25 of the Best Road Trip Essentials You Need to Pack

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There’s nothing like going on a road trip. All you have to do is load up your car, hit the gas station, and you’re on your way. And while you may think you may know what to pack, think again. Here are 25 of the best road trip essentials that could make a big difference in your comfort.

Handy Gadgets to Pack

Here are some of the best gadgets to pack for your next road trip:

  1. Portable DVD Player

At some point, your phones and iPads will run low on batteries. This is where a portable DVD comes in handy. Purchase some family-friendly DVDs and have a great time in the car.

  1. Car Charger

Since everyone will have their devices on the road trip, it is wise to have a multiple port car charger to keep all the devices powered up and ready to go.

  1. GPS

While traditional maps are still useful for finding places, the GPS would be a more convenient thing to have while traveling. You don’t have to stop to look at a map or directions since the GPS gives vocal commands.

  1. Digital Camera

You’ll experience plenty of great memories on the road trip, so capture those moments with a digital camera. This is one of the top road trip essentials you’ll appreciate when you get back home.

Road Trip Essentials to Keep Your Car Clean

Here are some items that can help keep the inside of your car much cleaner:

  1. Wet Wipes

You’ll need to bring a few packs of wet wipes because moms know that kids make plenty of messes as they eat snacks in the car. Wet wipes are also important when bringing the kids to the bathroom in public places.

  1. Containers and Storage Bags

These are essential for keeping the snacks and toys in throughout the trip. If you have multiple kids, you want to organize their goodies in labeled bags and containers. By doing this, you ensure that they don’t eat each other’s snacks.

  1. Toilet Paper and Paper Towels

Wet wipes are great to use for messes, but you should also pack a few rolls of paper towels and toilet paper. You might need to bring a roll into the public restroom or wipe up small crumbs that fell in the car.

  1. Portable Trash Can

To keep your car from looking like a small landfill, it is a good idea to purchase a portable trash can to store all of the garbage you and the kids accumulate.

Food and Beverages

Be sure to bring the following items for meals and drinks:

  1. Water Bottles

If your kids are messy with their drinks, then it would be advisable to bring some water bottles with you. They minimize the messes and keep drinks cold

  1. Snacks

To keep yourself from wasting money at fast food joints while on a road trip, plan ahead by providing the kids with lots of snacks and finger foods. These include potato chips, finger sandwiches, pickles, candy, popcorn, muffins, cookies, crackers and fruit. This keeps the kid’s bellies full and reduces some of the irritability.

  1. Cooler

This is essential for packing cold foods and drinks so they won’t spoil quickly. Be sure to keep it full of ice to keep everything cold.

For Comfort, Care and Warmth

These items will provide comfort and come in handy for any situation:

  1. Blankets

When the temperature gets too cold in the car, you want to have some blankets in case the kids complain about the air conditioning. Blankets can also be used if you take a break at a rest area and have a picnic.

  1. Extra Clothes and Diapers

Accidents happen on road trips, and you wouldn’t want the kids to wear the same stained clothes for the next few days. Be prepared by packing extra clothes and diapers for the kids. By doing this you won’t have to shop for emergency clothes while traveling. If you have toddlers who are being potty trained, you should pack extra pairs of underwear.

  1. Pillows

If you’re going to be in the car for long hours, it helps to bring pillows because it makes for a more comfortable ride.

  1. A Good Car Seat

Now is a good time to purchase a new car seat if your child has outgrown his current one. Don’t purchase a used car seat because it probably has a lot of wear and tear, and this could be unsafe. Read different online reviews from credible websites such as Consumer Reports and Amazon. Infants and children under age 2 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. Safe4Kids has a detailed resource on choosing the best car seat.

  1. First Aid Kit 

Although you might not experience too many scratches and bruises on a road trip, it can happen and you should be prepared by having a first aid kit filled with bandages, hydrogen peroxide, anti-itch cream for insect bites, rubbing alcohol, and cotton balls.

  1. Sun Protection

If you’re traveling in the hot sun, you’ll need to pack a high-quality sunscreen to prevent sunburn. Also, pack sunglasses and hats with visors for everyone.

  1. Medical Information

You never know when a medical emergency can happen, so it’s advisable that you bring yours and the kids’ health insurance cards, prescriptions, cold medicines, pain relievers, and laxatives.

Miscellaneous Items to Bring Along

  1. Contact List

You need to give all the kids a list of contact numbers of all who will be on the trip with them. This can help them locate you in case they get lost while out on the trip. It’s also important that you teach them to stay near you at all times. You can also text them pictures of you, your spouse, and other guests so it will be easier for them to identify you.

  1. Good Books and Kid’s Magazines

You want to ensure that the kids are not glued to their screens while in the car, so bring some good books and kids’ magazines with you. Bring coloring books, photo albums and storybooks, too. This keeps the kids from being overstimulated by the gadgets, and it helps them wind down.

  1. Music

Road trips would be boring without entertainment, and good music is a must-have when traveling with kids. Put the car radio on a station that has music that the kids might like. It might annoy you to hear them sing loudly, but keep in mind that this is part of keeping your sanity and enjoying the trip at the same time.

  1. Headphones

Not everyone will want to listen to the same thing at once, so it helps to give all the kids their own set of headphones.

  1. Emergency Cash

It is tempting to bring just your credit cards, debit cards, and checks, but it’s important to have a few hundreds of dollars in emergency cash. This is helpful when visiting venues that only accept cash. It is also good to have cash on hand in the event things go wrong on the trip.

  1. Travel Guidebook

If you want to learn more about the best hotspots in the city you’ll visit, then you should purchase travel guidebooks. These books often feature familiar and off-the-beaten activities that the kids will enjoy.

  1. A Sense of Humor

Road trips are not going to go smooth 100 percent of the time. The key is to have a be flexible, have a sense of humor and enjoy each other’s company.

These are just some of the road trip essentials you may want to pack. Tailor this list according to your own personal needs and situation. Also, allow your children to bring their own books, tablets, small toys, dolls and stuffed animals. You can also tell stories about the place you’re going to visit to keep them entertained. In conclusion, with these great items, you will have a fun and stress-free trip with the family.


  1. Barbara says:

    Just hitch the house behind the vehicle might work? …lol

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