7 Cunning Essentials You Shouldn't Forget for Your Next Road Trip

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The open road: Wind in your hair, miles flying by, the sense of adventure... you can't beat packing up your car and heading off into the great unknown – even if it is simply a weekend in Rhyl. But, as with any expedition, a road trip requires a bit of forethought for it to run smoothly – and you certainly don't want to catch yourself saying, 'Do you know what we should have done?' at any point along the way.

So, if you follow these seven priceless pointers, your next motorised excursion should be damn near perfect...   

1. In-Car DVD Player



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'Are we nearly there yet? Are we nearly there yet? Are we nearly there yet?' If you've ever embarked on a lengthy car journey with kids in the rearview, you'll know how important it is to keep your little – ahem – darlings occupied. If impatience and fidgeting sets in, they'll slooowwly drive you mental and your fun excursion munching the miles will descend into a nerve-shredding battle of wills. 

An in-car DVD player is a sure-fire way to stave off back-seat boredom, leaving you to drive in peace. And if you've got more than one potential little monster back there, of differing ages and interests, you may want to invest in two machines – and some headphones – to avoid squabbles over which DVD to pick.  

2. Cool Box



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Taking your own food on a road trip has two distinct advantages. Firstly, you're less likely to bankrupt yourself at a motorway service station and bathe in their faintly depressing ambience. And secondly, if you're heading somewhere remote – for example the Yorkshire Moors or Scottish Highlands – delicate tummies won't be left rumbling as you desperately search for anywhere to grab a bite. 

Of course, your lovingly crafted ham, cheese and pickle sarnies won't last long without somewhere chilled to keep them from wilting, and nobody wants to swig lukewarm pop that's been rolling around the boot for hours on end. So, grab yourself a cool box, and you can eat on-the-move like a road-tripping boss. 

3. Audio Books



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Once you begin to tire of the radio DJ's endless 'bantz', and the fourth cycle of 'Cool Car Tunez' on Spotify, popping an audiobook in your car's CD player is the ideal way to keep your ears occupied, and make the miles fly by. Crime thriller, fantasy epic, creepy horror, Harry Potter – the choice is endless. 

Just ensure that what you're listening to isn't going to hinder your driving: You don't want to clang into a lamppost because you're laughing uncontrollably at Steve Coogan reading out 'I, Partridge: We Need To Talk About Alan'.

4. Dual Car Charger



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These days, mammoth treks invariably involve charging your phone, particularly if it's the tool you use for giving you directions – a task that will drain the battery faster than a marathon session of Pokémon Go. But if the journey's long enough and the phone-wielding passenger-count is high, you're bound to find one charging source isn't enough: Someone's phone/tablet/Kindle/Nintendo DS will be perilously short on juice. 

To stave off a power-struggle, grab a dual charger to stick in the cigarette lighter and voila – no more panic as your battery percentage creeps lower than the fuel gauge. 

5. Vehicle Camera Detector



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Fond memories of your road trip shouldn't be tainted by a fine and three points on your licence. There are 1,500 speed cameras in England alone, all of them itching to catch you out. 

A vehicle camera detector on your dash will give you a helpful reminder whenever you're running the risk of getting clocked, thereby making you a safer, richer driver.

6. Roof Box



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If you're taking the family away for a few days, luggage space will be at a premium – particularly if you're trying to cram in endless camping equipment. So, rather than paring your packing down to nothing but the essentials, or sacrificing comfort to fill every nook and cranny with kit, get yourself a roof box.

It essentially adds another boot to your car, allowing you to pack your luggage with giddy impunity.     

7. Voice-Control Handsfree Car Kit



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Answer your phone while bombing along at 60mph and you're not only putting yourself and other drivers at risk; you're also likely to find yourself with three points on your licence and a hefty fine. If a ringing, unanswered phone drives you crazy, a voice-controlled handsfree unit will allow you to take calls without reaching for your device, or holding it to your ear. 

Just remember: If it's a particularly lairy acquaintance on the other end, and you've got kids in the car, you might want to forewarn them of the speaker-phone scenario – before they turn the air blue and scar your younglings for life.

Looking for More Top Car Essentials?



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Check out our guide to keeping kids entertained in a traffic jam, and don't miss these 11 tech hacks for your car.
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