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Ask Mechanic Shop Femme: What Car Accessories Do I Need for My Summer Road Trip?

Illustration for article titled Ask Mechanic Shop Femme: What Car Accessories Do I Need for My Summer Road Trip?
Image: Eric Odiin
Mechanic Shop FemmeChaya Milchtein is an automotive educator, writer, and speaker. She'll be here every other week answering all your car questions. Need to know what engine oil you need? She's got you covered. Wondering what gas your car really needs? She has an answer. Let's untangle cars together.

I have fond memories of road trips my family took as a child. We would pack up the car, jamming kids, food, luggage, and, of course, blankets into a minivan. Late in the evening we’d get on the road and drive through the night. From Wisconsin all the way to New York City, we’d sing, play the license plate game, and enjoy the time we had together.

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If you’re headed on a road trip to enjoy some socially distanced relaxation, here are a few accessories to make every road trip a breeze.

A Sturdy Home for Your Tablet

Illustration for article titled Ask Mechanic Shop Femme: What Car Accessories Do I Need for My Summer Road Trip?
Image: Amazon
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If you have kids and a tablet, a tablet holder is more of a necessity than a desire. By strapping onto the headrest, your kids can watch movies and cartoons so that you can drive in peace, at least for a short amount of time.

You can play music videos from your favorite tunes so you can listen along while your kids peep the screen. Win-win.

A Way to Keep Things Cool

Illustration for article titled Ask Mechanic Shop Femme: What Car Accessories Do I Need for My Summer Road Trip?
Image: Coleman

A cooler is always important for a road trip so you can avoid the fast-food joints at the roadside, but during the current pandemic, they’re even more essential. Having a cooler full of food allows you to spend as much time as possible enjoying the scenery and socially distancing. Not every cooler is built the same, so make sure to get one that can easily keep your food cold for days at a time.

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Some coolers can also function as portable warmers. If you want to pack up prepared food, you can warm them easily in a portable cooler/heater like this one from Cooluli.

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A Smarter Car Charger

This is a really cool little gadget I didn’t even know I needed. With Amazon’s Alexa, this car charger offers you complete voice control in your car. With a few words, you can get directions, play music, listen to audiobooks and even shop online via Bluetooth, CarPlay, or Android Auto. It’s also a double outlet fast charger, so you don’t have to sacrifice getting that rapid charge for the Alexa features or share your charging cord with a passenger.

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A Place to Rest

If you’re the camping type, this lightweight tent might be the perfect addition to your road trip arsenal. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s also incredibly well rated. It’s a low profile, 3-Person tent which ranks one of Tepui’s lightest and lowest profile rooftop tents.

The material it’s made of offers great rain protection and stability. Windows and doors with mesh let you enjoy the stream you park by, the smell of the forest or the mountains, or the summer rainstorm. The tent also comes with a 2in foam mattress. I don’t know about you, but I think I’d be interested in camping if I had a luxurious tent like this one.

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Keep Things Tidy

Another one for those of you with kids, this back seat organizer serves as a one-stop-shop for your kids’ entertainment. You can fill these with coloring books, crayons, snacks, and water bottles. Whatever your kids need, all in one place to minimize stopping and shrieking from the little rascals bored with your idea of fun.

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A Dependable Cargo Carrier

Illustration for article titled Ask Mechanic Shop Femme: What Car Accessories Do I Need for My Summer Road Trip?
Image: Roof Bag
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Depending on how far you are going and how much you like to pack, you might run out of room in your car. These cargo carriers are the perfect place to pack the overflow into and still bring with you everything you need. The Roofbag carrier is really versatile because unlike most cargo carriers it doesn’t require a roof rack or rails. Follow the easy to understand directions and you’re good to go.

A More Affordable Place to Sleep

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Turn your car into a temporary “hotel room” to save you a few dollars or offer you some flexibility during your road trip. This air mattress is designed to fit right into your back seat and includes air pillows and an electric air pump for easy inflation. Having such an easy way to get some shut-eye is perfect and a must-have.

A Vacuum for the Road

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Image: Dominika Roseclay (Fair Use)
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No matter how hard I try to keep my car clean, crumbs seem to get everywhere. It might be because I tend to eat on the go, but whatever the reason is, you know that you’ll be eating meals in your car while road tripping. This vacuum cleaner would come to good use. It’s easy to use and portable made for the cramped corners in a car’s interior.

However you decide to road trip, take precautions to follow all local, state, and federal guidelines to avoid spreading Covid-19 while also taking a few days to reenergize and take in some sun. Think through your trip and make such you get everything you need beforehand so you can make as few stops as possible.

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Chaya Milchtein is an automotive educator, freelance writer, and empowerment speaker who's made it her mission to engage and empower people in her community and beyond.

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