menuclose

Road Trip Packing List Essentials

Last Updated on November 21, 2020

We love the freedom of the open road, and we travel all over the world. Our longest road trip lasted 8 months. We drove from Alaska to Florida, over 26,000 miles. We camped and hiked in the most beautiful places in the USA and Canada. Now we share our road trip experience. What to pack for a road trip? How to pack for a road trip? What are Road Trip Essentials? Finally, how to safely take a road trip during Coronavirus? Whether you plan a week-long or a cross country road trip, our tips help prepare you for an adventure. So, check our Road Trip Packing List Essentials. Furthermore, you can also download a Free PDF Road Trip Checklist.

This article may contain affiliate / compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here.

Road Trip Packing List

Our Road Trip Experience

Why Trust Us? Packing for a road trip might be challenging. But we are experienced and share road trip essentials. We’ve been on a fair amount of road trips. From a camper van in Europe, as traveling through Norway, Scotland, or Iceland. And by regular car with a tent in Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and more. We also traveled at different times of the year. Furthermore, we faced the heat of a desert and penetrating cold. We love the freedom of traveling by car.

When COVID-19 interrupted our RV journey from Alaska to Florida after 8-months of traveling, we had to go back to Europe. But we are still traveling in Europe. We make road trips with all safety rules.

How To Use Road Trip Packing List?

So, in this Ultimate Road Trip Packing List, we share everything we’ve learned from the last few years of taking road trips worldwide. Only Road Trip Essentials and checked road trip gear, which we always pack to car. Our must-haves. This Road Trip Packing List Essentials will help you prepare for a safe, comfortable, and fun road trip adventure. If you are correctly equipped, you can hit the road every time of the year.

Don’t forget to download the Free PDF Road Trip Checklist.

Our Road Trip Packing List is divided into several parts: Documents, Safety Driving, Navigation, Health & Hygiene, Drink & Snacks, and Entertainment.

Road Trip Packing List – Documents

Car Documents

  • Car Registration.
  • A Copy of Car Insurance.
  • Car Owner’s Manual.
  • Relevant Contact Numbers to the insurer and roadside assistance.

Personal Documents

  • Driving License.
  • ID / Passport / Visas.
  • Credit & Debit Cards. We always have at least two different cards in case one is not honored or does not work.
  • Cash & Coins. We always take some cash for tolls or parking meters and places that don’t accept credit cards. It happens that you can only pay in cash at smaller gas stations, small groceries, or some campsites and state park entrance fees.
  • Travel/Health Insurance. Even for short road trips, we buy additional insurance. We can recommend WorldNomads which we use.
  • Pen & Paper. They are useful, for example, for filling out forms at campgrounds or state parks.

Road Trip Packing List – Safety Driving

Roadside Emergency Car KitPocket KnifeDuct TapeJumper Cables
View ItemView ItemView ItemView Item
  • Spare Tire & Spare Tire Tool Kit. We have had our tires replaced several times in a remote area. Sometimes a small but sharp stone or gravel road is enough to damage a tire, so you always have to be prepared for it. So, Spare Tire and Spare Tire Tool Kit is a must.
  • Extra Gas in a Can. Extra full Fuel Can is a must for a long road trip, just if you run out of gas. It may happen that the gas station will be closed. There are also stations open only seasonally. So, for a long road trip, we always take extra gas can. And we always fill up the tank.
  • Snow Chains, Ice Scraper, and Snow Shovel if traveling somewhere cold or in the winter. However, snow can surprise you even in summer. In northern Canada, we were already driving through the snow in August. Snow surprised us in November over the Grand Canyon South Rim. On Thanksgiving Day in Sedona, we woke up in our RV, half-covered with snow. In June, there is still a lot of snow over Crater Lake National Park. Therefore always carefully analyze the snowfall risk, check the forecast, and be prepared for it, especially if you plan a long cross-country road trip or through the mountains.
Gas CanIce Scraper with BrushSnow ChainsSpare Tire Tool Kit
View ItemView ItemView ItemView Item
  • Additional bottle of Washer Fluid and Oil. We often ran out of windshield washer fluid, especially in bad weather conditions, when driving on a long gravel road, in Alaska, or on the Dempster Highway. Fortunately, we always pack a supply, which allowed us to drive safely.
  • UV Window Shades. Auto Sunshade for Blocking UV Ray is perfect for a long road trip. Especially if you are traveling through deserted and hot areas, like Monument Valley or New Mexico. Furthermore is must-have protection if you are traveling with kids or pets.
  • Sunglasses. Long driving is exhausting for the eyes, so be sure to pack good Sunglasses with UV Protection, which will help when strong sun and snow white. Furthermore, this Sunglasses Leather Holder will be a great gadget for a long road trip. Thanks to it, you will always have glasses at hand, and you will not have to look for them.
  • Trunk Organizer and Packing Cubes. For us, Trunk Organizer and Packing Cubes are essential items in every road trip. They facilitate the efficient packing of all necessary things. They prevent items from moving, which also affects the safety of driving. It’s easier to find everything you need.
  • Blanket. It is a must-have even if you plan to stay in hotels. We always pack a Warm Blanket in case the car breaks down. So, it’s necessary to keep you warm if you have to spend the night in the middle of nowhere, waiting for roadside assistance. It is also useful when we feel tired and want to take a short nap. Resting is very important during long driving.
  • Neck-pillow. Travel Pillow provides perfect support for your neck, prevents the head from falling forward, relieves neck pain during travel. It’s a great item if you need a nap during a road trip.
Trunk OrganizerPacking CubesSunglasses Leather HolderCar Window Shade
View ItemView ItemView ItemView Item

Road Trip Packing List – Navigation Devices

  • Smartphone with road trip Apps. Before you go on a road trip, download all the necessary applications to your phone, such as maps (Google Maps), applications with camping sites (iOverlander), hotels (Booking.com). If you intend to go hiking, download applications with maps and trails as AllTrails. It is worth considering the PRO versions, which allow you to use the application when you are offline. It’s crucial, especially if you are planning a longer journey through more difficult to reach areas.
  • Handsfree Phone Mount. Necessary for safe driving. We like this Phone Holder with the Easy One-Touch mechanism, allowing quick one-hand open and close operation.
  • Cell Phone Car Charger. We don’t move without a Car Charger with SmartUSB Port.
  • Paper Map. We always have a Road Atlas just if GPS or phone died and can’t access navigation apps.
  • GPS. On a long, especially a cross-country road trip, we always take the GPS Navigator System with Lifetime Maps.
GPS Navigator System Car ChargerMount Phone HolderRoad Atlas 2021
View ItemView ItemView ItemView Item

Road Trip Packing List – Health & Hygiene

  • First Aid Kit. We always pack the First Aid Kit. For every road trip, for every hike. Make sure it has all the necessary items, such as plasters, bandages, disinfectant swabs.
  • The Medications you always take, Painkillers, and Prescriptions if you are planning a longer trip.
  • Face Mask. The COVID-19 Pandemic has changed a lot in the world of travel. Covering your face is and will be a necessity for a while. Therefore, always take a supply of Face Masks with Filters with you. In some places, you may have problems buying them. Therefore, pack more than you need.
  • Disposable Gloves. It also becomes an indispensable item of travel since the Pandemic of COVID-19. So, pack Disposable Gloves necessarily. It will be useful at a gas station or in a store.
  • Hand Sanitizer. Coronavirus has forced increased hygiene and care for cleanliness. So, with this Hand Sanitizer, you can clean and sanitize your hands anywhere, anytime, without running water or towels. This product is 80% agave-based alcohol and is the perfect solution for road trips.
Hand Sanitizer Disposable GlovesKN95 Face MaskFirst Aid Kit
View ItemView ItemView ItemView Item
  • Body Wipes. During long drives, we also use Body Wipes, full of refreshing essential oils. They are great when we need to relax for a while, also as a shower wipe during a camping trip, or even as a makeup remover wipes before bed.
  • Antibacterial Wipes. We also use these Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizing Wipes. They contain Vitamin E and Aloe Vera to replenish and moisturize the skin.
  • Car Trash Can with Lid & Garbage Bags. We travel consciously and with respect for the natural environment. We never leave garbage. That’s why we use a Small Car Trash Can and Garbage Bags. Leave No Trace, Only Footprints.
Sanitizing WipesBody WipesCar Trash CanTrash Bags
View ItemView ItemView ItemView Item
  • Biodegradable Toilet Paper. It will always come in handy on a long journey. It happens that the toilet will be many miles away, but you have to stop. So, pack Biodegradable Toilet Paper.
  • Camping Shovel. According to the Leave No Trace rule, Camping Shovel is a must for any road trip when the toilet is far away.
  • Toothbrush, Toothpaste, and Floss.
  • Sunscreen. It is worth packing Sunscreen for a car trip, especially since it is easy to catch the sun during each stop and possible while driving when you do not have protection on the windows.
  • Bug Spray. It depends on where and at what time of the year you are traveling. But Insect Repellent it’s useful in most places.
  • Quick-drying Towel. We always have a Quick-Drying Towel at hand. It comes in handy on every trip.
  • Toiletries. Also, pack any other cosmetics you use, such as bath gel and shampoo.
Fast Drying TowelInsect RepellentCamping ShovelBiodegradable Toilet Paper
View ItemView ItemView ItemView Item

Road Trip Packing List – Drink & Snacks

  • Water Container. Portable Water Container is a must for a long road trip. You never know when you need it. So, always pack more water.
  • Insulated Water Bottle. The water bottle should always be close to the driver. We use Insulated Water Bottle, which keeps your drink cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 12 hours.
  • Travel Mug with a Lid. We love coffee, and I can’t imagine a trip without a cup of hot coffee. So, we use Vacuum Insulated Yeti Mug.
Vacuum Insulated MugInsulated Water BottleWater ContainerBiodegradable Toilet Paper
View ItemView ItemView ItemView Item
  • Food and Snacks. Everything you like. Pack sandwiches and healthy snacks. Bananas, or apples. On the way, we like to eat peanuts and bars with high protein content. We often eat beef jerky.
  • Energy Drink or Electrolytes. For a long journey, especially if you plan to driving late or at night, pack some energy drinks or electrolytes.
  • Coffee Maker. Espresso Maker has been accompanying us on every road trip for years. We love the smell of fresh coffee. We like to stop in some charming places and make a coffee with the view.
  • Camping Gas Stove. To make coffee, we always pack Small Gas Camping Stove.
  • Cooler. It’s a perfect item for longer summer trips. It’s a great idea to take Cooler, especially if you are going camping.
Gas Camping StoveCoffee MakerElectrolyte PowderPure Protein Bars
View ItemView ItemView ItemView Item

Road Trip Packing List – Entertainment 

  • Music Playlist. The journey is much more enjoyable if you can listen to your favorite music or sing your favorite songs. So, we have our playlists on Spotify.
  • Books, AudioBooks, or Kindle. Whatever you like to read, it’s worth picking something to read for the evening or to rest during the day. AudioBooks are great while driving.
  • Travel Journal & Pen. It is worth saving memories, especially during a long journey. So, we always pack Travel Jurnal, in which we describe interesting places, events, or people we meet.
  • Daypack. If you are going hiking, don’t forget to pack a small backpack. Which daypack do we recommend? What do we always pack for a one-day hike? Check our Day Hiking Packing List.
  • Camera. We love photography, so we pack our cameras and lenses for every trip and keep magic places in photos. Furthermore, we also use a DJI Osmo pocket camera, which is absolutely fantastic. We didn’t make movies till we try DJI Osmo. We love it. Here you can check our review.
DJI Osmo PocketTravel JournalKindleBackpack
View ItemView ItemView ItemView Item
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

ABOUT US

the van escape

Hi, we are Agnes & Chris! Welcome to The Van Escape! We are travelers, photographers, and bloggers. Our goal is to share travel & photo experience and inspire you to outdoor adventures through America. We love wildlife, off the beaten path places, soaking in hot springs, and van life. We also like cities by night and tasting local food & wine. We give you ready itineraries, hints, and essential tools to prepare you for your unforgettable lifetime journey. We only describe the places we have been, which we know and recommend without hesitation. All photos are also ours. We are so glad you’re here!

BROWSE THE MOST POPULAR POSTS

Read More...

The Van Escape - Instagram feed

All content (c) TheVanEscape 2019 - if you would like to use any of them, please use our Contact Form. Affiliate Disclaimer. Privacy Policy

thevanescape.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.