21 Road Trip Essentials

  • 3 min read

Everyone has had a road trip disaster. You don’t need to be travelling cross country to feel the pain of unpreparedness when you’re locked in a car for hours on end.

Here are 21 travel essentials that will help you rock your next road trip.


GPS - Because no one will want to volunteer their phone to get everyone from point A to point B.

Cell phone charger - To keep your cell phone battery charged in the event someone forgot the GPS.

Bags - For trash...keep it clean.

Tissues - Crunchy cheese flavored snacks have a special way of staining your seats orange. Stop them in their tracks with a quick wipe. Also useful for runny noses and other messes.

First Aid Kit - Pack a bag that includes things like antibiotic ointment, adhesive bandages and tweezers. Headaches can ruin a beautiful drive, so consider throwing in a few pain relievers.

Flashlight - Check the batteries before your head out the door. Better yet, replace the current ones with fresh batteries.

Jumper Cables - File this under we hope you never have to use this.

Storage - Everyone should have enough room for their stuff. Enough said.


Water/Drinks - Some people need caffeine in the morning. Other people can’t function without their protein smoothie. Stay hydrated.

Snacks - Fruit, candy, crackers, energy bars, chips….you never know if you’ll be in the mood for salty or sweet. Bring both.

Breath mints - Mind your breath in confined spaces. Keep it fresh. Keep it cool. You have options.


Cell phone - This item could have easily been listed under ‘safety’, and hopefully its primary function in the car will be to amuse you and those around you.

Books - Give your eyes a rest from reading a screen. p.s. Try not to get car sick.

Music - Conversation is great, until it’s not.

Games - If the idea of playing ‘I Spy’ doesn’t get you jazzed, bring some non-electronic travel games to amuse yourself and your carmates.

Headphones - Why argue over what to listen to?


Blankets/pillows - A stiff neck. This will be the only memory you have of your road trip if you don’t make it comfortable.

Heartburn relief - Truck stop coffee not agreeing with you? Or maybe it was the extra spicy beef jerky that did you in? Either way, be prepared to reach for a heartburn remedy and continue to explore the local gas station cuisine pain free.

Hand sanitizer - Aside from mints, this is probably the second most popular road trip shareable.


Be flexible - Yes, you should move up your seat so the person behind you has space to stretch their legs, but that’s not what I mean. Gas stations mysteriously disappear right when your drink runs out. Someone spots a tourist attraction 10 miles off course that they want to check out. Plans can change. Don’t freak out. It’s part of the journey.

Move - You may feel like you’re trapped in a car for endless hours, but you don’t have to be. Make a point to stop and stretch your legs every two hours. Fill the tank with gas. Empty your trash. Visit the restroom. Experience the thrill of fresh air on your face.

One last thing. If you can, get your car inspected before you head off on a longer drive. A good service station will top off your windshield wiper fluid, make sure your tires are fully inflated and let you know if they see any potential problems.

I spy with my little eye something with the word ‘stay safe’ on it.

Have a favorite road trip activity or resource? Tell us all about it in the comments below.

Hilary's Blog Bio