So whether you’re embarking on a Christmas exodus abroad or just driving round for a few minutes to your friend’s house you’ll still need to make the journey more bearable if you’ve got a boot full of presents and your family with you.
So here we are with our top pick of gadgets and accessories to make being in the car that little bit more bearable, whether you need help with where you’re going or some music to keep the kids entertained.
For finding the right route
Despite the fact our phone’s are handy little navigation systems nowadays many people still rely on a separate gadget to guide them to the right place. The Nuvi 1200 from Garmin not only guides you with its detailed and up-to-date maps, but its ecoRoute software also tells you the most fuel-efficient route for your driving style and specific journey.
If you’d rather depend on your iPhone to guide you (while using one of the hands-free options below, obviously) then there are plenty of apps designed to get you from A to B.
We like Waze (iTunes, Free), an app that provides you with maps as well as realtime data about traffic, roadworks and anything else that might affect your journey. If you’re looking for a more state of the art option then try the app from navigation experts TomTom (TomTom website), with TomTom HD traffic features and accessories to match.
For chatting while driving
You can just switch over to speakerphone and shout at your mobile, but even if you keep it supported with a stand you’ll have to do lots of messing around with your hands to get it in there at the right time. Instead invest in a hands-free gadget, which will allow you to speak while you’re on the go without the need for worry or hands that should be on the wheel.
Parrot’s Minikit Neo (Handtec £57.59) is a compact, voice controlled hands-free device and for something that doubles up as a speaker system too then try Jabra’s Freeway Bluetooth In-Car Speakerphone (Jabra, $129).
For playing music
Last week we pulled together our favourite portable audio devices, boomboxes and radios, so all of those would make great little in-car additions to any long journey.
We’d especially like to be accompanied by the Logitech Mini Boombox (Logitech, £69.99) because it’s just so portable, light and loud to boot.
However, if you’re looking for something REALLY small then Griffin makes a great little gadget called the iTrip (Griffin, $49.99), which is a powerful FM transmitter, allowing you to play anything from your iPhone or iPod really easily through your radio. You simply attach the device by the dock connector and away you go!
For quirky extras
The Grippy Pad (Firebox, £6.99) holds all kinds of gadgets in place. We think it’s particular handy for attaching an iPad to a cupboard for watching TV shows while you’re cooking, but it also makes a great in-car accessory if you need to talk to someone hands-free or get real-time sat nav directions fed straight into your ears without looking done or messing around.
The Breffo Spider Podium (Breffo, £14.95, see above) may look like a creature from Alien, but really it’s a handy stand and gadget attachment all in one. Its “legs” are completely flexible but also sturdy enough to keep your iPhone safe from falling or your iPad strapped to the back of a car seat so the kids can watch what they like.