As Jeremy and I gear up for our road trip through Michigan, I’ve been putting a lot of thought into what to bring along for the ride. While I’m not a fan of the motion-sickness that traveling by car brings, I sure do love the fact that it means no limits on luggage and it grants us more of an opportunity to bring special, larger finds back home with us.
That being said, I recognize it can be easy to bring along too many non-essentials and overload the car if no thought is put into packing, and just as easy to forget those more necessary items that make traveling on the road a bit easier.
20 Road Trip Essentials
Here are twenty must-have road trip items we like to have on hand:
We tend to rely on our phones just as much we do our cars when road tripping nowadays, don’t we? They provide the maps, music, and reviews when it comes time to stop at a restaurant or hotel. Keep them charged and happy!
License and Registration
Just in case you need to present them – on the road or at the bar!
Sometimes it’s quicker to find information about a dashboard light or funny sound in the manual than it is on a phone with a weak signal.
Fingers crossed it’s never needed!
Car Emergency Kit
We always have the following in our vehicles, just in case: tire pressure gauge, flashlight, window scraper, extra oil, flares, a tire patch, fix-a-flat, jumper cables, and road flares.
First-Aid Kit + Medications
We stock our first-aid kit with all of the standard items: band-aids, disinfectant, Neosporin, pain relief meds, cotton swabs, and gauze.
I can’t tell you the number of times one of us has suddenly gotten a runny (or randomly bloody) nose and there’s not a tissue or napkin to be found. Not just a road trip must, an in-the-car-all-the-time must.
To use after dabbing your nose, before indulging in a snack, or after washing your hands in that sketchy fueling-station bathroom.
For giving the wheel, dash, and handles an occasional wipe-down, too.
Moisturizer (Chapstick, Hand Lotion, Eye Drops)
With the heat or A/C blasting in such a small space for so long, your lips, skin, and eyes can easily dry out.
Change for Toll Roads
Nothing’s worse than digging in your pockets and cup-holders as you approach the toll booth window and coming up short.
Okay, maybe what’s worse than not having change on-hand is forgetting sunglasses while on the road on an especially sunny day.
There will likely be plenty of moments when you’re not protected from the elements on your trip, and sitting in a sopping wet seat after taking on the rain doesn’t make for a very comfortable journey.
Light Jacket, Sweatshirt, or Blanket
Our bodies are never more unstable temperature-wise than when we’re stuck in a vehicle (or on a plane) for a long time. Mere seconds can take us from freezing to boiling to perfectly fine. So, dress in layers and bring something extra warm to wrap up in, just in case.
For snacks and drinks that need to remain chilled, and for the new snacks and drinks that might be making their way home after the trip is done.
There may be plenty of other thirst quenchers along for the ride – coffee, tea, juice, soda – but don’t forget a big bottle of water, too.
Healthy, Protein-Filled Snacks
While part of the road trip fun for us is stopping at restaurants along the way, there are often very long stretches between meals. We stock up on protein bars, nuts, fruits, and nut butters for the road.
Mints or Gum
For when you need a little refresh.
Plastic Bag or Container
For keeping any trash you accumulate contained and to make it easy to dispose of.
A Change of Shoes
This one may seem random, but there have been so many occasions on our drives through new places that we’ve hopped out and ended up walking for a good stretch or even hiking unexpectedly. And I’ve never had the right shoes on hand (flip flops don’t cut it for climbing a mountain.) Make sure you have a solid pair of walking shoes easily accessible and slip into something comfier when you get back in the car.
Of course, this list doesn’t include comfy travel clothes, playlist full of your favorite driving tunes or podcasts (we’ll be blaring Tom Petty the whole way), and trusty GPS app (also, we recommend downloading the Roadtrippers app) needed for making the trip smooth and memorable. But those are a given, right?
Happy road tripping, friends!
Image via Pixabay