Your Quintessential Road Trip Packing List: 53 Must Haves!
Home » Travel Tips » Your Road Trip Packing List—Tips + PRINTABLE Checklist!

Your Road Trip Packing List—Tips + PRINTABLE Checklist!

There’s nothing quite like having the breeze in your hair, your favorite tunes blaring through the speakers, and the open road welcoming you to a day of adventure…

Road trips are my absolute favorite, and being prepared for them with your road trip packing list is a must!

They are possibly my favorite way to get around anywhere in the world. Something about taking a road trip is just so liberating and classic.

Nothing spells freedom like a road trip; you’re in total control of your time, pace, and destinations. This epic adventure is totally up to you, so strap in and ride into the sunset…

But… A road trip can go totally south if you’re not prepared. From things you need for yourself to must-bring items for the car, don’t forget anything on your road trip packing list or it could turn into a disaster.

Good thing pretty much every single thing you could need is right here, and if not, in just a few clicks you can purchase it and have it at your door just in time for your trip!

Here’s what to pack for a road trip to make sure you have the best and the safest time.

Table of Contents

Road Trip Packing List — Car Care

It’s a road trip. You’re gonna want to make sure you have all the handy dandy stuff you need to keep your car in top running shape. Some of these things are obvious but still need to be listed, others are not so obvious, but essential nonetheless. You can thank me later.

Resources for Your Trip:

Don’t forget insurance!

Get a quote with the best and easiest travelers insurance: Safety Wing

Where to Stay?

How to Get Free Accommodation Anywhere!

Check my top 3 (legit) ways to get free stays!

1. Spare Tire + Know How

Not only do you want need to make sure your road trip packing list includes a spare tire, in good working condition (double check!), but you also want to make sure you know how to change a flat tire.

AAA is not available in every single remote location across the globe. Oh, make sure you’ve got the jack and tire iron you’ll need to change your tire too. You may want to save this video on how to change a tire just in case!

2. Emergency Car Kit

This should have things like flares, jumper cables, gloves, rope, you name it. You can grab this cool kit that contains all the road trip essentials you need.

3. License, Registration, and Insurance

Wherever you are, definitely don’t drive until you check these three things off your road trip checklist.

4. Owner’s Manual

You’ve probably never even opened this bad boy back home, but the owner’s manual to your car can save you hours of frustration when you’re wondering what a specific indicator light means or how to access your fuse box. if you’re renting a car, make sure this is available! You’ve never used this car, you just may need it!

sunset over a mountain road
Sun is up, the road is hot, have you checked everything off your road trip checklist?

5. Roadside Assistance

This one is a necessity if you’re in an area that offers it, like the US. But if you’re driving a rented car across Africa or South America, maybe not so much. What’s their equivalent? At the least, make sure you ask for all the helpful phone numbers from the rental shop before taking off.

6. Fluids!

Yea, it’s not just you that needs to stay hydrated. Keep a gallon of water for your car (in case it overheats) extra transmission fluid, wiper washer fluid, and brake fluid, and yes, oil.

7. Empty Gas Can

For the one fluid you won’t carry with you, a small gas can is a road trip essential in case you need to hoof it that last mile to the gas station.

8. Car Air-Freshener

Because a car traveling across the country, or even a state, in cold weather with the windows rolled up can start to smell like feet and flatulence quick. Be prepared. This is a must for your road trip packing list… Unless you enjoy smelling like a boiled egg sandwich.

9. Tire Chains

Speaking of cold weather, have some chains if there’s a chance you’ll be driving through snow. You do not want to have to turn around and head back home because you can’t make it over the snowy mountains.

nina in road with forest Oregon, USA
Who loves road trips? Me me!

10. Portable Car Garbage Can

Many travel sites will tell you what to pack for a road trip, things like extra plastic bags for garbage, and you should have them.

But it’s nice to have a little car garbage can, so you don’t just have a random bag of trash floating around your car. I like this one because it will stay fixed in place.

11. Snow Kit

If you do hit those snowy mountains and head into a diner for a bit, you may come out and find a frozen-over car. A scraper and scrub brush are road trip essentials if you get an early start on a frosty morning.

12. Sunshade

Every time you get out of your car to check out the scenery, take a dip in the river, or venture out for a day hike, you are potentially leaving your car to sit and bake in the sun.

Keep a sunshade handy so you can keep it a bit cooler and at the very least, keep your seat from burning your legs when you get back in the car. if you’re camping out in the car, they also double as privacy shades!

Road Trip Packing List—Self Care

Now you’ve taken care of your car, you must take care of yourself. We live in a time of self-care, so don’t skimp on yourself. Your road trip packing list will be worth much more if you feel clean, comfortable, and a little spoiled.

Nina walking on the centre of the road
You’ll need to take care of the car and yourself for a safe and fun road trip.

13. Baby Wipes (A Road Trip ESSENTIAL!)

Is it weird that this is first on the list? I don’t care. You need baby wipes in your life. They can wipe hands, faces, even leave you feeling like you got a quick shower in. Bonus: you can use them as toilet paper and tissues if you run out.

14. Toilet Paper and Tissues

That’s right. It had to be next. The worst thing would be to stop at a roadside gas station that’s out of TP. Even worse? Having to go behind a tree with no TP. And tissues are just super handy to have for runny noses and sweaty brows. (Don’t throw them away in nature! Bring that plastic bag with you!)

RELATED: Speaking of coasts, where are you road tripping? Check out this badass West Coast road trip for some adventures and waterfalls!

15. Hand Sanitizer

For the same reason, you need toilet paper. If your gas station stop runs out of soap, you want to be able to clean your hands after you go—a clear road trip essential. There will be countless other times you’ll need to use hand sanitizer. I stick this in the side panel of my car door.

16. Sunscreen

I don’t care who you are, young or old, no melanin in your skin or a lot, you need to take care of your skin, especially on the road with all that exposure. Dermatologists recommend an SPF over 30. Trust them.

Road around red rocks.
A road trip packing list makes a trip more enjoyable! Less to worry about while on the road!

17. Flip Flops

If you’re from Florida, like me, or another sunny state on the coast, you may not need to be reminded of this. Flip flops are a road trip essential.

You can rest your feet, shower in public showers, and just look cute in a sundress. I ALWAYS wear Croc flip flops. They are the sturdiest and won’t bust on you and they are quick dry and so comfortable!

18. Quick Dry Towel

Yes, you’ll definitely want to put your own personal towel on your road trip packing list. Getting stuck in a hostel with no towel or having to air dry after a dip in the river isn’t fun. You’ll be using it to wash your face or after showers while on the road too!

19. Deodorant

This is air freshener for your body. Again, care for the car, care for yourself. And your travel companions. BO while stuck in a car is all bad. Keep a baby travel one in the console for emergency use.

20. Feminine Hygiene

You’d be astonished how many women get surprised by that time of the month in the middle of a road trip. This is an absolute in the world of what to pack for a road trip. Be kind of earth and try switching to the cup and trying Thinx.

21. Gum

Gum? Yes. Gum, especially if you’re traveling up into high mountain ranges. The higher you go, the more likely your ears will get plugged up; sometimes, gum is the only thing that will unpop them. It’s also nice to have when you can’t brush your teeth right away. You’re welcome.

22. Day Bag / Dry Bag

In the event you want to take a day hike or overnight camp somewhere, you don’t want to have to haul your suitcase or big backpack everywhere you go. A day bag is great for throwing in a change of clothes and a few essentials. If you want a good rainy day bag, shower bag, anything bag—I never travel without my dry bag!

RELATED: Which of These Daypacks Are Best For Your Trip?

Road Trip Packing List — Seasonal Care

Whether the weather is super sunny or snowy, you want to be prepared. Those of you who are from a sunny state like Florida may not be aware of the road trip essentials for snow. And likewise for those of you who hail from white winters and are traveling somewhere hot. I’ve got you covered, literally.

23. Cover Up / Sarong

I already reminded you of your towel needs. A sarong is a summer road trip essential. It’s handy to have for a day on the boardwalk or a trip down to a river.

Just throw on your bathing suit, flip flops, a towel, and a cover up and you’re good for a day in the water. A bit chilly? It can be used as a blanket or a scarf too. Sarongs take up almost zero space. I sometimes just bring one of these along and no towel.

24. Hat or Beanie

You could go with a big floppy hat or a classic baseball cap, or anything in between. Pick your style and cover your head and face if you’re headed into the sun. Your skin will thank you. Cold out? Don’t forget that beanie.

25. Sunglasses

It’s not just your skin that needs protection; it’s your eyes too. And the visibility on the road, even in bright white snow, will be much better with some UVA/UVB sunglasses.

26. Mosquito Spray/Balm

Yeah, you found a nice little spot by a lake or river, the place even has a free campsite for the night, so you can chill. And then you get attacked by mosquitos at sundown. Not cool. Put this one at the top of your road trip packing list.

27. Parka or Sweater

Do not underestimate how freaking cold it can get in the snow. Heck, do not underestimate how cold it can get on a summer night. You may think it’s no big deal if you’ve never been, and you may not need a snowsuit, but at least have a big ass jacket, or light sweater, depending on where you’re headed.

28. Raincoat, Galoshes or Poncho

Essentially any and all rain gear you may need. You never know when it’s going to downpour and you may not want to soak your only boots or have to change a tire in the rain.

7 Travel Jackets + Choosing The Best Travel Jacket For Your Trip
Outer layer of my jacket

TIP: This is my favorite jacket EVER. It’s a warm down jacket and rain jacket in one. They can be layered (and attach) together or they can be worn separately. It’s going to last you years, and it’s the best jacket I’ve owned, you don’t need another jacket if you have this 3-in-1 jacket.

29. Warm Gloves

Even if you only plan on getting out of your car for gas, have some warm gloves just in case. And if you need to install snow chains or change a tire, in the middle of the snow, you’ll definitely want these.

30. Warm Blanket or Sleeping Bag

I always recommend this for anyone on a road trip. Bag or blanket, it is a road trip essential to have your own bag or blanket, but I especially urge it for anyone headed towards snow. The more layers, the better.

Road Trip Packing List — Tech

Welcome to the new age. Even when we have no WiFi, our phones still serve a million essential purposes, or so it would seem. So it only makes sense that for a road trip checklist, your smartphone is going to have its own section.

31. Phone Charger with USB Cable

Many smartphones and many cars are now capable of utilizing a single charger/USB cable, but many aren’t. If yours is not, make sure you have both. You want to charge your battery and listen to your playlist through your car speakers.

32. Playlist (A Must for Your Road Trip Packing List)

Yeah, you probably knew this was coming next. Sure, you could make a playlist and download it onto a FlashDrive or (gasp) an actual compact disc. Or you could step into the twenty-first century and just make a playlist on Spotify or some other music app.

Woman driving
Road trip essentials: Good music! Don’t forget to download some!

33. Music App

Now you need to make sure you have a music app. iHeart Radio, Spotify, Tidal. Pick your pleasure(s) and make your playlists when you have access to WiFi.

34. Maps App

While it is crucial to have a paper map, another road trip essential is to be sure you have a map app that fits in your handheld device that will function while you’re offline. is the classic go to for most travelers, yours truly included.

35. Traffic App

Download an app for your drive like Waze that will help you avoid car accidents and road construction, so you don’t get stuck behind a bunch of other drivers waiting for the road to clear when you could be cruising around up and down the backroads or alternate highways.

36. Camping App

Looking to camp along Route 66? Hoping to sleep out under the stars instead of inside a hotel room? Download the app before you head out. You can search for camping sites for everything from RVs to tent only, from walk-up sites to drive-up sites across the US.

37. Hotel App

On the other hand, maybe you’d rather die than sleep on the ground. In that case, download your own hotel finder app, Hotel Tonight. You’ll get all the details you need for hotels in your area, price, rating, amenities, and more.

38. Gas App

Download Gas Buddy and find the cheapest gas in your region to save some dough. Gaspy is another great app. Double-check the app works in your area before heading out.

39. Portable Battery Charger

When and if you do head away from your car for the day or even overnight, you’ll want to have a backup battery charger fully charged for when your phone dies.

Simply snapping pictures all day will drain your battery quick. Also, this is my fav portable charger because there’s a built-in flashlight AND it can solar charge!

40. Bluetooth Headphones

You’ll want these if and when you want to rock out to something your driver does not want to hear and when and if you want to make a phone call and your phone call won’t play through your car speakers.

41. Hands-Free Phone Mount

When you take a call in the car, or you’re being routed somewhere, it is far easier if your phone is simply mounted on your dash and ready for your fingers.

Road trip in Iceland
Road trippin Iceland!

42. Mini Speaker

If you’re camping overnight or want to rock out in your hotel or hostel room a bit, having one of these mini speakers is crucial so you can jam to your playlist a little bit louder than your phone’s highest volume.

43. Phone Case

Some people can’t help but drop their phone over and over again, never learning (me!). If this is you even a little bit, get yourself a strong, sturdy, durable phone case.

Road Trip Packing List — Others

These extra items will ensure you have the extra care you need on the road. They are not necessarily specific to your car or your personal use, but you want to have them nonetheless.

44. Swiss Army Knife

In the event you do take a day hike or an overnight trip away from your car, a Swiss Army Knife is a handy tool to have in your bag that can get you out of pretty much any small jam. (Also, beer and wine may require the use of this at the least…)

45. Ice Box

Because snacks. Do I really need to say more? Who doesn’t love snacks? And some snacks need to be kept cool, like cheese sticks and sparkling water. Yes, you can enjoy a nice sparkling water on your road trip. It makes all the difference. (or a cold beer after your drive is done for that matter!)

46. Travel Pillow

You may want a nap in the car, or you may need a pillow for your hostel. It’s just nice to have your own personal pillow on hand. Value your sleep and put this on your road trip checklist.

47. Travel Mug

Because you don’t want your mini car garbage can filling up with paper coffee cups. Be kind to the earth, get a travel mug!

48. Water Bottle (A Road Trip Packing List Essential!)

Same goes here. You can fill up at all your stops and not litter the earth with plastic water bottles. Try using a water bottle with a filter so you can make sure all the water you consume is safe.

Woman drinking Grayl water bottle road trip tips
My road trip checklist always includes a Grayl!

49. Painkiller

You don’t want to be stuck on a mountain or a long stretch of beautiful desert road with a migraine. Have a small bottle of this road trip essential in the glove box.

50. Benadryl

Even worse than a headache? An allergic reaction. You don’t want to be in the middle of nowhere the first time you get stung by a bee, unaware that you are allergic. It happens.

51. First Aid Kit

I don’t have to explain this one right? No road trip packing list would be complete without it. There are some great kits that have everything you could possibly think of in a super small pack.

52. Flashlight or Headlamp

Changing a tire in the middle of the night? You’re gonna need some light. Copping a squat behind a tree after midnight? That flashlight will come in handy. Grab a flashlight or a head torch or both. Just in case.

Girl behind the wheel on a road tr
Road trip checklist complete! Now, let’s get ready for an adventure!

53. Rental Car/Travel Insurance

You NEED travel insurance—this is an actual road trip essential. Especially when renting a car, you don’t want to get caught without. Any damage to the vehicle could cost you a fortune.

Your car rental could be covered by your credit card, but remember there’s always some crazy fine print, so read it! Credit cards rarely include RVs or campervans and are usually only for regular cars.

The vehicle rental company likely offers insurance, but it doesn’t hurt to shop around to see if your travel insurance or credit card offers you the same coverage for less.

In addition to making sure your car is covered, you’ll need to make sure YOU are covered too. Safety Wing and World Nomads are often what I use, depending on where I am in the world.

Road Trip Essentials: Food Tips

When packing food for a road trip, the normal eating rules seem to take a little bit of a backseat. As tempting as it may be just to back a bag of chips and a chocolate bar to see you through until your next stop, you’ll definitely regret that decision when you start to run low on energy (and gain a few pounds before you make it back home).

Healthy food is a road trip essentials
Cheap, healthy, quick—This was our every meal goal on every road trip!

By packing some healthy alternatives, not only will you feel better about yourself, but you’ll also feel full of fuel for your next adventure.

  • Hard-boiled eggs– This one may take a little bit of prep, but they are very easy and quick to boil, plus the shell means they are easy to store. A boiled egg is simply packed with protein which can help give you energy on the road. I always boil a dozen at a time and then you don’t need to worry about it for another few days.
  • Protein bars– You can buy protein bars anywhere, from a local gas station to a huge convenience store. They are a quick grab and go snack that, if made correctly, will give your body a lot of nutrients. Just be aware that some protein bars are full of sugar, so always read the ingredients. (RXBAR is a good bet, ingredients are clean, no added sugars.)
  • Fruit and veg– Not all fruit and veg will be suitable for a road trip, but there are plenty that are. Carrots, celery, and cucumber are a great option because they can be cut up before the trip and munched on as you drive, without making a mess. They also go great with dips such as hummus. Grapes, apples, and bananas are great options for things to eat when you are bored and on the road, just make sure you don’t go overboard as the fruit contains a lot of natural sugars.
  • Nuts and trail mix– Nuts such as almonds and walnuts make a great road trip snack as when eaten in moderation, they are full of natural unsaturated fats and fiber. They are also pretty tasty and easy to store, plus they last forever! Trail mix is made for being eaten when on the road, and there are plenty of options that you can pick up locally in-store, although you could always try to make your own.
  • Sandwiches– Good for a lunch option, sandwiches are easy to prepare and are good for travel, as they can simply be wrapped up and then eaten on the road without making a mess. Stuff your bread with whatever you love in a sandwich, and then store it in a cooler until you are ready to eat it.
Road trip essential - good food!
Yes, this is me prepping sandwiches for later in our campervan bed with random crap around me… lol

These are all my go-to snacks and lunches on the road. Obviously, food is a road trip essential and it’s important to take the right food. Not just to be decently healthy, but to road trip more efficiently.

Stopping often, spending time ordering and waiting for food, etc is time-consuming – particularly for lunch! I also want a quick and easy lunch so I can get back to adventuring. Breakfast is easy and cheap to make yourself, so if you must eat out, keep it to dinners only.

Packing Food for a Road Trip

Thermos – A thermos is invaluable when it comes to a road trip, as you can fill it with so much more than tea or coffee. A great one is heating up some soup before you set off and storing it in a thermos where it will stay warm until you want to eat it.

A good thermos will stay hot for up to 12 hours, so you could even have it for lunch or dinner with a nice crusty roll. Other options include baked beans or even instant noodles.

Cooler – A cooler comes in all shapes and sizes, so picking the right one can be tricky. You should be looking out for a few things, such as having a bottom drain to release water from melted ice and a strong latch to keep the cooler tightly sealed.

Try to keep it in a dark place like the trunk of your car so it is not in direct sunlight. Perishable foods like dairy and meat need to be stored on top of the ice, with ice also packed on top of the goods.

Ziplock bags/Tupperware – When it comes to travel, ziplock bags are pretty good. They will do a great job of keeping your snacks dry and separated; things can be packed away tightly to save space.

If you have space, glass jars or containers are a lot more eco-friendly, as they will not only help preserve your food better, but it will stop unwanted visitors raiding your food supplies, plus they can be reused time and time again. If you use ziplock – always wash and reuse until they are beyond use.

Finding Food on the Road

Stop for water whenever you can – Take advantage of every free water source that you can, as you never know where the next one will be. You should be able to find free drinking water in places such as state parks, rest stops, and visitor centers.

Water runs out fast on a road trip, and you don’t want to have to keep buying it. This is especially important when camping as not all campsites have water facilities available. You can easily buy a large water jug vessel, save on plastic, and have tons of water on hand.

Things to do in Yellowstone include pulling your car over on the side of the road to admire the scenery
Pull over for the scenery and for some free water!

Don’t just go for what you see – Every time you stop off at a roadside drive-through for ease, you are missing out on a ton of great eateries that are just a little hidden off the highway. It might be worth pulling off every now and again to see what gems you can find.

Avoid the tourist traps – Tour buses are a great giveaway when it comes to finding the tourist traps. These are usually a lot more pricy than local joints, and often the food isn’t as good. Avoid it if you can. If possible, find places full of locals, as at least you know the food is good and probably reasonably priced too.

Road Trip Essentials—Accommodation

You never know where a road trip might lead you, events may occur that will lead you to stay longer in one place than you originally planned, or else you might find a cool detour for a few days that you were not expecting.

For these reasons, it’s sometimes a good idea to not plan too much in advance, and find the hotels that you want to stay in while on the road, once you have decided on your final route and dates. There are plenty of sites and apps out there that can help you to find a hotel when you are on the road, you just have to know where to look.

  • Roadtrippers– As the name suggests, this app really is built for travelers. As soon as you open the app you’ll be able to find a range of diners, attractions, and places to stay that Google Maps may have missed.
  • Hotel Tonight– This app really does specialize in last-minute deals. We have all been in the position where we need to find a place to stay quickly and for a price that won’t break the bank. The app makes it possible to book a room with just a few taps.
  • Google Maps– (Duh) Google maps is your friend when you are on the road. You can quickly search for hotels that are along your route and call them to make a booking.
  • Of course, the usuals like and work too!

Of course, if you’re campervanning, you have it a bit easier. Just find a place to park! You can park for free at many Walmarts in the US and state parks are awesome. New Zealand and Australia have amazing apps to use (Campermate and WikiCamps). Just do a bit of homework, there’s probably an app or something you can use to find campervan accommodation.

If you’re in a car and don’t mind doing a little planning before you travel, you could find a few hotels in the towns you are interested in staying in and write down their contact information, so you are ready to give them a call when you are on the road.

Make use of last-minute deals, as this can be one of the best ways to bag savings. Hotels don’t want to go a night with empty rooms, so very often they reduce the rate of a room to encourage people to book last minute. Hunt for any last-minute deals hotels offer, and you have a good chance of getting a room on the cheap.

Which Vehicle to Take on a Road Trip?

Your vehicle is the most important road trip essential, revolutionary info! Right? But seriously, there are some things to think about so you don’t make the wrong decision on the type of vehicle and other matters when choosing what’s right for your road trip.

This is totally dependent on you and your trip, so here are some things to think about…

Use these tips for driving in Morocco.
Road trip essential tip – don’t find yourself in a rental car trying to drive across a stream. Oops! (We made it out OK after I moved some big rocks)


A campervan is my favorite choice but isn’t always an option and I totally get those who are not OK with sleeping in a vehicle. Some countries aren’t campervan-friendly yet either and it simply may not be a choice.

So, of course, a car is the only other choice. You can find current car rental deals here.

It is always worth it to check the length of time and what type of deals you can get. If you’re renting for a week or more,  or better yet, a month or more, you can get pretty hefty discounts!


I LOVE traveling by campervan as it offers so much more freedom. Who cares where you end your day? Your bed is always with you. Don’t feel like backtracking back to a hotel? No need to, you have a hotel on wheels.

Trying to save cash? While renting a campervan will be more money, you do need to consider that it’s your transportation AND accommodation. And more often than not, those two things separately cost more than the rental of the van.

Not to mention all the time you’ll save by not backtracking to a hotel each night or the flexibility of being able to sleep almost literally anywhere.

New Zealand campervan campsites
Road tripping New Zealand

Campervanning is by far my favorite choice for road tripping.

Read all about campervanning New Zealand, Iceland or my campervan trip on the West Coast USA.

The best way to campervan the US if you don’t have one yourself is renting through Outdoorsy!

Road Trip Essentials if You’re Campervanning

If you are planning on spending life on the road in a campervan for a while, you may be wondering how you are going to possibly fit all the possessions you need in. Although there are many things you’ll want to take with you, a few road trip essentials will make your life on the road so much easier.

After living in a van a few times through New Zealand, Oregon, Washington, and Iceland, I’ve come up with some nice solutions I hope help you.

Van Life

Earplugs and eye mask – You never know what environment you will be staying in, and sometimes campgrounds can be pretty noisy. Taking earplugs and an eye mask as a precaution is likely a good idea and will help you get good sleep, so you’re ready for your next adventure.

Safety feature – Deterring is the best thing you can do. Using a wheel lock on your campervan makes your vehicle look a lot less appealing to thieves. It’s a simple and cheap road trip essential to deter theft!

Safety tips New Zealand campervan
The thief will probably steal/break-in to the next car over, this one would be a hassle.

Powerboard– If you are renting a campervan, chances are there will only be a few, or even one power outlet, so using a powerboard will let you use multiple electrical items at once. A necessity if you are traveling as a family or a group.

New Zealand Campervan cooking
Our camping stove was a three-burner! It was a must.

Camping Stove– A collapsable camping stove is easy to store, allowing you to cook food outside when you are not at a campsite with its own fire pit or grill. Just remember to also bring some spare propane.

Insulated cooler– Getting a good, insulated cooler will definitely be an investment. A good cooler will be able to keep your food fresher for longer, allowing you to shop for a day or two in advance, so you don’t have to keep stopping to stock up on supplies.

Space Savers

Hanging toiletry bag – Space is pretty tight in a camper van, so any space you can make will be much appreciated. Getting ready for bed or going about your morning routine in a public bathroom can be a little tricky sometimes, and you don’t want to be putting anything on the floor, so anything you can hang can only be a good thing. Just make sure it is large enough to hold the basics.

Clothesline– Many RV sites have a place where you can wash your clothes, but when it comes to drying them, your options are a little more limited. That’s where a portable clothesline comes in handy. If you wash your clothes on a warm day, they should dry on the clothesline in just a few hours, and before you know it they will be ready to wear again.

Inside of our campervan in New Zealand
The white curtain is hiding our hanging storage organizer that has all of our clothes. And at the top, behind the blue curtain, is even more storage we easily made with just laying down a few planks (our campervan was a high top so we had extra room above the passenger and drivers headspace.

Hanging storage– Another item that is a great storage solution is a hanging storage “closet,” as it will allow you to keep a relatively small space nice, tidy, and organized.

Cube Storage – If the “hanging closet” doesn’t work for you, I also use these cubes for clothing storage instead of leaving them stuffed in my bag or displaced everywhere.

RELATED: Here are two posts about campervanning in New Zealand. Regardless of where you’re going, you can use my design tips for your campervan and meal and packing tips too – it applies to anywhere!

New Zealand Camping and Food Tips | Campervanning New Zealand  –  Buying, Selling and Renovating the Campervan

Random Last-Minute Road Trip Essential Tips

  • Be green! Grab yourself reusable utensils so you’re not using one-use plastic ones.
  • Get a large water jug to save on water and fill up at drinkable water stations. Also, less plastic!
  • Chat with your friendly convenience store attendants. They may have a fun tip, offer some advice on the road, or at the least confirm you’re going in the right direction.
  • Grab a few rolls of change for any tolls that could pop up and for laundry needs.
  • Check your tire tread before heading on the road and make it a habit to check the tire pressure every few days.
  • Before heading out, make sure to download all apps and music while you’re on wifi.
  • A week or two before your trip, give your car a tune-up and an overall check to make sure it’s tip-top for an epic trip.
  • What’s up with your cell service? If you have a chance of being internet-less and you’d prefer not to be, try a mobile hotspot like Skyroam. You can use Nina77 for a 10% discount too.

RELATED: 19 Mistakes to Avoid While on a Road Trip

Phew, OK, that was a lot of stuff for your road trip packing list but ya know what? You’re totally ready for a badass time now. And I’m super stoked for you because road trips are the BEST.

Did I miss something? Is there anything else you think should be on this road trip essentials list? Where are you headed? Let me know in the comments!

>>> Read More! <<<

All of My Road Trip Related Posts

19 Mistakes to Avoid When on A Road Trip in the USA

How to Plan a USA Road Trip & Choosing a Vehicle

Don’t lose this list! Click the pic and pin it for later!

Pin this post for later!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Snacks set up for the driver to dip into whenever they are peckish.
    Varied, jerky, nuts, sweets etc.

    Carabeener clips so all small essentials, camera, phone, glasses case, keys, etc. can be clipped together and to your belt so you don’t misplace or drop them with all the back and forth trip to the car, often carrying other things . I find them really handy.

  2. Love this! I think this list is such a good resource for anyone! Definitely saving it for future reference!

  3. Don’t forget to notify your bank that you’ll be out of state. This will prevent any disruption to your debit or credit cards, as banks now freeze accounts if there are transactions outside your area.

  4. Thanks! We are going on a 4-week road trip out west from the deep south. My son and I checked over this list several times. Once to make our own list and once to reassure ourselves we were good to go.

  5. Great list, we’ve done short road trips in the past, this summer we are driving from California thru Southern States to Florida, cruise to the Bahamas and then driving up through southern Illinois up to Chicago, then back to Southern California. Our trip will last over 3 weeks.

    1. We’re heading over from London England next week to drive from Chicago to Santa Monica. Beyond excited. Many thanks indeed for your helpful list which highlighted a few things we missed. Do we need rain gear for August??

  6. Hi its a well complied list for beginners like me, we are travelling in Asia from Mumbai ( india ) to Thailand and Vietnam ( Cambodia ) , well we will cross lot of hill terrain any specific thing you can share for us to remember or to keep with us while cross difficult mountain areas.

  7. I was planning a car trip from New York to Virginia. I’m really glad I found your article! Now, I know all the essentials to a long car trip! Thanks Nina!! 🙂

  8. Spare car keys held, stired or hidden seperately.

    Passport. Could be old. Used just for spare identification.

  9. Wow! You have shared an excellent article. Me and my friend, we are planning for a road side trip. As this is the first time we are going out in my personal car, I am worried about the essential things to carry. I am really glad that I have found your article.

    1. I loved this list because we are going on a three hour road trip and this was really helpful. Super prepared