With the temperatures rising, days getting longer, and tan lines getting darker, that can only mean one thing; summer is officially at our doors. With the start of the summer months comes the unofficial start to road trip season, the perfect time to get out and explore your surroundings all the while discovering brand new places along the way. Road trips can be very exciting and are personally one of my favorite things to do in the summer but with all of that excitement can come a whole lot of problems if you’re not prepared. Because I’m a big list-making person and because it’s easy to forget important things when you’re overly excited and anxious to get on the road, I’ve put together a little packing list with all of the road trip essentials you may need for your upcoming summer road trips. Keep on reading to find out the best things to bring along with you, and drive safe!
Read also ‘How To Have The Most Stress Road Trip Possible‘
For The Car
- Empty Gas Can
Pretty self-explanatory but an empty gas can is crucial for a road trip, because you know, cars need gas to keep on going forward and without that you’ll be going nowhere fast.
- Spare Tire (with jack)
Another obvious one, but another essential item to have with you before heading out. Not only is it important to remember to check that you have a spare tire in your car, be sure to also check that you have the appropriate tools necessary to change said flat tire.
- Booster Pack
While booster cables are always a good thing to have laying around in your trunk, a booster pack is much more convenient especially for road trips. A booster pack works in the same way that the cables do, in which it’ll give your car battery a boost, yet the only difference is that you won’t need another car to help you out like you do with the booster cables.
- Extra Fluids
Extra fluids such as motor oil and windshield washer are crucial to keep on hand in order to keep your car running smoothly throughout the trip.
- Car Manual
Often found in the glove compartment of the car, your car’s manual will be your encyclopedia for any car problems that may arise. Found inside this book will be all of the possible symbols or lights that could appear in the dash of your car and will help you diagnose the problem.
- License, Registration, Proof of Insurance
The three most important documents to have with you at all times when heading out on a road trip are your license, registration of your vehicle, as well as your proof of insurance. These papers will help you out tremendously if ever you were to be unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident or if you were to get pulled over. Having photocopies of said documents on hand is also a good idea, if ever you lost the originals.
More for yourself rather than the car, an umbrella is always a good thing to have laying around in the trunk of your car as weather can be quite unpredictable sometimes and being stuck out in the rain is never any fun.
- Phone Charger with Car Adapter
While it may be a no brainer to remember to bring the charger to your precious cellphone, it’s also crucial not to forget to grab a car adapter for said charger, especially if your phone doubles as your GPS.
- Baby Wipes
The perfect item to have on hand not only for cleaning up spills and sticky hands after impromptu ice cream stops, baby wipes are also great for freshening yourself up after spending hours cooped up inside the car.
A crucial and necessary item to remember to bring along, is sunscreen. As useful inside of a hot car as it is on the beach during a heatwave, sunscreen is a must have for preventing not only sunburns but also for helping to prevent your chances of getting skin cancer in the future.
Much like your skin, your eyes also need protecting from the sun so don’t forget to grab your sunglasses on your way out of the door. Not only will these help protect your eyes, it’ll also make driving much easier and safer when you have something blocking the sun from obscuring your vision.
- Extra Water Bottles
When packing your car up for the road, be sure to include about 2-3 large water bottles. You’ll be able to refill your water supply along the way without needing to use disposable, plastic water bottles and will also keep you hydrated along the way, something that is so important to do especially during the hot, summer days.
- First Aid Kit
Another no-brainer item that should also be included in your bags before hitting the road, is a first aid kit, a great item to have with you at all times for obvious reasons.
- Neck Pillow
An item more useful for the passengers of the car who will be lucky enough to get to sleep most of the way, is a neck pillow. Nothing is worse than showing up to your destination with a stiff neck due to falling asleep for the past 3 hours in the most awkward position.
Along with any daily or essential medication you may take, be sure to pack other over the counter medicine as well such as Advil, Midol, allergy pills, etc, to avoid an uncomfortable and unpleasant journey.
- Spare Change
Depending where you’re traveling to, more than likely you’ll come across a toll booth at some point, a spot along the road where you must pay to continue using the road. Keep a handful of loose coins laying around in your car’s console for situations like these.
If ever you find yourself in an emergency situation in the middle of the night, keeping a flashlight on hand will help you deal with whatever may be going on, all the while preserving the battery on your phone by not using the phone’s flashlight.
- Bug Spray
One of the worst and most annoying things about summer has got to be the bugs and the pesky mosquitoes. To help with this nuisance and to make your time outdoors more enjoyable, be sure to pack a few bottles of bug spray which will not only help keep the annoying mosquitoes at bay, more dangerous bugs such as ticks will also be prone to staying away from you.
- Extra Blanket
Having a throw blanket with you will come in handy for many different situations such as for an impromptu picnic blanket, to use as a towel, and of course, for extra warmth if ever temperatures decided to drop drastically.
Driving for long periods at a time can be quite exhausting, so when choosing which snacks to pack, consider bringing some that will help you a boost of energy. Some options included fruits and veggies, protein bars, and nuts.
Something you definitely don’t want to leave on the kitchen counter on your way out, especially if you plan on driving out of the country, is your passport. Pack it in a safe yet accessible place along with all of your other important documents you may need.
- Toiletries (toothpaste, deodorant, etc)
- Travel Games
- Books and/or Magazines
- Apps For Entertainment (audio books, spotify for music, etc)
Things To Do Before Leaving For Your Road Trip
- A few weeks before leaving for your trip, bring your vehicle to the garage for an overall tune-up to ensure that everything will be running smoothly. Getting things like an oil change and brake inspection, will allow for a stress-free and easy going trip once you know that everything is running how it should be under the hood.
- Ensure that all of your most important cards and documents are up to date, something that should also be done a few weeks before you plan on leaving. Things such as your driver’s license, ID cards, car registration, proof of insurance, and passport (if necessary) should all have at least another six months left before they expire.