Road Trip Essentials – The Ultimate Checklist

road trip essentials

You’ve planned to hit the road, enjoy the wide-open spaces, and experience a cross country journey, but what are the road trip essentials you need to pack before heading down the highway?

In this article, we share the must-have road trip essentials to ensure you have a great experience exploring the country towns, coast,s and everywhere in between. Strap yourself in and take note of our road trip checklist for those of us looking to get out of the house and letting the tires hit the road for a memorable few days or weeks away.


Road Trip Must-have Items

From some cool tunes to a spare tire, we outline the essentials to include before you head out for your next road trip.

1. License and Registration Papers

You won’t go overseas without your passport, and the same goes for your license and registration. The laws don’t end when you go on a road trip, and if you are leaving the state, you should ensure you have all the adequate paperwork to show you are the legal owner of the car, and you are fully insured. It’s not easy to head back to your home and get the paperwork if you are hundreds of miles away, so ensure you have this in your glow box before you reverse out the driveway.

driving License


2. Spare Tires

Imagine if you blew a tire in the middle of nowhere and there was no roadside assistance to help, you could be there for a very long time. Make sure you have suitable spare tires in your trunk and the tools you need to change a tire so that if you do have an issue, you can fix it yourself and get yourself to a gas station to ensure it is all sorted correctly without being stranded in the middle of a highway.


3. Roadside Emergency Kit, Including a First-Aid Kit

You will be surprised how many people don’t have an emergency plan when they are on a road trip. Yet, it is important always to have first aid and also roadside tools to get you out of a medical emergency or get you out of trouble if you are having issues with your car. You can also use it during an adventurous hike or trek.


4. Apps or Maps With Directions

If you are new to an area of you haven’t ever traveled on the road much, you will need an app to help you with the directions and also provide information on alternative routes should you need them or to outline routes with tolls, etc.

Apps or Maps With Directions

5. Flashlight

Any good road trip needs a flashlight to ensure you can find those lost items underneath the seats and also to help in the event you run out of battery and need to ensure you are safe and can get attention from passing cars.


6. Money or Cash Available

Don’t expect your local bank to be in every state or every region. If you are heading out on a road trip to a remote or location that is less accessible or less populated, you might find that cash machines and your bank might not be as available, so have some cash on hand and also a few back up cards in case you need to get creative with your finances on your road trip.


7. Plenty of Water and Snacks

Roundtrips can be thirsty and hungry work, so stock up on some healthy snacks and lots of water to ensure you are not famished while you are enjoying the sights and delights of your drive. While there will be gas stations on a regular basis, more than likely, supermarkets and fresh food will be few and far between, so if you want to make sure you have adequate supplies pack plenty before you head off, as it is a survival essential.


8. Phone Chargers and Wireless Handsfree

You will need your phone for navigation and music and apps when you are on a road trip, so be sure to bring car chargers, so your phone is fully charged when you need it most. Also, if you can invest in wireless handsfree for your car, you can avoid the temptation to use your phone while you’re driving, which can be dangerous and lead to accidents on the road.


9. Camera and extra space

If you are doing some sight-seeing, be sure to bring along your digital camera with plenty of available space so you can take some snaps. Depending on the length of your road trip, you might also need an extra storage card or a cable to download the images directly to your phone or laptop at a later date.


10. Travel Games

If you are taking kids on a road trip, you can consider bringing travel games with you or even a set of cards to help beat boredom. While you might love the idea of hours upon hours in the car, kids might have other ideas, and games are a good way to get through any boredom and keep the journey fun.

Travel Games
card games for traveling

11. Window Shade For The Car

When you are spending time in the car for a road trip, you want to make sure your car is cool and comfortable when you get in and out during any site seeing expeditions, and a window shade is a great way to add extra comfort when you aren’t using your car. Available from most auto stores and even gas stations, a window shade will protect the inside of your car from UV and keep it cool, particularly when you have snacks and plenty of belongings inside during your road trip.


As well as all the items above, you will need your toiletries, clothing, and any items you would usually take on a few nights away. While you can pack everything that will fit in your trunk, you should be mindful that your passengers will need some space to stretch, so avoid packing too much that you can’t move around inside the car, or you are blocking the windows too much that is it a hazard to the driver.

For easy storage on a road trip, there are great roof-top pods that can carry your bags and belongings that free up space in the car that are a great addition to your journeys.

Don’t expect to have the same stores around you that you would in your home town. You won’t know the lay of the land when you are on a road trip, and it might be far easier to think ahead and pack in your essentials than driving around trying to find specific items you have left at home by mistake.


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