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 FREE printable pdf 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
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Road trip essential items (that should always be in your car!)
- Driver’s license, registration and insurance information
- Pen and paper
- Cash and coins (for tolls, parking meters or places that don’t accept credit cards)
- Paper 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)
- Cell phone car charger
- Extra set of car keys in case you get locked out
- Emergency road side assistance kit – this one by AAA is more affordable or splurge on this one
- Jumper cables, flashlight, duct tape, scissors, pocket knife 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 in the winter
- Extra gas in a can (just in case you run out of gas!)
- Sunglasses for everyone
- Blankets (for those that get cold from the AC or to keep warm if your car breaks down at night or in the winter)
Food, drink and snacks for your road trip
- 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 road trip snacks (granola bars, fruit, turkey jerky, nuts, dry cereal, popcorn, crackers, trail mix) but you can keep some food in the cooler as well.
Entertainment for road trips
- Travel journal and pen
- Books, audio books or kindle
- Music playlist (here is my free Spotify road trip playlist with the top road trip songs of all time)
- Road trip games (Mad Libs on the Road, License Plate Game)
Health, safety and personal care essentials
- Face mask or other face covering to cover your nose and mouth when going inside a gas station, grocery store, convenience store or other indoor establishment
- First aid kit (band aids, pain reliever, allergy medicine, anti-nausea medicine, antacid tablets, cotton balls, q-tips)
- Antibacterial wipes or hand sanitizer
- Sunscreen because you can get sun damage from UVA rays (make sure to keep sunscreen in the car so that you can reapply)
- Disposable gloves for filling up at gas stations
- Essential medication and prescriptions
- 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)
- Bug spray (I like this one because it is pocket sized)
- Body wipes for when you are not feeling fresh
Other recommended items for your road trip packing list
- Cell phone mount
- Car seat back organizer – This one has an insulated main compartment and this is a good one for kids
- 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
- Nail clippers & tweezers
- Reusable shopping bag for when you leave the car to buy snacks or souvenirs
- Day pack (tote or small backpack) – Handy for exploring your destination but also to keep inside the car with your personal items
- Camera – Make sure to keep a camera in the car. Also consider a GoPro for videos or instax camera
- Sun shade to keep your car cool while exploring
- Batteries for any devices you bring and external battery to recharge your electronics (this is one of my travel essential items for any trip!)
Family road trip checklist – if traveling with kids
- Baby wipes
- Tablet for each kid loaded with movies,books, educational apps and games (my nephew loves this kid friendly tablet)
- Headphones for each kid (my niece loves these headphones)
- Notebooks and colored pencils
- Change of clothes for babies 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 toys or stuffed animals
Pet road trip essentials – if bringing your pet along
- Leash, collar, tags
- Pet food and bowls
- Vaccination records and medication
- Pet Toys
- Bed or crate for the hotel room
What is on your roadtrip checklist?
Click to download a pdf of my Road Trip Essentials List.
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