The Ultimate Road Trip Packing List

Planning a road trip over the upcoming holidays? Have you started your road trip packing list?

Whether it is to a family member or friend’s house, or to a quiet cabin in the woods, you need to be prepared.  You could be traveling solo or with the family and pets snuggled in the back.  Regardless, you will need some supplies to make the trip as comfortable and fun as possible.

TECHNOLOGY IS OUR FRIEND

Handsfree Driving

Remember back to when we used paper maps to guide us to our destination?  I could never correctly fold them back in place and I don’t even think my kids know what a paper map is.

These days we use our phones to guide the way.  Pick up a car mount holder to keep your hands on the wheel while your trusty smartphone tells you what to do next.

I do have to say though when we went to Napa and were trying to navigate to one of the wineries there was NO service.  If you think you are going to be traveling in an area like that, you may want to download an app like Maps.me.  It will allow you to download to your phone a detailed map of whichever area you are traveling to, just in case.

Lost and Found!

You’re in the car for hours and something is bound to get lost in the piles.  It could be your iPad, extra set of keys, your kids FAVORITE stuffed animal!  Attach a tile to whatever you hold near and dear, download the app, and breathe a sigh of relief that you will never part with it!

Lighting

Keep a tiny flashlight in the front and back seats to ensure enough light is available for finding whatever it may be you’re searching for!

I like the MAGlite LED flashlight – as do my boys (they have one in each of their bedrooms at home in case the lights go out).  Small yet mighty!

Charge it!

Make sure you have chargers for each of your devices.  You can always grab one on the road, but more than likely it will be 3x the price (and not the same quality as the one you left on the counter).

ENTERTAINMENT

Music

Good music is a MUST when traveling long distances.  Make a playlist on your favorite music app to keep you jamming along.

If your car does not have the ability to sync to your phone via Bluetooth, be sure to grab an auxiliary cable to play music on your phone through your car’s speakers.

Video

Portable DVD players were a blessing for us when the boys were little.  We’d be sure to pack the latest and greatest Thomas the Train and Baby Einstein DVDs for endless entertainment in the back seat. DVD players or tablets with movies must be one of your family road trip essentials!

Games

There are so many different games that you can play to pass the time that does not include electronics.  Try the state license plate game or “I Spy”.  I always pack a deck of cards and some travel games like the ones below!

FOOD AND DRINKS

Snacks

It is inevitable that you are going to have someone in the car whine, “I’m hungryyyyyy”.  (It may be you!)  Think ahead and pack some favorite snacks to curb your appetite.

I personally like snack packs of nuts, or even make my own trail mix from some Trader Joe’s favorites.  We bring the kids’ favorite nibbles – both sweet and savory just in case!

Beverages

Depending on the number of times you really want to stop to go potty, you may want to limit the drinks, BUT you have to have something!  We pack a soft cooler of reusable water bottles (and iced coffee) to get us through the trip.

Don’t Forget Fluffy!

Pack a collapsible water and food bowl for your furry friend too.  Make sure when you take a pit stop to stretch your dog’s legs as well!

COMFORT IS KEY

If you are the driver, make sure you are wearing comfy clothes and shoes.  As a passenger, you can add a few more items to the list.

Travel pillows are perfect to avoid a stiff neck should you snooze en route.  If the driver likes the A/C on low, you may want to bring some throw blankets too.  I take my shoes off and put on fuzzy socks.  Why not, right?!


Sunglasses are a necessity when driving in daylight as is sunscreen.  A lot of people do not realize that sunrays go through the car windows.  Even if it is tinted.  (Hence why the left side of my face is a smidge tanner than the right!)

Body wipes may sound a bit overkill, but depending on how long your car voyage is or if your A/C doesn’t work well (you never know) you may thank me!  Most definitely pack baby wipes – they are great for stain removal as well as cleaning your hands and face.

SAFETY FIRST!

Make sure that your spare tire is fully inflated and that you have a roadside emergency kit – just in case.  Some items you might need include flairs, light sticks, reflective vest, warning triangle, tire pressure gauge, and window breaker.

Tuck your car insurance, registration and car manual in the glove compartment – once again, just in case.

Hand sanitizer may not normally be categorized as a “safety item” but will protect you from yucky germs you may encounter along the way.

road trip packing list

AND…

I know I must have missed a few items that you find essential for your road trip.  I’d love to know what they are!  Please comment below with your road trip must-haves!

About The Author

Dana Peller

Dana Peller

I’m a wife, mom, biz owner, writer, creator, and TV personality. My days are accomplished with a dash of flair, lots of style, and fueled by coffee.

About The Author

Dana Peller

Dana Peller

I’m a wife, mom, biz owner, writer, creator, and TV personality. My days are accomplished with a dash of flair, lots of style, and fueled by coffee.

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38 thoughts on “The Ultimate Road Trip Packing List”

  1. This is quite an extensive list for road tripping, I know that packing for a road trip can be quite the process to ensure that you have everything that you need.

  2. I LOVE this list (well, any list really) but I really love how you’ve broken it down AND provided links to your favs – this is so helpful!

  3. i love maglite too! trusty little fella. i also bring sleeping bags on road trips and water. lots of water. in our country, water can be expensive when you’re traveling.

    1. Maglites are exactly that! Where do you live, Angel? Bottled water can get pricey here too, but you mention in your country 🙂

  4. Catherine Santiago Jose

    My husband and I love everything about the road trip. I will definitely take advantage of these tips as we have two kids now, thanks for sharing with us.

    1. I am so glad these tips will come in handy for you, Catherine! Where do you like to go on road trips?

  5. Staying safe is key, and having everything safe and sound is definitely a plus. I’m always saying I need a Tile after I lose things. Might gift myself with one this holiday.

    1. You totally deserve to gift yourself something – but like a spa treatment 😉 Tell the hubby you want it in your stocking this year.

  6. Geraline Batarra

    These are such a great road trip tips. I think I need to take all of these since I have a kids but of course, safety is first on my list.

  7. Great informative guide! The Tile product is very useful, nothing more frustrating than losing something! I also like the linking you use to Amazon products right below the items.

    1. Thank you, Kevin! I linked to the items because I always find great ideas while reading and wonder where to get them – voila! It’s right there!

  8. Evelyn Hernandez

    Great list! My husband sure needs a Tile, he loses his keys on a daily basis.

    1. Thank you, Evelyn! My husband loses his keys and his wallet all the time too! Maybe it is a guy thing?!

  9. Aside from clothing, etc for spending the night and what not – the only things I really need on a road trip are my phone charger, food, and water – and my husband cause he’s entertaining AF! 😉

  10. I don’t drive so i am not really going for trips like that. When u travel with public transport u have a limited space so a i’ve learned how to travel minimalist. For a day trip I normally bring some food, water, wipes, tissues, phone and power bank, charger and purse. 🙂

  11. Erica D Ardali

    You definitely covered all the bases. I can’t go to the grocery store without my phone so I definitely couldn’t go on a trip without ,all my tech gadgets

  12. Oh wow, Such a great list. These are great stuff that can help a lot while in travel. Travel pillow is my partner all throughout my road trip.

  13. Ana Ojha

    These are some amazing travel essentials. They could also be perfect gift ideas this holiday season!

  14. I love roads trip even I don’t have a car love the packing list! so Techkie.

  15. I love going on road trips and your packing list is incredible! Some of these products are new to me but they look and sound so useful. Loved the compilation 🙂

  16. Totally with you on the music, snacks, and chargers! I need to look into getting those tile things! It’d save me so much time!

  17. Kim Saldo

    I just started driving comfortably around my city and these tips are so helpful since I have been thinking to go beyond my city. Yay for long drives! Wish me luck.

  18. Hey Dana these are some great tips for road trips. Thanks for sharing with us.

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