Road Trip Technology: The gear I need for long distance travel

People wearing glasses on car wheels - Road Trip Tech 2022

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Recently, my partner and I went on a road trip to the east coast of the United States. We stopped at several points on the way to meet family and friends. However, I did not take time off from work on the road. I have worked in the car in my regular time. The only way I can pull this off is by having the right road trip technology!

See also: The best car security cameras

Some of the technology in my bag was pretty obvious, like my smartphone, laptop, various wires, and so on. There were some items, though, I don’t see many people traveling with. Some of these things have made my trip – and working from the passenger seat – much easier.

Below, you’ll find the road trip technology from Connecticut to South Carolina and back again. Hopefully, this list will make your next long journey less stressful.

Multi-port GaN charger

SlimQ 100W GaN charger on a table.

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

There is only so much space in my backpack. If I pack every charger for every gadget, I’ll take up a lot of unnecessary space. A GaN charger solves this problem by allowing me to charge each major technology product at once. And yes, that includes my laptop!

Hold on: What is GaN and what does it mean for your technology?

Specifically, I used the SlimQ 100W charger ($ 60). It has two USB-C ports and two USB-A ports and is still relatively travel-friendly in size. The four ports allow me to charge my laptop, smartphone and headphones at once using only one outlet. This allowed me to leave my huge laptop charger at home, saving some backpack real estate.

GaN chargers aren’t cheap, but their prices have already dropped slightly The SlimQ unit I own may not work for you, but we’ve reviewed a few more, such as the Elecjet X21 ($ 38). Shop around to find something you like.

Travel size extension cord

NTonPower portable power strip in hand.

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Having a good GaN charger is only half the battle. It’s easy to find an open outlet to charge my gear when I go to sleep, but what if I have to work in an unfamiliar place and an outlet isn’t close enough for my relatively small USB cable? That’s where an extension cord comes in, and AntonPower completes the job when the portable power strip ($ 20) is quite compact.

The cord is 15 inches long, which is not too small to be useful but does not add too much bulk to my bag. It adds some extra plugs and USB ports making it a nice touch with multiple color options available such as black, white and even red.

The only real downside is that this strip provides zero growth protection. This means you should avoid using this as a power spike in the long run and your gear could be toasted. However, it works well enough to bring a wall outlet closer to your temporary workplace.

PD-compliant power bank

Creve Plus Pro Power Bank

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The GaN charger and miniature power strip were very useful when we were stopped somewhere. However, when I was actually in the car I needed something to keep my gear top up without entering the outlet.

This is why a large, high-speed power bank with multiple ports is an essential road travel technology. To put it bluntly, a power bank alone is not enough. You need something that can charge a laptop, so it needs to have lots of milliampere-hours (mAh), power delivery (PD) support, and be fast enough to meet the speed demands of a laptop (usually a minimum of 45W). If you do not have a competent power bank in this regard, you will not be able to juice your laptop on the go!

Related: All you need to know about USB power delivery

Similarly, the power bank requires multiple ports and one of them should be USB-C. There are plenty of power banks in the market that meet these needs, but I used the Crave Plus Pro ($ 100). It charges my Dell XPS 13K at 45W and has a 20,000mAh capacity, which is enough to fully charge the laptop and then some. You should shop around, and find one that works best for you. Just make sure it is fast enough to charge your laptop and has enough mAh to fully charge it and still have some left over for your other gadgets.

Travel laptop desk

A woman is sitting on her lap with a Lampule lap desk, a Dell laptop upstairs.

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

In the car, you probably have to keep your laptop on your knees. It is bad for various reasons. First, your laptop fans will have a hard time keeping your device cool because your pants will block airflow. Second, your feet will get hot for this same reason. Third, keep your neck under constant pressure by looking down at the screen.

A travel laptop desk will solve these three problems – or at least alleviate them. The Lamouple Lap Desk ($ 34) works well for me because it’s small, easy, and folds for easy storage when not in use.

This desk works well not just in cars, but anywhere. If you are stuck in a coffee shop and all the tables are occupied, this will work for you. Similarly, if you are stuck on a sofa at a friend’s house while stopping on the street. This will help your productivity as well as your neck.

Noise-canceling headphones

Sony WH-1000XM4 Noise Canceling Headphones in Full Yellow Background.

Adam Molina / Android Authority

My partner has been driving a lot on this road trip. While she was driving, it would not be right to ask her to turn off her music or stop her podcast so that I could concentrate on my work. In addition, street noise can be quite confusing.

I have a pair of Nothing Year 1 ($ 100) earbuds. Obviously, they don’t cancel out the XM4 as well as the surround sound, but they are definitely cheaper.

We have plenty of guidelines for sound-canceling headphones and earbuds, so consult them to help you find the best fit for your needs and budget.

Percussive therapy gun

Theragun Elite in hand

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

No matter how much care you take to stay comfortable during a road trip, you are inevitably going to shrink and bruise after six hours in one place. Once you reach your destination, you want to overcome those obstacles and wounds! But it is not possible to do full-body massage at every stop.

Enter a percussion therapy gun. We have a Theragun Elite ($ 399), which is Tesla in this product division. It works wonders on your back and neck and was invaluable during this road trip. Battery life is great, there are many modes and head options and it has a helpful travel case.

However, there are plenty of competitive devices on the market that will save you some cash. No matter who you go with, you will be incredibly grateful that you brought it with you.

Road Trip Technology: Miscellaneous

The top six products are things you may not think of when preparing for your next road trip. However, many more things should be packed in your bag. Here are some of my favorites, including the gear bag itself.

  • Peak design everyday backpack ($ 330) – This is my daily carry. It literally fits everything I need for my job and looks great to do. It is very expensive but comes with a lifetime guarantee, which is almost unheard of nowadays.
  • Flint Retractable Lint Roller ($ 10) – Getting stuck in the car all day will inevitably become messy as you will fall to pieces on your own. This tiny lint roller is cheap and will make sure you are ok before you reach your destination.
  • Car phone mount ($ 24) – This is a clear requirement not only for road trip technology but also for every car that does not have Android Auto, Apple’s CarPlay, etc.
  • Wired earbuds ($ 22) – You don’t want to be stuck with headphones that run out of juice. You need to be prepared if you lose or break your fancy headphones. A cheap set of USB-C headphones will work on both your phone and laptop.
  • Phone tripod ($ 45) – Like headphones, you don’t want to find that your laptop has no power left and you need to manage a critical zoom call. Bring a small smartphone tripod so you can look professional even if your laptop is dead.

These are my essential road trip technology items. Do you have anything that you wouldn’t leave home without a long trip? Let us know in the comments.

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