10 Road Trip Essentials

Road Trip Essentials

As a family, we love a good trip! The more states we can visit, the better. We have taken MANY road trips and have learned along the way what has really been a road trip essential and what we could’ve left at home. So, we’ve put together a list of 10 road trip essentials we always bring with us on a road trip.

10 Must Have Road Trip essentials

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Seatbelt Pillow

This has saved our family’s necks on several road trips. It provides a nice cushion if the kiddos fall asleep, plus it prevents the seatbelt from rubbing our necks.

Travel Games

These are definitely road trip essentials! Plus,  it keeps kids off their phone or iPad which is always nice. Travel Bingo was one of our favorites. Another good one is Rubberneckers, we enjoyed this one as much as the boys.

Both of these are great for almost all ages. 

Water Bottles

Reusable Water Bottles are great! We are bringing these with us on our upcoming trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. These are reasonably priced and everyone can choose a different color so there are no mix-ups.

First Aid Kit

We have boys, so a first aid kit is always handy. I like to bring one that isn’t too big and is reasonably priced

Portable Charger

At some point during the trip, someone will start to run low on battery power just as you enter the Grand Canyon or other amazing destination. Having a portable charger will save the day!

Road Atlas

We always bring a road atlas on our trips. I enjoy looking through them and there are areas where either GPS may be incorrect or service may be an issue. I prefer a spiral bound format like this one. We also credit our road atlas with how our kids learned their state capitals.

Roadside Assistance Kit

Thankfully, we haven’t had to use one yet, but we always bring it, just in case. Better to be safe than be sorry!

Antibacterial Wipes

If you have children, I know you already have some of these at home. They are great to clean sticky fingers and to ensure everyone has clean hands before stopping to eat lunch. I keep the singles in my purse and the bigger one in the car. 

Snack Container

A plastic organizer for snacks. This was a lifesaver when our boys were preschool age as I could pack tons of different snacks in this type of organizer. You can adjust the size by removing any of the individual horizontal grids.

So, when my youngest was in his Goldfish phase, I made a large section and put Goldfish there. When my oldest was in his Cheerios phase, I did the same thing. I placed snacks like dried fruit, pretzels, Cheerios, Goldfish, Cheezits, raisins, Slim Jim’s, etc… When we arrived at the hotel, I wasn’t bringing bags of snacks in, I just grabbed the box and brought it in. Even when they were little, this was easy for them to open and I wasn’t constantly trying to find their snacks and hand it to them. Bonus: no arguing about which snack should be brought out. There is something for everyone. Whenever we were running low, I would pop into a Wal-Mart, buy what was needed, fill it up and we were on our way.

Now that the boys are older we have the larger one that sit in between in the back seat. 

Grocery Store Bags

Great thing is, they are free and everyone has some lying around. They come in handy for unexpected car sickness, the trash that naturally will accumulate over the course of a road trip and you can put wet clothes in them if needed.


Final Thoughts

Road trips can be a lot of fun! Just the funny stories that come from them make them worth it. When your kids get to really look at the country they live in, it makes an impact. 

We hope you have found this list helpful! I can’t imagine taking a road trips without these items. Do you enjoy going on road trips? 

Travel Well, 


This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. These are some great tips! I will be traveling this weekend and your list reminded me of a few things I need to grab before I go on the trip. Thank You!

    1. nclaesen

      So glad you found it helpful!

  2. Gabby

    Oh my! I didn’t take half of these things on a family roadtrip from Vegas to Yellowstone!! I was so busy planning routes, accommodation and transport that I completely forgot! Some things on your list I never would have thought of too – really could have done with one of those seatbelt pillows 😉 I have a question though .. is there a reason you take a road atlas instead of using Google Maps?

    1. Nicole Claesen

      Hi Gabby! So glad you liked the list. Yes, our boys, in particular, love their seatbelt pillows. I always bring an atlas since Google Maps isn’t always accurate and there are places where you do not have good reception or internet at all. Plus, we have used it to play games in the car and learn about each state. 🙂

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