Road trips are a healthy mix of delightful and dreadful. On the one hand, you’re on vacation, the music is blaring, and you’re excited about the destination; on the other hand, you’re wondering if you’ll ever get there. The longest road trip I’ve done was 24 hours of driving over 2.5 days and no stops for roadside attractions; the journey was not the destination. Whether you are high tailing it to your destination or stopping to smell the roses here a few road trip essentials to make your long drive more comfortable that you won’t think of until you are in the middle.

Things To Make Driving More Comfortable

Road trip comfort
  1. Layers of clothes :: As the temperature changes you’ll want to easily add or shed layers of clothes
  2. Chap Stick :: that constant blowing AC or heat in the car will dry out your lips, this is such a small, often forgotten item that can make a road trip so much more comfortable.
  3. Shoes that slip on and off easily so you can quickly hop out of the car for photo opportunities
  4. A blanket

Road Trip Essentials That Keep Things Fun

Slug bug is all fun and games until until someone gets hurt. The days of “I spy” and The Alphabet Game are long gone; while still fun it’s easy to get bored quickly. With a little preparation; your long drive can be engaging and entertaining the whole way! Here are some ideas for keeping things fun:

*for those of you who have never heard of slug bug, it’s a road trip game where you punch the person next to you when you see a Volkswagon Beetle, also known as the Volkswagon bug.

5. Podcasts

To avoid using an obscene amount of data or losing signal through remote areas, download a few of your favorite podcasts ahead of time. Here are a few of my favorite podcasts:

  • Ear Hustle
  • Punch Up The Jam
  • Criminal
  • Code Switch
  • This American Life
  • Snap Judgement

7. Audio Books

Did you know many libraries have their own catalog of audio books or partner with Hoolpa, who has a sizable catalog of audio books. Download a few audio books before leaving and finally catch up on some reading.

6. Music Playlist

Create a variety of playlists to liven up your playlist and discover new music. You can prepare these playlists ahead of time or use it as an activity to research in the car!

  • One Hit Wonders
  • Dead Artists
  • Alive Artists
  • Greatest Hits of a decade
  • Female Artists
  • Male Artists
  • BIPOC Artists

8. Fun for the Adults

Puzzle books like sodoku and crosswords are some of my favorite travel games, but don’t forget to pack a pencil! Or you could select a game from this really awesome list of road trip games for adults

Practical Road Trip

Road Trip Map
  1. Road Trip Food essentials like snacks and finger food.
  2. Don’t forget to stay hydrated with a large water bottle
  3. Bring several garbage bags to keep the car clean and organized and throw them out every time you stop for gas.
  4. Dramamine – If you get motion sickness this is hands down the best cure for getting car sick!

Must Haves for A Long Distance Car Trip

Car accident in the mountains - What Not To Do On A Road Trip
Seen on a remote, dirt road in Iceland’s countryside. I did not witness the accident nor was anyone still present, but it seems someone had a bad day.

These aren’t the luxury road trip essentials that make things more fun when everything is going smoothly; but the road trip 101 items that make things less stressful when things go wrong. A flat tire or a chipped windshield are the realities of a road trip no one want to think about, but if your cross country packing list includes these items you’re sure to be back on the road in no time.

  1. Air pump for your tires
  2. hand sanitizer, wipes, and masks
  3. Spare Tire and tools to change a flat
  4. Jumper Cables
  5. Glass chip repair
  6. A paper map

I find road trips to be a relaxing, flexible, and great for traveling to remote areas; with the right packing list you’ll hardly notice you just spent the last 24 waking hours on the road. Ok, maybe not. But, you will have more fun!


Road Trip Essentials Pin 2