Top Road Trip Packing List Essentials & Things To Avoid


Are you looking forward to hitting the road rather than flying to your destination? Then you must make a road trip packing list to ensure you carry every essential thing. Road trips are one of the most fun and adventurous ways of reaching your destination.

With road-tripping, you can explore the hidden places of a country or city that you can’t while traveling on a plane. Well, all these were the mushy things about road trips. In reality, road trips are highly challenging and inconvenient too. It could be an experience that you will never forget.

Before taking a road trip, always think about the things you actually need when traveling by car. Moving on, If you’re taking a road trip for the first time, you are bound to make mistakes. But remember not to make the same mistakes next time. The fate of your road trip is based on how well you plan everything. If you don’t have the essential road trip supplies, things can go wrong in no time.

Road trip essentials for your car

Road trip essentials for your car
Image credit: Alfred Boivin

When planning a road trip, consider road trip necessities for both you and your car. Let’s start with the vehicle. After all, it doesn’t matter how comfortable you are when you have car trouble, right? First and foremost, whether you’re driving your own car or renting one, don’t leave without these road trip cars.

  • Driver’s license
  • Car Registration & Insurance Information
  • car manual
  • The spare car key is not on the same key ring
  • AAA membership and phone number for roadside assistance
  • Spare tire with tire jack and tools to change a flat
  • Water Resistant Torch Is it a coincidence that the problem with the car always happens at night, in the rain??

No one wants to go broke, and many road-trippers go on to have fun, incident-free adventures. But it still pays to be prepared.

Even though you may have some of these items at home, like an air compressor or tire repair materials, I like to have a complete kit. It’s convenient and likely contains things you didn’t think of, and is expertly packaged to save space. You can also get these supplies if you’re driving in remote areas like Utah, where there are long stretches without gas stations.

  • quart of oil
  • coolant bottle
  • wiper fluid
  • Portable gas has excellent peace of mind when the next gas station isn’t long!

A winter packing list should also include things to keep you safe from snow and ice on a road trip.

  • An ice scraper is not fun doing this by hand!
  • Shovel
  • tire chain

Basic Must Haves

Before we get into the list of road trip essentials, every successful road trip involves a paper map like this one.

Google Maps. I am great, but when you lose service in remote locations like the places along the Oregon Coast Road Trip, and your maps won’t download, get step-by-step directions The ability to commit disappears, too. Use the apps, but keep a paper map, too.

Get a map with streets, landmarks, and information for the entire area instead of just one place. It’s perfect for those spontaneous whims on the way!

it is essential to bring a first aid kit. I know. But having what you need in case of an injury can save your entire day of travel. In addition to these road trip basics, whether your trip is long or short, solo or as a family, you’ll also want to keep these things in the car.

  • The car phone charger works with your USB cord if your car doesn’t already have one or if that’s the case and you want more USB ports to make everyone smile.
  • Power Inverter with AC Outlet and USB Port
  • Hands-free phone mount Security + easy-to-view Google Maps for navigation
  • Portable Charger When the car has more devices than the charging port, or you are going out of the car
  • garbage bag or a car garbage bin that not only collects garbage but also prevents leaks
  • Not all toilet paper rolls are created equal
  • hand sanitizer
  • tissues
  • bandages
  • Body/Baby Wipes
  • umbrella
  • There’s nothing worse than getting out of a car with bug spray spreading your legs.
  • Paper money and coins for parking meters, air pumps at gas stations, tolls, broken ATMs, laundromats, etc.
  • Gas, Dining, and Travel Rewards Credit Card Whether you earn cash back, miles, or points, make sure the money you spend on this trip is helping you reach for the next trip.
  • Electronic toll pass, if applicable, where you are driving

Let’s switch gears from the car (I couldn’t help!) and think about yourself and the others on this road trip. The following sections divide into lists of road trip necessities that cover comfort, entertainment, personal items, and food.

Things to Bring on a Road Trip to Make Everyone Feel Comfortable

Things to Bring on a Road Trip to Make Everyone Feel Comfortable
Image credit: Jimmy Conover

Keeping everyone happy and relaxed in the car is very important! Snacks, entertainment, and exciting sights won’t help much if you’re uncomfortable. So, be sure to stock the car with these road trip essentials.

  • I always keep one of these fleeces handy for an extra layer of clothing.
  • Blanket or sleeping bag versatility (think picnic blanket) and a (possible) roll-up space-saver
  • The travel pillow is my favorite here.
  • eye mask
  • UV Window Shades
  • I can’t drive without sunglasses. I love these for their functionality, whether headed to the mountains or the beach.
  • Travel Cup Coffee To-Go, A Must-Have!
  • Reusable water bottle picks from these bestsellers
  • A large amount of water with a spout to avoid spillage
  • Pain killer headache, body pain, etc.
  • chapstick
  • hand lotion
  • A sudden thunderstorm, someone jumps into the lake, etc.
  • Mint and/or gum

Entertainment to bring a smile to everyone’s face

From iSpy to license plate games to high-tech gear and gadgets, take your road trip entertainment as seriously as any road trip packing! It can be a total sanity saver, especially for families with kids.

Of course, recording and capturing the journey is half the fun. Besides smartphone cameras, I always have my favorite travel camera.

When I travel with my nieces and nephews, they love bringing this instant camera! If your road trip is full of action-packed adventures, you should get an action camera.

You can likely lose a clear radio signal at least once on your drive unless you have satellite radio. Moreover, you’re more likely to pass through parts where only a few stations come in, and you’re less likely to get all your favorite songs playing.

Which means it’s all about the playlist! You will want to ensure that there is a variety of music that will keep the whole car happy.

Amazon Music and Spotify give you access to millions of songs that can be grouped into playlists and downloaded to your device so you can listen without an internet connection and save data on the road. Plus, both offer free trials, free plans, and highly cheap promotions for premium so that you can test them before your trip.

Similarly, subscribe to specific podcasts through your device’s Podcasts app. Be sure to download episodes before you leave home or over WiFi so you can listen to them with streaming data. My favorite road trip podcast is Radiolab!

If you like long in-depth stories, Audible and have huge libraries and free books as part of a free trial. Download Books for hours of listening anytime!

Don’t want to disturb the whole car with whatever you’re listening to?

Bring headphones and a splitter to share your music, podcasts, or audiobooks with only those who want it. And, no matter what you’re listening to, take it with you on picnics outside the car with one of these portable speakers.

If you want to read in the car, around the campfire, or in your hotel room, save space with a Kindle or download the Kindle app. You can buy some books or try Kindle Unlimited for free.

Consider these group and family activities to pass the time on those long stretches of the road!

  • Loaded questions for family, friends, and smart pets
  • scavenger hunt
  • Mad Lib is always a classic!
  • Map game is a best seller!
  • travel journals and coloring

Road trip clothing and personal items

Road trip clothing and personal items
Image credit: Vika Strawberrika

How packed for a road trip is not the same as packing for any other trip. To start, you need comfortable clothes in the car for long distances and clothes for where you’re going.

I love wearing my leggings and flip-flops in the car, but I also have hiking pants and boots for outdoor adventures. you may or may not want to put your clothes and belongings in a traditional suitcase. Here are some road trip packing tips.

  • Duffel bags and backpacks can hold the same amount of space as a suitcase but take up smaller in a car.
  • If you plan to make more than one short (1-2 night) stop, pack a day pack with only what you need for an overnight stay. It will also come in handy for day hikes or day trips.
  • Think outside the suitcase box for clothing storage. It may be more convenient and save space.
  • Use packing cubes to organize clothes and grab the cubes you need from the car.
  • Similarly, use the drawers to pack and then only pull out the drawers you need instead of lifting all of your stuff out of the car.
  • For campgrounds, rest stops, and even hotel bathrooms, a hanging toiletry tote bag can help keep your belongings organized and away from less-than-sparkling sinks and

For the specifics of what to take on a road trip, pack clothes to match your destination, the activities you want to do, and the weather. Going To The Beach? Going to hike to a national park? Roadtripping in winter or autumn and need warm layers

Clothes should feel good to wear and be multi-purpose. I never pack a shirt if I can only wear it once. Packing wise can also mean going with a specific color palette. Mixing and matching pieces and creating different outfits with fewer pieces of clothing will be easier.

If you’re planning to hike, here are some ideas about what to wear and some hiking essentials you should consider. And just as your car will need a few essential things if you’re road-tripping in the winter, you’ll need to know what to wear on a winter hike to stay safe and warm.

In addition to what to wear on a road trip, your road trip list should also include these personal items.

  • Sunscreen If you have super sensitive skin like mine, this is my SPF go-to.
  • Mosquito Repellent This is my go-to bug spray, whether I’m road-tripping in Colorado or camping in Africa.
  • toiletries
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • raincoat
  • Scarves I take one on every trip because they are so versatile.
  • recipes
  • glasses
  • flip flops camping out, late night bathroom breaks, happy to have slip-on shoes
  • laundry bag
  • Tide To-Go Pen
  • hairbrush and hair tie
  • hat baseball, sun, and hiking, all provide some shade

Also read: Best Things To Do In Amsterdam

Road trip food list and food Eating Accessories

Is driving on an empty stomach too painful for you? It’s like every hunger pang is multiplied by 100. It could be more fun and practical to search for food whenever someone in the car needs something to eat.

For example, if you’re road-tripping in Arizona, look for a rest stop with snacks for a while in the more remote corners of the state!

Have a plan for your road trip food strategy.

  • Do you plan to eat mostly at your destinations and need snacks for the ride? Then, a cooler bag that’s easy to carry and stow away when not in use makes the most sense.
  • Do you need more food storage for dining, camping, or a more budget-friendly road trip? Consider a large cooler you can fill with food and ice at local grocery stores. Or skip the hassle of ice and go with an iceless cooler powered by a charge from your car.
  • If you want to be completely self-sufficient, preparing your meals from the road, this portable grill is the perfect set-up along with some road trip-ready chairs.

You’ll also need some primary food storage and eating items.

  • zippered plastic baggies
  • Food Storage Containers of various sizes and stackable
  • A toothpick is great for grabbing small bites of food
  • Utensil
  • corkscrew
  • can opener
  • thermos
  • Reusable Shopping Bags All Purpose But Good for Groceries

Food packed for a road trip doesn’t have to be unhealthy snack packs like those at rest-stop gas stations. Here’s a list of road trip food and snacks that are delicious, satisfying, and (mostly) nutritious.

  • Granola Bar
  • Cereal
  • pretzels/popcorn/chips
  • Protein/Energy Bars
  • dried fruit
  • mad
  • cheese sticks
  • chocolate
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables that do not require cutting, such as grapes, oranges, blueberries, apples, baby carrots, grape tomatoes, etc.
  • Drinking packets and tea bags mix easily with water.
  • hummus
  • Canned Tuna with an Easy-Open Can
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • sliced meat
  • Jared Vegetables Marinated or Pickled
  • sliced ​​bread
  • crackers
  • Peanut/Almond/Sunflower Butter
  • Jam
  • juice boxes

Miscellaneous stuff to take on a Road Trip

These ultimate road trip supplies to consider for those unexpected jams, when you need to make the most of your space, and whether or not you’re camping outdoors.

  • duct tape seriously can fix almost anything, at least temporarily
  • Swiss Army Knives are tools for many situations
  • trunk organizer
  • rooftop cargo
  • A tent is only necessary if you will be camping. (I always bring a sleeping pad camping, too.)

If you’re planning on camping and spending a lot of time outdoors, check out this Outdoor Lover’s Gear Guide and this Road Trip Gift Guide for more ideas.

A road trip packing list is the key to a successful trip. Being prepared means handling any situation without getting in the way of your road trip travel plans.


Image credit: Alexander Andrews

To save you from such situations, we bring you the ultimate road trip packing list to ensure that your next road adventure is safe and fun. With this list, we also get a list of things not to bring on a trip.

Car documents

While making your road trip packing list, remember to include the car documents. Without them, your road trip might turn into a nightmare. The car documents must consist of driving licenses, papers, insurance coverage, etc. If you’re on an international trip, ensure the necessary permissions. These documents can save you from any problems relating to travel or a car.

Portable Charger

Always carry a portable charger if you’re taking a road trip or a flight to your destination. It can be utterly helpful in situations where there are no charging facilities. With a portable charger, you’ll not have to worry about your phone’s dying battery. Always ensure to have it on your road trip packing list.

Cell Phone Holder

The laws regarding talking over the phone while driving are becoming stricter with each passing day. Not only that but the penalty has also been increased to unexpected strata. Opt for a reliable cell phone holder to avoid such penalties while going on a road trip. It comes in handy while looking for directions on Google maps and playing music.

Travel Trash Can

When you’re on a road trip, it is natural for you and your friends or family to have snacks and soft drinks in the car. But sooner or later, all of this will convert into a bag full of trash. One of the best ways to manage this trash is to carry a travel trash can. When not in use, you can collapse it. Remember to keep it as a priority while making your road trip packing list.

First Aid Kit

Ensure to carry a first aid box with all the essential medicines and supplies that could be of help while you’re on the road. A first aid kit is the most critical part of your road trip packing list, as there are chances of encountering backaches while driving for long hours.

Travel Insurance

If you’re about to go on a long road trip across the country or overseas, you must buy road trip travel insurance. Opting for insurance will save you from unforeseen situations and cover your expenses.

Hand Sanitizer

If you’re traveling during the time of COVID – 19, you should not forget to add hand sanitizer to your road trip packing list. It is one of the best things to keep you safe from deadly viruses and keep your hands clean after using the loo or changing diapers. 

Cooler and Ice bags

Before taking a road trip, you must know that fewer food options are available. Mainly you’ll have to be dependent on fast food. Always carry your snacks as they are much more affordable. In order to keep your snack and drinks in good condition, you’ll need a cooler.

Water Container 

It is expensive and difficult to find water on the road trip. So, always remember to add a water container to your road trip packing list. It can come in handy while refilling water bottles and cleaning supplies.

Car Trunk Organizer

One of the best ways to keep everything organized in your car is to use a car trunk organizer. These trunk organizers come with various compartments and are perfect for keeping your clothes, shoes, and other things.

Mosquito Repellent

While on a road trip, be ready to face various challenges, one of which is deadly mosquitos. They have the power to ruin your much-anticipated road trip. To keep them away, use mosquito repellent, and enjoy your trip.

Air Mattress

If camping is on your cards while taking a road trip, you must add an air mattress to your packing list. With this, you’ll not have to worry about beauty sleep while traveling the world.

Day Pack 

No matter what trip you take, a day pack is a must to make your trip comfortable and carry all your essentials in one bag. A day pack can have snacks, sunscreen, a dry towel, etc.


A road trip might be an excellent idea for you, but not for your skin. It is a must to add sunscreen to your road trip packing list. Temperatures are pretty high at noon, so always carry sunscreen and save your skin from harmful sun rays.

Car Emergency Kit

Have you ever thought about what you’ll do if your car breaks down on an empty highway? It could be a draining experience, for sure. Always carry an emergency kit to face such situations and fix your car. This kit must consist of essential tools, a repair kit, an LED torch, etc.

Neck Pillow

Who doesn’t love sleeping in the car? Those jerks on the road just don’t let your neck stay in a place. Well, you can get rid of it by using a neck pillow and making your ride comfortable. So, remember to add a neck pillow to your road trip packing list for a smooth ride.


A VPN will be handy when using Wi-Fi at public places like hostels, hotels, and cafes when you’re on a road trip to a foreign country. A VPN will ensure that your cell phone and laptop are safe from potential hackers. With a VPN, you’ll be able to access several sites that could be blocked in your country.



Do we have to explain anything about this? We all know drugs are illegal, and putting them on your road trip packing list will lead to big trouble.

Hard Shell Suitcases

Suitcases take up much more space in cars when compared to day packs or duffel bags. Avoid carrying hardshell suitcases if you wish for more space in your vehicle.

Unprepared Snacks 

Avoid carrying any snack that needs to be cut or prepared. It is advisable to bring snacks that are ready to eat, like fast food, protein bars, etc.

Expensive Clothing or Jewellery

Road trips are as risky as they are fun. There are higher chances of getting robbed on a road trip. So, leave all your valuables like gold or everyday wear jewelry at your home and keep them from your road trip packing list.

Which car would be suitable for a road trip?

There is no need to pick a particular car for a road trip. Any vehicle would work. All you need to do is get it checked properly at the service center.

How to pick a specific destination?

If you still need clarification regarding your destination, consider taking help from websites like Roadtrippers, Waze, Gasbuddy, etc.

How to take shower?

The best place to shower is the hotel or hostel where you’re staying. If that’s not possible, find a clean stream and take a dip into it.

What is the cost of a road trip?

The cost of a road trip differs depending on the time, length of your journey, and destination. You can get the estimated price of petrol or gas by looking at the distance on Google maps and then calculating the amount. Once you’ve derived your petrol price, add the accommodation charges according to your budget. After this, you’ll arrive at your entire estimated cost.

Why opt for a road trip?

It is an enjoyable living experience. This journey becomes much more exciting when you’re with your friends or family. It would be an excellent time for all of you to bond and add life to your relationships. If this is a solo trip, you’ll have the time to discover yourself, meet new people, and learn about their culture and lifestyle.

What’s on your road trip packing checklist? like this post? Please share this on social media using the share buttons below.

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