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The 8 best travel gadgets to take your road trip to the next gear

Due to the coronavirus, more Americans plan to take a road trip this summer. We've curated a list of the best travel gadgets to enhance your drive along the highways and byways.

The coronavirus pandemic has certainly complicated matters for those planning summer vacations this year. After months of being inundated with graphics depicting the airflow of a sneeze aboard an airplane, air travel is at historic lows. At the same time, the national average for a tank of gasoline is hovering around $2 a gallon across the US. As a result, more people are interested in staying grounded and taking advantage of a good old-fashioned road trip. In fact, a recent report found that nearly one-third of Americans are planning to take a road trip over the next few months. Below, we've curated a list of some of the best travel gadgets to take your next road trip to the next level.

NOCO Boost Plus GB40

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IMAGE: NOCO

Many of us keep a pair of jumper cables around in case our battery dies, but if no one else is around to give you a few extra volts, this option becomes wholly useless. A self-sufficient recharging system is preferential for added security and peace of mind on the road. The NOCO Boost Plus offers drives up to 20 jumps on a single charge. The product is also exceptionally more compact than jumper cables and stows easily in the glove compartment between uses. With safety and reliability in mind, the NOCO Boost Plus is definitely one of the best travel gadgets for road trippers.

$99 at Amazon

LuminAID Lantern and Solar Phone Charger

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IMAGE: LuminAID

The fundamental principles of Murphy's Law are imperative for any proper road trip planning. If an automotive issue arises, it's always helpful to have a dedicated light source to properly illuminate the situation. That said, the LuminAID is a unique twist of the standard lantern. This device itself emits approximately 300 lumens and a USB port enables quick recharges if you need to phone a friend (or AAA) from the emergency lane.

A solar panel built into the top stores all of these ever-critical Jules in an internal battery. The battery can also be recharged via a standard USB for a little extra juice after sunset. The unit touts an IP67 rated meaning it is both waterproof and dustproof for added durability. This LuminAID model is also collapsible for convenient stowing in even the most cramped of road trip chariots.

$70 at Amazon

Ember Temperature Control Smart Mug

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IMAGE: EMBER

From memes to cross-stitched embroideries "but first, coffee," has literally and metaphorically been woven into the cultural patchwork of our times. Many of us shudder at the mere notion of starting the day without that faithful cup of coffee. One of the more lavish road trip accessories on this list, this smart coffee cup is designed to keep contents up to temp with plenty of digital touches to boot.

Ember estimates the onboard battery should keep contents piping hot for up to three hours on a single charge. This smart mug offers two ways to control the sipping experience: Quaffers can manually tweak the temperature using a series of input buttons along the cup or utilize the paired Ember app. The latter option allows you to customize preferential sipping presets for those so inclined.

$180 at Amazon

Cooluli Mini Fridge Electric Cooler

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IMAGE: Cooluli

On extended outings, it's usually a good idea to pack a few snacks and beverages for the road. The Cooluli Mini Fridge Electric Cooler is one of the more versatile offerings on the market. 
Ample interior space allows you to chill up to six 12 oz cans for refreshment on the go and the unit also functions as a food warmer for hot meals. The unit comes with a 12-volt car adapter for the cigarette lighter and AC and DC cables for use at home or the office.

$50 at Amazon

Cobra RAD 450 Laser Radar Detector

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IMAGE: Amazon

While we all realize speeding is certainly dangerous and against the law, many of us are prone to leaning a little heavy on the gas pedal from time to time. Radar detectors are a smart proactive way to reduce the risk of procuring a hefty ticket on your next road trip. Cobra estimates the RAD450 has a range of up to two miles in optimal conditions and spoken audio alerts allow users to keep their eyes on the road during use. This particular model comes with a one-year limited warranty.

$150 at Amazon

Garmin Speak Plus with Amazon Alexa

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IMAGE: Amazon

Many newer vehicles come standard with the latest front collision detection and lane departure systems, however, many older vehicles lack these safety features. This dashcam provides warnings to help avoid front end collisions and those related to inadvertent lane departures.
The unit also records trips and this footage could be invaluable for insurance purposes after an accident. Once paired with the Garmin Speak app, the device allows you to leverage Alexa on the road and stream music, digital assistant responses, and more through your existing stereo system. The unit also works with the Garmin Alexa Skill to provide turn-by-turn navigation instructions.

$130 at Amazon

iOttie Wireless Car Charger

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Image: Amazon

Cell phone mounts are virtually a must for any road trip, especially in vehicles lacking in-dash navigation systems. These helpful road trip accessories allow drivers to visualize trip information and accommodate hands-free communication. While there's certainly no shortage of phone mounts to choose from at the moment, this iOttie model stands out in a crowd. Unlike traditional mounts, this model also includes Qi wireless charging technology to give your devices a little extra juice without the cable clutter.

$50 at Amazon

AUKEY Mini USB Cell Phone Car Adapter

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IMAGE: Amazon

The latest gadgets and gizmos are a great way to add a little flavor to a trip, but it's important to remember the basic road trip accessories. That said, a mini USB adapter is one of the bare necessities to keep in mind. Onboard USB outlets are already at a premium in most vehicles and older models require adapters to accommodate our smart devices. Sharing a charging cable can be a pain, especially on extended outings and any opportunity to double-up USB charging space is a strong proactive strategy.

$8 at Amazon