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Ultimate List of Road Trip Essentials

Ultimate List of Road Trip Essentials

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Let’s face it, who doesn’t love a good road trip?  I mean, there is just something about hitting the open road and exploring the countryside!

I know that we have taken our fair amount of road trips over the year, and I must admit that I have packed incorrectly several times.  With that in mind, I decided to create this list of the ultimate road trip essentials so that you don’t have to make the same mistake that I have. LOL!

Honestly, this road trip packing list will help to ensure that you have all of the items that you need to make your road trip the greatest experience ever!

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    Ultimate Road Trip Essentials: Your Road Trip Packing List

    Road Trip Essentials for Your Car

    Insurance Card

    Be sure that you have a copy of your car insurance any and every time you hit the road.

    License and Registration

    Having your current license and registration is a must while traveling.  Always have this road trip essential handy!

    Your Car Manual

    I know, you will probably never need this, but it never hurts to have it handy just in case.

    Roadside Assistance Information

    Don’t forget to grab your policy information and phone numbers associated with your roadside assistance program.

    Dash Camera

    dash camera has to be should definitely be one of the things to bring on a road trip.  They are so useful to document the occurrences if an accident were to occur.  Many times our dash camera has verified our story and kept us from having to fight with insurance companies.

    Find Your Perfect Dash Camera Here

    Trunk Organizer

    A good trunk organizer can be such a great addition to your road trip packing list.  There are even trunk organizers with built-in coolers which makes this even a bigger space saver.

    road trip essentials

    Roadside Emergency Kit

    roadside emergency kit should definitely be on your road trip packing list.  Make sure the roadside emergency kit that you choose includes jumper cables, a first aid kit, and various tools that you might need to do minor car repair if needed.

    Find Your Roadside Emergency Kit Here

    Spare Tire

    If your car has fun flat tires like ours, then this isn’t a necessity.  If you don’t have run flat tires, then be sure that you have a spare tire and that it is in good shape.  Not only that, but be sure that you have a jack and know how to use it. LOL!

    Check Your Fluids

    Be sure and have your vehicle serviced and check all of your fluids before hitting the road.

    Extra Set of Keys

    Trust us on this one, grab an extra set of car keys, and keep them in a separate place than the first set.  Ideally, in something that you will get out of the car with every time, like your purse or in your pocket.  You never know!


    A good flashlight is definitely one of the things to bring on a road trip.  You never know when you might need it, so it is better to have it than to not!

    Of course, another great hands-free alternative is to get a headlamp instead.

    Travel Pillow and Blanket

    If you are doing a road trip, then you might as well be comfortable, right?  That is why you need to think about bringing along a good travel pillow and blanket with you as well.

    Handsfree Phone Mount

    Let’s face it, we all rely on our phones to help us with navigation, especially on a road trip.  That is why a handsfree phone mount is one of our must-haves for a road trip.

    road trip packing list

    Sanitary Wipes and Spray

    You never know when you might need some sanitary wipes and spray.  It is much better to have them on hand….just in case!

    UV Window Shade

    Protecting your car from the sun is so important. Not only that, but a good UV Window Shade helps to add a touch of privacy in case you need it.

    Small Cooler

    small cooler is a great addition to your packing list for a road trip.  Using it to pack up some drinks and healthy snacks is not only convenient but can also save you some money on the road.


    You have to have your favorite snack with you on a road trip.  This is half of the fun!  Some of our favorites include:

    • Nuts
    • Granola Bars
    • String Cheese
    • Pretzels
    • Sandwiches
    • Twizzlers
    • Peanut Butter
    • Crackers
    • Dried Fruit

    Travel Trash Can

    Don’t let your car get trashy while on the road, and whatever you do, DON’T THROW YOUR TRASH OUT THE WINDOW!  That’s why you need this nifty collapsible trash can.

    Tech and Entertainment Must-Haves For Road Trip

    Phone and phone charger

    Of course, this one probably goes without saying as most of us don’t go anywhere without our phones.  With that in mind, just be sure you don’t leave it or your phone charger sitting on the dresser at home (not that I’m speaking from experience).


    Headphones are another one of the great things to bring on a road trip.  Not only can they give you some peace in the car, but they also will allow you to watch a movie without bothering the driver.

    Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    We use a VPN all the time, but especially when traveling.

    A VPN will help to protect your sensitive information when using Wi-Fi.  Not only that, but it will also allow you to access websites and watch tv shows that might be blocked in foreign countries.


    A good book is a great way to pass the time on the road or to wind down within in the evening.  The easiest way to accomplish bringing a book with you is to download your favorites to a Kindle.

    Find Your Kindle Here


    A good camera makes tons of difference in the quality of photos that you will achieve while on your road trip.  We personally love Canon products and highly recommend them.  We love Canon so much that we have 3 of them. LOL!

    Find Your Perfect Canon Camera Here


    We always download our favorite movies and tv shows to our iPad before traveling.

    Portable Charger

    You never know when you are going to be without a plug.  That is what makes a portable charger a road trip essential for sure!

    Your Favorite Playlist

    Downloading your favorite playlist is one of the must-haves for road trips.  If you need inspiration, we have a list of 125 songs about travel!

    Downloadable Maps

    Download maps to your phone just in case you find yourself in an area without cell service.  Of course, you can also rely on paper maps if you choose to do so.

    We download most of our maps from either Google Maps or use the app.

    JOBY Tightgrip Tripod

    If you don’t have a JOBY Tightgirp tripod, then drop everything and get yourself one!  We love this little thing so much and use it all the time.  The JOBY tripod is awesome for cell phones or DSLR camera.

    Trust us, this should be not only one of your road trip essentials but one of your overall travel essentials!

    Find Your JOBY Tripod Here

    Packing and Personal Items

    road trip essentials

    Day pack

    Your packing list for a road trip should definitely include a good day pack.   Day packs can be used to throw a few clothes in when you stop at a hotel for the night, or to throw snack and drinks in while you are doing a hike or excursion.

    While you can find all sorts of day packs on Amazon, we especially love the Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack.  The Osprey comes in a variety of colors and is the perfect size for your needs.

    Water Bottle

    A good water bottle is essential, but only if you use it, so refill it often while on the road!  These Hydroflex water bottles are well insulated, have a slip-proof powder coating, and are sweatproof. They truly are worth the investment.


    It is always a good idea to have some cash on hand just in case.  You never know when you might pass a cash-only toll or need some change for an old-fashioned parking meter.

    Hat and Sunglasses

    Be sure and protect yourself from the sun.  Don’t forget a hat and your sunglasses!

    Packing Cubes

    One of our tips for traveling with only a backpack is to use a great set of packing cubes.  Packing cubes help to keep your stuff neatly organized.


    Of course, you don’t want to forget any of your toiletries either.  For this, think of the following:

    • Your Personal Medications
    • Shampoo
    • Conditioner
    • Toothbrush
    • Toothpaste
    • Razor
    • Sunscreen
    • Lip balm
    • Makeup
    • Personal Skincare
    • Body Wash
    • Wet Wipes
    • Dry Shampoo
    • Hair Ties
    • Hand Sanitizer
    • Floss
    • Deodorant
    • Insect Repellant
    • Comb/Brush
    • Hair products
    • Tweezers
    • Nail clippers/nail file
    • Toilet Paper (yes, toilet paper)
    • Feminine Products
    • First-Aid Kit (if you don’t have one in your car emergency pack)

    Clothing and Shoes For Your Trip

    Of course, you don’t want to forget the appropriate clothing and shoes based upon your journey. 

    We have recently been introduced to Tropicfeel shoes. After reading a review about Tropicfeel shoes, I think that I will definitely be adding these shoes to my travel essentials.

    In addition to your clothes and shoes, some other things you might especially want to consider remembering could include:

    • Prescription Glasses
    • Flip flops
    • Swimsuit
    • Swimsuit Cover Up
    • Sleepwear
    • Socks
    • Underwear
    • Comfortable clothes for the car
    • Rain Jacket
    • Jacket
    • Coat (if traveling during cold months)
    • Hiking boots/shoes
    • A scarf

    Other Things to Bring on a Road Trip

    things to bring on a road trip

    Windproof Umbrella

    A good umbrella is always nice to have on hand, but especially during a road trip.  Consider getting a windproof travel umbrella if you don’t already have one.

    Travel Journal

    Document your fun road trip in a great travel journal.

    Final Thoughts on Our Road Trip Essentials

    Well, there you have it, our list of road trip essentials.  Of course, every person has different plans for their road trip, so be sure and consider what else you might need in order to have a fabulous vacation!

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    Michelle Snell-Founder That Texas Couple

    About the Author

    Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures.  While she is a professional educator by day, her passion for travel has her jet-setting all over the world during her free time. 

    Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through her informative writing style on her blog, That Texas Couple.  Her practical tips and suggestions help make travel dreams a reality while immersing her readers in the history, culture, and food of a region.  She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.

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