Nothing says adventure quite like a road trip — heading off with a rough plan but the flexibility to stop and stay as, where and when you please.
Here in the UK, you might hope to be driving along glorious coastal routes, heading for the mountains or just touring around an unexplored stretch of countryside. But what if you want to make the car your base and even sleep in it?
Gone are the days when your only choice would be to push back the seats and settle for a night of constant shuffling. Thanks to an ever-expanding array of gadgets, you can now lend your road trip a much-needed touch of glamour and comfort. I corralled my mother, found the best car for travelling long-distance and set off on a UK road trip to test the latest gizmos . . .
Harriet Sime and her mother try out Valiant’s portable barbecue that can be ignited in minutes
Lightweight and easy to carry, Valiant’s portable barbecue takes up only a small amount of boot space and can be assembled and ignited within minutes.
It’s simple to clean, rust-resistant and features a grill and charcoal burner set up high enough to ensure there’s no damage to the ground underneath.
Use it with the brand’s nifty fold-up bbq multi-tool, which has six utensils in one (tongs, knife, spatula, fork — and wine and beer bottle openers). Price: £49.99; £19.99 (valiantfireside.com)
EAT WELL ON A RAINBOW RUG
This woollen rainbow stripe picnic blanket can be rolled up neatly and secured and carried with a brown leather handle
This woollen rainbow stripe picnic blanket is ideal for spreading on the ground when you pull up for lunch.
Or it can cover knees or shoulders when the sun goes down.
It can be rolled up neatly and secured and carried with a brown leather handle. Price: £124 (tollymcrae.co.uk)
YOUR MOBILE LAUNDRY
The portable Scrubba wash bag requires nothing but washing liquid, water and three minutes of elbow grease
Pack less and save money by doing your laundry on the go.
The portable Scrubba wash bag requires nothing but washing liquid, water and three minutes of elbow grease.
Dirt is removed inside the lightweight bag by rubbing clothes against hundreds of nodules that work like an old-fashioned washboard. Price: £45 (thescrubba.com)
STAY COOL (OR WARM)
The Cooluli Classic Series Electric Cooler and Warmer is able to cool or warm food
The Cooluli Classic Series Electric Cooler and Warmer is able to cool or warm food and drink at the switch of a button.
It plugs into the cigarette lighter and fits nicely on the back seat of a car (it comes with a 6ft lead), so you can enjoy refreshing drinks by the roadside or keep food warm until you reach your final destination.
Available in white, black, pink or turquoise. Price: £66 (cooluli.com)
ASLEEP IN THE WHEELS
Garciakia’s inflatable double bed is designed to fit in the rear seats of an SUV
When you’re on the road for hours on end each day, getting a good night’s sleep is essential so you’ll need to be as comfortable as possible.
Garciakia’s inflatable double bed is designed to fit in the rear seats of an SUV.
It’s made with flocked material for extra comfort, has two inflatable pillows and can be used as a chair. Price: £28.28 (Amazon.co.uk)
COFFEE ON HAND
This portable coffee machine plugs into the car cigarette lighter and can make cappuccino, Americano and hot chocolate
Nothing happens before coffee for many of us — except perhaps, when we’re travelling, a desperate search for somewhere that sells our morning caffeine fix.
This portable machine ensures delicious coffee at the click of a button, wherever you find yourself waking up.
Plug the device into the car cigarette lighter, add water and a Senseo pod (options include cappuccino, Americano and hot chocolate) and in four minutes your chosen coffee is ready to pour into a glass mug. Price: £125 (handpresso.co.uk)
The ‘road shower’ attaches to your roof rack and uses the heat of the sun to warm the water
Imagine waking up and enjoying the comfort of a pressurised hot shower in the open air, right next to your car.
This ‘road shower’ attaches to your roof rack and uses the heat of the sun to warm the water.
It could also be used for rinsing dishes, a pressure jet to clean dirty gear or wetsuits, and a gentle spray for cleaning grubby dogs. Price: £295 (offgridgear.co.uk)
CAR’S THE REAL STAR
Choosing the right car is clearly a priority.
And for space, safety and luxury on the move, they don’t come much better than a Range Rover Sport.
This year’s 3-litre model features wi-fi, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, a heated steering wheel, keyless entry and ignition, rear- view cameras and roof rack mounting provisions. Price: £88,835 (landrover.com); also available to rent for two days from £590 (bespokes.co.uk).