By Jamie Jensen
With the winter cold at our doorstep and the holiday season in full swing, now is the perfect time to start dreaming of all the fun, spring and summertime travel possibilities the New Year will bring. So don’t waste time and reward yourself, and your fellow road-trip loving friends, with my top 10 gift ideas this year. Also check out this list on Moon's Pinterest page .
1. National Parks Pass  $80—Travelers come from around the world to explore our beautiful National Parks, and for good reason: these public lands offer some of the most amazing scenery, spectacular landscapes and wide open spaces anywhere. Invest in a one of these passes, and you and everyone you travel with gets in free to more than 2,000 unforgettable places.
2. GPS  $99.99— While many of us nowadays rely on smartphones for finding our way around town, out on the road connections are slower and less reliable. A satellite-based GPS navigation system is still the best way to keep on the right path, and Garmin has some of the best.
3. Satellite Radio  (prices vary based on subscription)— Like local newspapers, the old-fashioned local radio station is an endangered species, and to keep yourself company on those long drives, ask Santa for a Sirius XM radio receiver. Besides music, Sirius is ideal for sports fans that are afraid to travel because they don’t want to miss a ballgame.
4. Twin Video Digital Recorder  $35.82—Especially good for travel with kids, an easy-to-use, lightweight, and fun digital camera is a great way to make and share some memories—without the risk of someone you love dropping your iPhone.
5. Windshield and Dash Mount for Cameras  approximately $12.00—This is a handy mount for handheld digital recorders so road trippers can make stop-action animations of their favorite drives.
6. 12 Volt Power Inverter Strip  $28.95—Keeping track of all the adapters and chargers for digital devices is a pain. Get one of these inverters and use normal 110V AC power plugs or USB connectors rather than hassle with the “cigarette lighter.”
7. Travel Journal  (prices vary)— Yes, Facebook and Twitter have made journal-writing anachronistic, but there is something about writing things down by hand that etches the memories more deeply. Plus, with a journal or notebook you can glue in all those oddball postcards you find along the way.
8. Books—Since their invention back in the 1450s, books have brought big ideas and hours of enjoyment to millions, and they don’t need batteries. My favorite road trip book is William Least-Heat Moon’s enduring classic Blue Highways: A Journey into America  ($10.87), first published in 1982.
9. Mad Libs on the Road  $3.99—Every road tripper has developed his or her own way to deal with the inevitable tedium. Of all the many great time-wasting games out there, none is more fun than Mad Libs, those fill-in-the-blank exercises in silly word play. This is one specifically designed for “Are we there yet?” moments.
10. Picnic Time Windsor Picnic Basket  $231.99—My favorite thing about road trips is the great variety of food out there, in diners and drive-ins across the land. As it did for Yogi Bear, food tastes best when eaten off the roadside or trailside in some unforgettable spot. If that sounds good, put this deluxe picnic basket at the top of your wish list.
Jamie Jensen, author of Road Trip USA , grew up in Southern California and spent his early twenties bumming around the country. Since then, he’s traveled more than 400,000 miles in search of the perfect stretch of two-lane blacktop. For more road trip guides, check out Road Trip USA Atlantic Coast , Road Trip USA Pacific Coast Highway , and Road Trip USA Route 66.