Commuting can drive even the calmest person crazy. Traffic, construction detours, bus breakdowns, weather woes, parking hassles — really, it’s a wonder any of us ever get to the office.
You can’t give a gift of a better job, but you can put your loved ones on the road to a better commute. Here’s a truckload of gift ideas that will calm down their daily drive (or walk, or bike, or train journey).
1. Smart travel mug
The heat is on. Any travel mug will let you take coffee on your commute, but this stainless-steel smart travel mug ($20) plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter and also tells you how hot your drink is.
2. Car beverage coasters
You probably use coasters at home, but in the car? These snazzily designed coasters ($5.50 for two, dozens of designs to choose from) fit right in your cup holders and soak up moisture and mess.
3. Juno Jumper
You can charge everything from your car’s dead battery to your cell phone with the Juno Jumper, ($100) and it’s no bigger than a smartphone itself.
Coffee spills are never fun, but on a crowded subway or bus, they can be disastrous. The anti-spill Magicup ($29) immediately snaps shut if the cup tips, so you may suffer a splatter, but never a full-on spill.
5. Better Brella
Whether you’re walking miles to work or just hoofing it between your bus or parking lot and the office, rain can be a drippy pain. The Better Brella ($30) turns traditional umbrellas inside-out, forming a waterproof cone when closed, keeping the water outside, not on your floor.
6. Tidy Car Trash Bin
Bags can leak or rip, but this not this heavy-duty compact Tidy Car Trash Bin with closeable lid ($10). Keep messy junk from filling up your trunk.
7. Tie and shirt organizer
Biking to work, or flying for a conference, and need to change clothes once you get there? This tie and shirt organizer ($24) keeps you looking and feeling crisp.
Infuser water bottle
Stay hydrated and make healthier choices as you commute with this cool infuser water bottle ($13). Jazz up your regular water intake by adding fresh fruits (and herbs, if you like — maybe mint) to the flip-top infuser, and you’re both staying fresh and saving on fancy bottled water.
It’s not safe to read and drive, so give your book-buff friends the next best thing with a subscription to Audible ($15 a month, gift subscriptions start at three months) so they can listen to recordings of books. Members receive credits monthly to spend on more than 180,000 audiobooks, from memoir to mystery.
Electric car blanket
Stay toasty even on winter days with this 12-volt fleece travel throw ($38) that plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter.
Dashboard grip surface
DashGrip ($8) is a simple, sticky pad that holds everything from your smartphone to your sunglasses right where you want them for the ride.
New York Times crossword subscription
This one’s for passengers only, or you’ll soon be jotting down a five-letter word for CRASH. But for those who ride rather than drive, a subscription to the New York Times online crossword puzzle ($40 a year) will keep their minds limber and their vocabularies vibrant.
Digital tire gauge
Don’t let a flat slow you down. This accurate and easy-to-use digital tire gauge ($10.50) even has a light so you can use it in the dark.
Heated ice scraper
Ice, ice, baby. Ice is nice in your cocktail, but not so great blocking your view through an iced-up windshield. Plug this heated ice scraper ($50) into your car’s cigarette lighter and it’ll soon help you melt away the pesky glacier so you can drive safely.
R2-D2 car charger
This is the droid you’re looking for. “Star Wars” fans will turn to the happy side with this R2-D2 USB car charger ($30), complete with Artoo-esque whistles and beeps.
AAA gift membership
Even the best car can break down, or be involved in an accident. The gift of a AAA membership (price varies by region) ensures your recipient has emergency roadside assistance when they need it, and plenty of hotel and other discounts for those times when the car’s cruising along just fine. (Here’s our guide to finding out if AAA is worth it for you.)
Bike commuters can convert their pedaling into power with this nifty item. Two to three hours biking with the BikeCharge Dynamo ($110) attached to your front wheel provides enough power to charge most mobile phones.
Elon Musk air freshener
It’s the perfect air freshener for your Tesla, but will work in other cars too. Elon’s Musk ($18 for three) is an air freshener designed to look like the billionaire Tesla and SpaceX bigwig Elon Musk. Its inventors claim the scent contains “high notes of Tesla leather, and low notes of rocket fuel.” Blast off!
Whether you need change for the toll booth or an order of French fries, this change-sorter coin purse ($25) eliminates the need to scramble for just one more quarter.
‘Star Trek’ car sunshade
When a boiling-hot parking lot is the final frontier, nab this “Star Trek” car sunshade ($20) showing Kirk, Spock, Scott and McCoy from the original series. Drive long, and prosper.
What would make your commute more tolerable? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.