Things to Bring on a Road Trip

The things you bring on a road trip can make or break your adventure. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of what things we think are essential for an awesome road trip! Whether you’re heading west across the USA or abroad in Europe, road trips are a great way to see the world and a good opportunity for adventure!

Red rocks flanking road through Arizona on road trip

Rand McNally Road Atlas

The coolest thing about road trips! Having the chance to put down our phones and use a trusty ol’ map is priceless. Rand McNally has been our go-to for detailed and user-friendly maps for many road trips. They even include maps for specific national parks across the USA. How cool is that?

They’re perfect for finding memorable routes that weren’t part of the plan. For instance, we decided to take a more scenic route on our road trip through Arizona and while it added some hours to our trip, it also added beautiful scenery that was worth the extra miles.

Road winding through mountains on road trip

Road Trip Snacks

Arguably the most essential things to bring on this list, travel snacks are vital to a road trip’s success! We’re big fans of sugary snacks and always bring too many gummy bears and sour gummy worms, but there are some great snacks for the road that are healthy too.

While stopping at that tasty burger shack in the middle of nowhere is part of the beauty of road trips, it’s also important to not have a sugar crash in the car while driving for hours on end!

Check out our list of healthy travel snacks for some yummy options during your road trip adventure!

First Aid Kit

Of course, safety is essential while on the road too. Be prepared for any type of emergency. Bandages, alcohol, disinfectant, be sure to have all of the necessary medical supplies on hand. You never know what is going to happen on your road trip!

Roadside Emergency Supplies

Continuing our important safety items, it’s a good idea to be prepared for a roadside emergency too. A spare tire and changing kit are very good to have. You can rely on calling roadside assistance but it’s a good idea to have a spare on you in case it takes them a long time to reach you or if you don’t have service.

Your car will go through a lot on a road trip so it’s smart to have jumper cables, a reflective cone, flashlight and gloves. Never hurts to be prepared!

All that said, it’s also ideal to take your car in for a checkup before starting on your road trip. The oil, battery, tires, all of it! Hopefully this helps prevent any problems!

Cooler

Most of the snacks will be in the car with you but some cold drinks or lunch meat for sandwiches should be in the cooler. Throw it in the trunk or the backseat and refill its ice periodically. It’s a road trip so you can stop whenever to refill and refresh!

Pets! (Optional)

Dog gazing out the window

Not everyone wants the responsibility of a pet on a road trip but it can be a lot of fun! Our dog, Luna, loves the car and we love to take her.

That said, we can’t take her everywhere, like some national parks, because she’s not allowed on trails. Bringing pets depends on your specific plans for your road trip so plan accordingly!

Phone Charger

While we’re big fans of putting the phone down while on a road trip, having one on you, one that’s fully charged, is very important. If there is an emergency or if you’ve misread the map (it happens!) then a phone can help you in a crisis and get you back on track so you can enjoy your road trip!

Have the phone charged at all times!

Travel Mug

Coffee, anyone?

We can’t start a road trip without it. Travel mugs are awesome because they keep the coffee hot for hours. Sometimes that cup of Joe is what helps keep you awake while behind the wheel. Although if that’s the case then we recommend resting and not driving while tired!

We love this Stanley travel mug because it doubles as a french press. No need for crappy instant coffee or questionable gas station brew. We use this on our travels in Europe and Asia on the daily.

Camera

Whether you’re road tripping through the American West or the Alps, having a good camera on hand will help you bring those memories back home. We use a starter DSLR (Nikon D3400) and have a few lenses for certain situations. Our phones are great but the camera is a huge step up.

Blanket

Blankets are probably one of the last things people think to bring on a road trip. But they’re so versatile!

Is your road trip in the winter? It’s a good idea to have blankets in the car as a safety measure in case your car breaks down in the cold.

Is your road trip in the summer? Blankets are perfect for picnics, yoga, beach mats, you name it. If you’re bringing the whole family then packing several is a good idea!

Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is great for road trips, but it’s just good to have in general. If you’re hungry for some of those road trip snacks but your hands are dirty then hand sanitizer can put your germ fears to rest.

Water bottle

Staying hydrated is key while on a road trip! You’re not moving that much in the car and you’re on the road for hours. Always stay hydrated! Rest stops or gas stations are everywhere, especially in the USA, so don’t be afraid to chug the H2O.

We like to use refillable water bottles to cut down on our waste.

Trash bags

Whether you buy trash bags or just use some old grocery sacks like we do, be sure to have plenty on hand for the car. You don’t want that bag of chips spilling crumbs all over your car floor. If it fills up then chuck it at the next stop and start the new one. The cleaner your car is, the more relaxed you’ll feel inside it!

Sense of Adventure

Without some adventure, what’s the point of a road trip? Enjoy the moments along the way and don’t be afraid to take a detour. Just as long as it’s not the Bates Motel.

You never know what gem you’ll come across on the open road. It’s yours to explore!

Wigwam Motel with the Teepee rooms on Route 66 road trip

Summary of Things to Bring on a Road Trip

We hope this list of things to bring on a road trip have helped you plan your adventure a little better. There are many more things we could list but we think any road trip will be successful with these things and a car, of course! Enjoy your road trip!

Happy travels!

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Pin of Jerome road sign

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Where Food Takes Us

Where Food Takes Us

We’re Darah and Garrett. Our life has been an adventure ever since we eloped in a pink Cadillac in Las Vegas. Now we’re running around the world, working online, and eating everything we can.

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