if you need the variety to distract a bored kid/teenager/adult while the family is on the road for a few hours. Compared with our top pick, the 10.2-inch iPad, the 5th-generation iPad mini offers a faster processor and a higher-quality screen, and though it lacks a keyboard connector, the iPad mini is still a good choice if you’d like something that takes up less space and you plan to use it for entertainment or casual browsing. The 64 GB iPad mini is now on sale for $350, which makes this a great time to save some cash on a great iPad.
Read our review of the best iPads.
A GPS for future international road trips
TomTom Go 520 GPS
Deal price: $149; street price: $180
You may be thinking: “Why do I need a car GPS unit when I have my smartphone?” Well, a dedicated GPS device makes navigating easier, works when your phone drops the signal, and lets your passenger use your phone for other things (like picking the perfect playlist). The TomTom Go 520 is a reliable navigator, offering a lot of the same perks as our top pick, such as a multi-touch screen, voice control, Bluetooth capability, and 3D displays. The TomTom is especially convenient if you plan on taking international road trips in the future, since it comes with free maps of more countries than our top pick does. Though its screen isn’t too sharp and its audible directions aren’t as precise as we’d like, we still think this model is a great GPS unit to have on hand, especially now that you can pick one up for $149.
Read our review of the best car GPS.
A two-in-one power bank and phone charger
Anker PowerCore Fusion Power Delivery Battery and Charger
$50; street price: $80
Unfortunately, the price of this item has risen and it’s no longer a deal. For more deals information, check out our Deals page.
When you’re bringing along only a small backpack on a trip, you should always look for opportunities to pack light. Even though a phone charger and a separate battery pack seem small enough on their own, they can end up stealing prime backpack real estate, and the ounces can add up. The Anker PowerCore Fusion Power Delivery Battery and Charger can help by combining the two. This versatile combination power bank and wall charger can keep your phone charged when you’re in the backseat and too far from the car charger, as well as when you get out of the car and start exploring—and then, once you’ve reached your destination, you can plug it directly into an outlet. The PowerCore Fusion has fast-charging PD and USB-A ports, and it also holds enough power to charge a MacBook. Though our guide writers thought this charger was too pricey and thus declined to name it as an official pick, this deal brings the price to $50, making now a good opportunity to pick up a single device that can charge your phone, tablet, and 30W laptop.
Read our review of the best USB power banks for phones and tablets.
An insulated travel mug for less
Zojirushi SM-KHE Travel Mug
Deal price: $22; street price: $25
A reusable travel mug is an excellent road trip companion. Not only does it save you money in the long run, but it also helps you cut down on the number of single-use plastic water bottles you go through. If you’re looking for something a little smaller that will fit more comfortably in your car’s cup holder or your backpack’s side pocket, the Zojirushi SM-KHE Travel Mug is now down to $22 in black. A former top pick, the Zojirushi offers a well-insulated electro-polished stainless steel interior that keeps coffee blisteringly hot for hours or keeps icy drinks cold all day long. Though it’s a little bulkier than our other travel mug picks, we still speak highly of the SM-KHE in our guide’s Competition section since it does a great job of keeping drinks at whatever temperature you want wherever you need it.
Read our review of the best travel mugs.
An affordable travel towel
Rainleaf Microfiber Travel Towel
Deal price: $10; street price: $12
If you’re traveling with small children prone to spills (or an especially clumsy friend), be sure to have a travel towel somewhere in your car to mop up messes. The Rainleaf Microfiber Towel is an affordable, lightweight option that works just as well as some of our pricier picks. It’s small enough to keep tucked under the front seat yet large enough to dry you off if you decide to take it camping. It can also stay sealed in its travel bag soaking wet for two days at a time without smelling rank, a huge plus on a longer road trip. The large-size towel is down to $10 in all colors—it’s a good find for anyone hunting for a travel towel. And if you need something larger or smaller, a few of the other sizes are on sale, too.
Read our review of the best packable travel towel.
Small but spacious travel bags
Travelpro Platinum Elite 21″ Expandable Spinner Carry-On Luggage (Shadow Black)
Deal price: $147; street price: $180
eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Travel Backpack
Deal price: $60; street price: $90
If you’re a chronic overpacker, you probably know the feeling: There’s always a panicked moment, right before you slam the trunk closed, when you’re sure it’s going to bounce back open. Investing in a small but spacious carry-on is the key to kicking those travel jitters, and the Travelpro Platinum Elite offers the best combination of size, value, dependability, and durability. As our top pick, the Platinum Elite 21″ is light and affordable, with smooth-rolling wheels, comfortable handles, and a hardy nylon exterior that can withstand wear and tear. We’ve found quite a few suitcase deals lately, but this discount in particular brings the Travelpro to the lowest price we’ve ever seen for it. If you prefer traveling light, you might be more inclined to shoulder a backpack than to bring along luggage. The eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender, now down to $60, is a roomy backpack that’s built like luggage, with great interior organization and plenty of pockets. Though it isn’t the most comfortable backpack, it is one of the most affordable backpacks of its size, even when it isn’t on sale.
Read our review of the best carry-on luggage and the best travel backpacks.
source: NY Times – Wirecutter