Road Trip Essentials: a Checklist for all the things you need!

If you’re going on a road trip I guarantee you will always ask yourself the following question:

Did I really pack anything I’ll need?

Most often, you did not. Something is always left behind and you’ll find out when you’ve been on the road for some days already. This is why I created the following checklist for all road trip essentials that you need to pack for your trip! I always use this one when going for a longer road trip, so I thought I might as well share it and make life (and travel!) easier for others as well. Just read through it properly before starting your trip and put a checkmark behind everything you already have. So here it is – my Road Trip Essentials Checklist!

road trip essentials

What are the most important Road Trip Essentials?

Road Trip Essentials Checklist

1. Passport / ID

Having your ID or passport with you is one of the most important road trip essentials – not only to hit bars after driving, but to be able to identify yourself if you run into a police control.

2. Driver’s License

This one is one of the most self-explinatory road trip essentials. You’re going on a road trip, so you should pack your driver’s license!

3. Credit Card

Another basic road trip essential: never forget your credit card as it will get you out of any situation.

4. Cash

Besides your credit card, having cash with you is another road trip essential! Always store it somewhere else than your credit card though in case one of them gets stolen.

5. Insurance Documents / Contacts

If you have any type of insurance going for you (car insurance, personal insurace,…) you should always bring all the relevant documents with you.

6. Hotel / Car Rental Reservation (printed)

If you’re planning to sleep in a hotel and have already made a booking, always print out the confirmation. Although you might have it on your smartphone as well, it’s always one of the road trip essentials to have a backup somewhere!

7. Travel Camera

Road trips are done to experience the beauty of the landscape. To capture these moments forever, you will need a proper travel camera with you! I can recommend reading this guide to the best travel camera to pick the best one for you!

8. Cell Phone

Imagine you’re stuck somewhere and your car broke down – what would you do without a cell phone? Always bring it with you and don’t forget your charger!

9. Medicine / First-Aid-Kit

Sadly, many people miss one of the most important road trip essentials: a first aid kit! At least cover the basic needs if you might have an accident or get bitten by some animal during a hike.

10. Sanitizer

Always important: bringing hand sanitizer, especially when you have a rental car. I can recommend buying this one!

11. Road Trip Music

What would a road trip be without the proper music? I always bring my road trip music with me which I highly recommend!

12. Games or Movies

Long drives can become very boring, especially between two cities. Always bring games (cards, chess, video games) or movies on your iPad or Laptop to make time fly by!

13. Travel Guide

Always take a travel guide for your destination with you. No matter if it’s a book or a digital version – it definitely is a road trip essential!

14. GPS

Always bring a GPS device so that you know where you’re actually going and don’t get lost. I highly recommend the Garmin Nüvi as my GPS of choice!

15. Charging Devices

This one is obvious, but one of the road trip essentials that are forgotten quite often. Always take your charger for your laptop, phone, ipod and so on with you!

16. Car Documents

Always check twice before going on a road trip that you have the proper car documents with you. This also applies for rental cars!

17. Travel Pillow

Cars are not the most comfortable place to sleep. There are travel pillows out there that really help you sleeping. Check out the guide to the best travel pillow here!

18. Toilet Bag

Imagine waking up in the morning to find out that you forgot your toothbrush! To avoid this, check twice that you included this road trip essential.

19. Bottled Water

Especially when you’re doing a road trip through the southwest, always bring enough liquids and drink lots of it each day!

20. Food / Snacks

Driving makes you hungry! Always pack some snacks for the drive. Chewing also activates your brain and helps you stay awake!

21. Sunglasses

Even if it’s cold outside, the setting sun can become quite annoying when driving. Always take your sunglasses – these are the best in my opinion.

22. Travel Laptop

If you want to manage your travel photographs or get in touch with others via Skype in your hotel, you will surely need a good travel laptop!

23. Duct Tape

If there’s anything in the world that should be a true road trip essential, it’s duct tape. Seriously, it will come in handy in so many situations!

24. Books

Although you might have your iPad, reading a good book is awesome during long drives.

25. Fun and Anticipation!

This one is the most important road trip essential: always bring enough joy and anticipation to your road trip as it should be the time of your life!