Simple Hacks To Make Your Next Road Trip A Breeze

Taking a road trip doesn’t have to cause stress. It should be a time to see some new and exciting sites while getting out on the open road either solo or with your loved ones. For years, people have loaded up their belongings and traveled the world from the comfort of their vehicles.

It can be quite daunting to think about going long distances in a car, but there’s no need to worry. These easy road trip hacks can help anyone have a safe and joy-filled journey on the road and beyond.

Keep Plastic Bags In A Tissue Box

a tissue box that says
Armin Weigel/picture alliance via Getty Images
Armin Weigel/picture alliance via Getty Images

While driving for a long period of time, people will most likely accumulate some trash. Some cars may come equipped with a little compartment for storing it, but that won’t probably be big enough for a road trip. All you’ll need to solve this issue is an empty tissue box and some plastic bags.

Before leaving, grab some of the empty plastic bags you have lying around the house and put them into an empty tissue box. Then, keep that tissue box in an easy-to-reach location in the car, so you can stay clean and organized for the whole trip.

Bring An Inflatable Pool Raft With You

sleeping on pool float in car
minakom1224/Pinterest
minakom1224/Pinterest

Those who are taking a road trip over multiple days and don’t want to spend money on a hotel should consider bringing an inflatable pool float to sleep on. These are portable and can easily fit in a tight space when they aren’t blown up. Air mattresses are either too big to fit in a car or cost a lot more than an inflatable pool float.

These can be found at stores such as Target and Costco, pool supply stores, or online. If you end up going swimming during your road trip you’ll already have a raft with you as well!

Shower Caddies Will Come In Handy For Meal Time

a green shower caddy with fast food inside
Cindy/Pinterest
Cindy/Pinterest

Road trippers who are short on time may need to eat in their car. Without the proper equipment, this can lead to unwanted messes and spills. This one gadget can help. A shower caddy works great for eating in the car because it has separate compartments.

All you need to do is place it in between seats and put each individual food item into its own compartment. These caddies are usually inexpensive and can be found at almost any convenience store or online. The handle at the top will also make it easier to pass around to other passengers.

Use Empty Coffee Creamer Bottles As Snack Containers

three coffee-mate coffee creamer bottles
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

It can feel like a disaster when you or someone you’re with spills their snack during a road trip. Snacks such as cereal or pretzels are small and can fall into the cracks of the car very easily. Then, getting them out of the car is a whole ordeal.

Something that can help prevent the mess is to use empty coffee creamer bottles. These usually have a re-sealable lid that can easily open and close. You can fill an empty bottle with the snack of your choice and if it falls over, nothing will come out.

Stop At A Farmer’s Market

a woman giving another woman tomatoes at a farmer's market
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

It can be tempting to get fast food on a road trip because it’s quick and cheap. Luckily, there is a healthy alternative. Many cities across the world have farmer’s markets where they sell fresh fruits, vegetables, and more. The prices aren’t insane and spending money at a farmer’s market helps local businesses.

Stopping at a farmer’s market in a new city can give you a glimpse of the culture. It’s also great for stretching your legs after sitting in a car for hours. You may even get to see some live music and find fun activities for the kids.

Put Portable Crates In Your Trunk

plastic storage crates in the trunk of a car
Livingly/Pinterest
Livingly/Pinterest

Packing can be one of the most difficult parts of any trip, but this road trick hack will make it a little bit easier. Using suitcases can be a drag because you have to lug them wherever you go and it can be hard to find specific items.

Instead, try putting some plastic portable crates in your trunk. These are usually see-through, so you can find anything in no time. They have separate drawers, which can be great to separate different types of items or even separate by person.

How To Make Dogs Feel Comfortable In The Car

a dog sitting on a blanket in the car
The Owner-Builder Network/Pinterest
The Owner-Builder Network/Pinterest

Traveling with a dog can increase the bond between an owner and their furry companion, but it can get messy. Most dogs will shed and get their fur on the seats. Their long nails may also scratch up the interior as they move around. One simple fix is attaching a big blanket to the seat.

Affix one end of the blanket up on the backside of the front seats and the other end at the rear of the backseats. This will work as a makeshift hammock where any dog can lounge and nap in a comfortable setting. It won’t hurt to shake off the blanket once or twice a day as well.

Use Dryer Sheets As Air Freshener

a bounce dryer sheet and box on top of a car dashboard
Using dryer sheets as a car air freshener/Facebook
Using dryer sheets as a car air freshener/Facebook

Sitting in a car for a long time doesn’t always lead to the best smells. Traveling with animals, eating food in the car, or being with someone who gets carsick can stink up the car in no time. Some may choose to get a car air freshener, but those can be very overpowering.

This is why it’s beneficial to bring some dryer sheets. You can either tie them around the sun visor or stick some inside the air vent to give off a subtle, but fresh, odor. Since most car fresheners are made to dangle from the rear-view mirror they can also obstruct the driver’s view.

Get Your Car Serviced

a mechanic working on a car
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Drivers need to be prepared before they start a road trip to avoid any potential problems. This is why it’s necessary for them to take their cars to get serviced and checked on the oil, tire pressure, battery, brakes, engine, and more.

AAA says that taking your car in for servicing before a long road trip can prevent most breakdowns. Servicing your car can prevent you and your loved ones from being stranded in an unknown area without a working car. It may be a little expensive, but will be worth it in the long run.

Carabiner Clips Can Hold Your Essentials

a metal carabiner clip with rope
Jean-Francois Cardella/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images
Jean-Francois Cardella/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

There are certain essential items that travelers will want to have at an arm’s reach. Things such as purses, umbrellas, and wallets shouldn’t be on the ground of the car or on an empty seat where they can slide off. Instead, you can attach them with carabiner clips.

First, snap them around the top part of the seats. Then, hook your important strapped belongings around the other end of the clip. They’ll be out of the way, but easily available as soon as you need to grab them.

Block Out The Sun With A Blanket

the side of a grey car with a
Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

People riding in the passenger seats usually don’t have sun visors to block out the light. This can give them headaches and make the car ride almost unbearable if they are left staring into the sun for too long. It can also be excruciating for babies who have sensitive eyes.

While buying a car window shade is one option, those can add up in cost. A simple way to fix the problem is grabbing a blanket about the size of the window, suction cups, and some string. Just punch a few tiny holes in the blanket and run the string through to attach to the suction cups.

Hide Cash And Valuables In A Safe Place

people putting money inside a water bottle
Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images
Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

The Insurance Information Institute claims that there are over 700,000 car thief reports per year. Plenty of thieves have found ways to easily break into cars and steal valuable belongings and sometimes even the cars themselves. This is why it’s necessary to keep track of your money and valuables.

It’s best to store them in an inconspicuous place where a thief won’t find them. This can include inside common objects such as water bottles filled with a dry, colored substance, or even in books. Try not to carry around large amounts of cash or valuables and keep them locked up when you’re not using them.

Download A Gas Station App

someone holding a phone in front of gas pumps
Christophe Gateau/picture alliance via Getty Images
Christophe Gateau/picture alliance via Getty Images

Anyone taking a road trip in a non-electric car should prepare to make several stops at gas stations. Since travelers will most likely be driving in unknown areas it will be best to download gas apps that show current prices and the distance to each station.

Some popular apps to choose from include GasBuddy, Gas Guru, GetUpside, Dash, and Waze. These apps can save drivers both time and money and get them to their destination as quickly as possible. It’s a lot more efficient than looking off at the side of the road in hopes of finding a gas station.

Why You Should Keep A Pack Of Coffee Filters In Your Car

coffee and water inside a coffee filter
Will Ireland/Future via Getty Images
Will Ireland/Future via Getty Images

Over the course of a road trip, it isn’t unlikely that the car will get a bit messy. Taking it to get detailed can be expensive and take time away from your daily routine. While on-the-go, it may be best to pack some coffee filters.

There are usually a lot in a pack, they are inexpensive, and can be found for free in hotels, motels, and restaurants. The coffee filters can be used to clean any dust, dirt, or other particles that may get stuck to the interior of your car.

Make Yourself A Seat Belt Pillow

people touching an inflatable seat belt
Karen Bleier/AFP via Getty Images
Karen Bleier/AFP via Getty Images

Sitting in a car for a long period of time can be uncomfortable and cause unnecessary body aches. If you’re a bit crafty, then this road trip hack should be a breeze. All you’ll need are some Velcro strips, a piece of fleece, stuffing, and sewing materials.

First, sew the edges of the fleece a little wider than a standard seat belt, so you can fill it with stuffing. Then, glue some Velcro strips on the back and sew on some pockets for a phone or MP3 player. Finally, attach the Velcro pillow to the front of the seat belt for a built-in pillow.

These Containers Work Great For Snacks

a red bait and tackle box with fishing equipment
Jeff Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeff Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Parents who bring their kids on a road trip should always make sure not to forget the snacks. Bringing snacks from home saves time, money, and will help ease the long trip for little ones. One of the most difficult parts of packing snacks is figuring out where to store them.

Plastic bags can get smashed and break open. If you happen to have a bait and tackle box or some sort of craft box with several compartments, they actually make a great place to put different snacks. The snacks will stay separated and won’t spill.

Pack Some Solar Lights

Japanese electronics giant Panasonic engineer Kiyofumi Abo displays a prototype of a solar lantern
Yoshikazu Tsuno/Getty Images
Yoshikazu Tsuno/Getty Images

There are tons of gadgets that can make road trips a lot more enjoyable and efficient. One thing that is good to have for a road trip is a solar light. These lights are charged by the sun and can be used for activities such as picnics, sleeping under the stars, or playing outdoor games after dark.

These usually range from about $25 to $100 and are portable, so you don’t need to worry about cords or outlets. Solar lights are also great if you have car troubles and need to see what’s going on.

Toothpaste Can Clean Your Headlights

toothpaste spread over the headlights of a teal car
Lifehack/Pinterest
Lifehack/Pinterest

It’s essential for drivers to have working headlights in order to stay safe on the road. While you may be tempted to buy expensive cleaning products, a common household item will actually do the trick.

First, wash the headlights with some soap and water. Then, cover the outer edges of the headlights with masking tape. Next, put some toothpaste on a microfiber cloth or rag and apply it to the headlights in a small, circular motion. Finally, rinse with water and let it air dry. If you have some car wax you can apply it the same way to prevent future damage.

Turn Your Car Into A Movie Theater

A man using an Apple iPad tablet computer whilst sitting in a car
Jesse Wild/Tap Magazine via Getty Images
Jesse Wild/Tap Magazine via Getty Images

Passengers would probably like something to do on a long road trip instead of just staring out the window. This is why people bring phones and tablets to watch their favorite movies and TV shows. Those who don’t want to spend the whole trip holding up their iPad by hand should try this hack.

If you are sitting up front and have a case that can fold, stick it through the sun visor. Those sitting in the back seats can place a hanging organizer from the backside of the front seats and slide their tablet or phone through the clear slots.

Cling Wrap Will Definitely Save The Day

a box of cling wrap with the plastic sticking out
Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images
Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Losing the lid from a drink can happen all too easily. This can lead to major spillage in the car and ruin the interior in an instant. Luckily, there’s an affordable way to solve this issue in seconds. Cling wrap can act as a lid because it wraps around any surface without letting anything escape.

In order to drink from a cup covered in cling wrap all you need to do is poke a straw through the middle. A pack of 400 sheets will only cost a little over four dollars.

Cookie Sheets Can Turn Your Car Into A Classroom

Freshly baked gingerbread hearts lay on a baking sheet
Frank Rumpenhorst/DPA/AFP via Getty Images
Frank Rumpenhorst/DPA/AFP via Getty Images

Not everyone has a spare lap desk lying around, but there are several alternatives. Those who want to write or color in the backseat will only need a baking sheet. It’s very likely you will have one of these in your kitchen or can find them for about five dollars in stores or online.

The metallic surface of a cooking sheet is also great for magnetic puzzles and games. If you don’t have a cookie sheet, the lids from plastic storage containers or a wide book can work as a desk just as well.

The Cheapest Car Hack Of All Time

Close-up of a smartphone displaying the Uber driver app installed on a magnetic dash mount
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Hands-free access to a smartphone is something that a lot of drivers depend on. While some may buy a mount where they can attach a smartphone to their dashboard, there is a cheaper alternative. All you need is an ordinary rubber band.

Simply slip the rubber band around the slots of the vent and wrap it around your phone. It may not be the most stable solution, but will hold your phone in place in order for you to get hands-free directions, talk, look up cheap gas prices, and more.

Have Your Car Smelling Fresh For The Entire Journey

colorful candles in a box
Stormi Greener/Star Tribune via Getty Images
Stormi Greener/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Sitting in a car for a long period of time can lead to some suspicious smells. Spills, car sickness, fast food wrappers, and more can create a horrible odorous environment that will have people wanting to get out of the car as quickly as possible.

In order to curb this, you just need some scented wax cubes. Place the cubes inside a jar and poke holes in the lid. This way, when the hot car melts the wax it will release a pleasant smell that will block out unwanted odors.

In Case Of Emergency, Pack This

worker holding a green first aid kit
Tom Lee/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images
Tom Lee/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

There’s always a chance something can go wrong on a road trip. It’s best to be prepared in case of emergency, especially in an unfamiliar city. This is why it’s crucial to pack a first aid kit equipped with medical supplies such as bandages, disinfectant, gauze, and medication.

Your car will need the same kind of care. Be sure to grab a vehicle emergency kit with tools and manuals that will help you in case something happens to your car. Not only are these kits great for road trips, but also for everyday use.

Drop A Pin To Avoid Getting Lost

person holding up a phone with a map
Olly Curtis/Future via Getty Images
Olly Curtis/Future via Getty Images

Remembering where you parked can be tricky, especially in an unfamiliar city. Smartphone apps have made it a whole lot easier to find particular places in no time. Google Maps and similar apps have options for users to drop a pin.

This means you can pinpoint your exact location on a map to save for later and track the distance between yourself and the pin. Once you type the address in the search bar and find it on the map, press and hold the screen to drop a pin. Finally, you can tap the pin to save it, get directions to another area, or share it with someone else.

How To Keep Your Hubcaps Shiny

A man polishing the hubcaps of a Cadillac car
FPG/Archive Photos/Getty Images
FPG/Archive Photos/Getty Images

It’s normal for hubcaps to fall victim to wear and tear on the open road. Some might think expensive specialty cleaning supplies are the only way to keep them looking shiny, but that’s not the case. There are some common household items that will keep your hubcaps looking brand new.

All you need to clean your hubcaps shiny is some dish soap and a sponge. Dish soap can tackle the heaviest of grease and dirt stains without ruining the metallic exterior. It’s best to clean them at the start and end of a road trip.

Store Trash In A Cereal Container

someone putting trash into a plastic cereal saver
Family Handyman/Pinterest
Family Handyman/Pinterest

Trash can accumulate very quickly during a road trip and it can be tough finding a place that can hold it all. Just using a plastic bag isn’t the greatest idea because it can get smashed and rip open. If you have a cereal saver, you can easily turn it into a portable trash can.

First, place a loose plastic bag inside the cereal saver, so the interior doesn’t get dirty. Since it’s made for cereal, part of the lid is able to open and close. The trash will stay put!

Make Sure To Do The Penny Test

pennies in a pile
Tim Boyle/Getty Images
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Before embarking on a road trip drivers need to make sure their tires are all set for the journey. There’s a quick test to check your tires that only requires a penny. First, place the penny, with Abraham Lincoln’s face upside down, into the tire tread.

If the rubber reaches his hair, then you’re good to go. If the rubber does not reach his hair, then you need to change your tires or have them checked to prevent malfunctions on the road.

Save Some Baking Soda For The End Of The Road Trip

a box of arm & hammer baking soda
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Messes certainly aren’t planned during a road trip but are bound to happen. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your car’s interior will be ruined forever. Something that’s perfect to use on car seats soaked with various stains such as sweat and food is baking soda.

Sprinkling baking soda on top of the seats can help absorb the stains and bring the interior back to its original freshness. Once the stains are soaked into the baking soda all you’ll need to do is vacuum it up. This hack usually works best with nylon and polyester car seats.

Cupcake Wrappers Will Fit Perfectly In Here

yellow, pink, and chocolate cupcakes on a plate
Tim Graham/Getty Images
Tim Graham/Getty Images

One of the most common places where dirt and grime tend to accumulate the most in a car is in the cup holders. Riders will often throw loose change and other miscellaneous items inside that can be filled with tons of germs and bacteria.

In order to prevent the dirt build-up, you can fill the cup holders with cupcake wrappers. The wrappers fit easily inside the cup holders and leave riders with plenty of space to put their tiny belongings. Also, since most come in a large pack you can switch them out to keep everything as clean as possible.