The Complete and Only Road Trip Packing List You’ll Ever Need

May 28th, 2020 by

Whether you’re staying in the state or driving coast to coast, you’ll need to prepare for every situation to have a smooth ride.

That’s where we come in. We’ve put together this road trip packing list of everything you’ll need, so there will be minimal bumps in the road.

Keep reading to prepare for your epic adventure.


Car-Specific Checklist

Before you start loading anything into your vehicle, you should get routine maintenance, fluids topped off, and an oil change if needed.

You’ll also want to check your tire inflation levels and tread to make sure your wheels are reliable.

Things to keep in your car during your travels are your:

  • License, registration, car insurance policy, and roadside assistance phone numbers
  • Passport (if you have one) for additional identification
  • Car manual
  • Roadside emergency kit (i.e. jumper cables, tire pressure gauge, whistle, et cetera)
  • Empty gas can
  • Car fluids (i.e. for topping off, if you’re familiar with the process)
  • Window shade

Aside from these things, you’ll also want to make sure you have a functioning spare tire and the wrench needed to change it. Familiarize yourself with changing a tire if you haven’t already, as driving on a flat is dangerous to you and your car.

If you’re travelling during winter, you’ll also want:

  • Chains or traction tires
  • Ice scraper
  • Snow shovel
  • Winter wiper fluid
  • Ice melting salt
  • An accessible jacket, beanie, and gloves

With these things packed, you’ll be ready for whatever comes your way.


Must-Have Items

Once you’ve set your car up for success, you’ll want to make sure you have the following items to keep your trip on track:

  • A carabiner clip (i.e. for binding things together)
  • Cash and quarters (i.e. for emergencies and tolls)
  • Chargers for devices
  • Flashlight and a headlamp
  • Garbage bags
  • Gum (i.e. for popping your ears during elevation changes)
  • Reusable water bottle and a 5-gallon water jug for refills
  • Snacks that the driver can reach
  • Sunglasses
  • Toilet paper, a compact shovel, and plastic baggies (pack it in, pack it out)

If you ask us, having a solid music playlist and CD collection is a must. You might run out of service, in which case you want to have tunes that can be played offline.

Some may consider their camera gear and chargers an essential item, too. In that case, be sure to have a spot in your vehicle where you can tuck it away for security.


Things to Take Care of Yourself

Along with taking care of your car, you want to have what you need to take care of yourself.

This includes toiletries, medication, and lip balm. Your self-care bundle may look something like this:

  • Baby wipes
  • Deodorant
  • Dry shampoo
  • Feminine hygiene
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hair ties and brush
  • Tissues
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss

Road trips can wear on you, so taking care of yourself can keep you healthy and happy. For you, this may mean taking vitamins and vitamin C when you’re feeling a little off.

This includes food items, a cooler is necessary, and reusable utensils to eat.


The Road Trip Packing List for Comfort

Now that we’ve gotten the must have’s out of the way, we can talk about the fun stuff.

For passengers, pack an eye mask, a notebook and pencil, and headphones so that they can enjoy the ride.

Everyone else should also have:

  • Blankets
  • A day pack (i.e. a backpack)
  • A hat
  • Towels
  • Travel pillows
  • Travel mugs
  • Slip-on shoes or sandals

You can bring food or grab some on the road and put it in reusable shopping bags. This way, the bags are durable and eco-friendly.


Just in Case

Even with the most thorough preparation, you can’t always foresee what you’ll run into.

Still, having everything you could need reduces the chances of being caught off guard.

Pack things you’d need to have if you got into trouble out of service or away from any towns. This includes:

  • Bear spray (i.e. for wilderness adventures)
  • Duct tape (i.e. for quick fixes on personal items)
  • Extra batteries (i.e. for headlamps and any other relevant electronic)
  • First aid kit
  • A rain jacket or umbrella
  • Tweezers
  • A pocket knife and scissors
  • An emergency sleeping bag (even if you’re not planning on camping)
  • Paper maps and screenshots of directions
  • A waterproof bag for electronics

These items take up very little space but can make a huge difference in a make it or break it situation.


Things to Be Aware Of

For any road trip, it’s always safe to know about the area in which you are travelling. This can help you prepare for securing your belongings with a wheel lock or taking valuable items with you when you leave your car.

In general, you should leave all high-end clothes, jewelry, and valuables either at home or in an inaccessible place in the car. That way, nothing can get stolen in the unfortunate event that someone breaks in.

Aside from safety concerns, keep in mind that some states and countries don’t allow you to bring in imported fruit. The same thing goes for substances like cannabis that are legal in one state and illegal in others.

You’ll also want to forgo packing extra carbonated beverages as they’ll get shaken up in transit (and potentially explode into a mess).

Along with sodas, you’ll want to avoid packing large pieces of luggage that take up enormous amounts of space. Instead, you can use duffle bags or trunk organizers.


Hit the Open Road With Confidence

With this road trip packing list, you can prepare to have a safe and comfortable ride. Create a checklist of everything relevant to you from this list and prepare for the easiest road trip ever.

You can schedule service with us to dial in your vehicle before you go. Otherwise, keep reading our blog for more pro-tips.

Posted in Road Trip List