Road Trip Essentials

August 3, 2021

Going on a road trip can be a great way to make memories. I still remember the road trips that my family would take when I was younger, we drove everywhere. There are still certain songs that come on the radio that bring me back to driving down to Florida in my family’s station wagon. Seats down in the back, singing along to Madonna or Culture Club on the radio, no seatbelts, surrounded by pillows….so dangerous by today’s standards but so cozy in my mind. Road trips can be super fun but if you don’t have everything that you need they can cause stress as well. Here are my tips for a wonderful road trip.

The Bare Necessities

Before you even think about putting together your ultimate road trip playlist you need to make sure you have all of the boring stuff covered. Check to be sure that your license is up to date, along with vehicle registration/inspection and insurance. It doesn’t hurt to have some sort of roadside assistance either. I’ve had AAA thanks to my Aunt Eillie since I was 16, I’ve only needed to use it a handful of times but was so grateful for that little card when I was in need.

Jumper Cables

I’m always surprised when people don’t have these in their car, they are super important. If you can buy a little roadside kit with flags and flares to keep in your car. Better to be over prepared!

First Aid Kit

This is SO important. If you don’t have one in your car already you can put one together yourself or purchase one pre-made. Make sure it has varying bandaid sizes, Neosporin, gauze, burn cream, itch cream, Tylenol…medical tape, instant ice packs, Dramamine. Our car actually came with a first aid kit but I found this one on amazon and it seems to have everything.

Maps and GPS

Road trips in the 1980/90s were guided by what my mom’s “triptiks”, she would meet with the AAA person and they would map out the entire trip with things highlighted and sharpied. It was always so exciting when you could turn the page and flip to a new map. Today I still enjoy using maps and always print off directions out of habit but GPS is so common, everyone has one on their phone. Make sure that your maps are up to date and check if you’ll need to download anything, especially if you are road trippin’ abroad.

Chargers and Cords

These are super important, especially if you are relying on your phone for directions and entertainment. Is a road trip with out a fantastic playlist even a road trip? Speaking of playlists….

The Extras

A Fun Playlist

Depending on how long you’ll be driving you may want to make a few playlists. Spotify is great to search through playlists that have already been compiled or to make your own. Music or interesting podcasts help to make your travels memoriable.

A Quality Cooler

Road trips are great because you can pack as much as you want! You don’t have liquid restrictions so you can fill your cooler with refreshing beverages and snacks. We have a regular ol’ igloo cooler that works just fine for the two of us but if we wanted to make a splurge purchase I would go a Yeti. A really good water bottle that you can easily refill is a must too!

Pillows and Blankets

I’m not talking about those ridiculous neck pillows(man I hate those), I’m talking about your pillow that you love and that helps you feel cozy. A couple of quilts or throws are great if there are temperature disputes! Another great thing about road trips is you can bring comforts from your home. I also like to have a couple of towels within reach just in case you see the perfect place to take a dip.


Sometimes cash is still king and you don’t want to be stranded at a toll booth trying to pay with your credit card. It’s smart to keep a little cash on you for your road trip. You may also stumble across a charming roadside stand that only takes cash.

Wet Wipes/Hand Sanitizer

Spilled food or drinks, sticky/sweaty hands, pulling over on the side of the road to pee. You never know when these things will be needed.

A Journal and Camera

I like to record things that we do, hence this blog 🙂 So I think a journal is a fun way to capture your adventures. You can write down roadside stops that you make along the way and funny things….or not so funny things that happen along the way. It’s nice to look back and reflect on your travels together and recording them in some way may help you with those trips down memory lane. A camera other than the one on your phone is always nice to have too.

When we’ve gone on road trips there have always been stops, I’m not much of a sleep in the car over night type of gal. So I didn’t include any camping supplies. Maybe in another post 🙂 Happy Road Trippin’

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