Not sure what to pack for a road trip or just don’t want to forget any road trip must haves? I have put together the ultimate road trip packing list with a checklist of everything you’ll need for your short or long cross country road trip.
My road trip essentials list includes everything you need for you and your car as well as fun things to bring on a road trip – whether it is a long cross country road trip or a few hours drive. For anyone traveling with kids or pets, I have also included family and pet road trip essentials to keep them healthy and happy.
The Ultimate Road Trip Checklist
Here is a comprehensive 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 printed map just in case as a backup to GPS
• Smartphone loaded with apps – Use Google Maps if your car does not have a GPS system
• Nail clippers & tweezers – keep an extra set in the car
• Extra set of car keys!
• Emergency road side assistance kit – this one by AAA is under $25 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
Health and safety:
• Bug spray – this one is pocket sized
• Sunscreen (make sure to keep it in the car)
• 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
• Body wipes for when you are not feeling fresh
Food and drink:
• Lots of water! – Both in the trunk and inside the car
• Insulated water bottle to keep your drinks cool
• 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.
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
• Pocket knife
• Duct tape
• 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 with plastic bags inside for for garbage or emergency car sickness
Pet road trip essentials -if bringing your pet along:
• Leash, collar, tags
• Pet food and medication
• Vaccination records
• Bed, crate and toys
What is on your roadtrip checklist?
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