9 Car Upgrades to Make Before Setting Out to Live on the Road

When you think of a long-haul road trip, the first vehicle that will probably come to your mind is a recreational vehicle (RV) or a van. But if you don’t own that type of vehicle nor want to rent one, living out of your car is another viable option—although it may not seem as attractive as living out of a vehicle made primarily for road trips.

But before you hit the road, taking your car to the shop for a major tune-up is a must. Book a brake service to ensure that your brakes are in good condition, refill your fluids, and have a mechanic fix any issues that your car may have. Then, consider getting these upgrades to make your life on the road much safer, convenient, and enjoyable:

1. Updated Globe Positioning System (GPS)<br></br

If your car already has a GPS, you can skip this item. But if your vehicle has no GPS or has an outdated one, it is high time to replace it with a modern unit. It can be easy to get lost when you are entirely unfamiliar with your surroundings. Sure, you can use your phone or a physical map to guide you, but having a GPS in the car makes it easier to navigate. Furthermore, a GPS is more reliable compared to a phone that can lose signal or a physical map that is difficult to read if you’re the one driving.

2. Backseat Bed

Consider uninstalling your backseats to make room for an air mattress for nights where you have to sleep in your car. If this is not an option, invest in a backseat bed instead that can turn the back of your vehicle into a makeshift sleeping space. However, sleeping in the backseat can be very uncomfortable, especially if you are on the taller side.

3. Car Trash Can

Stop using a plastic bag as a trash can in your car. Instead, buy a trash can that is specially made to hold trash inside a car without moving around. You’re likely going to generate a lot of trash while living out on the road, so it’s best if you have somewhere to store it safely until you can dump it at your next stopover.

4. Dashboard Camera

Having a dashcam is essential for every driver, especially if you’re taking long-haul road trips. A dashcam can record irrefutable video evidence if you get into an accident or witness illegal activity while on the road. And as a bonus, a dash cam can help you record your journey throughout your trip, which is especially helpful if you plan to commemorate your time on the road via vlogs or videos.

dashboard camera

5. Car Tray

When living out of your car, you are likely going to be eating inside it regularly. To prevent spills and avoid crumbs in your car, use a car tray that fits on the steering wheel and allows you to eat comfortably.

6. Auxiliary Lights

Auxiliary lights can provide extra illumination aside from your headlights if you plan to drive at night, especially through back roads. Thus, they increase your safety, especially when going through the night. Just make sure that the auxiliary lights you choose are not too bright that they cause glare to drivers on the other side of the road.

7. Alarm System

New car models already have built-in alarm systems. But if you are driving an older car or want extra protection on the road, installing a newer car alarm system is a significant upgrade.

8. Phone Mount

Of course, you need to have a phone mount so that you can see your GPS app and switch songs easily. Ensure that the phone mount you choose is stable so that it doesn’t move while you’re driving. Moreover, avoid placing your phone mount in a way that can distract you from driving.

9. Storage Rack

If your trunk does not have enough storage for all of your stuff—or if you plan to bring a surfboard, a bike, or any other large item on your road trip—a storage rack is an excellent investment. It allows you to store things on top of your car with ease, but, of course, you’ll have to ensure that you park somewhere safe to avoid getting your stuff stolen when you’re not looking.


Living out of your car can be a greater challenge than living in an RV or even a modified van. Nevertheless, it is possible—especially with these upgrades that can make even the longest road trips a lot easier, safer, and more convenient.

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