Home » Home » Travel » 21 Things to Pack for an Awesome Road-Trip

21 Things to Pack for an Awesome Road-Trip

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase. See our disclosure policy for more information.

21 Things to Pack for an Awesome Road-Trip

This summer has been the summer of travel. First, I traveled to see my sister accept her PhD hood and diploma (GO Meadow!!), then Paul and I took our kids to Disney World. (was that really just last month?!)

21 Things to Pack for an Awesome Road-Trip

Then there was our trip the following weekend to Denver to see my dad after his open heart surgery.

21 Things to Pack for an Awesome Road-Trip

Then we went to Kansas City the next weekend, and then we went to Tulsa two weekends ago to buy my new (to me) car after mine was totaled, totaled the day after returning home from Denver. 😐

21 Things to Pack for an Awesome Road-Trip

And THEN we went to Kansas City last weekend to drop the kids off with my Aunt Sandy for a week of fun with my cousin’s children in Iowa.

21 Things to Pack for an Awesome Road-Trip

Stick a fork in me. I. Am. Done.

Oh wait.

We go back to Kansas City this weekend to pick our boys back up. While I absolutely can not wait to see my kids and give them hugs and kisses (this is by far the longest we’ve ever been apart), I am totally not looking forward to yet another road trip. The good news is that we are road trip pros, so road trippin’ isn’t as bad as it could be.

Whether you are driving just three hours away or across the country, there are some things you should make sure to include on your trip.

21 Things to Pack for an Awesome Road-Trip

1. Camera

Sure, your smart phone can take nice shots but it is also nice to take an actual camera to take actual photos. Some of the most beautiful scenery is right here in the United States, so be prepared, yo! (and bring batteries/charger)

2. Car food

Ain’t nobody got time for $20 gas station stops. And that is exactly how much it costs after the kids pick their snack (one each and something you can share, please) and then their drinks (no reds or blues, please) and then I get my sunflower seeds and bottle of tea and Paul gets his beef jerky and energy drink.

You can buy all of these cheaper at the grocery store before you go, and as a bonus you may not have to stop as often! Pack lunches in a cooler with chips as well if you’re in it for the long haul.

3. Hot Spot 

As a blogger, I always have my hot spot when on a road-trip. I can not even begin to tell you how many of our posts this summer were written while sitting in the passenger seat with my laptop, and out in the middle of nowhere. Right now in fact.

21 Things to Pack for an Awesome Road-Trip

We pay an extra $10 per month on our cell service plan for our Hot Spot, but it is SO worth it. You could turn that service on and off (for just the time you’re traveling) and it will be pro-rated (at least ours is with Sprint). Something to look into, for sure!

4. An Atlas

Yes, an actual, hard-copy, physical book. If you are touring the countryside, having an actual map that you can Sharpie on is a must. What happens if everyone’s phone dies and the GPS won’t load?

You don’t want to be stranded and head in the wrong direction for miles and miles. Plus, it’s fun to see where you’re going, what towns are along the way etc. Call me old fashioned, but I’m not afraid to read a map (and the fact that I can actually read a map helps).

Such an invaluable tool to teach our children as well!

5. Road Trippin’ CDs

Sure, you could stream from your phone to your stereo system, but isn’t it more fun to bust out some CDs for your listening pleasure? Maybe CDs from highschool?!

Just think: Years after your epic road trip, when you hear one of those songs you (and your kids!) will remember “that one time we drove to the Grand Canyon and Mom and Dad sang at the top of their lungs with the windows rolled down, and…” Ahhh, memories. ♥

6. Cash for Tolls 

Always, always carry cash. While some states have turned to credit/debit card processing options for their toll roads, not all have. Don’t get stuck paying unnecessary ATM fees at a road-side station.

7. Garmin or other GPS

Take it along with your actual Atlas.

8. Trash Bag

If you do stop at a gas station for goodies, ask them to put your items in a bag. Riding in the car for extended periods of time has a way of making me feel claustrophobic.

When we’re tired and sick of being in the car, we don’t need a bunch of trash floating around to wallow with us in our road trip misery.

9. Toilet Paper

Never fails, someone has to stop for a random “pit stop” and it usually ends up being about 15 miles in between rest stops – and of course is a emergency. Take toilet paper just in case you need it, and it could always double as tissue. Just not double duty. Get it? LOL!

10. Sunglasses

If you are known for being particularly hard on sunglasses or breaking them easily, consider taking an old pair (if not broken yet) or buying a cheapie pair before heading out.

11. Empty Cup for Seeds 

I am a huge sunflower seed fan. I can go through a bag in a matter of hours, and you know what? Sometimes gas stations will charge you for an empty cup. Take your own if you enjoy seeds as well.

12. First-Aid Kit

Self-explanatory, and it is always a good idea to have a first aid kit in your car, not just for road trips.

13. Pillow, and Maybe a Blanket?

Take a nap while your partner drives, throw one in the back seat for the kiddos, use the blanket for a picnic if you find a super scenic area to eat your sandwiches.

14. Power Inverter

This has saved us so much heartache this summer. Between iPads needing charged, my laptop and the portable DVD players etc, it has paid for itself tri-fold. This is the exact one we have, and I love it.

15. Frisbee

Need to stretch your legs and work the blood flow back into your backside? Throw a Frisbee around in an open field for a half an hour. Maybe after your picnic?

16. Wet Wipes or Baby Wipes 

Baby wipes and wipes in general can be used for so many things. Sticky fingers, impromptu Kleenex and more.

17. Car Chargers

It is not necessary to buy car chargers for every single device you own. If your charger has a USB plugin, pick up some of these socket adapters and you’re golden on all accounts. Take turns charging.

18. Change of Clothes

When making a long road-trip, I like to keep a spare pair of pants for my boys outside of their suitcase. Just in case we do have an accident, or someone gets sick, or spills a drink etc, I don’t have to rummage through the entire trunk to find what I’m looking for.

19. Crossword or Sudoku Book, Word Find Book Etc.

While technology is nice, sometimes it is nicer to work a word puzzle or Sudoku puzzle instead. Especially if you’re really out in the middle of nowhere with crappy cell signal.

20. Bathing Suits

ALWAYS pack your bathing suit! If you stop at a hotel for the night, a dip in the hot tub or swimming pool may be just what the doctor ordered.

21. Emergency Car Gear

While this is a must for any car, it is especially important out on the open road.

What else do you include on your road-trip, and where is the best place you’ve gone? Maybe by next summer I’ll be ready for another road-trip.

21 Things to Pack for an Awesome Road-Trip

See more:

*6 Secret Tips to Saving BIG on Airfare {without signing up for 100 credit cards}
*9 Things to Check Before Leaving Your House for Vacation
*Haunted in Kansas: Your Guide to the Best Haunts in Kansas
*Books to Read this Summer (That I have Personally Read and Recommend)

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Pingback: Tips and Tricks for Traveling with Crochet Supplies
  2. Pingback: Ways to Free Up Money Immediately (When You're Feeling Broke)