8 Road Trip Essentials: The Complete Guide

friends with campervans on road trip sit around a fire

Name something more fun than a road trip - we’ll wait.

The secret to a great road trip is being well-prepared. But if you’re strapped for space - or you just prefer to travel light - you might want to stick to the essentials only to keep the load light!

But what are the absolute go-to road trip essentials to make the best out of your journey?

Let’s find out….

Road Trip Essentials: Everything You Need For Road Trip Success

We know it can be tempting to go overboard when packing for your four-wheeled adventure, but item-overkill can ruin a trip and make you feel bogged down.

Our advice? Stick to the essentials. Anything else can be bought along the way if need be.

Road Trip Essential #1: EB70 Portable Power Station | 1,000W 716Wh

Designed for camping, off-grid living, boat trips, and as an emergency energy provider at home; and - you guessed it - road trips, this portable power station may be small and compact, but it packs a punch.

Designed to power your essentials while on the road, you can take along all your devices, such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc., and keep them charged without so much as an Internet café in sight.

Road Trip Essential #2: Camera

“Pics, or it never happened!”

Any good road trip is worth documenting - if nothing else but to prove to your grandkids one day that yes, you were cool bohemians once upon a time!

Road trips are always more rewarding when you take the scenic route, and what does the scenic route require?

A good camera to create some Instagram-worthy photography!

Or even just a good camera phone to document the sights, funny signs, each other, landscapes, and so on. Memories can fade, but pictures last a lifetime.

Road Trip Essential #3: Compact Bags/Cases

Leave that giant suitcase where it belongs - in your attic!

Unless your road trip is taking place in an RV, you’re likely going to be a bit pushed for space. So the best way to combat taking everything you need without having to add a trailer to the back of your vehicle is to opt for a space-conscious duffle bag, sling bag, or standalone bag.

That way you can travel lighter and freer.

Road Trip Essential #4: Clothing

Perhaps a no-brainer, but you will need to take an outfit or two with you, depending on how long your road trip will be and what the end location is.

If you’re taking an epic road trip that exceeds over one-hundred miles, or is going to be a few days on the road to attend a family event or a wedding (for example), it’s wise to bring the following:

  • Appropriate number of underwear items.
  • Something comfy to change into if need be, such as joggers and a roomy hoodie.
  • The outfit for the end event (if applicable).
  • Your favourite PJs.
  • A spare outfit - keep it comfortable and practical.
  • Shoes as required.

When packing for a road trip, just remember: less is always more.

person sits with feet out the window and map in hand overlooking a beach during a road trip using road trip essentials

Road Trip Essential #5: Snacks

A road trip is only as good as the snacks you bring along. Fact.

A good selection of snackaroonies will help ease the mundanity of trawling along the motorway during peak times, and saves money on expensive pit stops at extortionately-priced service stations.

Also, if you’ve made plans to stop and eat in restaurants or cafés along the way, and you get hit with a gridlock or some kind of delay, a decent snack stash will stop those tummies from rumbling.

Road Trip Essential #6: Personal Care Items

Again, as with clothing - less is more here, so if you can bear to part with your manicure kit, or foot spa - leave them at home and take the bare necessities only. A few items to be included are:

  • Deodorant
  • Feminine hygiene items (if necessary)
  • Liquid soap
  • Biodegradable baby wipes (these can help when access to showers is somewhat limited and you feel the need to freshen up!)
  • Razors/hair removal items.
  • Teeth hygiene items
  • A shampoo bar
  • Toilet roll (you never know when you might be caught short!)
  • Travel-sized toiletries, such as lip care, moisturizer, SPF, etc.

Top tip: try and only use items that are reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable, so as to be as good to the road as it is to you! You can find most of what you need on sustainable alternative sites to Amazon for an even more ethical shopping spree.

Road Trip Essential #7: Sleeping/Camping Items

Depending on how long your road trip will be, you may need to take along some items to help you have a good kip.

If you plan on spending a night or two at a few campsites, you’ll, of course, need a few camping essentials:

  • A tent (duh…)
  • Sleeping bags
  • Thermal underwear and PJs
  • An ice cooler
  • A camping stove
  • Camping cookware (kettle, pan, cups, etc)
  • Easy-to-cook/serve foods, such as Cupasoups, Granola, porridge, etc.
  • Heat packs/hot water bottles
  • A light/matches

If you’re camping and you’ve taken various devices along with you, this is where your portable power station will come in handy again.

Read More: 20 Car Camping Essentials You NEED

Road Trip Essential #8: Your Techy Bits

Road trips are one of the best opportunities to unplug and get back to being at one with nature, so don’t go bonkers packing your PS4s and Wii Fits, etc. Take only what you need. Take your camera/smartphone, as mentioned earlier, to visually document your epic trip (plus a charger), and try to leave it at just that.

Do you really need to bring along your laptop, drone, or electric guitar?!

yellow van drives towards the mountains with road trip essentials in tow

Other Road Trip Essentials You Might Need

We believe the open road is best approached with a minimalist attitude - and not with half the items of your home in tow.

But some other useful items include:

  • A raincoat
  • A blanket
  • Sunglasses
  • Travel sickness pills (if needed)
  • Spare pants & socks
  • A physical map
  • Reusable water bottle/thermos

Staying Safe on the Road

Other than the aforementioned road trip essentials, it is important to put safety first and prep for the unexpected.

Ways to ensure safety on your road trip include:

  • Be prepared for motor hiccups: make sure your AA insurance is up to date, pop a few items in your boot, such as jump leads and a spare supply of petrol. Also, check if your spare tyre is there, your oil and coolant levels are topped up, and your car tax and insurance is up to date.
  • Make sure you’re able to contact people if need be. Be sure loved ones are aware of your movements and your expected timeline. If signal issues may be a problem, take a satellite phone. Always be safe.
  • Have a supply of dry foods and plenty of water in case you get stuck in traffic, or break down.
  • If your road trip is taking place abroad, make sure you’re familiar with their road laws.
  • Take a hard copy of a map in case your phone or TomTom lets you down.
  • Keep blankets in your boot in case you need to warm up.
  • Make sure you stay hydrated. Avoid the urge to drink too much coffee or other such beverages, and stick to water - especially if the car is hot.
  • Before you set off, check to make sure the car’s heating/AC works properly.

Road Trip Essentials: FAQs

How do I make my road trip less boring?

Okay, road trips will have their moments of tedium - especially if you have young passengers, such as your kids or younger siblings with you. A few ways to keep the monotony at bay include:

  • Have a travel plan. Don’t just wing it. Scale your journey and plan for a good selection of pit stops in scenic and safe areas to stretch legs, visit any monuments or sites along the way, get some fresh air, have a bite to eat in a restaurant, etc.
  • Provide entertainment - music or podcasts can be a great shout, as well as certain games like travel scrabble.
  • Provide snacks that cater to everyone’s needs. Don’t forget to check whether any of your passengers have allergies or certain preferences.
  • Don’t be stingy with time or money for the sake of getting to your destination sooner. Treat your road trip like a vacation, meaning stop and smell the flowers!

How do I prepare my body for a long road trip?

Long periods of time sat down aren’t great for our physical or mental wellbeing, so it’s best to prep yourself by doing a few of these:

  • Make sure you have good sleep before and during the trip.
  • Take your anti-sickness meds, if you need them.
  • Make sure to take any medication with you.
  • Bring a blanket to keep warm and snug, and a cushion for your butt, if you need it!
  • Get plenty of fresh air - try to avoid areas too congested, as this will mean you’re breathing in more pollution.
  • Wear comfortable clothing. Leave the skinny jeans, stilettos, and g-string underwear at home!

Final Thoughts

Road trips can make some incredible memories and can be so much fun, but the trick is to be prepared and include the aforementioned road trip essentials.

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