A trip is not always about the destination or the country but is about the journey. Road trips are fun and are full of adventures. We’ve put together this list to guide you through the various road trip essentials.
Sometimes, it might be anxiety-inducing, time-consuming, and a tedious one, but if planned well, you will thoroughly enjoy it.
Best Long Road Trip Essentials
It is worth experiencing an exciting road trip, which allows you to see more of nature’s beauty and the picturesque locales. You can stop at many popular tourist places, you desire en route.
Keep your travel spirits high and read along the 12 useful road trip essentials to carry for a long road trip. Making travel packing lists isn’t hard as it sounds, so if you are planning soon to hit the road, keep this trip packing list handy.
1. Travel navigation app
A lot of mobile apps have made many adventurous trips easy in recent times. For first-timers, Google maps come to mind.
Barring this, there are a few more free road navigation apps, like Waze and so on. Various features and alerts make these applications useful.
Most of those free apps have a feature to alert the drivers to the presence of any nearby gas station, hotels, road congestion, road accidents, speed breaker, and other obstacles, which might get your trip to a grinding halt.
Additionally, keep a road (paper) map handy. While driving your car through the ‘no network’ zone, there will be instances where you will find a shortage of phone signals or internet connection.
Having a road map in real acts as a guiding light. You can also try one of the offline travel navigation apps mentioned in the guide above.
2. Chargers and power banks
Chargers are one of the must-have road trip essentials. Using Gps navigation, social media apps, and maybe taking pictures and video, will eventually drain out your phone’s battery.
Invest in a power bank, especially having a couple of USB outlets when planning for any road trip. Make sure the portable power bank has multiple outputs (when traveling with a group).
Mobile roaming drains out the battery even faster. In today’s digitized age, charging hi-tech gadgets stand as the paramount importance. So, pack a right power bank or a car charger along with your other packing items. It is yet again a useful item in any road trip packing list.
3. Camera and photography equipment
Being excited before any trip makes us miss out on various utility-oriented things, like getting along with a good travel camera. It is a well-defined idea of packing a camera along with your belongings.
Irrespective of photography as your hobby, carrying a camera will assist you in capturing the travel moments that help reminiscing later.
Various exotic locales might turn into a ‘click-mode’ in your psyche, but without a camera, you can never frame them.
Along with the camera, pack the associated accessories like the lens-cleaning kit, folding tripods, fresh pack of chargeable batteries, and camera charger. Also, keep a new spare memory card handy, in case you require it.
4. Sufficient travel cash
In today’s card-friendly world, we hardly carry money in our wallet. During road trips, when you hit the highway, with wilderness on both sides, and deserts, there is hardly any chance to get hold of an ATM!
For a long road trip, keep enough cash and coins for the toll gates, car parking, and small roadside eateries. Also, keep some extra cash as an emergency expense.
Also, don’t forget to try one of those travel budgeting apps, it will help you manage your expenses using cards or cash while on the road. If you’re traveling in a group, it will be one of the road-tripping items you must have on your phone in order to split costs.
5. Healthy road trip snacks
While on any road trip, you should try to eat healthy food. By eating light food and fresh natural drinks, you will feel energetic.
Choose your travel food based on your needs and not your taste only, your snacks’ list should contain one of these: yogurts, seasonal-fruits, chocolates, fresh juice, sunflower seeds, and nuts.
Include some canned food for the long trip where you can’t make a stop to have lunch or dinner. There might be chances of not getting any excellent eateries on the highways. So, cater for road trip friendly light snacks to keep yourself from falling weak or sick.
Remain well-hydrated by packing a water bottle (reusable water bottle as the best and eco-friendly) and healthy drinks. Avoid drinking too much water for a smooth drive. Also, keep away from drinking too much soda, as it will make you dehydrated.
A small hard candy packet acts as a great refreshment. You can pack the same in your glove compartment. While moving, if you start feeling some dizziness or motion sickness, chewing gum while driving or riding is very helpful.
6. Road trip packing list daypack
Some of our followers always ask the question: what to pack for a road trip?
Irrespective of any road trip, short or long, plan to carry an all-purpose daypack. Pack whatever you consider essential in your bag or worth using for the day.
In your bag make sure to pack a change of clothes, a sweater or scarf (as night road trips can be cold sometimes), basic toiletries, and UV protected sunglasses in an easy and reachable pocket of the bag.
You never know, you might want to take a break while driving, and start the following day again feeling fresh!
Put your daypack on your car seat, and within your reach. Load the main items, like a sleeping bag, camping gears, or the hiking cycle on your car roof racks.
7. Travel first aid kit
Prepare your travel first-aid kit and store it well with some quick-healing medicines like Aspirin and related items like bandages, cream, pain relievers, antiseptic lotions, and motion sickness pills.
Get along a muscle roller stick to avoid muscles and joint aches taking place, due to long hours on the road. Also, carry motion sickness medicines and some pain-relieving medicines handy for curing any relentless headache that you might suffer during the road trip.
Choose a good sunblock cream while traveling, especially on long drives during summer. make sure to pick something with a higher-SPF, these will help you protect yourself from undesired suntan/sunburn while you are on the road.
Also, sunblock lotions reduce the risk of skin cancer. Keep the same in the medical kit, so that it is easily accessible.
According to both the EWG and the Skin Cancer Foundation; SPF 30 blocks nearly 97% of UVB radiation, SPF 50 blocks about 98%, and SPF 100 blocks about 99%
8. Wet wipes and tissues
Yet another item on our packing list but underrated road trip essentials are the soft tissues or the wet wipes. Put them neatly in a box and use the same for wiping your face, blowing your nose, or as a refreshing mask when getting tired.
You can also keep some small-sized towels handy. Most of the time, it works well to sweep away any grime and ensuring facial hydration during long trips.
A lot of travelers will also pack a hand sanitizer, as part of their skincare routine, to be used when the cleaning wipes are not accessible.
9. Loaded your iPad or tablet
This one is for those who plan for a long road trip with your family (with kids or even with a baby). Sure enough, the kids do get bored quickly, while riding in the backseat of the car.
If the roadside scenery turns boring or the number-plate game isn’t enough exciting, then the boredom can make your journey a problematic one.
One of the top items on the road trip packing list is a “well-stocked” iPad or tablet loaded with their favorite movies and games. It will keep them entertained while playing some constructive games or watching a good movie.
And, if your child loves reading, a kindle or any eBook app will be an essential help for those long road drives.
This tip isn’t limited to kids, some grownups feel bored even more, it will make your trip and theirs more exciting if they stop complaining about the long hours or even asking the legendary question “Are We Here Yet?”
10. Lightweight blankets and neck-pillows
Scheduling for a road trip can be fun. Keep a pair of the soft and lightweight blanket and neck-pillow inside your car. You never know when you need one.
This particular road trip item has various functionalities. You can sometimes use it as a window shade, to partially prevent sun-rays. Also, it can be used as a ground-cover, or when you need a power nap!
Most of the adventure-loving travelers bring these while planning for a comfortable road trip during the fall/winter season. It is hard for you to enjoy your road trip when you experience a chilly summer night!
11. Seasonal Road Trip Packing List
The road trip packing list varies from season to another, in summer for example make sure to include a battery-powered fan and some caps or hats in your packing list. These are useful when you plan to hit the beach or a hot and humid place. Your travel requirements might be different depending on the season.
Also, if you plan a road trip during winters, the trip packing list will include a shovel or snow scraper to get rid of the snow on the road or scrapping the ice on the windshield of your car.
It works like magic, and you will never regret packing such an item if you get stuck during or after a heavy snowfall. And again, always keep an umbrella to shield yourself from rain during the rainy season.
Lastly, make sure to fellow those road trip safety tips to enjoy the best of the road trip, being safe is also something you can plan.
12. Road Trip Survival Kit
Especially when planning for a long trip, you need a survival kit. When you plan for some adventurous road trip, like camping or hiking, it is a must.
Besides your daypack items, having a survival kit is very utility-oriented, including a Swiss-knife, duct-tape, rope, light snack items, road maps, flashlight, batteries, pocket radio, water-proof matches, and a good binocular.
Whatever the reason, planning to hit the woods or spending the night watching the starlit sky, you should be self-sufficient, organized, and well prepared at all times.
Useful travel tips
Planning and picking the right items for an ultimate road trip the initial step to have a good time while traveling.
Road trips require certain things, like a well-balanced shot of caffeine, loud music (or a chatty passenger), and a well-planned travel checklist.
Follow the useful utility travel tips and prepare your own travel essential list. The freedom of driving down the highway is seductive, unexpected, and liberating. So, when in doubt, travel and hit the road!!