So, you want the freedom of the open road, with nowhere to go but onward. But what the heck do you need to pack? If you’re like me, whenever Berty and I begin to plan a trip, packing is the first thing I brainstorm. Berty and I always find ourselves on the road, so I created a list of road trip essentials to minimize stops, keep us entertained and save us money along the way.
I sat down with my friends one day at our breakfast table and we brainstormed a list of necessary things to pack in the car for long road trips! If you are in the beginning stages (or dreaming up your next destination!) make sure to check out our handy road trip planning guide to help you get started!
Planning a trip? Make sure to read these posts:
30 Road Trip Essentials
1. SNACKS – This is essential if you want to save money while you travel. Make sure to bring a good mix of healthy foods like baby carrots, apples, nuts, and crackers. Bring a mix of sweet and salty things, but also indulge in some junk food as well. 😉
2. Garbage Bags – Useful for regular trash and surprise cleanups too. Pack more than a few!
3. Kleenex – If you are under the weather, this can save your other car mates from getting sick too.
4. Emergen-C – Speaking of sickness, in addition to packing lots of vitamin C rich foods, Emergen-C or any other electrolyte drink mix can be a good substitute for getting enough energy!
5. Chapstick – Sometimes air conditioners can dry out the inside of the car. Bring chapstick to help alleviate that!
6. Car games/cards for delays or waits – If you are waiting, say, for a ferry or a traffic issue to clear, it’s always nice to fall back on classic card games or trivia apps to keep spirits up and your mind off the delays!
7. Advil – Sitting in the car for long periods of time can take a toll. Pack extra for some headache relief.
8. Sunglasses – Driving into the sunset can seem romantic, but not when you’re staring at it for hours on end. Save your vision and protect your eyes!
9. Car Chargers – Berty and I have loads of tech we use on a regular basis. To make sure our batteries are charged we have a car adapter to use when we’re driving from place to place.
10. Slippers – For me, I like to take off my shoes and get comfy on long road trips.
11. Pillow – For those times when it’s not your turn to drive. Also, for some quick shut eye if you need to stop at those rest stops.
12. Headphones – For when you don’t want to talk to your car mates anymore.
13. Clothes/Shoes – Make sure to pack enough for each day you will be gone. On any given trip, we recommend no more than 3 pairs of shoes and always pack more socks and underwear than you need. Find our PNW Packing List here!
14. Hat – Stylish and functional, make sure you have something to cover your eyes and protect your skin on an extra sunny day.
15. Audio Choices – There are many options to keep you entertained in the car. Download playlists on Spotify and update them frequently. Download your favorite audio books, so that you can “read” while you drive or listen to podcasts from your favorite series. Make sure you have lots of options!
16. Little Bluetooth Speakers – Helpful in case you reach certain areas with poor reception, but still want to listen to music. 🙂
17. Blanket – Whether it’s cold at your destination or the air conditioning is too much to handle, a blanket is an easy go-to comfort on a long drive.
18. Candy – It’s okay to have your favorite indulgences in the car. That little burst of sugar will give you energy for the long drive ahead.
19. Gum – Studies show that chewing gum can help you concentrate on the task in front of you. So grab your favorite flavor and get driving!
20. Paper directions/screenshots on your phone – Berty and I constantly lose service when driving on remote roads. Make sure to screenshot the route on your phone, or track it on a map with a pencil.
22. Thermos – Ask at gas stations and convenience stores if you can fill your thermos with coffee instead of using their disposable cups. This reduces YOUR waste and probably does a better job of holding your hot beverage. I’ve got my eye on this Hydro Flask as my next purchase.
23. Empty Tote – Always a good idea if you are making stops along the way. Pack a tote full of food and have a roadside picnic or bring it with you to a local farmer’s market to pick up goodies. Our favorite universal tote is this one, which has carried all sorts of things for us! You can also find our favorite adventure bag picks in this post.
24. Duct Tape – This seems to be the fix for everything.
25. Flashlight – It’s important to bring extra lighting for camping, night adventures, and emergencies alike! Our favorite outdoor lighting brand is UCO which make impressively bright headlamps and portable camping lights.
26. First Aid Kit – A simple one will do.
27. Batteries – Make a list of items that may need a battery change on your journey and have a few extras of those on hand.
28. Proof of Insurance/ID – A driver’s license is a no-brainer, but make sure you have a hard copy of your proof of insurance! In addition, make sure your tabs won’t expire during your trip and you’ve got the proper registration forms.
29. Jumper Cables – While this one is primarily for you, you can always help out a buddy who is stuck too! Here’s a video on how to do it properly.
30. Car Fluids – Things like oil and antifreeze are a must. Here’s a handy list of things to get your car ready for the road.
Did we miss anything? What are YOUR road trip essentials? Let us know in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
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Follow our Road Trip Board on Pinterest for some inspiration for other road trip essentials!
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