Road trips are one of our favorite pastimes. They give you the opportunity to see the world in a unique way without spending a lot of money. Plus, you can bring along as many friends and family members that will fit in your car.
Packing correctly for a road trip is an essential part of having a great time. And the benefit of taking a car is that you have more flexibility in what you can pack without TSA or airline guidelines changing your packing list.
The bad news is, you might forget a few things if you’re not organized. Of course, you’ll probably do a good job packing your toys, toiletries, and other daily essentials, but there are a few things people often don’t think about.
So, here are 10 things you might want to bring on your next road trip!
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10 Things You Should Pack on Your Next Road Trip
Medications and Health Aids
It’s easy during the mad dash of packing to forget a thing or two, but you don’t want it to be your medications. Most things on your packing list can be purchased on your trip if need be, but medications are not easily replaced.
Especially if you need a prescription.
Along with essential prescriptions, bring other health aids along like ibuprofen, allergy medicine, gas relief, heartburn chews, pure CBD gummies, and any other health aids you use regularly to ease what ails you.
This will make for a far more pleasant trip!
Every good road trip is loaded with plenty of snacks. It’s part of the fun! It’s a guilt-free chance to indulge in your favorite gas station foods and enjoy them with your companions.
It’s usually cheaper to pack your snacks ahead of time though. Get a snack cooler and fill it with your favorites, including a few healthy snacks like carrot sticks and fruit for when you’re getting sick of processed carbohydrates.
Snacks that make perfect “in-betweeners” include string cheese, peanut butter/cheese and cracker packs, chips, individually packaged cookies and desserts like moon pies or Hostess treats.
If you go to one of the bulk discount stores like Sam’s Club or Costco, you will find many bulk packages of individually wrapped snacks in every shape and size. Perfect way to avoid the gas station price up!
Emergency Road Kit
Hopefully, you won’t encounter an emergency while you’re on the road, but it’s good to have peace of mind in case you do.
You can make your own kit with supplies you might need. Here are some ideas of what a good emergency kit for your car might include.
Things to pack in an emergency car kit:
➤ First aid kit with manual
➤ Jumper cables
➤ Tire changing kit
➤ Hand sanitizer
➤ Emergency blanket
➤ Non-perishable food like granola bars
➤ Extra vehicle fluids (motor oil, coolant, etc.)
➤ Toolkit or Swiss army knife
➤ Car fire extinguisher
➤ Pen and paper
➤ Rain poncho
You might also include weather-specific gear, like coats, gloves, hats, and ice scrapers for the winter or sunscreen, bug spray, and an umbrella for the spring and summer.
It’s a good idea to keep this well-organized in your trunk of the back of your car for easy access.
Sleeping in a car is much easier with a travel pillow. People often think they’re just for planes, but it’s designed to wrap around your neck so that you can rest your head to the side while sitting in a somewhat upright position.
You might bring a second small pillow to place between your head and the door frame for a more comfortable position.
Don’t forget this item! Most road trips involve sleeping at some point, whether you’re taking shifts during the night or catching a few Z’s during the day, and you don’t want to spend your entire trip with a crick in your neck!
You might not be used to carrying much cash these days with cards and online transactions, but it’s always a good idea on a road trip. If your wallet is stolen or lost, you’ll have some cash in your car to get your through.
Additionally, there are often parking lots, tolls, and other instances that require cash along the road, so it’s always a good idea to keep a small amount of change, or notes if you need to tip any valets.
If you’re traveling far from home or making many purchases along the way, your bank might also get suspicious of theft and freeze your card. So it’s always a good idea to call your credit card company ahead of time to inform them of your trip.
Both drivers and passengers will appreciate pre-planned entertainment when the scenery is dull. As the driver, prepare a few playlists or download some audiobooks or podcasts to listen to on the way.
Do this ahead of time so you’re not tempted to fiddle with your phone while you’re driving. Adding a soundtrack to your travels makes a road-trip entertaining and keeps spirits high!
When it’s your turn to be a passenger, bring along small forms of entertainment like books, playing cards, or earbuds for your phone. If you’re traveling with kids, bring a basket with activities to keep them happy along the way.
Remember that car games are not restricted to children! They are an incredibly entertaining way to pass the time for both adults and adults who think they are children. The number plate game in particular is a good one for the USA.
A Few Toiletry Essentials
Outside of your typical bag of toiletries, consider packing a few extra things that you might need. For example, it’s always a good idea to travel with toilet paper in case you have to make an emergency bathroom stop!
Towels, hand sanitizer, body wipes, and other basic toiletries might also come in handy along your trip. You can’t always count on truck stops or gas station bathrooms being hygienic or fully stocked.
Getting locked out of your car while traveling is the stuff of nightmares. Whether you’re on the side of the road or in a bad part of town, you don’t want to be sitting around waiting for a locksmith to arrive.
Bring an extra pair of keys that you either keep on your person, or that you give to another person in your party. That way, they don’t get left in the car with the other set.
Travel Trash Can
The worst part about road trips is the amount of trash that collects on your car floors from snacks and activities. Get ahead of this problem with a travel trash can.
There are several styles of trash cans to consider, but this one might be a good option because it collapses for easy storage when not in use. If you’re throwing cans of drink make sure it’s waterproof.
Consider placing one in each row of seating so that all passengers have a place to put trash. A sedan, for example, would have two trash cans and a minivan would have three. Empty the receptacles whenever you stop for gas.
Although our phones and social media do a marvelous job of helping us document activities, they can’t quite capture everything. It’s nice to unplug for a while as well and do some actual writing.
Bring along a notebook or journal to take notes or write down memories that you want to savor. You might even try a premade travel journal that has questions to prompt your entries. You’ll be grateful for these memories down the line!