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The Ultimate Road Trip Packing List

Embarking on a road trip is an exciting adventure, but packing for it can be overwhelming. With so many items to consider, it's easy to forget something important. That's why we've created the ultimate road trip packing list to help you pack efficiently and ensure you have everything you need for your journey. After all, being well prepared can help ensure a more enjoyable road trip experience. From essentials like clothing and toiletries to road trip must-haves like snacks and entertainment, we've got you covered.

What Important Documents Should You Bring On A Road Trip

When planning a road trip, it's important to make sure you have all the necessary documents to avoid any issues or delays along the way. Even if you aren’t planning on getting pulled over by the police or breaking down on the side of the road, the following key documents should always be packed first in your glove box.

Drivers License

Your driver's license is one of the most important documents you should bring on a road trip, as it's required for you to operate a vehicle legally. Make sure your license is up-to-date and valid for the states you plan on visiting. If you're renting a car, bring your rental agreement and proof of insurance as well.

Registration And Insurance

In addition to your driver's license, you should also bring proof of registration and insurance for your vehicle. This will help you avoid any legal issues if you get pulled over or get into an accident. Keep these documents easily accessible, as you may need to present them at checkpoints or toll booths.

Roadside Assistance Membership

If you have a roadside assistance membership, like AAA, make sure to bring your membership card or confirmation email with you on your road trip. This will give you peace of mind knowing that you have help available if you experience a breakdown, flat tire, or other car-related issues.

Paper Map

While GPS and smartphone apps are useful, it's always a good idea to bring a paper map as a backup in case you lose cell service or your battery dies. A map can also help you plan your route and find scenic detours that you might not otherwise discover.

Electric Toll Pass

If you plan on driving through toll roads, consider bringing an electric toll pass if you have one. This will allow you to pay tolls electronically without having to stop and fumble for change. Make sure to check which toll roads accept the pass, as not all toll roads are compatible with every type of pass.

Spare Cash/Coins

While technically not a document, cash is made of paper, so let’s pretend it fits into this category. While most toll roads these days scan your license plate and charge you after the fact, it is always wise to have some spare cash on hand just in case you need to do things the old fashion way.

Man standing on Jeep on a road trip

Road Trip Safety And Security

Ensuring your safety and security on a road trip should be a top priority, and taking the necessary precautions before you hit the road can make all the difference in case of an emergency.

Spare Key

Having a spare key is crucial in case you accidentally lock yourself out of your car or lose your key. Keep the spare key in a safe and secure location outside of the car, such as in a wallet or with a trusted friend or family member.

Spare Tire

A flat tire can quickly ruin a road trip, so it's important to have a spare tire on hand, along with the necessary tools to change it. Make sure the spare tire is properly inflated and in good condition before embarking on your journey.

Roadside Emergency Kit

A roadside emergency kit should contain essential items such as jumper cables, a flashlight, a first-aid kit, and reflective triangles or flares to alert other drivers in case of an emergency. It's also a good idea to have a tire pressure gauge and basic tools like pliers and screwdrivers.

Duct Tape

Duct tape is a versatile tool that can be used for many purposes, such as patching a small leak in a radiator hose or temporarily securing a loose mirror. Make sure to pack a roll of duct tape in your emergency kit.

Swiss Army Knife

A Swiss Army Knife is a handy tool to have on a road trip, with features such as a can opener, bottle opener, and scissors. It can also be used as a makeshift screwdriver or wrench in a pinch.

Portable Phone Battery

Keeping a portable phone charger in your car is essential in case your phone battery dies while on the road. This ensures that you can stay connected with emergency services or loved ones in case of an emergency.

Warm Blankets And Clothes

Even in warmer months, temperatures can drop significantly at night, especially in more remote areas. Keep extra blankets and warm clothing in your car to stay warm and comfortable in case of an unexpected breakdown or delay.

✈️ Pro Tip: Go on the ultimate dream road trip by using the Jessi’s Journey Iceland Ring Road Road Trip Guide.

Woman driving on a road trip

On Road Entertainment

Long road trips don't need to be boring. Make sure to pack plenty of entertainment to stay alert while on the go.


Long road trips can be tiring, and having a variety of snacks on hand can help keep you energized and satisfied. Pack healthy snacks like fruits and nuts, as well as treats like chips and candy.


A road trip playlist can set the mood and make the journey more enjoyable. Create a playlist of your favorite songs or listen to audiobooks or podcasts to pass the time.

Podcasts Or Audio Books

Podcasts or audiobooks are an excellent form of entertainment during a road trip, and can help pass the time while also keeping you engaged and informed. Download a few episodes of your favorite podcast or an audio book before you hit the road in case you are traveling through an area with poor service.

Aux Cord

Depending on your car year or model, you may need an aux cord to connect your phone or other audio devices directly to your car's stereo system to enjoy your favorite music or podcasts. Just make sure your car's stereo system has an auxiliary input jack before packing the aux cord.

Phone Mount

A phone mount can help you safely use your phone for navigation or to change music while driving. Choose a mount that's easy to install and secure, and that doesn't obstruct your view of the road.


Playing games can be a fun way to pass the time and bond with your travel companions. Pack portable games like cards or a travel-sized board game to keep everyone entertained.

Woman with Jeep camper on road trip

Extra Road Trip Comfort

Traveling on a road trip can be exciting, but it can also be exhausting. To help you stay relaxed and comfortable throughout your journey, here are some additional items you may want to consider packing.

Travel Pillow

A travel pillow can help you get some much-needed rest and support your head and neck during long drives.

Eye Mask

An eye mask can help you block out light and get some sleep during the day or night, especially if you're not used to sleeping in a moving vehicle.


Earplugs can help reduce noise and create a more peaceful environment for sleeping or relaxing. While as a passenger you should try to stay awake to support the driver if you need to snooze during your road trip earplugs can help.


Sunglasses are essential for protecting your eyes from the sun's glare and harmful UV rays, especially if you're driving during the day or in sunny weather.

Travel Mug

A travel mug can keep your coffee or tea hot and ready to drink during long drives, and can also help reduce waste if you're stopping for coffee along the way.

Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is essential during a road trip, especially if you're traveling in hot or dry climates. A reusable water bottle can help you save money and reduce waste, and can also remind you to drink enough water throughout the day.

Travel-Sized Toiletries

If you're planning to stay overnight in a hotel or campground or just want to be prepared in case of an unexpected travel delay, pack travel-sized toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, and body wash to help you feel fresh and clean on the road.

Stay Healthy On Your Road Trip

Taking steps to stay healthy on a road trip is essential to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable journey.


Tissues are essential for wiping your nose, cleaning up spills, and preventing the spread of germs. Don’t get stuck sniffling through your road trip. Make sure to pack enough tissues for the duration of your trip.

Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer can help kill germs and prevent the spread of illness, especially if you're traveling in close quarters with others. Even if you stay in your car for a long stretch, if you grab a bite at a drive-through, you’ll want to sanitize before you start chowing down.


If you take medication regularly, be sure to pack enough (and some spare) for the duration of your trip, and keep it in a safe and accessible place. If this is your first long road trip, you may want to pack some anti-nausea medication as well in case you or your passengers start to feel queasy.

✈️ Pro Tip: Make sure you have these Medications You Should Always Pack When Traveling.


Protecting your skin from the sun's harmful UV rays is essential. Just because you are in your car, doesn’t mean you are safe from the sun’s strong rays. Be sure to pack sunscreen with a high SPF and apply it regularly throughout the day.


Starring at the road for a long stretch of time can quickly dry out your eyes. Keep your eyes moist and comfortable so you can see the road clearly as you cruise about.

Garbage Bag

It's important to keep your vehicle clean and tidy during a road trip, and a garbage bag can help you dispose of any trash or litter that may accumulate during your journey.

A well-planned packing list can be the key to a successful and enjoyable road trip. By including essential items, you can help ensure that you are prepared for any situation and have a comfortable and healthy journey. Remember to tailor your packing list to your specific needs and destination, and to always prioritize safety and health while on the road. With a well-stocked and organized packing list, you can set off on your road trip adventure with peace of mind and confidence. Safe travels!


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