AGirlsGuidetoCars writers offer their picks for holiday gifts this year.
Although many people name their cars, they don’t usually anthropomorphize them to such a degree that they buy gifts for their vehicles. Nonetheless, we compiled a list of holiday gifts for the car – meaning, gifts you can use in your car.
A trend is that travelers, whether in the car or the air, worry about charging their gadgets.
Fadra Nally said that “although more and more cars have power outlets in them, if you’re on the road without power, you can use a power inverter plugged into your car charger and now you can plug in your laptop!” This handy BESTEK device is great for those of us who forget to charge their laptops before hitting the road; your kids can watch a movie without draining your battery.
A must-have on road trips —or any significant time in the car—is being connected: to the Internet, to email, to information. While some new cars come WiFi-enabled and some phones have hotspot capability, Scotty Reiss prefers a seamless solution, AT&T’s new Unite hotspot: this small cube, which you can toss in your bag or into the glove box, gives everyone in the car (up to 10 devices) 4G LTE connectivity in the car (or, in the house, hotel, Grandma’s house or anywhere else you might go). Unite is available for a flat fee (about $150) and data by the gigabyte, or get the unit free with a 2-year contract. It’s especially great for families whose kids don’t have data on their phones, want to use gaming systems in the car or want to stream movies or do their homework on a laptop or tablet, because you know, that happens on vacation.
The Family Pack
Nicole Wakelin has her eye on the Lenmar Mutant 20,800 Battery Pack.
“The external battery with its 20,800 mAh lithium-ion battery and four USB ports is the must-have battery pack for family adventures. There are two 2.4A USB ports for charging the new iPad, tablets, and smartphones. Next you get two 1A USB ports for charging just smaller USB devices like iPhones and mobile phones. That’s four devices that can be charged, at the same time! It measures only 5.77″ x 4.67″ x 0.86″ and weighs 1.1 pounds so it’s very portable, and even comes with adapters so you can still charge it up outside the US.”
Fireproof entertainment for Kids
Meagan Shamy can attest: Nothing is worse than giving your kids a tablet or laptop to watch a movie in the car and seeing them step on it as they get out of the car. Or see them landing on inappropriate YouTube videos when they are trying to find Kid President videos; you just can’t unring that bell. Amazon takes these two considerations as a priority: The Amazon Fire HD Kids Edition ($149) comes encapsulated in a soft rubber case that protects it from shock or trauma; go ahead, throw it against a wall, step on it, abuse it and it’ll survive. A service called Free Time ($4.99/month) allows streaming of more than 8,000 kid friendly movies, TV shows, books, games and apps collected from the top names in kids entertainment, including Disney, Nickelodeon, PBS and more.
For the teen driver
Robyn Wright said, “Our teen girls like things for the car and the cuter the better for most of them. This interior gift set has cute tree frogs on the seat covers, steering wheel cover, floor mats, and shoulder strap covers. My teenager said several of her friends already have these and they are all just crazy about those little frogs. This gift gives them a chance to customize their car a bit and protect the interior all at the same time.”
Staying connected and safe
If you drive an older car that doesn’t let you pair your iPhone via Bluetooth, or you travel frequently and don’t want to spend time in rental cars figuring out how to pair your phone, the ClipSee offers a low-tech and inexpensive way to get high tech function. You clip the phone holder to your shoulder restraint and you get hands-free calling along with voice amplification. The ClipSee also can encourage teens to use their seat belts, since you need to have the phone close to your mouth. This gadget is my pick for stocking stuffers, the 6th night of Hanukkah, or any low cost gift-giving occasion.
Disclosure: we received samples of some of the items mentioned, but opinions are our own.