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After planning your Road Trip, now we move on to the next phase – and that is preparing for your trip’s essentials. Most of the time, the things you bring enable you to enjoy the trip without the hassle and minimize your stops. So prepare ahead of time. In this list, I have covered the possibility of being stranded out on the road in the middle of nowhere – you may think that these items are superfluous, but when a certain situation comes up, you can do your happy dance for being prepared.

Don’t forget to check out How to plan a road trip on a budget before you continue reading.

road trip essentials

I have subdivided the essentials for easier organization



Your car insurance and registration papers. This is default setup in any vehicle but just in case they are needed know where it is in the vehicle and have them ready at hand. One way to organize your documents and make them waterproof is to get yourself a document pouch and you can just store it inside your glove compartment – safe, secure and waterproof.

Also, make sure to bring your wallet and ID.

Car Care Kit

This kit should have items that you use to check your car’s health and will help you when you have car trouble

  • Flashlight
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Spare Tire – Inspect and be vigilant about this being ready when in a pinch
  • Your Flat Tire Kit – this usually comes with the car, make sure you know where to find it or how to use them when you have a flat tire incident, read your car manual where you can lift the car with the jack. Standard protocol would be to park in a flat part of the road with the parking brake active before you actually use the kit.


Clothes and Accessories

Make sure you get to have a set of clothes for each day on the road and bring an extra shirt or two. If I want to be extra comfortable inside the car, I switch to wearing slippers, so don’t forget to bring a pair.

Pack the following items:

  • Sunglasses & Hats
  • Slippers or Sandals
  • Sneakers & Shoes
  • Undies & Socks
  • Pants and shirts
  • Dress – in case you plan to have a romantic dinner along the way

Vanity Pack

Proper hygiene is still important even if you’re on the road. You can make your own travel size hygiene kits, but don’t forget to include the following:

  • Toothbrush Kit
  • Dental floss
  • Soap and shampoo
  • Face towels
  • Kleenex & Tissue Paper
  • Wet Wipes or alcohol gel
  • Lip balm

Personal Tip: Get yourself a vanity bag and put all of these items in there!


Life-Saving Bag

Always make sure you pack life-saving items when you plan to travel. Your life-saving bag should at least carry the following items:

  • First aid kit – band-aids, creams
  • Tums
  • Advil
  • pocket knife
  • Emergency road assistance numbers
  • extra batteries just in case – make sure it’s the right size for the items that you have


Gadgets and Power Banks

If you go all techie on this trip and plan to take a lot of gadgets with you, I would suggest bringing a gadget bag/pack and extra juice bank. You save time or even money from stopping to charge your devices. Don’t forget to charge them before leaving.

Bring your:

  • Mobile phone and its accessories
  • Camera and its accessories
  • Car charger adapters
  • Headphones
  • Power Bank
  • IPAD or Laptops

GPS Navigation System and Maps

You could use your phone or any other GPS device that can help you navigate. Google Maps App can let you save a particular area offline. This enables you to use the App despite not having data or signal. I know actual maps aren’t a fad anymore, but I suggest to have one as a backup. Trust me, this could get handy in certain situations. I don’t encourage buying maps, aside from it being costly, some of them aren’t even updated. So print out free online maps.


Food and Drinks

One way to save money is to bring your own snacks and beverage. Stop shops are little more expensive than your local grocery stores. To keep them fresh and organize, put them in containers and cooler. I also individually pack sandwiches or treats using ziplock bags. Don’t forget to bring extra “trash” bags for those empty bags of chips!

Remember to bring:

  • A jug of water or water bottle
  • Gum & Mint
  • Sandwiches or small snacks
  • Chips (healthy ones if you’re into that)
  • Juice drinks


Pillows and Throws/Blanket

Who doesn’t like a little comfort? I like to have extra pillows to support our backs or just to cozy up on them. You can also get travel pillows. Be as comfortable as you can.


Pen and Paper

I always make sure that I have a pad and pen ready, I usually put them inside the glove compartment. Just in case you need to jot down something.

Road trip playlist

My husband’s biggest assignment and probably his ONLY assignment 🙂 He is a pro road trip DJ 🙂 It’s fun to sing along to those 80’s and 90’s hit songs! Carpool karaoke anyone?

Before backing out from the garage, make sure to have one last final check. Now you’re all set to hit the open road.

Don’t forget to check out How to plan a road trip on a budget.

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This post or video contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission for purchases made through my links at no cost on your part. Read full disclaimer here.

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