By Martha Thomas
Sometimes life calls for a road trip. Pack a heavy suitcase (or two – there’s no charge for extra bags). Put on some comfy shoes. Bring your electronics if you wish to stay in touch, but don’t let the cords clump up, and keep the fast food fingerprints under control with alcohol-free wipes. Take a break along the way for some rest stop yoga poses or rope jumping. And if there isn’t a facility in sight, by all means, make sure you don’t get caught with nowhere to “go.” Our selection of car accessories has got you covered on all counts. Next time you hear the call of the open road, you’ll be well prepared.
Cord Tacos to keep your CORDS in order, $28.99, amazon.com * GoGirl FEMALE URINATION DEVICE for when you really gotta go, $9.99, target.com * I-1 Analog INSTANT CAMERA, $299, us.impossible-project.com. * Keep things classy with the Twill WEEKENDER, $98, everlane.com.
Charge it! with myCharge POWER BANK, $49.99, amazon.com.* Tidy up with Metro Vac handheld VACUUM CLEANER, $89.99, brookstone.com * Infallible purse storage with the Handbag and cuff PURSE HANGER thegrommet. com/travel/handbag-handcuff-pursehanger * Stay FIT ON THE GO with Fitkit, $34.99, fitkit.com
Keep your screen squeaky clean with eco-friendly SCREEN WIPES, 7.99, spruceandco.com * If you’re a barefoot driver, slip in and out of Bucketfeet SHOES, $68-$74, bucketfeet.com * Document your adventures with GoPro CAMERA, $199.99, gopro.com * Get your shade on with the Adventure (below) $39, or the Sunset, $30, HATS, sundayafternoons.com. *
Once upon a time, the romantic tug of the open road came with a tingling sense of promise. These days, it seems, road trips are mandated by major milestones – say, packing up to take a kid on college tours, and eventually, to college. What kind of wheels best suits an almost empty nester?
Space enough for duffels and a dorm fridge? Enough pizazz to take our minds off teary goodbyes? Maybe the power surge and handling that will remind us of a youth of freedom and unlimited potential? And of course, integrated technology so we can accept a daughter’s phone call within minutes of revving up to head back home.
For a series of college visits last spring, we found the Lexus NX200t – a luxury crossover SUV – fit the bill. Our loaner’s vibrant blue exterior added a festive (and partisan) frisson to our trip north (Yes, Wellesley was on the list.). The shape is more sharp and refined than aggressive, just the way we want our college-bound daughters to be.
Inside, the fit and finish was all class, with warm umber leather seats, brushed stainless and black trim. The rear cargo area at 17.7 cubic feet (more with the seats down), has just enough room for a dorm room haul. I loved the contoured driver’s seat with eight-way adjustments, including a lumbar feature that gently pressed into my lower back when I wanted a minimassage. The seats were even ventilated (a feature I never thought I’d love – till I turned 50).
My daughter, of course, geeked out over the infotainment system, which includes navigation, Bluetooth and an eightspeaker audio system so she could scroll through her music collection as we made our way up 95. The mom in me appreciates backup cameras with parking assist and the blind spot warning system. Our trip in the Lexus NX200t was just a trial run.
A year from now, I’ll be dropping her off for real. I don’t know if there’s a car out there that will power me through that transition. Lexus NXT200t 5-door SUV in blue vortex metallic, base price $34,865; model driven $41,135 -M.T.