Your Essential Road Trip Checklist

Hey Everyone! I am sure you know by now that I love a good road trip. Road tripping, in my opinion, is one of the best ways to fully explore wherever you are. If you’re not sure where to take a road trip, check out my 10 day Western Canada, California road trip, or 7 Day Ireland road trip posts for some ideas!

When considering what to pack on your road trip, it depends on where you will be road-tripping, and how long, for some of the more specific items that you will need. But I have put together a list of the must-haves for any type of road trip. You can use this list as a starting point and then add camping gear, weather dependent gear, etcetera, depending on your specific road trip.

Legal Documents:

Make sure all of your legal documents for the car are in order. Sometimes I get so excited packing the fun stuff that I forget about the essentials. Whether you are taking your car, or driving a rental, make sure that:

  • You have your driver’s license 
  • Your car is insured properly and that you have your insurance documents
  • The plates are in date, and the registration is good to go 

Making sure these things are in order you will avoid any major issues that may delay or deter the trip.

Safety Equipment:

  • A spare tire
  • Jack
  • Tools that may be necessary to put your spare tire on
  • Jumper cables
  • A roadside safety kit
  • First aid kit

These are road trip essentials that I have used several times in the past. 

For when you are out of service: 

Offline playlist: 

I always recommend making and saving some offline playlists. If the service ever gets spotty you will still have tunes. 

Maps to location: 

I would also do the same for maps, save your relevant maps in offline mode so that you will still have directions if you lose service. 

Book, kindle or audiobook: 

For the downtime in the evenings, or for breaks in driving, make sure you have a book with you to read whether it be on a kindle or a regular book. I also download audiobooks for driving in case I need to switch it up from the music. 

Pre-downloaded Netflix series

For obvious reasons 🙂

Charging Cables: 

For your phone and other electronics

I also usually bring a portable charger to have as a backup for when I am not in the car.

Camera:

The phone is good, but it’s always nice to have a good camera with you to capture your road trip memories.  Bring an extra battery and SD card just in case

If you need some advice on taking the best photos, check out my post about how to take aesthetic photos!

For when you make stops along the way I recommend carrying:

Hand sanitizer:

Because we all know the restrooms and gas stations aren’t always the cleanest

Water bottle:

Fill it up with water and ice at every stop. If you’re big on having cold drinks in the car, bring a cooler and you can fill an ice bag at gas stations to always have cold beverages on hand.

Coffee mug

A coffee mug is always a good thing to have in order to fill up on that yummy gas station coffee for a pick me up.

Some extras:

  • Hoodie
  • Extra socks
  • A towel
  • A blanket on hand will set you up for comfort on the journey. (The blanket and towel can also double to hang in the window for privacy or shade from the sun).
  • A pillow for an emergency nap or extra comfort while driving.

If you’re going to be off the beaten path:

  • Advil
  • Sunscreen 
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Toiletries 
  • Duct tape (for everything!)
  • A flashlight
  • A swiss army knife.

It’s good to be prepared for anything!

Cash

One thing that is often overlooked in our digital world is having cash on hand. Cash is a necessity for road trips for tolls, national park entrance fees, and any unforeseen emergencies. I try to keep at least a couple hundred dollars hidden in my car just in case and some smaller bills in my wallet.

Spare key:

Last, but not least for ultimate preparedness is to have a spare key. Whether you keep it somewhere in your backpack or in a magnetic box hidden on your car, it’s important to have at least one with you because if you do lose your key while you’re off adventuring it can be a real pain to replace it on the road. (Speaking from experience!)

Obviously, for your specific trip location, destination, and length, add whatever other items would make your trip easier and more fun. This road trip checklist is just a starting point for the absolute road trip essentials that you might not think of off the bat. If you make sure you have the items listed above you will be set up for success.

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