Travel

The car accessories you need to level up your next roadtrip

It’s not about the destination, it’s about being less cranky on the journey.

It’s not about the destination, it’s about being less cranky on the journey

(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

The thawing of the ice and snow means it's time to hit the road. But venturing into the great wide open can actually be quite cramped, messy — even smelly. Fortunately, there are some handy car travel gadgets and accessories that will instantly upgrade your next experience, which might even entice you to drive cross-country.

Seat organizer

When you were a kid, you had to stuff everything you owned into that one backseat pocket. This leather seat pocket organizer has a specific place for everything you and your kids will need on your trip. With tablet and smartphone storage, fold out table tray, umbrella, magazine, tissue box, snacks, cup, beverage and nursing bottle holders, you'll never have to search the backseat floor again. Each organizer is made of durable, easy-to-clean leather and installs quickly and snuggly with buckles and hooks, so you can keep it on your seats year-round.

Leather Car Seat Organizer, $26.99, amazon.ca

Car garbage can

Halfway through your trip, your backseat is usually a landfill of snack wrappers, receipts and empty bottles. Save yourself that hour-long car clean by staying neat while driving. This reusable garbage bin clips between or behind your seats and comes with 20 throwaway bags. It's waterproof and has a double reinforced lining and can also double as a food and drink cooler.

Car Garbage Can, $13.97, amazon.ca

Mesh pet barrier

If your backseat companion is of the furry variety, it may be best to keep a little distance. This mesh barrier measures 147cm by 94cm with adjustable straps to fasten to your rear seat handle bars and underneath your front seats, creating a divider that keeps your pet safely behind you. You can still clearly see out the back and the middle zipper door allows you easy access (for when you finally relent and let your dog on your lap).

Mesh Pet Barrier, approximately $33.42, formosacovers.com

Car vacuum

No matter how many organizers, bins and barriers you have, your car floor will ultimately hold some crumbs, dust and assorted dirt and debris. The 12V handheld vac plugs into your lighter outlet, along with a 15-foot power cord, and comes equipped with detail brush, LED light, squeegee, reusable, washable filter and crevice tool so you can get into those hard-to-reach nooks on the floor and in between the seats. The vacuum can handle sucking up both wet and dry items and packs away in a compact storage case.

Armor All Car Vacuum, $29.99, canadiantire.ca

Portable urinal

You might not ever want to have to use this product, but it might be a good idea to have it anyway. Anyone who's driven down a long Canadian highway with no rest stop in sight knows as much. These portable, sealable urinal bags hold up to 600ml of liquid and are designed to absorb and not leak. The entire kit is small enough to store in your car or in your backpack as a camping accessory.

Portable Urinal, $21.59 for 12 bags, amazon.ca

Magnetic phone holder

If you make multiple stops or often switch drivers, having to repeatedly lodge and dislodge your phone from a dashboard or windshield holder can be a pain. This holder has incredible magnetic power, with four magnetic plates inside and one thin magnetic plate for you to place in between your phone and phone case (or attach to the outside of your phone case), for a smooth hold no matter what the speed or terrain. The hold is strong enough that the phone can be displayed vertically or horizontally and the holder is universally compatible with most smartphones and mini tablets.

Car Vent Phone Holder, $37.93, amazon.ca

Coin side pocket

If your car seats and floors seem to collect more coins than the Trevi Fountain, this coin box is a necessary storage item. Easy to install on driver or passenger sides, it comes with 2 USB charging ports and an extra storage space for your keys, wallet or phone — making it a real multi-tasker. It's especially good for long trips with tolls, but also helps collect mini fortunes that would otherwise be hiding under your seat.

Car Coin Side Pocket/organizer, approximately $15.62, bsckjmall.com

Air purifier

You can start off with the cleanest car in the world, but after an 8-hour ride with the family, it might smell a little less than fresh. This air purifier and ionizer plugs into your car's 12V socket and eliminates odours, like must, smoke and food, rather than just covering them up. With no charging or cleaning required, the purifier is ready to go whenever your nose has had enough.  

HDE Car Air Purifier, $19.99, walmart.ca

Side sleeper pillow

The standard neck travel pillow is great, if you're a back sleeper. For side sleepers, who are more inclined to rest their heads on the window, this pillow made from organic, hypoallergenic memory foam, offers just the right shape and amount of support. With a washable, allergen-resistant polyester cover, storage pockets and elastic band to strap to your luggage or backpack, you'll now be able to catch a side nap wherever you roam.

Travel Head Side Sleeper Pillow, $43.99, bedbathandbeyond.ca

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