This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). Please see my disclosure.
What time of year is better for a road trip than summer? No time, that’s right. I’m a window down, music playing, barefoot feet on the dashboard type of person and with the right company, there’s not much I love more than a great road trip. Whether it’s just a couple hours away or across the country – it doesn’t matter to me. I’ve taken so many road trips in my life and had some road trips from hell on more than one occasion so I feel like somewhat of an expert. So, I’ve put together this Ultimate Road Trip Packing List that I hope will make your life a little easier.
Your Vehicle Necessities
- License and Registration
- Insurance Card
- Jumper Cables
- Spare Tire (changing them isn’t as daunting as it might seem – I’ve gotten the whole thing down in under 10 minutes!)
- Road Side Emergency Kit
Here are some tips for finding cheap rental cars!
- First Aid Kit
- Cash Money – not everywhere takes cards yet, especially on back roads.
- Knife – I carry mine with me everrrrywhere. They can always come in hand.
- Toilet paper – you never know when there might not be a restroom available. Just saying.
- Extra water – never be without water. It’s literally essential to life.
- Phone charger
My favorite part of a road trip – the snacks! I saw a meme recently that said if your road trip snacks don’t look like a 9-year-old was given a $100 bill to buy them then you’re not doing it right. This is so accurate. While I snack A LOT while road tripping, I’ve tried to make them slightly healthier. Here are some of my favorites!
- Cooler – definitely need a cooler to put all of your drinks and cold items.
- HIPPEAS – these things are seriously so addicting. They’re made out of chickpeas and are organic, gluten-free and vegan. I live for the white cheddar ones. I order mine straight off of Amazon because it saves me money!
Check out HIPPEAS on Instagram. Their feed alone will have you planning a road trip right now.
- Watermelon. If I could live off watermelon in the summer, I would. I certainly try. It is the best fruit. I’m convinced and once you cut it up – it’s the easiest breakfast ever. I’ve been known to just cut a watermelon in half and eat it with a spoon before. That’s probably not too conducive to a car though.
- Other fruit – Watermelon may be the best but I take along other fruit friends too.
- Candy – not healthy but it’s one of the main times I eat a stupid amount of candy. A lot of candy isn’t vegan though and most gummy (my favorite) candy is not vegan but I have found one brand that makes vegan gummies and I’m there for that.
- Water – stay hydrated and always have extra for emergencies. I don’t like having unnecessary plastic so stay away from a ton of plastic water bottles and throw a few gallons of water in your cooler and take a refillable water bottle.
Zero Waste Essentials
Road trips meaning eating out of your car and gas stations and fast food quite a bit. Or, at least the way I do them it does. This can lead to a lot of unnecessary waste though and that’s no good for our Mother (the planet). I always have these things on hand in my car – even when I’m just at home. Here is my post on how to start living plastic-free easily.
- Reusable coffee cup – you’re gonna need coffee while road tripping. Unless you’re a mutant alien. I’m not though, sadly, and so lots and lots of coffee. Lots and lots of disposable paper cups suck though so I take my cup and use it at gas stations and coffee shops. A lot of times you even get a discount for bringing your cup.
- Bamboo cutlery set – no need to use plastic silverware anymore with this bad boy.
- Stainless steel straw – if I could tell you one plastic thing to cut out right now it would be straws. Just stop sucking.
- Reusable water bottle – love my Klean Kanteen – keeps everything the temperature I want it to and trust me when I say – it’s extremely durable.
- Reusable grocery bags – you’ll probably be popping into stores quite a bit on a road trip – cut down on that plastic bag usage.
What’s a road trip without music?
- Phone charger – I put this in the emergency essentials too because you should never be without a way to communicate especially on backroads or alone.
- Bluetooth – be safe while driving!
- Instant camera – I’m so glad these are a thing again! Road trips are some of the best times to take some instant pictures!
- Audiobooks or podcasts – I love listening to Harry Potter audiobooks, motivational books or podcasts while I drive!
- The best road trip playlist
- Blankets – I always, always have a blanket on a road trip. I freeze and there’s nothing worse than freezing in a car. Okay, there are a lot of worse things but it still sucks.
- Pillow – Yea, I usually don’t play and take a full-size pillow but travel ones work great!
- Sunglasses – rookie mistake leaving the sunglasses at home on a road trip.
- Plastic bags – yea I know what I said. But, we all know you got some stashed at home so at least make use of those and bring them as trash bags or for muddy shoes.
- ENO hammock – you never know where you can stop and take a little break or nap.
Road trips are one of the best ways to travel in my opinion especially in the US. While this list may seem a little large and daunting, it’s actually quite easily put together and most of it should already be in your car anyway! I hope that wherever the road takes you this summer brings nothing but wonderful memories. I’d love to hear all about your road trip plans for this summer!
So, tell me, what would you add to this road trip packing list?!
- 7 Zero Waste Sunscreen Options So You Can Enjoy the Sunshine Safely - July 3, 2022
- Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Hike – What It’s Really Like - July 2, 2022
- Galapagos Itinerary: Which Islands, Beaches, and Places to Visit? - June 23, 2022