The open road, freedom to travel to wherever, whenever you please - a road trip is a great way to experience pastures new, as well as giving you a sense of adventure.
On the other hand, hours in a car can take their toll so it pays to take a few essentials with you to take any potential stress out of the journey. Here are the top five you shouldn't leave home without.
Find your way
Tech has taken over from traditional map-reading in a big way in recent years. Satnav takes some of the worry out of finding your way, and enables you to plan your route ahead of time if you're that way inclined. At just £119.99, the Garmin Nuvi 52LM equips you with speed limits, a lane-assist function to alert you when your turning or exit is approaching, while a sizeable range of extra maps can be easily added. Meanwhile the Go Live 1005 from TomTom is more expensive at around the £240 mark, but does come with the advantage of a year's free live traffic information, as well as free map updates for a lifetime.
If you're taking a long journey, a roofbox is an essential piece of driving kit that frees up space inside, particularly useful if you're travelling with the family. At the affordable end of the scale, the Kamei Delphin 375 (£180) made the top five according to Which? thanks to its two-lock security and sturdy fastenings. For pure style, the slick and aerodynamic Thule Excellence (£799.99) is top of the list, and boasts a 470l capacity.
A few snacks and refreshments are an essential when you're on the road, and since there's nothing worse than taking a sip of tepid water while you're on the move in a hot country, a coolbox is a nice-to-have. The Campingaz Powerbox (£70) is specifically designed for camping trips or long journeys. It's powered by your car cigarette lighter (also features a mains connection), and can be used either as a chest-style cooler or an upright fridge, within its 24l capacity. Better still, its integrated battery control system means you'll never drain your car battery.
On the other hand, Outwell's Vacanz Coolbox also has a 24l capacity, can be used with both 12V and 230V power supplies, and has the ability to keep stuff warm as well as cold.
Unless you're planning on being 'offline' on your hols, the chances are you've got more than one piece of kit with you on your road trip. And keeping a laptop, kettle, smartphone and iPod charged while you're on the move requires a power inverter. A road trip must-have, it enables you to keep all your gadgets going, either in-car or hooked up to the battery. The Worldwide Travel Adaptor from Maplins is priced at just £17.99 and features two USB sockets, while the more expensive Sealey PI300 (£33) has leads for both the cigarette lighter socket and the car battery.
It doesn't matter whether you're camping or are simply on the road, you'll almost certainly be glad you brought a torch along at some point. The compact and lightweight Coleman LED Flashlight (£24.99) is the ideal glove box companion, offering an ultra-bright light in all weathers. But if you fancy spending a few evenings under the stars and don't want to worry about dead batteries, opt instead for the Wind-up Lantern (£19.99) from Clifford James. With just 30 seconds of winding, you'll have 20 minutes-worth of light, no matter where you are.
Do you regularly take road trips? What are your must-haves for long journeys? Leave your comments below...