Road Trip Planning

7 “Must Pack” Road Trip Necessities

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Before you go and pack your third pair of flip flops, perhaps you should take a second to step back and think about the things you really need to put into that suitcase, the road trip necessities. Check out this list of road trip necessities below and double (and triple) check your luggage. Are you missing anything on this list? You’d better go back and pack it!

Note: For a complete list of road trip necessities/vacation essentials see our Road Trip Checklist: 50+ Items You Don’t Want To Leave Behind.

Road Trip Necessities


1. GPS/Maps

You can probably get from your house to the highway, but do you think you can navigate the streets of Manhattan, New York without some kind of help? That might be more of a challenge. Most phones have a GPS device installed already, so you are likely covered. Be careful of data usage, making sure you don’t exceed your plan limitations. Finally, make sure to remember your GPS/phone charger!

If you don’t have a GPS on your phone or prefer to use a stand alone device, here is my favorite GPS unit.

2. An Awesome Playlist Of Road Trip Songs

All car rides need a few solid jam sessions. Turn the volume high and practice those notes! You can pack up your perfected playlist ahead of time or pick your favorite Pandora station on-the-go.

Although, I still like to switch to the FM radio stations every so often to see what the locals are listening to. If you need some help brainstorming for your playlist take a peak at our hand-picked, classic road trip songs.

3. Comfortable Clothing, Pillows, Neck Pads, Blankets, Etc.

Long car rides tend to get uncomfortable. All that sitting you are about to embark on is bound to give you a sore tailbone. Fortunately, there is a way to prevent this: Build yourself a pillow palace in the passenger seat! (Hopefully you have someone with you to split up the driving with).

I suggest having one pillow to transform the car door into a plush arm rest and another “neck” pillow to support your head. Add in a cozy throw blanket and stretchy pants and you’ll forget your spending all this time in a metal box!

This is the neck pillow I use for flights and long car rides to make me feel like I’m traveling first class.

4. A Sweet New Camera

Your smartphone will probably do the trick. If you are traveling somewhere special with your best friends or family, you’ll want pictures to remember those experiences. You’ll also be able to better share the details of your trip with others.

If you are interested in an inexpensive DSLR camera to up your photo game (wide angle shots, quality low-light photos, etc.), this DSLR is packed with features. It’s a good choice for documenting your road trip in an artistic/quality photo series.

5. Healthy Road Trip Food

My dad has a rule: when we traveling on vacation, we are not allowed to eat at fast food restaurants. Of course there is the exception we make when seeing a regional fast food restaurant that we have never tried before. Either way, eating on-the-go can become unhealthy quickly. It’s a good idea to balance eating out with having healthy food choices in the car with you.

I suggest nuts, clementines, and carrots! Protein bars are also one of my go-to road trip foods because they keep me full, longer. Here are my favorites:

Don’t forget about bringing drinks! I recommend leaving the soda and energy drinks behind. Instead, try stocking up your hydration station with water and tea. Save the calories for dining out!

6. Road Trip Games Of Course!

When your road trip starts to get stale, play a road trip game. There are many car ride games you can play that don’t require any pre-planning, but take a look at one of our game lists ahead of time just in case. Trust us, we specialize in finding the best games for road trips! Here are a few of our lists:

Playing games will pass the time and make your ride much more amusing!

7. Great People

There is no better way to conclude a road trip necessities list than by mentioning the thing that makes road trips the most enjoyable, your friends. Bringing along your favorite travel buddies is the key to a merry road trip.


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