Road Trip Packing List, Road Trip Essentials, Car Safety, Driving Safety

Road Trip Packing List – The Essentials

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Road Trip Packing List

So, you are thinking of going a road trip. Have you made a list of what you will take with you yet? Whether you are planning a coast to coast USA road trip, or you are thinking about a road trip overseas, there are some essentials that are a must-have on your road trip packing list. So, don’t get caught out on the road without something you need for your comfort or safety. Read our essential road trip packing list to make sure you have everything covered.

Road Trip Packing List – For the Car

License, Registration, and Insurance

Wherever you travel at home or abroad, you are always going to need to have your license, registration and insurance documents with you. Remember, too, if you are traveling abroad, you will need medical insurance as well. You may also need a local driving permit.

Spare Tire

Make sure that you have a spare tire, and make sure that it is in good condition and inflated. You will also need a jack and tire iron, and you will need to know how to change a tire.

Vehicle Owner’s Manual

Help may not always be on hand when you are out on the road. So, add a vehicle owner’s manual for your car to your road trip packing list. You may not want to get under the hood to fix a serious mechanical failure. But, if you have the manual, at least you will be able to change a fuse and make minor repairs.

Roadside Emergency Kit

As a minimum, you should have jumper cables, a reflective vest, and a reflective warning triangle. In some countries, it is a legal requirement to have some of these emergency supplies in your car. The simplest way to make sure you have all the roadside emergency equipment you need is to buy a car emergency kit.

Oil, Water, and Washer Fluid

The nearest store or gas station might be miles away when you need it. So, pack the essential fluids that you might need for your car. That includes engine oil, water, washer fluid, and transmission fluid.

Gas Can

A small gas can is a must on long road trips. Just in case you don’t quite make it the next gas station.

Winter Driving Essentials

If you will be driving in the winter, you will need to add some winter driving essentials to your road trip packing list. These will include snow chains, antifreeze and, for comfort, you might want to add some heated car seat covers.

Road Trip Packing List – The Little Things That Can Make a Difference

A Stash of Cash

Some places are still cash only, and some places don’t have ATMs. Take a reasonable amount of cash with you on your road trip so you don’t get caught out.

Bug Spray

If you are going on a summer road trip, don’t forget to add bug spray to your road trip packing list. Those little biting critters can ruin a glorious day.

Toilet Roll

Don’t get caught short in a restroom with no toilet roll. Take your own and then you’ll never have to deal with that awkward moment.

Paper Roadmaps

If you can’t get a cell phone reception or your GPS stops working, a paper roadmap could be your only way to navigate.

Something to Put Your Garbage In

You might have to eat on the go when you are on a long road trip, so you are going to need somewhere to put all the trash. If you don’t want the floor of your car littered with garbage, take a supply of small plastic bags. Alternatively, you can buy car garbage cans.

Notebook and Pen

You never know when you might need to make a note, so take a pen and notebook with you. You might want to leave a note for someone, take down someone’s insurance details, or you may even meet someone and want to get their phone number.

Car Windshield Shade

When you leave your car to take in the sights, you don’t want to come back to a hot oven. You can’t stop that happening in very hot weather, but at least you can keep the sun off the seats with a car windshield shade. It will help keep the car a little bit cooler, and it will stop your seats getting too hot to sit on.


It can get hot and sticky in a car, and it may be a while before you can find a shower. Keep a small deodorant in the car to keep yourself nice and fresh. Your traveling companions will thank for it!

Baby Wipes

Baby wipes are a wonderful invention, even if you don’t have kids. They mop up spills, clean your hands and freshen your face.


You can get caught out in the rain any time of year, so pack a disposable poncho. If you need to change a tire in the rain, you’ll be especially grateful that you packed one. A poncho will also come in useful on your day trips.

Road Trip Packing List – For Your Safety and Security

First Aid Kit

Be prepared for everything and carry a first aid kit. You could find yourself miles from the nearest pharmacy, but if you have a travel first aid kit with you, insect stings, cuts, and headaches won’t stop you enjoying your road trip.

A Large Water Bottle

Don’t go without your water, especially if you are traveling in the summer. Keep at least one full large water bottle in your car so that you can stay hydrated all day long.

A Blanket

Packing a large, warm blanket is a good idea. If you break down and you need to spend a night in the car, you will be glad that you had it.

A Pepper Spray for Self Defense

A personal alarm may not be much use if you are miles from anywhere, but a pepper spray will always provide you with a good way to defend yourself. Just be sure to check that pepper sprays are legal to have in the country you are driving in.

Hand Sanitizer

There’ll be plenty of times that hand sanitizer will come in useful. There might not be soap in all the restrooms you visit on the road. There will also be other places that are not as clean as you would like them to be.


The aircon in your car will keep you cool, but it won’t stop the UV rays shining down on your skin. Don’t risk it, pack a high SPF sunscreen for your road trip.

Swiss Army Knife

A Swiss Army knife can get you out lots of fixes. It will open the beers and bottles of wine, file your nails, fix your car, and even get a stone out of a horse’s hoof!


You need to protect your eyes as well, so take a pair of shades with you. Besides, they look so cool when you are cruising the highways!


If you need to change a tire at night, or your car breaks down, you will need to be able to see what you are doing. A flashlight will also come in useful for other times you find yourself in the dark. A good option is a tactical flashlight. They’re small, very bright, and very tough.

Car Steering Wheel lock

You don’t want to be miles from home and find that your car has been stolen. Even modern car alarms can be bypassed, and keyless entry systems can be hacked. To get extra security for your car, buy a car steering wheel lock. One of the best on the market is the Disklok Car Steering Wheel Lock.

Road Trip Packing List – Conclusion

Thanks for reading our essential road trip packing list. There’s going to be lots of things that we missed, but we think we’ve; got all the essentials. Do you think we missed something important? Please let us know in the comments. If you liked our list, please share it with your friends on social media. If you’d like to receive the occasional update from us, please subscribe to our mailing list. Thanks again for reading this essential road trip packing list. Have a great day and stay safe!