Next to cruising, we love going on a road trip as we can pack everything in the car and not have to worry about luggage weight limit like we do when we have to fly. We go on a road trip almost every month and have put this list together – 50 Useful Things to Bring on a Road Trip to help those going on a road trip for the first time with Road Trip Packing Essentials.
50 USEFUL THINGS TO BRING ON A ROAD TRIP:
1. Vehicle Emergency Kit – For less than 25 bucks, you can purchase a decent vehicle emergency kit to store in your car. Get one with jumper cables, flashlight, and an emergency kit.
2. Sunglasses – Some classic Ray-ban would be great. Sunglasses are a must-have while driving on the road.
3. Swiss Army Knife – A handy tool for anything especially if decide to go camping during this road trip.
4. Car Seat Crevice Storage Box – Stop losing your phone or keys in the side crevice of your car seat using this crevice storage box.
5. Cup Holder Adapter – Holds large cups or water bottles if your car cup holder is too small. My husband has this adapter in his car because his water bottle is pretty big (he drinks a lot of water).
6. Tissue and Tissue Holder – A must have to hang behind the seats so it’s within reach of the kids and other passengers.
7. Kids Travel Tray – Keep kids entertained on long or short trips. They can enjoy drawing, coloring, snacks, books, toys and other activities, keeping the driving distractions to a minimum.
8. Backseat Organizer – Store electronic devices, books, toys and snacks for kids conveniently.
9. Car Trunk Storage – Helps the contents of your car trunk stay organized and prevents items from moving during the trip.
10. Arm Sleeve – If you’re a driver, you know that your left arm is more exposed to sunlight depending on the sun’s location while you’re driving. Protect from getting sun burnt with an arm sleeve
11. Sunshade – So the front seat stays cool when you leave the car.
12. Window Shades – Stick one on every window to protect the kids from getting sunburned.
13. Phone Charger – Don’t run out of battery life and if your car doesn’t have multiple USB ports, purchase a car charger that has one.
14. Power inverter to AC adaptor – So you can plug in a two-prong or three-prong outlet. Especially useful for charging game devices.
15. Power Banks – Take a power bank when you’re going on a sightseeing excursion so you don’t run out of phone battery.
16. Phone Earphones – Buy one for each passenger so everyone can listen to their music or watch their movie in peace. Buy a wireless one in case you’re watching a tablet mounted behind the headrest of the front seat.
17. Noise Cancelling Headphones – Keeps the road noise and other noises out while you’re reading or sleeping in the car – as a passenger of course!
18. iPhone/DSLR Tripod with Remote – It has a remote and can hold both my DSLR and iPhone. It can work great for taking a picture of the family where you’re actually in the picture as well and it also works for taking night shots when your DSLR is in manual mode – you’ll understand this if you’re a photographer.
19. Car Phone Holder – This is a must-have when using your phone as a GPS device.
20. Nintendo Switch – This compact gaming device will make it more enjoyable for the kids. It can connect with another so kids can play in one single game.
21. Tablet – Helps the kids stay busy during the trip. Make sure to download movies or games if you can’t connect to the Internet on the road.
22. Headrest Tablet Holder – This is a must-have if you don’t have a rear entertainment system built into the car.
23. GPS – If you don’t have a navigation system in your car or don’t like using your phone, using a stand-alone GPS system is the way to go.
24. Insulated Water Bottle – We bring this brand, it’s easier to clean and keeps cold drinks cool for 24 hours or hot drinks for 12 hours. Bring one per person. You can fill it with water or even drinks from a fast food restaurant.
25. Ziplock Bags (various sizes) – Handy for packing toys, extra clothes, and snacks during the car ride, keeping liquids contained, and packing wet clothes if you went to the beach.
26. Electronic Cooler – Keep your food cool or warm at all times by just plugging into the 12V outlet of the vehicle.
27. Portable Car Trash Can – Useful when throwing away food or snacks during the road trip to keep the car clean. This one is foldable and leak proof.
28. Compact Beach Blanket – If all of a sudden you want to stop at the beach during your road trip, this will be very handy and light.
31. Medicine Kit – Pack your medication and this kit that includes 12 Different Medicine Types from Pain Relief to Allergy to Stomach, etc.
32. Neck Pillow – Enjoy nap time in the car on this pillow so your head stays in one place.
33. Car Seat Cover for Kids or Pets – Keep your seats clean from food and pet hair during the road trip.
34. Car Vacuum – Simply plug into the 12V outlet and keep your vehicle clean inside.
35. Travel Toys & Activity Kits – When you’re at a restaurant with toddlers, having an activity kit is a lifesaver.
36. Tire Pressure Monitor – Helps check your tire pressure in case your car doesn’t have tire pressure sensors built in.
37. Rooftop Cargo Carrier – Increase vehicle cargo space with a waterproof cargo carrier to make room for more passengers inside the car.
38. Toilet Bucket Kit – Can’t find a restroom during your long road trip? Pack this in the car and do your business at any time.
40. Spray Sunscreen – I prefer a spray sunscreen as it takes forever to apply the lotion type especially when you’re traveling with kids.
41. Mosquito Spray – In case you’re going camping or hiking through the forest during your road trip.
42. Tire Chains – In case you’re driving to the snow.
43. Steering Wheel Cover – If you’re traveling to the desert in the summer, get one as the steering wheel will get really hot. We have it and it’s been so much better during the summer.
44. Car Sun Visor Organizer – Put that visor to good use by attaching this sun visor organizer. Store documents like an insurance card, pens and your phone here.
45. Car Dashboard Mat – Keep your mobile phone, keys, and sunglasses in place with this handy dashboard mat.
46. Sunglasses Holder for Car Sun Visor – Never lose your sunglasses using this useful gadget. Simply attach to your vehicle’s sun visor and it can hold any type of sunglasses.
47. Coin Holder – This is a must-have in case you’re parking at a parking meter that only accepts coins. Load this up ahead of time before you start your road trip.
48. Portable Air Purifier – Keep the air fresh inside the car and eliminate odors using this handy device that plugs into the 12V outlet.
49. Snacks – Pack ahead so you don’t need to buy at the gasoline station where it is typically more expensive.
50. Lumbar Support Back Cushion – Give yourself extra padding for the long drive ahead.
Check out getaway guides for road trip ideas:
- 5 Romantic Weekend Getaways from Los Angeles
- Fun Things to do in Santa Cruz, CA
- Oceanside Getaway Guide
- Monterey Getaway Guide
- San Diego Getaway Guide
- California Arizona Nevada Road Trip
- Dana Point Weekend Getaway Guide
- Palm Springs Weekend Getaway Guide