9 Items to Pack for Every Road Trip

Road trips are a lot of fun and a great chance to bond with your friends and family. Driving on your own and having your own schedule when taking a trip is a much better experience than sticking with the itinerary someone else has provided for you.

It helps if you’re prepared for the trip and if you put some thought into your packing and overall needs you may have, while on the road. Our list isn’t comprehensive by any means but you could find all of the items we mentioned to be useful at some point.

1. Backup Maps


Maps are easy enough to find on your phone or a GPS device in your car, but it helps to have an offline version in case you can’t get access to the internet or your mobile devices. This will most likely happen if you’re far away from major cities or if your car dies on you.

Paper maps won’t require any of that and as long as you’re able to read them and navigate the road on your own – they can get you out of a tough spot.

2. A Blanket and a Pillow

A pillow will make any ride more comfortable and especially so if you’re taking turns with who’s going to drive. Neck pillows are even more useful and more compact and easier to pack. It’s best if each passenger gets its own.

Blankets are often overlooked, but they are one of the useful items you can have during a road trip. This is particularly important if you’re traveling in a hot climate since you may get surprised as to how quickly the weather can turn cold at night – even in a desert.

3. Travel Documents


A folder with paper documents should be with you at all times, since you may need to show the documents to the traffic authorities. The most important of these is an international driving permit issued by the InternationalDriversAssociation. It will only be valid if you have a national license and a photo ID with you as well.

All of these documents need to be up to date in order to be accepted by the authorities. An international permit lasts a year and you can update it while abroad. A national permit lasts for five years and it can’t always be renewed remotely.

4. Comfortable Clothes

You’ll be spending hours in a car at the time, and your clothes need to reflect that. You want to have comfortable and loose-fitting clothes while on the road so that you can remain relaxed while driving. It’s also a good idea not to wear anything too thick but to have a few layers you can add on.

Comfortable shoes are also essential when driving and it’s best not to use the shoes you’re wearing for the first time. That way the shoes won’t cause you to step on the paddles too strongly and end up speeding through no fault of your own.

5. A Notebook


A notebook isn’t an item that comes to everyone’s minds when it comes to packing for a road trip. However, if your goal is to be mindful during the trip and to actually experience it – a notebook can help with that.

This doesn’t mean you need to have literary talents if you want to travel. A simple personal diary in which you write the five most important thoughts of the day can help you make the most out of the trip and it’s simple enough to do.

6. Medication

If you’re taking a certain medication, you’ll need to bring it along on your trip. You’ll have to talk to your physician and get enough medication to last you throughout the trip. This is much easier than trying to get it when abroad.

If you don’t have any prescriptions make sure to bring along drugs that can treat a headache and nausea while you’re on the road. Many experience these due to the discomforts of driving and spending a lot of your time sitting and being exposed to the sun. Make sure that you’re not allergic to such medication beforehand.

7. Sleeping and Camping


If your trip takes you through beautiful scenery or a natural park, you’ll experience it a lot differently if you get out of the car and try sleeping in a tent, for at least a night. It’s a rewarding experience but you need to prepare for it.

There are easy-to-make tents out there that you can fold and keep in your trunk. Make sure that you also bring extra blankets and that the tent is waterproof. The goal isn’t to make parts of your trip uncomfortable but to have the option of sleeping outdoors whenever you want to.

8. Water and Hydration

It’s important that you stay hydrated during your trip. That will keep you focused while driving for a long time and make you more comfortable as well. A few hydro flasks should be on your packing list for any long trip.

There are also organization tools that will help you keep the flask close without making the car seem crowded and closed off, with a lot of junk close to the steering wheel. Make sure that the batters are easy to refill and eco-friendly and that they can be washed in a dishwasher once you get back home.

9. An Emergency Bag


In the end, you should have an emergency kit with you at all times. These come in all shapes and sizes, but the main goal of a kit should be for it to have all that you need in case your car breaks down. It should cover the most common issue a car might have during the trip.

You should also have what you need to assist someone that you encounter on the road and that is experiencing similar and common issues. It’s not enough to have this equipment with you – you should also learn how to use it, so make sure you go through the proper training.

About Carolyn Lang