Road trip packing list – things to bring on a road trip

por Postcards from IvI

Road trips are one of my favorite ways of traveling. You can stop wherever you want, take your time and just be more free and spontaneous. There are a few essentials you can’t forget to bring on any road trip. It’s time to start planning your next trip with the help of this useful road trip packing list!

Road trip packing list - things to bring on a road trip

Although I love the spontaneity of road trips, it’s always best to be prepared and bring everything you need. This road trip packing list includes all the things that will make your trip easier.



Important documents

  • License and registration. Obviously you can’t leave home without them.
  • A copy of your car insurance policy.
  • Your car’s manual. In case you have an issue with your car and don’t know how to solve it.
  • Passport (in case you’re crossing to another country).
RELATED: Ultimate West Coast road trip guide from Seattle to LA

Essentials you can’t forget for a road trip

All these items are essentials that will definitely make a difference on any road trip:

  • First aid kit

You should always keep a first aid kit in your car with all the basic supplies like band aids, alcohol, bandages and more.

  • Water bottle

Hydration is essential when sitting for long periods. I suggest each person on the road trips has its own reusable water bottle.For those interested in additional hydration options, IV therapy in Boise offers quick and efficient hydration solutions ideal for travelers.

I have this Opard bottle and I love it.

  • Snacks

I don’t know if this happens to you but a few minutes after leaving home, I already want a snack. This will depend on how long your trip is but I always like to bring: a fruit (something that is easy to eat like a banana or an apple), bars (my all time favorites are Nakd Berry Delight bars), and homemade sandwiches.

  • Flashlight

A small flashlight could be very useful in case you have a problem with the car at night. You can buy one and keep it in your car just in case.

  • Bug spray

An item you can’t forget, even if your destination is not outdoors.

  • Hand sanitizer

An essential item to leave your home nowadays. You can’t imagine how much sanitizer you will use inside a car where you obviously don’t have access to water.

  • Mask

The other must have item to leave home is a mask. You can find really fun and colorful masks like this one.

  • Toilet roll

Electronics and entertainment

  • Camera + charger

Of course you should always carry a camera to picture all your trip. I always bring my Canon EOS Rebel and another camera depending on the trip. I also bring my DJI Mavic Air, which in case you’re looking for a high quality drone that is also light and easy to transport I strongly recommend it.

  • SD cards (empty!)

Don’t forget to empty your SD cards before your trip so you can fill them up with all your road trip adventures.

  • Portable charger

A portable charger is essential for any trip. You can get one on Amazon for around $20.

  • Phone mount

You will probably use your phone as a map so it’s extremely important to have a good car phone mount.

  • Road trip music playlist

Don’t forget to create a fun playlist with your favorite songs to keep you awake the whole road trip.

  • Instant camera

Instant cameras are such a cool thing to bring on a trip because they allow you to capture fun and unusual shots. I love my Instax Mini!

  • Books

If you’re not driving you can take 1 or 2 books to keep you entertained during the road trip.

  • Binoculars

Definitely not a must but they are so useful when you’re on a scenic road trip. I would have loved to have binoculars on my road trip to Banff and Jasper National Parks in Canada.

Comfort & accessories

  • Sunscreen

You should always wear sunscreen, no matter if it’s winter or it’s cloudy.

  • Sunglasses

Every passenger should take a pair of sunglasses for the road.

  • Umbrella

Keeping an umbrella in the car is always a good idea, no matter if it rains where you’re heading to. These windproof umbrellas come with a with C-shaped handle which is so you can hold it with your wrist that seems really comfortable + all the designs look super colorful and cute!

  • Blanket

I always get cold when the air conditioner is on in the car so a small blanket is always useful on a road trip.

  • Quick dry towel

This is a super useful thing I’ve been packing in all my recent trips. Quick dry towels are light and compact so you can easily pack one in your day bag just in case.

  • Travel pillow

To stay super comfortable (specially if you travel in the back of the car), you can bring one neck pillow or just a regular bed pillow.

  • Reusable shopping bag

Another thing I’ve been taking in all my recent trips is a reusable shopping bag. You can easily store them in your day pack and they’re really useful for shopping on the road.

Food related utensils for a road trip

  • Travel mug

There’s nothing better than enjoying the views with a hot drink in hand, so don’t forget to bring an insulated travel mug. You can also pack a vacuum insulated bottle to store hot water.

  • Cooler

Depending on how long your trip is, a car cooler could be really useful. You can store all your cold drinks, fruit and sandwiches. This cooler is perfect because it’s small and collapsible so it can fit below a seat.

  • Garbage bag

Don’t forget to pack some garbage bags.

  • Cutlery set

A cutlery set is not extremely necessary for a road trip but I’ve found they are really useful. I have a camping set which is foldable and compactable that I take on all my road trips.

  • Picnic blanket

Picnic blankets are great for road trips because you can just stop the car where you want and have a lunch at the perfect spot.

Road trip clothing & packing

The clothes you pack will obviously depend on your destination and the length of the trip so I won’t detail them here. However I will recommend that you pack light, believe me you won’t use many clothes on a road trip.

  • Packing cubes are the best item to organize your clothes as they allow you to easily find them and keep them protected. I love them and always pack my clothes here.

  • Day packs: day packs are really useful for road trips as you’ll probably have quick stops where you will want to bring your camera, money, water bottle, sunscreen, etc. I absolutely love Herschel backpacks as they come in various sizes and their designs are versatile. Find the one that suits you best here: 10 best Herschel backpacks for travelers.

Hygiene & Medication

  • Shampoo & conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lip balm
  • Wipes
  • Painkillers
  • Tissues
  • Feminine hygiene essentials
  • Cosmetics and makeup
  • Hairbrush

I hope this road trip packing list has helped you! If you have any other questions please feel free to email me or leave a comment below.

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Christopher Bossano August 25, 2020 - 9:11 am

It’s great that you share your experience. I am a novice traveler, and for me your blog is an aid in planning my trip. Thanks!

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