Road Trip Essentials

by | Jun 17, 2024 | Mom Tips

Last Updated Jun 24, 2024
Trip Necessities

Simple list of road trip essentials for hitting the road with friends or family.

Family Road Trip Fun

As a full-time RV family, we have taken our share of road trips, you guys!

That said, living life on the road and taking a fun family road trip are 2 totally different things.

Hitting the Road

For example, most of our time is spent traveling from point A to point B with longer stationary stays on each end.

However, there have been a small number of occasions over the past 3 years where our family has spent a solid 2-3 weeks vacationing, sightseeing, and experiencing all the fun of a traditional family road trip.

All that said, road trips can be both memorial and fun, but they can also be filled with unexpected messes and stressors.

That’s why it’s important to plan for hiccups along the way and pack more than might actually be necessary.

Check out my ultimate list of road trip essentials, you guys!

Everyday Car Essentials

Your road trip packing list should always start with the everyday essentials!

My number 1 rule is if you would take it on a daily drive or might use it on a simple day trip, it needs to be in the car for your cross-country road trip.

For example, you should never hit the road without your license, registration, proof of (current) insurance, and everyday car maintenance items such as jumper cables.

Other important essentials to keep on hand that you may not use on a daily basis are seasonal items such as an ice scraper.

While it may be 70 and sunny in your hometown, you might hit unexpected weather in areas you aren’t familiar with!

Everyday Car Essentials

Another good tip to remember before hitting the road is to have your car prepped for travel by taking care of routine maintenance like oil changes, topping off fluids, checking tire pressure, and giving the car a much-needed scrub down.

While planning a road trip can be fun, making sure you have all the essentials is crucial for experiencing a smoother ride.

Generic Road Trip Essentials

Once you have all your everyday car essentials taken care of, it’s time to tackle those generic road trip must-haves, you guys!

These generic road trip essentials are what I would consider must-haves for any person who’s considering hitting the road this summer.

From large families planning the trip of their dreams to couples or friends on a spontaneous journey.

Generic Road Trip Essentials

First up, always make sure to pack comfort items such as pillows and blankets for passengers.

Not only will these come in handy if you plan on taking turns sleeping in the car, but they can simply make the trip more comfortable overall.

For example, if the driver enjoys having the air on full blast but everyone else is cold, blankets will come in very handy on the road trip comfort meter.

Next, be sure to carry food and drink items essential to your family’s dietary needs.

As someone who primarily eats a gluten-free diet, this is a huge one for me.

This can include a large cooler or cooler bag, multiple snack and drink options, and reusable travel cups.

Once you’ve met your comfort needs, take some time to focus on your personal care needs.

Trust me on this one, including care items such as sunscreen, hand sanitizer, and lip balm in your travel bag is something you will be very thankful for when spontaneous stops happen!

I can’t even count the number of times we have hopped in the car for a quick road trip, never planning to get out of the car, only to find ourselves in a fascinating area where we end up outside for hours.

In moments like these, I always feel unprepared which is quickly followed by the realization that I know have to either a) buy some of these care items or b) tough it out till I’m home again.

Let’s just say having chapped lips for an entire cross-country road trip can suck, you guys!

Packing for Kids - Summer Essentials

Carrying extra items you may or may not use such as hats, sunglasses, and umbrellas comes in handy for the unexpected as well, you guys!

Speaking of the unexpected, the next thing you need on your list of road trip essentials is clean-up items.

Packing items such as wet wipes, paper towels, and a portable trash bin will keep your ride clean and dry.

That said, you don’t have to be a baby momma to rely on those wet wipes, you guys!

My kiddos are 19, 17, and 11 and wet wipes will always, always be on my travel list.

Once you’ve covered comfort and care, it’s time to focus on the fun!

Grab your devices, all the important gear, and a camera for memory keeping.

I also always suggest keeping a notebook, pen, and cash handy simply because you never know when technology might fail.

For example, if you are stopping for a bite to eat or find a really cool souvenir shop but they only take cash, you’d be getting back on the road with an empty stomach while leaving that one-of-a-kind keepsake behind if you left the cash at home!

Even when I always intend to pay for things with a card, I still keep a little bit of emergency cash on hand.

Lastly, keep a few compact reusable bags stashed in your car because if you’re prepared with that cash in hand, you may just come home with a few fun extra items!

Road Trip Essentials for Kids

While technically many of the items listed above are needed for kids as well as adults, there are a few extra things you need to keep on hand when packing for kids (both the human and 4-legged kind).

First up on the list of road trip items for kids is activities, activities, and more activities.

Kid & Pet Road Trip Essentials

While my kiddos are older now, I still pack most of these road trip essentials for my youngest (11g).

First, I pack her a personal bag of goodies that contains reading books, activity books, her Nintendo Switch, and a few small toy items.

Second, I put my focus on snacky goodness!

She gets a pre-filled bento box of healthy snacks like raw fruits and veggies, protein bites, and crackers.

Then, I pack an empty bento box in my bag for random food pit stops.

This is one of my favorite road trip tricks of all time, you guys!

We can hit up our favorite drive-through, grab the family-sized fries, and she can enjoy them in her own little container!

Other great items to keep on hand when you have little ones would be quiet activities, bedtime comfort items, slip-on shoes for easy on and off, spare clothes, and a wet bag for messes.

Family Travel Fun

While packing can take a while and sometimes end up a little on the stressful side hitting the road as a family can still be so much fun, you guys!

Our family of 5 recently went on a 48-hour cross-country adventure to pick up our brand-new beagle pups and it certainly was an experience, to say the least.

My 19-year-old and husband traded off driving and sleeping for 48 hours straight while my other two kiddos and I rode shotgun (or back seat) sleeping on and off as well.

Thankfully, I already had this post in the works and I was able to create a functioning road trip packing list in no time.

All that said, I still somehow forgot the hand sanitizer, you guys.

Life’s a mess and life on the road can be even more of a mess, but it’s so worth the ride!

Safe travels!

Road Trip Essentials

Meet the Author

Life & Homeschool Author

Hey guys! I’m Mary, homeschool mom of 3 amazing kiddos.

I’m so excited that you decided to check out my little corner of the world!

If you have been following our journey for any length of time, you already know that I’m obsessed with coffee, organization, and all things simple.

I’m also a huge dog lover and introvert 💗

My homeschool style is very eclectic.

I enjoy a solid mixture of structure and free range. I set goals for myself and my children each week, but I put no pressure on perfection.

We use a wide variety of curriculum in our home.

Some of our current favorites are The Good and the Beautiful, Life of Fred, Beautiful Feet Books, and Lifepac.

While my kids do spend a good amount of time learning at desks, they also spend countless hours exploring their creativity and practicing a little independence.

I love mountains, rainy days, and sitting by the campfire. 

Our family recently relocated to the PNW and we have been enjoying finding new nature spots to explore together 🙌🏼

I can’t wait to connect and share all the things I’ve learned on our new journey! 

Just a Note…

Thanks for checking out the mom tips portion of the blog! 

Typically summer is the most productive time for my blog. However, our family is currently living in temporary housing and we do not see an end in sight (thank you housing marking 😪) — meaning my workspace & supplies to produce quality content it extremely limited.

I am still working, but it’s nothing like normal.

As always, we appreciate your patience! 

If you enjoyed this article or simply want to see more of our journey, feel free to follow us on social media for more frequent updates.

You can find all of our social accounts below!

FacebookInstagramPinterest

Don’t forget to check out our Facebook group too!

This group is open to all homeschool moms.

Whether you are already knee-deep in your homeschool journey or just dipping your toes in — all homeschool moms are welcome!

Looking forward to connecting! Simply Be Wild & Free Life + Homeschool Blog

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Meet the Author

Life & Homeschool Author

Hey guys! I’m Mary, homeschool mom of 3 amazing kiddos.

I’m so excited that you decided to check out my little corner of the world!

If you have been following our journey for any length of time, you already know that I’m obsessed with coffee, organization, and all things simple.

I’m also a huge dog lover and introvert 💗

My homeschool style is very eclectic.

I enjoy a solid mixture of structure and free range. I set goals for myself and my children each week, but I put no pressure on perfection.

We use a wide variety of curriculum in our home.

Some of our current favorites are The Good and the Beautiful, Life of Fred, Beautiful Feet Books, and Lifepac.

While my kids do spend a good amount of time learning at desks, they also spend countless hours exploring their creativity and practicing a little independence.

I love mountains, rainy days, and sitting by the campfire. 

Our family recently relocated to the PNW and we have been enjoying finding new nature spots to explore together 🙌🏼

I can’t wait to connect and share all the things I’ve learned on our new journey! 

Just a Note…

Thanks for checking out the mom tips portion of the blog! 

Typically summer is the most productive time for my blog. However, our family is currently living in temporary housing and we do not see an end in sight (thank you housing marking 😪) — meaning my workspace & supplies to produce quality content it extremely limited.

I am still working, but it’s nothing like normal.

As always, we appreciate your patience! 

If you enjoyed this article or simply want to see more of our journey, feel free to follow us on social media for more frequent updates.

You can find all of our social accounts below!

FacebookInstagramPinterest

Don’t forget to check out our Facebook group too!

This group is open to all homeschool moms.

Whether you are already knee-deep in your homeschool journey or just dipping your toes in — all homeschool moms are welcome!

Looking forward to connecting! Simply Be Wild & Free Life + Homeschool Blog

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