What to Pack for a Road Trip [Checklist]

What to Pack for a Road Trip [Checklist]
Photo Credit: pixabay.com

Everyone wants to have a comfortable fun road trip. It can be a great experience for you and your family if you pack all the right stuff for you and your family! Anytime I go on a road trip I pack a few items that I know will make our trip a happy one!

I also avoid over packing as no one would like to stay in a cluttered car. That's not fun! The more space you save the more comfortable your trip will be. With that in mind, here's my tried and tested road trip items to pack checklist!

I've seen other blogs listing 70+ items to pack on a road trip but trust me when I tell you, less is more!

1. Wipes and tissue paper

I would never go on a road trip without those. They are a saver if your hands get dirty while eating your sandwich, your kids spill some juice or during toilet visits when you stop for a break on your road trip!

2. Small size plastic bags

And when I say small, I don't mean sandwich size plastic bags, but rather the ones you would use for a small bin at your house. These are super helpful to collect all any trash during your trip so every time you stop, can you throw the bag in the nearest trash bin and keep your car clean and organized!

3. Travel pillows

Some people pack traditional pillows, the ones you use on your bed, or square pillows but those can take up too much space in your car. If you have space they can be great, but if you don't have space and you are traveling with 2-3 other human beings in the car I recommend packing travel pillows instead. They are small in size, comfy and you're kids will like to experiment sleeping with them!

Black travel pillow for road trip
My travel pillow

4. Blankets and Jackets

It can get cold so be prepared. Take a jacket for each person in the car. But also pack blanket(s). Now there are many types of blankets  you can pack but I recommend the fleece ones because again, they do not take up much space when folded away.

5. A Large Water Bottle (and cups)

You want to make sure that you and your family are always hydrated. You can either pack bottled water which will take up much space, or just pack a large bottle water or two that you can easily refill every time you stop on your trip! You can also pack travel cups if your family is going to be sharing the same water bottle. Check those out.

Travel cups 

6. Food & Snacks

What type of food you pack and the quantity you should pack highly depends on how long is your road trip. If you're road trip is anything less than 5 hours, and assuming you'll have a meal/snack before you start your drive all you need to pack is a sandwich, a snack or 2 per person. We tend to worry too much about having less food than we need but remember no one died because they were hungry for less than 5 hours and also there are usually plenty of stops on the road!

If your road trip is longer than 5 hours, then I'd pack more packaged snacks and fruits and assuming you'll stop for main meals, you're all good to go!

7. Car Phone Chargers/USB Cord

For every 2 people in your car, pack one USB Cord/charger. This will make your life much easier if you have kids who have packed their tablets/phones. It's also important to make sure that you'll be able to keep your phone charged during the trip. I also pack a power bank. They're small in size and they are useful to have on hand.

8. You Don't Need to Pack a Camera

Unlike other checklists out there, I don't recommend you pack a camera. I mean you have your phone, your kids have their tablets, you don't need a camera unless you're a professional or amateur photographer. Or if you like to journal, you may want to pack an instant camera. Although I recommend you pack this one if you used it before. I once packed an instant camera for a trip to take photos for my journal and it was the first time to use it, and the photos were not of the quality I expected or wanted. Also the instant cameras are not the best camera if you're planning on taking night photos.

9. Travel games

These are a great way to pass time and enjoy the road trip with your family! Build memories and have plenty of laughs with travel games. I'll be curating a comprehensive list but some of the games I like to pack that do not take up much size are Q&A games. They can be nerdy math questions or funny questions. Just make sure you pick a theme that your family enjoys!

Math Travel Games
Travel Games

10. Sunglasses and Sunscreen

Do I need to say more? :)

11. Activities

Whatever you'd like to spend time doing on your road trip you can pack. A book (don't pack more than one book, it's very unlikely you'll finish 2 books, having 1 book will force you to focus and finish, if you ever become desperate for another book, there's always audio books... so one book is great!)

12. First Aid Kit

Always be prepared...

13. Flashlights

But only if you will be driving during the night. We don't like to drive in the evening so we stop and sleep at a pre-booked hotel. If you're planning on driving at night, then flashlights makes sense in case you need to check on the car anytime during the trip.

14. Some Cash

15. Cooler

you may need a small cooler box to store all your drinks, fresh fruits, veggies and healthy road trip snacks!

16. Car license and registration, extra tire, Roadside Emergency Kit, and A copy of your car insurance policy

Pretty standard car stuff. You need them for long or short road trips! Always have these items on hand.

Yup 15 items only (if we assume number 15 is one item).... safe travels!

What to Pack for a Road Trip Checklist

About the Author

Sara T. is a traveler that has been traveling around the world for over 7 years! She's lived in 3 continents and traveled to 6 different countries and road trips have always been part of her stories!