Are you ready to embark on a thrilling long drive adventure through the diverse landscapes of the United States? If yes, then you need a road trip packing list!
Whether planning an epic cross-country road trip or a weekend getaway, knowing what things to bring on a road trip can make all the difference.
So, before heading out on your next road trip, let’s dive into this ultimate road trip checklist that covers important road trip essentials.
Road Trip Car Essentials
Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance
Before hitting the road, the first thing to do is to ensure your car is in good condition.
Key road trip car essentials include checking the oil, brakes, and tires to ensure a safe and trouble-free long journey ahead. Also, review your car manual for any specific maintenance requirements.
Spare Tire and Tools
Whether you plan to drive your own car or a rental car, ensure that you have a flat tire repair kit or spare tire just in case you experience a flat tire.
Tools such as a tire pressure gauge and jumper cables or a battery starter are additional useful items to have in case of car troubles. This trunk organizer is perfect for small spaces and can keep all your gear in one place.
Safety on the Road
Keep tabs on the weather forecast, especially if you will be heading out on a winter road trip.
Roadside Emergency Kit
Alternatively, you can download Google Maps for offline use.
Road Trip Apps
Fun fact: 91% of summer vacations are via road trips.
Road Trip Essentials: Important Documents
Ensure your car registration, car insurance, and driver’s license are current.
If you will be using a rental car, ensure the registration and rental documents are within reach in case you get pulled over.
Tip: Most rental car companies will try to sell you on purchasing their travel insurance. If you have a credit card, benefits may include rental car insurance coverage.
Find the best car rental deals here.
Having a valid travel document beyond your driver’s license is advisable if you will be anywhere near the US borders of Canada or Mexico. This can be a passport card, passport, or other immigration document.
Have a list of emergency contacts and other essential documents, such as medical information and allergies, within easy reach, e.g., in your car’s glove compartment.
Road Trip Packing List: Finances
Ensure that you have set up travel alerts with your debit and credit cards issuers. Consider carrying loose cash as well as backup.
Road Trip Packing List: Comfort and Convenience
Make your long journey more comfortable by bringing some of the comforts of home with you.
Road Trip Packing List: Clothing and Personal Items
Pack clothes suitable for different climates. For a summer road trip, pack sun protection including hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
Pack lightweight attire for sunny days but also plan for unexpected showers with rain gear. Comparatively, winter and cold weather road trips call for layers and cozy outerwear.
Travel Tip: You can save so much space by rolling instead of folding clothes. Or, use packing cubes in different sizes to help keep things organized.
Toiletries and Personal Hygiene
Packing travel-sized toiletries in a handy toiletry bag will save you trunk space.
Medications and Other Essentials
A travel first aid kit, prescription medications, and over-the-counter medications e.g. for motion sickness, are essential items for a road trip.
Road Trip Luggage
Space may be limited in your car, so save space with compact luggage.
Things to Bring on a Road Trip: Entertainment and Tech
Entertainment for the Drive
You can create a road trip playlist with your favorite songs or your favorite road trip podcast for a good time on your long trip. Alternatively, audiobooks can be a great option for longer trips.Try Audible Premium Plus and Get Up to Two Free Audiobooks
Passenger entertainment like travel games and playing cards can be a great addition to a long car ride.
Capture the Memories
You can use your cell phone or standalone camera to capture the beauty of your enjoyable road trip.
It is a good idea to have essentials such as a car charger with a phone mount, a portable charger with USB ports, and power banks. A tripod for group photos and external storage for your photos/videos are also great options.
Things to Bring on a Road Trip: Food and Drinks
If you are anything like us, road trip snacks are top on our list of ultimate road trip essentials.
Planning Meals on the Go
Stocking up on healthy snacks like granola bars, trail mix and nuts for quick bites on the go is a great idea.
Keep your cold drinks, sandwiches, wraps, fresh fruit and veggies cold in a compact cooler.
The following are some essentials for your road trip beverages:
- This water bottle with built-in filters or this eco-friendly reusable water bottle are both road trip must-haves.
- This travel mug is a good option for hot drinks on the go
Grocery Store Pit Stops
For road trip necessities on the go such as bottled water, paper towels to clean up spills, and more road trip snacks, you can make a pit stop at grocery stores on your road trip routes.
Travel Tip: To save time, use Instacart for easy access to local stores that offer convenient pick up.
Road Trip Travel Essentials for Camping
Planning a camping road trip? Consider packing the following items:
- Tent, sleeping bag or sleeping pad
- Campfire equipment (if allowed)
- Camp chairs and a portable table/foldable picnic table, picnic blanket
- Headlamps or flashlights
- Compact camping stove or portable grill to cook your own meals
- Portable air conditioning
- For clean-up, useful items include eco-friendly compostable trash bags
Outdoor Adventure Supplies
- Hiking boots and gear
- Maps and compass
- Insect repellent and sunscreen
- Fishing or water sports equipment
- Swiss army knife
Must- Know Road Trip Tips
Check out our Road Trip Tips Guide for details about how to prepare for your next road trip.
Things to Bring on a Road Trip Conclusion
Road trips are a great way to explore new places, and create memories that will last a long time.
In our personal experience, one of the best things about epic road trips is the freedom of the open road. We consider it the best way to experience slow travel.
Hopefully, with the help of this road trip essentials list, you will be well-equipped for a successful road trip. So, buckle up, hit the road, and prepare for the best road trip adventure! Safe travels!
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