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What to Pack for a Road Trip–An Easy Checklist

Updated: Mar 9


Road Trip Checklist
Road Trip Checklist

Planning a road trip for yourself, or perhaps one with friends, or family? What to bring, though? That is the question, and we will answer it!


Of course, what to bring on a road trip will depend on if you’re going on a roadtrip to attend a concert with friends, or going up a snowy mountain to a cabin with your family. However, we’ve created some easy checklists that contain it all–you can just print this blog and highlight the items you need, then tick them off. Or save this blog as a PDF on your phone/tablet/laptop and do the same.


Car Safety


What items do you need to bring to ensure you have what you need in case of any issues with your car?


  • Jumper cables

  • Towing rope

  • Hachtyre Inflate & Drive (emergency tyre repair kit that also re-inflates your tyre after a puncture–make sure to buy the right size can/several cans depending on the size of your wheel–much easier than changing tyres in the middle or a rainstorm)

  • Spare tyre

  • Ice scraper or de-icer for your windows if going somewhere cold

  • Snow shovel (can also be used to shovel sand, stones, etc. if needed)

  • Multi-tool (that contains pliers, cable cutters, etc.)

  • Car charger (if going on a road trip that takes you to desolate places)

  • Document holder with your insurance papers

  • Warning triangle

  • Coolant

  • Brake fluid

  • Oil

  • A can of gas

  • Duct tape

  • Scissors


Personal Safety


Some things on the below list may not apply to you. You won’t need a flare if you’re driving on popular roads, but if you’re driving into the wilderness, it’s great to have one or two of those in the car!


  • Sunglasses–you cannot drive safely unless you can see and they will also protect your eyes from UV light if going somewhere sunny, or a place with lots of snow

  • Flashlight and extra batteries unless it’s solar powered (bring two in case one breaks to be on the safe side, unless you have a flashlight on your phone, then just bring the one)

  • Power Bank for phones and tablets

  • Water–always have five or more liters in the car

  • Extra blankets (even if you’re planning to stay in hotels, your car may break down somewhere at night and it can get chilly fast)

  • First aid kit that includes not just plasters and a bandage, but a safety blanket (or two), something to treat burns, gloves, scissors, something to stitch someone up if needed, painkillers, a sanitizer, something to stop bleeding, needles and tweezers for removing splints, etc.

  • Bug repellants and stuff to treat bug bites (if going to an area with snakes, check what you should bring)

  • Epi pen if someone may suffer from severe allergies to anything at all

  • Swiss army knife

  • Fire extinguisher (the kind that works on oil) and fire blanket

  • Snacks that can take you through a day or so if you get stranded somewhere, or someone’s blood sugar levels suddenly drop (or just to keep your stomachs from rumbling if you get stuck in traffic…)

  • Matches

  • Lighter

  • Storm candles

  • Flares

  • If you’re going somewhere there’s no cellphone signal you may want to bring some form of walkie talkie or radio for making contact with others

  • Water purification tablets and water purifier if you’re going to drink from a river or spring

  • Something to cool you down if there’s any risk at all of you getting stuck somewhere in the middle of nowhere in the hot sun–a cooler with ice, or a battery driven fan

  • A little gas kitchen (Bunsen burner) in case there’s any risk of you needing to heat something up and there’s no dry wood available, or you aren’t allowed to make fires

  • Fabric stretcher

  • Homemade heater if going somewhere cold (a metal bucket and candle)


Personal Hygiene


Getting smelly when traveling is usually part of the ordeal, but thankfully, there are ways to easily freshen up!


  • Wet wipes

  • Body wipes if you won’t have access to a bath

  • Fast drying towel (usually found in sports/outdoor shops)

  • Shampoo

  • Conditioner

  • Soap (if you plan to wash in the wilderness, buy products that don’t pollute, and if there’s salt water only, buy products that work in salt water)

  • Sanitizer

  • Toothbrush

  • Toothpaste

  • Floss

  • Washing powder (for handwashing if going somewhere with no washing machine)

  • Sunblock (even if you don’t like them, find an organic one if you’re going somewhere where it’s very sunny, even in the snow, as a nasty burn can ruin your trip)

  • Body lotion

  • Deodorant

  • Lip balm (lips tend to crack if you go somewhere cold, or somewhere with dry air)

  • Foot balm (in case you’re walking a lot–something like Badger Balm also helps make your footsies smell nice, which is good if you’re being active on your trip!)

  • Toilet paper

  • Scissors

  • Razor

  • Tweezers

  • Comb or hairbrush

  • Medication, birth control, vitamins

  • Toiletry bag to keep it all in one place!


Clothing


As we have no idea where you’re going, it’s hard to recommend exactly what you should bring. However, if you’re looking to cover all bases, here’s a great list!


  • Underwear (always pack one or two extra)

  • Socks (if you plan to go somewhere and hike, check your local sports/outdoor store for great hiking socks that also help eliminate bad smells)

  • Thermal “underwear” (long johns and a sweater–two pairs of each if you can’t easily launder them)

  • T-shirts and/or tank tops

  • Pants, including ones that are comfortable driving in (i.e. not skinny jeans or super tight leggings)

  • Shorts and/or skirts and/or dresses if it’s warm where you’re going

  • Sweaters for cool and cold nights (i.e. something lighter and something warmer)

  • Jacket(s)–remember to pack more than one if you expect both rain and sunshine, or both windy days and warm days

  • Shoes for the occasion–be that snow boots, hiking boots, high heels, sneakers, or Wellies (i.e. Wellington boots)

  • Something to wear if you plan on eating out or simply want to look presentable

  • Gloves or mittens (light gloves can help protect your hands even in warmer climates, in case you’re going somewhere with mosquitoes…)

  • Hats (whether to keep you warm, or protect you from the sun)

  • Scarves (in cold weather to keep you warm, in warm weather to cover your shoulders in case the sun gets too strong)

  • Swimsuit in case there are hot springs, beaches, or pools where you’re going

  • Umbrella–while not strictly clothing, it’s a useful accessory

  • Walking stick–again not at all clothing, but great when out walking even if you don’t have an injured leg!


If you expect rain, remember to get a rain jacket with a hoodie (or buy a Sylvester!) and also waterproof pants and shoes.


Likewise, if you expect snow, a jacket alone may not cut it. You’ll need an overall, or ski/snow pants.


If you’re bringing the kids, remember that they often need more changes of clothes than adults as they have a tendency to jump in muddy puddles and do other such lovely activities.


Entertainment


Depending on the trip, you might want to bring some entertainment!


  • Downloaded films on Amazon, Netflix, or similar, ready to be watched

  • Online library such as Scribd, Audible, or Kindle with downloaded books and/or audio books

  • Playlist ready to be played (remember to download the songs if hitting the wilderness where there’s no wifi)

  • USB car charger and the aforementioned power bank (always have reserve in case of emergency)

  • Travel journal–whether electronic or the old-fashioned kind

  • Car games–there are plenty available on Amazon (and you can also read this blog with games for the kids to play in the car)

  • Headphones for your phone/tablet if you want to cancel out other noises

  • Apps for the road trip if there are any good ones (there are good games, but depending on where you’re going, there may be one that points out rest stops, monuments worth seeing, etc. and remember if you’re downloading games you need ones that work offline)


Food and Drink


If you aren’t camping, the only thing you need to worry about is water, snacks, and perhaps a cooler to keep your water in.


  • Water

  • Cooler

  • Snacks (protein bars are great if you need a lot of energy)

  • Sufficient food if you’re going into the wilderness–remember that if you’re going hiking you need more food than you do when sitting at your desk and consider getting lightweight food that contains a lot of calories–camping shops have dried foods that you can cook by adding boiling water)

  • Coffee/tea/chocolate/your choice of drink

  • Tin bowls and cups

  • Cutlery

  • Knife

  • Bunsen burner

  • Pots and pans (there are ones especially made for camping)

  • Fishing gear if you intend to catch your own food…

  • If foraging berries and the likes, an app for identifying ones and a reliable book for the same is in order–never eat anything you’re unsure of


Sleeping Gear


If you’re camping in the wild, you’ll need a few things!


  • Tent

  • Inflatable mattresses (and something to inflate them with) or sleeping mats

  • Sleeping bags

  • Pillows

  • Mosquito netting


Odd Bits and Pieces


Are there things you just can’t live without? Or something you know you’d use on a road trip? Then bring it along!


  • Diary–all the great adventurers kept one

  • Compass

  • Walking stick–after a long day of walking, you’ll appreciate it

  • Lantern for night light

  • Chocolate

  • Camera

  • Laptop

  • Tissues

  • Umbrella or gazebo for shade

  • Car freshener–without a car air freshener it easily gets smelly inside your car when driving long distances (and we’re taking this moment to recommend you buy a car freshener online here in the Amazon Sniff Drive store…)

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