Planning a road trip? Don’t take off without these gadgets

flipboard roadtrips

What is summer without a road trip (or two or three)? Flying somewhere new has its rewards, but there’s nothing like a road good road trip. Road tripping has certainly gotten insanely easy since the days you had to bust out a paper map, but there are a few things to add to your checklist before taking off to help make sure the road is that much smoother.

Plantronics Marque 2 M165 Bluetooth headset ($60)

plantronicsHaving a hands-free way to take phone calls is important when you’re on a road trip. (Unless you’re okay with powering down your phone or just letting the call slide until you hit the next rest area.) The Marque 2 is insanely lightweight and has an iPhone-esque design, noise-canceling technology that works well, and comes with flexible, silicon eartips to maximize comfort. Its battery can last 11 days on standby or up to 7 hours of active talking. And if you’re having trouble finding your headset, there is an app — Android-only — that will help you track it down.

SuperTooth HD ($130)

supertoothEarpieces aren’t for everyone, and if you hate them, there are other hands-free options. With the SuperTooth HD, you’ll get standard easy-to-access phone answering at the push of a large button, with voice-activated dialing. But beyond phone calls, this clip-on Bluetooth device is perfect for anyone who really needs to stay connected on the road. It can read and send texts and email, plus it keeps your social circle updated via Facebook and Twitter posts … all done by voice. (Note: reading incoming texts and emails is limited to Android and Blackberry phones.) You can expect as much as 20 hours of talk time or 41 days of standby in between charges.

Griffin SmartTalk Solar ($70)

griffin-smarttalkDon’t need all the options as the aforementioned? Then save a little green with this simpler, solar powered hands-free speakerphone. The device stays fastened to your car’s windshield via suction cups, and automatically recharges itself as it soaks up solar energy. (Don’t worry if you have a serious run-in with crappy weather; there’s a back-up USB car charger, so you won’t be totally screwed.) With just four buttons — one for call answering/waiting, volume up, volume down, and mute — it’s sure to keep your eyes on the road, where they should be.

Joby GripTight GorillaPod Stand ($30)

tripodIf you’re taking a road trip, you’d be silly to just pass over everything that’s between your start point and your destination. That’s half the fun! (Give up a chance to see Foamhenge? No way! Wanna roll on up to the largest ball of stamps? Yes, you do.) But capturing all this roadside fun without leaving anyone out of the photo is a challenge. This mini tripod has flexible legs that can work as a normal tripod, bend to grip onto something, or even stick to a metal surface because the legs are filled with magnets. The spring loaded grip holds onto your phone tightly, provided it’s between 2.1–2.8 inches wide (most phones are).

Bracketron Mi-T Grip Mount ($30)

bracketronSure, any GPS system you buy comes with its own windshield/dash mount, but let’s face it: you’re probably going to use your phone to make your way from point A to point Z. There are plenty of universal mounts out there, but we’re particularly fond of the Mi-T Grip Mount, both for its affordability and ability to stay adhered to both smooth and textured surfaces. The adjustable arms can expand from 2.25 inches to 3.5 inches, so they’ll fit just about any phone.

TYLT Y-Charge Dual USB Car Charger ($25-$35)

TYLT-Y-Charge-4Using your phone as your primary GPS will take a toll on its battery. The sleek Y-shaped charger plugs into your car’s 12V outlet. Its two prongs can be used to charge your mobile device via USB plug. (The 2.1 version can simultaneously charge two smartphones; the 4.2 version can do the same as the latter, or power up a single tablet.)

Arkon Universal Tablet Headrest Mount ($40)

car-mountRoad trips are fun, but long stretches of highway can make for some restless kids. Yeah yeah, we know: back in the day, kids survived. But let’s be real: you wish you had cool crap to make a boring road trip zip by faster. It beats a slew of sing-alongs. To deal with the kids, strap one of these mounts to the back of your seat, provided it has a 2-post headrest, and dock your favorite tablet. It supports just about any 7–12-inch device. Then, fire up a movie, and enjoy a blissfully quiet trip. (Annoying dialogue from a movie you’ve had to watch 30 times notwithstanding.)

Frontgate Rechargeable LED Emergency Batons/Road Flares ($100)

frontgateBreaking down on the side of the road sucks. Breaking down on the side of a dark, unlit road sucks even harder. Once upon a time, traditional flares may have been okay, but hey, when you can upgrade, why not? (Oh, these are also a whole hell of a lot safer to turn on…plus, they’re reusable.) One kit includes three flares — visible from as far as 1/2 mile away — two tripod mounts, and a case that also serves as a charging pod. Speaking of which, charging can be done via 120V wall charger, 12V car charger, or USB charger.

Product Review

Grins come standard: Mazda's 2019 MX-5 Miata will plaster a smile on your face

We take Mazda’s updated 2019 MX-5 Miata on a road trip from San Luis Obispo to San Francisco to experience the updates. With a revised engine and more power, the already awesome Miata gets even better.

A dead pixel doesn't mean a dead display. Here's how to repair it

Dead pixel got you down? We don't blame you. Check out our guide on how to fix a dead pixel and save yourself that costly screen replacement, or an unwanted trip to your local repair shop.
Product Review

You don't want a 360-degree dashcam, and this is why

What can 360° video do for your car? In the case of the new Waylens Secure360 dash camera, it watches for intruders and attempts to provide a complete picture of both the interior and exterior of your ride.

Airbnb wants to make it much easier for you to plan a trip with your buddies

Airbnb is planning a bunch of new features that'll make arranging trips with friends and family a much more collaborative experience. It includes a way to add co-travelers to a trip so you can more easily develop an itinerary.
Product Review

From its stunning screen to its slick S-Pen, Samsung's Note 9 is a masterpiece

It’s jaw-dropping how much tech Samsung has fit inside the Galaxy Note 9. It’s one of Samsung’s largest phones ever thanks to its 6.4-inch screen, and the S Pen is better than ever.

Google confirms it still tracks users who turn Location History off

Google is tracking your location -- even when you tell it not to. According to an investigation by the Associated Press, Google services store location data, regardless of whether privacy settings claim otherwise.
Home Theater

Crazybaby’s Air 1S true wireless earbuds won’t make you look like a dork

Audio technology company Crazybaby has launched the Air 1S true wireless earbuds, offering considerable connectivity improvements over previous models while retaining the sleek style and supreme comfort.

Is your smartphone frozen? Here's how to reset your iPhone

You can do a lot with an iPhone, but if you ever run into an issue with it, the first thing you should do is restart it. In this guide, we tell you how to reset your iPhone, and explain how it differs from a factory reset.

The HTC U12 Plus is now available in color-shifting Flame Red shade

HTC has released some pretty great flagship phones in the past few years, and it's now aiming to follow up with another one. After plenty of rumors and leaks, the company has finally taken the wraps off of the new HTC U12 Plus.

A subway passenger may have snagged a shot of the upcoming Pixel 3 XL

It hasn't been too long since Google launched the Pixel 2, but it's already gearing up for the next iteration, the Google Pixel 3. Here's everything we know about the upcoming phones so far.

HMD may announce the U.S. release of the Nokia 6.1 Plus next week

It's shaping up to be a big year for HMD. After announcing five phones at MWC earlier this year, the handset manufacturer is reportedly bringing another budget phone, the Nokia 6.1 Plus, to the U.S.

Newly leaked photos show a fully functioning Motorola One Power

Many of us have come to know and love Motorola's extensive lineup of budget phones. But Motorola makes some pretty awesome midrange smartphones as well. And it looks like we're about to see its next phone, the Motorola One Power, very soon.

How to find a lost phone, whether it's Android, iPhone, or any other kind

Need to know how to find a lost phone? Here, we’ll help you locate your lost or stolen phone using both native and third-party apps and services, whether it’s a smartphone or an older variety.
Product Review

Sony's underwhelming XZ2 Premium makes a better camera than a phone

Sony’s third flagship phone of 2018 is its first to ever feature a dual-camera lens. The Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium can capture ultra-low-light video far better than the iPhone X or Galaxy Note 9, but is it worth the high cost?