If you have ever been on a road trip, you’ll know that making a packing list for a road trip is as important as mapping out the road trip itinerary. It doesn’t matter where you’re planning your road trip, from scenic coastal drives to cross-country journeys. or how long you’re planning to go, there are essentials that should be on your road trip packing list. Here’s our road trip checklist to help you pack.
ROAD TRIP PACKING LIST GUIDE
ROAD TRIP ESSENTIALS
1- Driving paperwork
Always carry your driver’s license in your wallet or purse and do not leave home without it. Make sure your car registration is current. Make a photocopy of your car insurance policy (contact details of your insurance company) and put it in your glove box. Don’t rely on your smartphone or notebook, just in case.
2- Roadside assistance membership
Having a roadside assistance membership is definitely handy for times you might need help.
3- Car manual
Count on that pesky warning light to keep flashing when you just happen to be out of cell phone range.
4- Spare tire
Check that your spare is in good condition before your trip.
Paper maps might be fast going out of style but they can be really useful to help you orientate yourself, especially when you’re in an area with patchy cell service.
Pack polarized sunglasses for driving or anti-glare sunglasses for clearer night vision.
7- Toilet paper
A roll of toilet paper is handy for emergencies and when you’re on the road in countries that have toilets that might not be stocked.
8- Large Water Bottles
Staying hydrated is essential while on a road trip, especially in summer, so pack more water than you think you’ll need. Have at least one water bottle for each person in the car and an extra bottle for emergencies.
9- First aid kit
Pack a first aid kit stocked with band-aids, bandages, antiseptic and painkillers (being in a car with a headache is no fun!) and being forced to stop to look for a band-aid can be a nuisance.
10- Roadside Emergency Kit
You never know when you might have a flat battery or tire. Buy a roadside emergency kit with the essentials for a road trip emergency, such as battery charger cables, window breaker, light sticks and air compressor.
ROAD TRIP CHECKLIST FOR TECHNO WARRIORS
Update the software on your GPS before you leave or you risk being directed onto older (and longer) routes. Download a mapping app, such as Waze or Roadtrippers, and have a paper map as a backup for when there’s no cell service.
2- Road trip apps
Sign up for a few hotel booking sites, such as Bookings.com, Hotelscombined.com, and download their booking apps before you leave.
3- Smartphone charger
Don’t forget your smartphone charger and take a spare as a backup in case you leave it somewhere unintentionally. Get one with multiple USB slots so you can keep your GPS plugged in while you charge your phones and notebooks.
4- Bluetooth headphones
Download a selection of travel games on a tablet and pack a set of Bluetooth headphones if you’re planning a cross-country road trip with the kids.
5- Battery packs
Pack a high-capacity battery pack, which you can charge up before you go. This might be especially handy if you’re planning on doing a bit of work while on your trip.
6- Portable satellite
Watch live shows as you cruise along the highway with the help of a portable satellite antenna.
You’d be surprised at how handy a basic flashlight can be while on the road. Better still, get a rechargeable solar flashlight that can also be used as a seat belt cutter and glass window breaker. Some have USB chargers that you can use to charge up your smartphone in an emergency.
8- Download music
Even if the scenery is stunning, there will be long stretches of road where you will enjoy filling the car with good music.
9- Swiss Army Knife
A multi-purpose tool that may come in handy for a number of reasons. Technology versions come with USB sticks too.
Capturing the places you visit on your road trip from the air is fun and will provide a memorable visual journal of your road trip. A mini-drone can cost as little as $50 or treat yourself to the top-of-the-range of portable travel drones.
ROAD TRIP PACKING LIST – THE BASICS
For when you happen to come across the perfect picnic spot or if you get cold. A microfleece blanket dries quickly and is light enough to take with you on your next flight.
2- Travel Pillow
Planning on snoozing in the car? A travel pillow will come in handy. If you are a light sleeper, bring your regular pillow for comfort. A nifty product to get is a microfleece blanket in a bag that you can use as a travel pillow.
3- Travel Mug
Choose a travel mug with a leak-proof lid to stop the liquid from spilling.
4- Rain jacket
A rain jacket or umbrella to keep you dry when you need to get out of the car.
5- Reusable Shopping Bag
They fold up and fit in your handbag and are useful for popping to the shop while on the road. As many places are banning plastic bags, a reusable shopping bag is a good item to have.
6- Garbage Bags
Keep your car clean of wrappers and other garbage and if you want to be really organized get a leak-proof garbage bag to hang behind the seat.
7- Road trip snacks
While on a road trip, the best snacks to nibble on are healthy snacks that will give you the energy to keep driving. It’s cheaper to stock up with a big pack than to buy individual items along the way.
8- Hiking boots
Even if you aren’t an avid hiker, there will be times when the opportunity to stretch your legs and explore the landscape will present itself. A sturdy pair of hiking boots can make all the difference to your comfort level.
There will be times when you decide on going for a hike and need a travel daypack to store the items you should carry with you.
SUMMER ROAD TRIP PACKING LIST
1- Window Shades
A pack of sunshades for the car is extremely useful to stop the sun streaming through the side windows.
2- Insect Spray
Keep those bugs, sandflies and mosquitoes away!
3- Sun Screen
Wear sunscreen if you’re driving long distances with the sun on your skin to avoid sunburn.
4- Hand sanitizer
A bottle of hand sanitizer is helpful when you come in contact with germs or can’t find somewhere to wash your hands.
5- Body Wipes
Body wipes are a great option when you need to freshen up or for emergencies.
6- Quickdry Towel
Have you ever driven past a beach and have been tempted to jump in the ocean for a swim?
A visor, hat or cap to keep the sun off your face.
10- Car Cooler
There’s nothing like an ice-cold drink on a hot summer’s day and a car cooler is also useful to keep sandwiches and other food fresh.
WINTER ROAD TRIP PACKING LIST
1- Snow Shovel
Look for one that folds up and won’t take up a lot of space.
2- Ice Scraper
4- Lip balm
When the air is dry, especially in winter, a pot or stick of lip balm will soothe cracked lips.
5- Car seat warmers
If your car doesn’t already have an inbuilt seat heating function you can get car seat cushions to keep your seat warm.
If you think of anything else that should be on our road trip packing list, please leave a comment below to let us know.