Not sure what to pack for a road trip or just don’t want to forget any road trip must haves? I’ve got you covered with the ultimate road trip packing list with a checklist of everything you’ll need. This checklist is perfect for any road trip – whether doing a short day trip or a long cross country road trip.
My road trip essentials list includes everything you need for you and your vehicle as well as fun things to bring on a road trip. For anyone traveling with kids and/or pets, I have also included family and pet road trip essentials to keep them healthy and happy.
The Ultimate Road Trip Checklist
- The Ultimate Road Trip Checklist
Road trip essential items that should always be in your car
- Driver’s license, registration and insurance information
- Pen and paper
- Sunglasses for everyone
- Cash and coins (for tolls, parking meters or places that don’t accept credit cards)
- Map (I always like to bring a paper map just in case as a backup to GPS or my phone dies and I can’t access navigation apps)
- Smartphone (loaded with road trip apps like Google Maps)
- Nail clippers & tweezers
- Pocket knife
- Duct tape
- Extra set of car keys!
- Emergency road side assistance kit – this one by AAA is more affordable or splurge on this one
- Jumper cables, flashlight, scissors or seat belt cutting tool if not part of your emergency kit
- Spare tire
- Tire chains, ice scraper and snow shovel if traveling somewhere cold
- Extra gas in a can (just in case you run out of gas)
- Cell phone mount
- Cell phone car charger
- Batteries for any devices you bring
- External battery to recharge your electronics (this is one of my travel essential items for any trip!)
Health and safety
- Bug spray ( I like this one because it is pocket sized)
- Sunscreen (make sure to keep sunscreen in the car so that you can reapply)
- First aid kit (band aids, pain reliever, allergy medicine, anti-nausea medicine, antacid tablets, cotton balls, q-tips)
- Antibacterial wipes or hand sanitizer
- Essential medication and prescriptions
Personal care essentials
- Toothbrush, toothpaste and floss
- Lip balm, lotion and other toiletries
- Scarf and extra sweater or fleece (to keep warm if the A/C is too chilly)
- Body wipes for when you are not feeling fresh
Food and drink:
- Lots of water! – Keep some water both in the trunk and inside the car
- Insulated water bottle (to keep your drinks cool and to fill up at water fountains)
- Travel mug
- Food and snacks – Stock up on non-perishable snacks (granola bars, fruit, turkey jerky, nuts, dry cereal, popcorn, crackers, trail mix) but you can keep some food in the cooler as well.
- Travel journal and pen
- Books, audio books or kindle
- Music playlist
- Road trip games (Mad Libs on the Road, License Plate Game)
Other recommended items to keep in the car
- Car seat back organizer – This one has an insulated main compartment and this is a good one for kids
- Day pack (tote or small backpack) – Handy for exploring your destination but also to keep inside the car with your personal items
- Blankets for keeping warm
- Towels – Can be used as a seat cover, picnic blanket, to cleanup spills or dry off in an unexpected downpour.
- Paper towels
- Toilet paper in case you run into bathrooms without any!
- Plastic and trash bags
- Camera – Make sure to keep a camera in the car. Also consider a GoPro for videos or instax camera
- Window shades
Family road trip checklist – if traveling with kids
- Baby wipes
- Tablets loaded with movies & educational games
- Headphones for each kid (my niece loves these headphones)
- Notebooks and colored pencils
- Change of clothes for younger children – keep in the car so they are easily accessible in case of spills or illness
- Extra formula/baby food/diapers for infants
- Flip flops
- Favorite toy or stuffed animal
- A bucket for garbage or emergency car sickness
Pet road trip essentials – if bringing your pet along
- Leash, collar, tags
- Pet food and bowls
- Vaccination records and medication
- Bed or crate for the hotel room
What is on your roadtrip checklist?
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