Road Trip Packing Essentials List

By Caitlin Hornik

Setting out on an epic road trip? While we’re sure you probably have a handle on the whole packing thing, we also want to make sure you’re not forgetting anything too crucial. In addition to packing your wardrobe staples, you have to be prepared for long stretches without stops, properly equipped with caffeine and snacks, and ready to handle whatever may come your way. Make sure you’re not leaving without these items!

Water Bottle

It’s 2020. If a stainless steel water bottle isn’t already in your possession, what are you waiting for? They’re among the most sanitary and environmentally friendly. Consider also buying larger jugs of water at the start of your trip to refill your bottle as needed.

Travel Mug

An insulated thermos to keep your $7 latte at an acceptable temperature throughout the travel day is a must for any trip, but especially a road trip!

Insulated Cooler Bag

Keep your waters cold, or store your leftovers from that delicious diner. Cooler bags are great for yummy snacks, too!


It’s best to properly plan out your snack game before you hit the open road. Hit the grocery store with your list and stock up! This will save you from poor choices at gas stations because you’re starving and have another seven hours before you reach civilization.


Could you imagine the outrage you’d feel if you started your road trip and forgot your beloved sunnies?!

Bathing Suit

You never know where or when the opportunity may arise to jump into a watering hole or soak in a jacuzzi! It’s always best to expect the unexpected, and a bathing suit is a perfect example of how to do that.

Zip-up Hoodie

We prefer zip-ups to pullovers solely because they’re easier to manage while wearing a seatbelt. There’s nothing more annoying than pulling into a rest stop when you really have to use the restroom and realizing you’re tangled up in your seatbelt because you put your hoodie on over it.

Turkish Towel

On the rise as a trendy travel item because of how compact they are, turkish towels are an excellent multi-purpose item to have on hand. Use it as a picnic blanket, as a towel after your morning swim, or as a blanket in the chilly car!

Mounted Phone Holder

If you’re traveling solo, this is an absolute must. You’ll also want to make sure you have a car charger for your phone, and preferably with a long enough cord to reach the holder. No texting/navigating while driving, please!

Paper Map

Sure, technology is cool and all, but having a sturdy paper map is a great way to ensure that you won't get lost and wind up in the middle of nowhere.

Spare Car Key

Do yourself a favor-- Pack a spare car key. Whether you give it to your co-pilot or wear it on a bracelet around your wrist, it’s never a bad idea to have a spare.

First Aid Kit

This should be a packing staple on every trip ever, but just in case it slipped your mind, please pack your first aid kit. We certainly hope you won’t need it, but better safe than sorry!

Baby Wipes

Is there any mess they can’t clean? Some may bring along antibacterial wipes instead or in addition and that’s cool, too!


Tolls, coffee, emergencies … You want to have some cash on you. Just trust us.

Safe travels!

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