Road Trip Essentials: Interactive Packing List + 55 Must-Haves

Last Updated on August 9, 2020

A winding mountain road during a trip through southwestern Colorado against a cloudy sky

Road Trip Essentials: Interactive Packing List + 55 Must-Haves

 

I’ve been learning the ins and outs of road trip essentials and honing my packing list since I was old enough to get behind the wheel. The open road attracted me at a very young age and will continue to draw me in for the rest of my life.

As an eager teenager, I took my first road trip to Las Vegas with a carful of giddy friends. The complete freedom to explore had me hooked.

Since then, I’ve explored thousands of miles of my captivating home state of Colorado, driven the stunning California coastline, navigated the magical Hawaiian islands, and traversed the barren plains of Texas.

I’ve voyaged the sweeping Irish countryside, bumped up and down countless miles of rural Mexican roads, and soaked in the fascinating culture of North Vietnam on a motorbike.

These years of experience have taught me that packing for a long journey on the open road isn’t easy, so I’ve put together a list of my favorite road trip essentials to help you. I’ve included an interactive checklist list, my top ten road-tripping hacks, and a list of all the lodging, navigation, and travel resources I use when I’m on the road.

Ready? Let’s get into it.

So, What Exactly Should You Bring on a Road Trip?

This is a tough question to answer, I’ll admit. Everyone has specific needs for their road trip, and my packing list will look quite different than yours. We’re all likely headed towards separate destinations when we road trip, so what I throw in the trunk may not work for you.

Keep this all in mind as you look over my road trip essentials packing list, and prepare for your trip as you see fit. Take some of my advice, get your hands on a few pieces of gear you think will help, and leave the rest behind.

If you want to skip past my recommended essentials and jump straight to my complete packing list, click here. The checklist is interactive, meaning you can click the boxes as you get ready for your adventure and stay organized throughout the packing process.

Road Trip Safety Gear & Repair Accessories

A car alarm security system with two clickers

Alarm System & Remote Start
Viper 5305V

If you’re taking a road trip, you’re going to have a lot of valuable things in your vehicle that are essential to protect. So, arm your rig with a proper (LOUD) alarm system that also has the option to auto-start your rig remotely.  

A car jack kit, essential for road trips

Car Jack Kit
Big Red Scissor Lift

Nobody ever plans on getting a flat tire, but they happen regardless. A proper car jack kit will allow you to remove and replace your tire safely without expensive emergency roadside services. Make sure you have a spare tire and a lug wrench as well.

Battery powered jumper cables

Power Bank Jumper Kit
TackLife T8 18000mAh

Dead batteries are a morale killer on road trips, plain and simple. This high-capacity power bank allows you to bring your car back to life by yourself and has a handy flashlight, compass, and USB charging inputs to boot.  

A 12-volt air compressor

12-Volt Air Compressor
Fortem Digital Tire Inflator

Whether you want to fill a tire with slow leak, need to adjust tire pressure for off-roading, or simply want to avoid paying for air at gas stations, this 12-volt air compressor will get the job done quickly, safely, and efficiently. 

A red gas canister, an essential safety item for long car rides

One Gallon Gas Container
Garage Boss Press ‘N’ Pour

Running out of gas in the middle of nowhere is a drag, so get a portable gas container, keep it full, and hit the road with peace of mind. This $14 investment could be the difference between hitchhiking to a gas station and arriving safely by yourself.

A 196-piece tool set

Versatile Tool Set
DEKOPRO 196-Piece Kit

Breakdowns and equipment failures are a very unglamorous reality of the road-tripping lifestyle. Keeping a versatile set of tools on hand will allow you to handle minor repairs when they arise and get you back on your way safely.

A minimalist travel windshield repair kit

Windshield Chip Repair Kit
RainX DIY Kit

Windshield chips are a pesky reality of road tripping and can get expensive and dangerous if ignored. This affordable repair kit will fill chips and cracks with a fast-drying resin and prevent them from spreading and ruining your windshield.

A roll of duct tape

Duct Tape
Duck Tape Brand – 45 Yards

If all else fails, use duct tape. (That’s what I tell myself at least.) Whether you’re sealing a leaky hose, patching a tear in your tent, or fixing a broken pair of sunglasses, a roll of duct tape is a must-have on your upcoming road trip. 

A red first-aid kit

First-Aid Kit 
Surviveware

Whether you’re confronted with a minor scrape or an injury far more severe, a fully-stocked first-aid kit will be your ally. Packed with everything from band-aids to a CPR mask, this portable setup will be there when you need it most.

A National Geographic road atlas

United States Atlas
National Geographic Adventure Edition

Digital maps are handy, but a physical road atlas offers an in-depth look at your surroundings without the need for technology. Use this detailed, adventure-focused atlas to plan your US, Mexico, or Canada road trip as you go. Traveling Europe? There’s an atlas for that too.

Road Trip Tech Gadgets & Navigation Accessories

A portable power bank for charging gadgets, accessories, and gear on road trips

High-Capacity Power Bank
RAVPower 26800mAh

For better or worse, a dead phone can leave us feeling powerless when traveling. Ensure that your devices are always ready for action when you’re away from an outlet with this hefty power bank that will fully recharge an iPhone 8 up to seven times.

A magnetic cell phone mount

Magnetic Phone Mount
Neckteck Universal

If you’re road tripping without a phone mount, you’re doing it wrong. I love this particular setup because it’s minimalist and reliable. Simply adhere a thin metal disc to the back of your phone case and a powerful magnet within the mount will hold it without fail.

A four input 12-volt USB charger

4-Port Car Charger
Amazon Basics 9.6A/48W

A car charger with four ports might be overkill on a road trip with a couple of people, but it’s essential for groups of three or more. Four ports means a carful of people can keep their precious devices charged at all times. Don’t forget extra long micro USB or USB-C cables.

A black, waterproof Bluetooth speaker

Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker
JBL Charge 4

Whether you’re blasting tunes at a campsite or setting the mood in your hotel room, you’ll need a solid Bluetooth speaker to get the job done. The waterproof Charge 4 has mega battery life, powerful sound, and even has a USB output to charge devices when their batteries get low.

A silver and black digital Olympus camera

Digital Camera
Olympus OM-D E-M10

Cell phone photos probably won’t do your road trip justice, so get a quality digital camera if you want capture your adventure properly. My current travel camera is the budget-friendly OM-D E-M10, which is compact, easy to use, and takes great high-res photos.

Road Trip Food & Drink Must-Haves

A two-burner camping stove for a road trip packing list

Powerful Travel Stove
Camp Chef Ranger II

Those who want the option to cook meals on the road can do so with this incredibly powerful 34,000 BTU dual burner stove. The Ranger II can be attached to a standard 5-gallon propane tank or can run off of smaller one-pound camping canisters with an adapter

A road trip picnic set for families of four, essential for meals in the park

Backpack Picnic Kit
Sunflora 4-Person Set

If you’re going to cook in style on your road trip, you’d better eat in style as well. This luxurious picnic set not only has full tableware for up to four people, but also includes a blanket, cutting board, corkscrew, insulated food and drink compartment, and salt and pepper shakers.

A grey 12-volt fridge/freezer combo

12-Volt Fridge/Freezer
Alpicool 16 Quart

Keeping your food fresh and your drinks cold is vital during long stretches in the car, and this 12-volt fridge/freezer combo will do just that. It plugs in to your cigarette lighter, draws power while the car is running, cools its contents quickly, and is incredibly efficient.

A hand-powered espresso maker

Portable Espresso Maker
WACACO Nanospresso

Of all the road trip gadgets on this list, this is one of my absolute favorites. With this handheld device, you can create restaurant-quality espresso on demand. All you need is boiling water, a Nespresso capsule (or coffee grounds), and your own two hands.

An ultralight backpacking gear Jetboil stove

Rapid Water Boiling Stove
Jetboil Flash

If you need to boil water in an instant, the Jetboil Flash is exactly what you’re looking for. This lightweight camping stove takes water from room temperature to boiling in less than two minutes, allowing you to make tea, coffee, instant meals, and more.

A green 32 oz Hydroflask thermos

Insulated Thermos
Hydro Flask 32 oz

Whether your beverage is boiling hot or ice cold, the uber-efficient Hydro Flask thermos will retain its temperature for a very long time. My incredible 32 oz vessel has kept ice for over three days before it finally melted, which is a dream on long road trips. 

A folding aluminum tables with two chairs

Folding Table & Chairs
REDCAMP 3/4/6 Foot

If you’ll be cooking during your road trip, or simply want somewhere comfortable to play cards or eat takeout, a compact folding table will serve you well. This lightweight aluminum set comes with two chairs and weighs in at only two-and-a-half pounds.  

Entertaining Things to Bring on a Road Trip

Four different covers of audiobooks

Audio Book Subscription
Audible.com

Nothing passes the hours on the road like a good audiobook. An Audible subscription — click here for a free 30-day trial — gives users one free audiobook per month (to keep forever), selected free titles, guided exercises, and newspaper subscriptions from all over the world. 

Four different album covers for Spotify and Amazon Music

Streaming Music Subscription
Amazon Music | Spotify

If you’re planning on listening to CDs or MP3s on your upcoming road trip, you’re stuck about a decade behind. Get with the modern times and sign up for a streaming music subscription which will allow you to listen to pretty much any song whenever you want. Amazon Music | Spotify

A yellow inflatable kayak

Inflatable 2-Person Kayak
Intex Explorer K2

This durable and portable kayak will give you the freedom to explore lakes, gentle rivers, and other bodies of water as you please on your road trip. Fully inflatable in just a few minutes, this cushy setup can put you out on the water in a moment’s notice.

A frisbee, a vital part of a road trip checklist

Frisbee
Innova Big Kahuna

Frisbees are an endless form of entertainment and will forever be a staple of my road trip packing list. Whether I’m camping, strolling the beach, or relaxing at a park, my Innova disc is a great excuse for me and my girlfriend to run around outdoors and breathe some fresh air.

A green and blue hammock for two people

Hammock
ENO DoubleNest

Leaving my hammock behind on a road trip would be a huge hit to my relaxation capabilities, and thus unacceptable. Thankfully, I’ve never forgotten my DoubleNest, so Keri and I can sway in the breeze at will (so long as there are two trees and a nice view). 

A deck of waterproof playing cards

Waterproof Playing Cards
Kovot 54-Card Deck

I play cards frequently when I travel — gin rummy is my game of choice — and usually wear out a normal deck within a couple of weeks. Thankfully, I’ve invested in a set of waterproof cards, which stand up to humid environments (and spilled drinks) quite well.

Red and blue corn hole game

Cornhole Toss Game Set
GoSports Portable PVC Set

If frisbees, rafts, hammocks, and playing cards aren’t your thing, then maybe you can find a little entertainment playing cornhole. This lightweight setup — made of PVC and high-quality fabric — includes eight bean bags and packs away conveniently into a carrying case. 

Clothing and Comfort Items

Black sunglasses: what you want to bring on your road trip

Affordable Polarized Sunglasses
Merry’s Vintage Unisex

I tend to break or lose my sunglasses all the time, which is why I no longer spend more than $20 on a pair. Merry’s polarized shades have the feel, quality, and style of high-end sunglasses, but only cost $13 a pair. They come with a carrying case, pouch, and cleaning cloth to boot.

A grey travel pillow

Travel Pillows
Casper Nap Pillow

Napping is an essential part of the road trip lifestyle and a comfortable pillow will take your sleep game to the next level. My small Casper Nap Pillow is compact, cozy, and stays cool as I watch the miles go by and fade away into dreamland. 

A blue microfleece blanket

Packable Travel Blanket
BlueHills Microfleece

While we’re on the subject of car naps, I’d be remiss if I didn’t recommend a comfortable and portable blanket to help you get some sleep on the road. This microfleece blanket packs down to the perfect size for road trips, and is great for airplanes, camping, and at-home use as well.

A black cushioned eye mask

Light-Blocking Eye Mask
MZOO Contoured Cup

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I value sleep about as much as anything else on a road trip. A good eye mask will help block out the sun’s powerful rays and let you catch some shut eye while your fellow passengers are left squinting, squirming, and complaining.

Earplugs: bring these things on your next road trip!

Noise-Deadening Ear Plugs
Howard Leight by Honeywell

When spending hours in a cramped car, sometimes you need to tune out the background noise. Ear plugs will help you do so, and give you some respite from your fellow passengers. I’ve tried multiple brands of earplugs, and these are by far the most comfortable.

Greenish water sandals

Slip-Resistant Sandals
Montbell Aqua Gripper

Any road trip packing list is incomplete without a good set of sandals, and the Montbell Aqua Grippers are my top choice. They’re lightweight, portable, and versatile enough for hiking, watersports, or any other outdoor activity you might come across during your adventure.

A green Scrubba laundry bag

Portable Clothes Washing Kit
Scrubba Wash Bag

If you’re frugal and impatient like me, you’ve got no time for laundromats during your road trip. The portable hand-washing bag allows you to clean your clothes in a matter of minutes. All you need is some warm water, laundry detergent, and your own two hands.

Camping & Outdoor Gear

A blue REI two person tent

Lightweight 2-Person Tent
REI Half Dome 2 Plus

If you do it right, your road trip will lead you to some beautiful camping destinations. Once it does, you’ll want a quality tent to get comfortable in and catch some rest. I recommend the REI Half Dome 2 Plus for couples, or the Four Plus if you’re camping with three or more people.

Sleeping bags for road trips with kids

Packable Sleeping Bags
Hyke and Byke Eulos

Though I’m a bit of an ultralight gear snob and sleep in a $500 quilt, I’ve tested out a friend’s Hyke and Byke Eulos and was very impressed. It’s warm, lightweight, and uses water-resistant 800-fill down. The best thing about it? It costs about one-third of what I spent.

A green inflatable sleeping pad

Lightweight Sleeping Pads
Sleepingo Ultralight

To catch some solid sleep in your tent, you’ll need a comfortable sleeping pad to cushion you from the ground below. This particular model has blown me away. It’s comfortable, packs down to the size of a Nalgene, and inflates and deflates as quickly as you could ever ask for. 

Five-gallon pressure camping shower

Portable Pressure Camp Shower
Nemo Helio

Life spent bouncing from campsite to campsite isn’t the cleanest existence, which is why a portable shower is a must-have on your packing list. This foot pump pressure-powered system allows you to get a strong and refreshing stream of water on demand. 

Packable 24-liter waterproof day pack

Packable Day Packs
4Monster 24-Liter

Whether you’re setting off on a day hike or venturing into the city for an afternoon, a packable travel backpack will serve you well. This 24-liter waterproof  will carry your gear, snacks, and other essentials with ease, and pack down to the size of a soda can when it’s out of use. 

An ultralight backpacking and camping chair

Camping Chairs
Moon Lence Ultralight

Car camping without a chair to relax in is against the unwritten rules of road tripping, so get your hands on one of these if you haven’t already. They weigh only two pounds a piece, fold down into an ultra-compact carrying case, and are as comfortable as they are convenient.

A hangable water filter pouch

Water Filter
LifeStraw Flex with Gravity Bag

Purifying natural water when you’re camping will save you money, time, and resources. I recommend using the LifeStraw Flex filter system to treat lake and river water safely and conveniently. Simply fill the bag, hang it up, and let gravity do the rest. 

A collapsible water pouch

Collapsible Water Bottles
Platypus SoftBottle

Clunky metal and polycarbonate water bottles are a thing of the past when it comes to exploring the great outdoors. So, instead of bringing along your Nalgene or HydroFlask, opt for a far more lightweight option like the SoftBottle to store your backcountry beverage.

A multitool Leatherman

Multitool
Leatherman Wingman

Keeping your outdoor gear in working order is easy with the right multitool, which is why I recommend packing a Leatherman on your next road trip. Whether your prepping fishing line or tightening the screws on your ski bindings, the Wingman has the right tools to get the job done.

Family Road Trip Essentials

Essential road trip snacks

Snacks, Plenty of Snacks
CraveBox Care Package 

I get it, kids need lots of snacks on a road trip or everything will go to hell. This gigantic CraveBox full of processed food surely isn’t the best way to prevent meltdowns, but it made the list nonetheless. It might just be the perfect way to calm them down, or it might not be. Who knows?

Waterproof trash bin: a must-have on your road trip packing list

Portable Trash Bins
EPAuto Waterproof

A family packed tightly into a car on a long road trip is a recipe for a mess, but it doesn’t have to be. This handy waterproof trash bin will attach to just about anywhere inside your car and can hold up to two gallons of road trip trash without so much as a leak.

Unscented wet wipes

Unscented Wet Wipes
Amazon Basics 720-Count

If you’re a parent to young children, you know quite well that literal sticky situations will arise on your next road trip. Be prepared for anything with this mammoth supply of baby wipes that’ll help keep your car and your children clean until the next backseat disaster.

Amazon Fire HD tablet

Affordable Tablets
Kindle Fire HD 8

When all of the road trip games, singalongs, and colorbooks get old, the kids are going to get bored. That’s when you dazzle them with a tablet loaded full of fun games, apps, movies, and kids shows. Boredom will turn to delight, and all in the world will be right again.

Blue and red kids headphones

Volume-Controlled Headphones
JBL Headphones for Kids

At only $25 a pop, these just-for-kids headphones are essential for road tripping families. They max out at a safe 85 decibles and put out the high-quality sound that JBL is known for. They’ll pair up well with a fully-loaded tablet to make for the perfect distraction when you need it most.

Road trip card game called 'Kids Against Maturity'

Family-Friendly Card Game
Kids Against Maturity

If you were to play Cards Against Humanity with your young children, you might just be a bad parent. Instead, play Kids Against Maturity, which is a family-friendly spin-off. It’s entertaining for both children and parents, and is a great way for families to goof off on road trips. 

Two black window shades

Sun-Blocking Window Shades
Enovoe 4 Pack

Children don’t enjoy having the sun shining in their eyes; nobody does actually. So, help them out by shielding the sun’s annoying (and sometimes harmful) rays with window shades. This transparent set won’t block the view out the window or create any blindspots, either.

Helpful Organization & Storage Systems

A black Yakima storage box for tops of cars

Rooftop Cargo Storage
Yakima Skybox

Sometimes, there’s just not enough room in the car for all of your wonderful road trip essentials. Don’t worry, though, you can create more space. Slap a Skybox or two on the roof of your car and, just like that, you don’t have to leave any of your precious gear behind.

A trunk organizer storage tote

Trunk Organizer Tote
JACO CargoPro

In the heat of a road trip, trunks can turn into a disaster zone in a hurry. Prevent the mayhem by setting up a few of helpful organizer totes to keep all of your gear, gadgets, and accessories in order. Or don’t, and prepare yourself for a lawless and chaotic trunk of oblivion. 

A laundry bag with a world map on it

World Map Laundry Bag
Kikkerland Travel-Size

Stinky, dirty clothes have no business mingling with clean road trip essentials, so stash them in a laundry bag like a civilized human being. This world-map bag packs down into the palm of your hand, and can stash a decent amount of clothing when thrust into action. 

Road Trip Packing List | Interactive Checklist

Here’s the exact packing list and interactive checklist I use to get ready for my road trips. Click the ‘+’ sign to expand the category, and use the checkboxes to stay organized as you pack for your trip.

Security & Safety

Roadside Emergency Kit

First-Aid Kit

Gas Container

Tool Set

Car Jack Kit

Jumper Cables

Air Compressor

Windshield Chip Repair

Road Atlas

Electronics

Cell Phone

Car Charger

Charging Cables

Battery Bank

Lantern/Light

Head Lamp

Bluetooth Speaker

Laptop

Camera

Camera Lenses

Camera Batteries

Headphones

Kitchen

Camping Stove

Fuel

Pot

Pan

Cups

Plates

Bowls

Silverware

Knife

Cutting Board

Spatula

Bottle Opener

Coffee Maker

Thermos

Spices

Cooking Oil

Sponge

Cooler/Refrigerator

Food

Drinks

Coffee/Tea

Ice

Clothing

T-Shirts

Long Sleeve Shirts

Button-Up Shirts

Tank Tops

Sweater

Sweatshirt

Rain Jacket

Light Jacket

Winter Jacket

Pants

Jeans

Belt

 Shorts

Athletic Shorts

Skirts/Dresses

Bathing Suit

Underwear

Long Underwear

Socks

Shoes

Sandals

Hiking Boots

Baseball Hat

Winter Hat

Gloves

Sunglasses

Wallet

Laundry

Soap/Laundry Detergent

Laundry Bag

Wash Bag

Clothing Line

Safety Pins

Toiletries

Toiletries Bag

Soap

Shampoo

Conditioner

Hair-Styling Product

Toothbrush

Toothpaste

Deodorant

Bug Spray

Dental Floss

Glasses

Contacts

Contact Solution/Case

Ear Cleaner/Swabs

Ear Plugs

Razor

Nail Clippers

Tweezers

Advil/Aspirin

Sleep Aid

Multivitamins

Medication

Hair Dryer

Makeup

Entertainment

Frisbee

Playing Cards

Hammock

Tablets

Sporting Equipment

Games

Books

Magazines

Journal/Pen

Camping & Outdoors

Tent

Sleeping Pad

Sleeping Bag

Travel Pillow

Water Filter

Water Bottles

Camping Shower

Multitool

Miscellaneous

Folding Table

Camping Chairs

Backpack

Packing Cubes

Reusable Grocery Bags

Storage Totes

Window Shades

Water Storage

Wet Wipes

Tissues

Toilet Paper

Garbage Bin

 Towels

Lighter/Matches

Umbrella

Windshield Scraper

Documents

Passport

ID Cards

Medical Insurance

Itinerary

Car Registration

Car Insurance

Road Trip Hacks: My Ten Best Tips

A winding road on a mountain range in Vietnam right before sunset

Winding mountain roads on my ten-day motorbike trip of Northern Vietnam

 

I’ve been on many road trips in my day, and I’ve learned plenty of valuable lessons. Here are the ten best tips I can offer from my years of experience.

Get Your Vehicle a Tune-Up Before You Leave

If you’re road-tripping with your vehicle (and not renting), make sure it’s in tip-top shape before you hit the road. Drop it off at a trusted mechanic or inspect it yourself to see if there any issues that could turn into more significant problems down the road. The goal here is to prevent breakdowns at all costs.

Pack the Right Road Trip Repair Accessories

Even if you have roadside emergency service, don’t forget to bring the necessary tools that’ll get you back on the road if your vehicle breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Don’t remember what essentials to bring? Click here to jump up the page to all of my safety and repair recommendations.

Bring Your Camping Gear

Staying in hotels every night is tedious and can get pricy, so pack your camping gear to add excitement, flexibility, and savings to your road trip. Being prepared to set up camp will allow you to be more spontaneous with lodging, and sleep under the stars at a moment’s notice.

Download Google’s Offline Maps

Road tripping in unfamiliar lands can bring upon spotty cell service and render your phone’s navigation useless (unless you were savvy enough to download offline maps ahead of time). Having access to these maps means you can navigate anywhere, even when you enter the dreaded ‘No Service’ zone.

To create an offline Google Map on your phone, click your initial in the top right corner of the app, press ‘Offline maps,’ and select your custom map to download.

Use AllStays to Plan Your Trip on the Go

Allstays has a swath of useful road trip information that will help you find campgrounds, hotel rooms, truck stops, rest areas, and even Wal-Mart parking lots that allow overnight parking.

Pro users have unlimited access to incredibly detailed maps, land status information (is it public or private?), trail maps, upcoming road hazards, and much much more. The up-to-date information on Allstays goes into more detail than any other road trip resource I’ve ever seen. 

Be Willing to Ditch Your Itinerary

Seasoned road trippers know that even the best-planned itineraries can transform drastically from start to finish (and that’s okay). Because exciting opportunities will arise on your trip, and it’d be foolish to say no because of some inflexible list of obligations you created beforehand.

Allow yourself and your fellow travelers to be free and spontaneous because that’s what road trips are all about. 

Use a Phone Mount

Even though we might not like to admit it, cell phones are the most crucial tool in terms of navigation, entertainment, and logistics on a given road trip. Do yourself a favor and mount your phone onto your dashboard for easy access. Not only will this make your road trip more convenient, but it’s a much safer way to access your maps, music, and podcasts as well.

I use this super-affordable minimalist phone mount, and it has served me well on many a journey. 

Don’t Drive at Night

Driving during the daytime is far safer than at night, so do your best to get where you’re going while it’s still light outside. There are fewer drivers at night; however, they’re statistically more likely to be tired or intoxicated after the sun goes down. Lower visibility is also a significant contributor to nighttime accidents as well.

Don’t Drive When You’re Tired

Driving while drowsy is known to be as dangerous (and, in some cases, more dangerous) as driving while intoxicated. If you start to feel sleepy behind the wheel, pull over somewhere safe and mull over your options going forward. Consider doing one of the following:

  • Finding a nearby hotel or campsite to get some rest
  • Drinking caffeine for a quick energy boost
  • Taking a short car nap in a safe place
  • Switching drivers to someone who is more awake and alert

Leave Some Adventures for Next Time

I hate to break it to you, but you’re probably going to skip a few must-see destinations on your next road trip. It’s okay, though, because what’s most important is that you enjoy your journey as it happens and don’t dwell on the experiences you missed. They’ll be there waiting for you next time, after all.

If it’s meant to be, you can always return to check off the rest of the boxes the next time you’re passing through.

Other Helpful Road Trip Resources

A yellow Porsche parked in the streets of Hong Kong

What vehicle will you take on your upcoming road trip?

 

RoadTrippers – Incredibly detailed road trip planner to build your dream itinerary

Hipcamp – Connects users with private landowners who offer camping on their property

Booking.com – My go-to website for booking affordable hotels, hostels & homestays

Couchsurfing – Budget-friendly lodging option where hosts offer up a free place to stay

Turo – Rent private cars at fair prices to avoid going with big-box companies

RentalCars – Puts users in touch with car rental agencies all over the world

GasBuddy – Helps users find the most affordable gas prices within a certain radius

WorldNomads – Widely-trusted travel insurance popular in the backpacking community

Essential Gear + Packing List = Perfect Road Trip 

A man standing in front of his car looking over the ocean on a road trip of Hawaii

Road tripping the Hawaiian coastline on the North Shore of O’ahu

 

Well, I’ve divulged about as much info as either of us can handle when it comes to road trip essentials and packing lists. I hope you found some useful gear, hacks, and resources to help you plan your next journey on the great open road.

While you do that, I’ll be busy plotting my next road trip: a 3,000-mile adventure to the Pacific Northwest region of the US. I’ll be booking campsites, gathering a long list of can’t-miss destinations, and piecing together the most scenic route possible. I’m going to get as prepared as I possibly can.

But, if my wild and unpredictable history of road tripping is any indication, few things will go according to plan. At least I’ll have my road trip essentials and packing lists to cling on to when life on the go gets dicey.

Stay safe out there, and may the open road lead you to fascinating new places.

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What are some of your favorite road trip essentials? Which items on your packing list didn’t make mine? Where are you headed on your next adventure? Leave me some feedback with a comment below!

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