Road Trip Essentials Packing List

Ah the Great American Road Trip, how much we love you. According to our Spring 2022 Travel Study, 9 out of 10 OnlyInYourState readers prefer to travel by car, and we certainly don’t blame them. The beauty of a road trip is that it’s as much about the journey as it is about the destination – it forces you to slow down and enjoy the scenery. Another perk of the humble road trip is your ability to pack everything you might need along the way—without being restricted by carry-on or luggage policies.

There’s nothing quite like driving on the open road, and a little advance planning goes a long way to safely enjoying a road trip. Our editorial team has traveled hundreds of thousands of miles across the United States together, and we know exactly what to pack on a road trip for maximum adventure. Whether you’re an avid road tripper or taking your kids or your dog on a family trip in a rental car for the first time, we’ve put together a list of essentials for a road trip.

What to take on a road trip: Must-haves

There are some things you simply shouldn’t overlook when packing for a road trip of any length – from essential documents and car accessories to a sturdy first aid kit and all the necessary weather supplies. No matter where you go or for how long, these products are non-negotiable.

What to pack for a road trip: Things you might not think of

When packing for a road trip, some things come naturally — like your car insurance and jumper cables — but there are other road trip supplies that you might not think of right away. For example, have you remembered to bring your electronic toll pass, a credit card and paper money and coins for parking meters or cash transactions?

Things to take on a road trip: Fun extras

If you have a little extra room in your car, you should always consider adding a few entertainment items to your packing list – especially if you’re traveling with children of all ages. Reading material, music, games and a travel hammock round out our list of road trip essentials.

We hope this list helps you pack for your next road trip. After all, preparation really is the key to a successful and fun road trip. We know everyone has unique needs, so please let us know in the comments: wWhat else are you adding to your road trip packing list?

Where are you planning your next USA road trip? For inspiration, consider one of these iconic American road trips—from California’s Pacific Coast Highway to the Great River Road, which runs from Minnesota to Louisiana, adventure awaits. Follow our packing list, get in the car and enjoy the journey.

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