Travel Gear

Road Trip Essentials for a Great Trip

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With traveling still looking a little different this year, road trip popularity will probably continue to rise. Road trips can be great because they offer you flexibility with your travel and give you the opportunity to see things you wouldn’t if you were flying to your destination.  If you’re traveling with someone, hopefully, you really like each other! That’s probably the most important part!  If I’m with someone on a road trip, it’s usually my mother, but I also don’t mind them on my own.  Now, what do you need to pack for a road trip? It’s not as simple as just tossing your suitcase in and going. I mean, you could do that, but it won’t be as safe or fun as it would be if you did some planning! So here are over a hundred items you may need with you on your road trip!

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Now, I don’t do many road trips with children, so if you have some, I can tell you that you’ll need a few other things.  Since I have no experience with that I’m not really listing anything specifically for children.

Road trip essentials

The Basics

You would think these things would be no-brainers and I shouldn’t have to mention them, but you would be surprised at some people!

  • Auto insurance information
  • Car registration
  • Car manual
  • Roadside assistance information
  • Driver’s license
  • Spare keys
  • Cash/change

For the Car

  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Extra oils / fluids
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Window breaker
  • Trunk organizer
  • Emergency Car Kit
    • Jumper cables & portable jumper
    • Road flares
    • Tire inflator
    • Flashlights
    • Spare tire/jack and tire iron
    • Tire patch kit
    • Pocket knife/utility tool
    • Water bottles/jugs
    • Whistle
    • Warning triangle
    • Gas can
    • Fire extinguisher
    • Solar charger
  • Emergency items for cold weather (in addition to the list above)
    • Ice scraper

Obviously, if you’re on a Florida Key’s road trip it’s a little different than driving through Minnesota! During the winter here in Iowa, I usually have a good amount of these items in my car even when I’m just driving the 30 minutes to my mom’s house.  It can get cold here and I would hate to be stuck along the highway without some of these things!

Winter trips

Things for when you make a stop on your road trip.

  • Febreeze – Because it can get stinky if you’re in there for a while!
  • Picnic blanket – Just in case you want to stop and enjoy your lunch outside in a park.
  • Umbrella – If you need to run into the gas station or a restaurant you don’t want to get soaked.
  • Sunshade – For when you’re parked so that your car doesn’t get stupid hot and you burn your legs on your chair when you get back in.
  • Trash container – Something designated for your trash so it doesn’t end up everywhere.
  • Paper towels – In case you spill your soda or to use while you’re eating.
  • Facial tissues
  • Wet wipes – These are so helpful to clean up after eating. Nowadays having disinfectant wipes is a must! I have individually wrapped ones that are always in my purse and car!
  • Toilet Paper – Just in case the rest stop you visit doesn’t have any, or you have to make an emergency stop in the woods.
  • First Aid – I’m a little crazy when it comes to these things so I wrote a whole post about this!
  • Navigation – Either in your car or on your phone. And make sure you have your destination information!
  • Waze – This app helps greatly with traffic! We use it mostly in/around cities.
  • Printed maps – Technology doesn’t always work.
  • Cell phone mount – Especially if you’re using your phone for navigation!
  • Phone charger – This would be a major bummer if you forgot this! I like my extra long one because it gives you more flexibility.
  • Playlist/audiobook/podcasts – Whichever is your fancy! I like podcasts and playlists, depending on how tired I am. Mom likes audiobooks.
Road trip essentials

For You

  • Raincoat
  • Sweatshirt – You’ll want to have something you can layer on.
  • Sunglasses
  • Lens cloth
  • Slip-on shoes – These are great for getting comfortable!
  • Ear Plugs
  • Sleeping Mask
  • Pillow
  • Blanket
  • Magazine/Book
  • Notebook/pen/pencils – So you can keep track of everything you come across on your adventure!
  • Motion Sickness Meds – I listed this in my first aid kit, but they’re so important to me that I put them again!
  • Hand Sanitizer – This is so important, especially these days! I have a bottle I keep on my purse at all times, and then one in the car.
  • Hand soap sheets – This is great in case a rest stop is out of soap, or if you need to clean up after eating.
  • Chapstick – This is the worst when I’m in the car for a while and my lips get dry and I have no chapstick.
  • Hand moisturizer
  • Face Masks – Make sure you’ve got enough. Either reusable ones or disposable ones, or both! And keep a paper bag somewhere you can easily put your dirty ones in!  
  • Floss – I have to keep this in my purse with me because I can not stand it when I get something stuck in my teeth. Drives me crazy!
  • Towel – Just in case you did get stuck in the rain, or in case you find a nice water hole you stop to take a jump in!
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Mini hairbrush/hair tie
  • Headphones/Ear Buds
  • Camera (extra batteries and charger) – For all of those awesome things you’re going to see along your way!
  • Portable HotSpot – If you’re going to need internet while you’re traveling, but it’s iffy if the locations your heading will have it, this is a must.
  • Portable charger
  • Electronics Organizer – This is great to keep track of all those cords you’ve got with you!
Hitting the road

Food & Drinks

  • Cooler – I like to use a soft-sided cooler because there’s just more flexibility with it.  When it comes to keeping it cold, I like to use ice packs instead of loose ice, and if something needs to stay more frozen, put it in the cooler first, and then put the ice on top of it before putting any other items in it.
  • Utensils – It’s always good to have some basic utensils with you. But then don’t forget special items. If you brought a bottle of wine for at night, don’t forget that corkscrew!
  • Caffeine – Whatever it is you drink make sure you’ve got enough of it!
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Water jugs
  • Overnight bag or packing cubes – these are helpful for those overnight stays on the way to your destination so that you don’t have to take your whole suitcase in!
  • Travel mug – for that caffeine, or hot cocoa!
  • Cooler bag for taking things home- I always keep an extra cooler bag in the car in case I stop somewhere that has something amazing that I just need to take home!

Check out these 7 reasons why you should consider a road trip to Corolla, North Carolina!

You need some delicious snacks for your road trip!

Obviously, you should pack whatever you would like to eat! Just make sure you’ve got some things with substance! This is just an idea of some of the things that I might take with me on a road trip.

  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Grapes
  • Carrots
  • Fruit Snacks
  • Crackers
  • Pretzels
  • Goldfish
  • Popcorn
  • Chex Mix
  • Granola Bars
  • Cookies
  • Nuts
  • Peanut butter/cheddar crackers
  • Jerky
  • Cheese Sticks
  • Dried Fruit
  • Kisses
  • Peanut butter cups
  • Twizzlers
  • Gummy Bears/Worms
  • Gum
  • Bread
  • Sandwich supplies – cheese, turkey, ham

This is kind of an extensive list of road trip essentials, I realize that. The majority of the things don’t take up too much space though, and you’ll customize it according to your own needs and the trip. So what are some of your road trip essentials?

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