18 Easily Forgotten Road Trip Essentials

open road curves through the trees in the Great Smoky Mountains

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All photos are original to the author unless otherwise noted. 

This blog post may contain affiliate links.  I may earn a small commission for any purchases made through these links. Click here for the disclosure statement.

All photos are original to the author unless otherwise noted.

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

  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 and travel pillow
Feet on the dashboard on a road trip

Road Trip Essentials That Keep Things Fun

Slug bug is all fun and games until someone gets hurt. The days of “I spy” and The Alphabet Game is 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. Download Podcasts For The Country Roads

To avoid using an obscene amount of data or losing signals 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. Audiobooks

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. Road Trip Playlists

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. Road trip Games

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 Needs

Paper map on a road trip
  1. Road Trip Food essentials like snacks and finger food.
  2. Don’t forget to stay hydrated with large reusable water bottles that you can refill at gas stations.
  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 windshield and dash as its driving through the mountains

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 wants 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, baby 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 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!

Author Bio

Author Bio Image

Delaney is a project manager by day and a travel and wildlife photographer by night who is using her skills for translating complex technical language into easy to understand concepts to make photography achievable at all skill levels. You have questions; she has answers.

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