What To Bring on a Road Trip: 33 Things You Need to Bring

What To Bring on a Road Trip: 33 Things You Need To Bring

There’s no better time to kick off a great road trip than the beginning of summer! But no matter where you want to go or how many people come with you, you need to know what to bring on a road trip to enjoy your time and drive around the country safely.

Not sure where to start? Let’s take a look at 33 key things you need to bring on your next road trip with your friends or family.

Driver’s Essentials

First off, the vehicle driver (whether that’s you or someone else) needs to bring all the essentials required to sit legally behind the wheel. Driver’s essentials include:

    • A driver’s license, of course. Anyone else planning to drive on the road trip should bring their licenses, as well
    • Keys for the car. We recommend having a spare set of keys just in case
  • At least one pair of sunglasses
  • The car’s registration and insurance information in case you get into an accident
  • Insurance membership information for roadside assistance if necessary
  • The car’s manual in case you need to do maintenance
  • A phone mount if you want to use your phone’s GPS while driving
  • Electronic toll passes, if applicable

Most of these essentials can be kept in the car’s glove box.

Pillows and Blankets

Depending on how many people you bring with you on your road trip, some comforting items could be just the ticket! Bring a few blankets and pillows so people in the back can stretch out or take naps. Blankets and pillows are even more important for long road trips when you may need to take a nap on the side of the road (such as when driving in the middle of the night).

Plus, blankets and pillows can keep you warm in case you are stuck in a snowstorm and have to turn your car off to conserve gas. Try ordering a few neck pillows used on airplanes for maximum comfort while driving!

Emergency Supplies

There are emergency supplies to collect. The last thing you want to do is be stranded on the side of the road in the middle of your road trip, and then have to hitchhike your way back to civilization. You should include the following emergency supplies:

  • A spare tire. Your car may even have a special slot for this on the back, or you can place it in your car trunk
    • A water-resistant flashlight in case you need to do car maintenance at night
  • A quart of oil
    • Wiper fluid for your windshield wipers
    • A jug of car coolant or water to keep the engine cool
    • A portable gas container. Fill this up before your road trip begins so you never run out of gas in the middle of nowhere
    • Tire chains, especially if you don’t have a four-wheel-drive vehicle and plan to drive around the mountains
    • A charger for your cell phone that can fit into your car’s cigarette lighter socket
    • A roll of toilet paper — you never know!
  • A few garbage bags
  • A first aid kit. First aid kits include bandages, gauze, painkillers, and other vital tools you might need if you or someone else in your group is injured by accident

Keep all of these supplies in a box or crate in the back of your vehicle. That way, you know where they are and can get to them easily in an emergency.

Snacks and Beverages

Odds are someone will get a little hungry or thirsty on your road trip. If the nearest gas station is still an hour away, you need to have a few snacks and beverages ready to go. Plus, snacks and beverages can keep you sated and safe if your car breaks down and you have to wait for roadside assistance.

The best snacks and beverages for taking on a road trip include:

  • Water bottles
    • Gatorade in case it’s hot and you sweat a lot
  • Chips or trail mix
  • Granola bars
  • Candy bars

For the best results, keep your snacks and beverages in a dedicated cooler beneath a seat or in the trunk. Then you and your road trip buddies can pilfer the snack stash from time to time whenever one of you gets hangry.

Physical Map

GPS and mobile devices are truly technological wonders, but they don’t work 24/7. Plus, you’ll need a way to get around if your phone runs out of battery power.

A physical map can solve this problem. Make sure the map is up-to-date before buying it. Once it’s in your possession, you can roll it out and find your way back to civilization if you took a few wrong turns down some dirt roads and don’t know which way is which anymore. Physical maps can be lifesavers if you drive somewhere cellular signals are spotty at best. 

Entertainment Options

Even the most engaging road trip companions can run out of things to talk about. So it might be a good idea to grab some entertainment options for enjoying while driving down long, lonely roads. Audiobooks are the go-to choices for many road trip enthusiasts. They let you enjoy well-crafted stories without taking your eyes off the road.

However, you can also bring plenty of music via an iPod or, if your vehicle is old enough, physical CDs! To make sure everyone is happy, let everyone attending the road trip vote on the entertainment media you plan to bring. 

Tools for the Car and Environment

Lastly, don’t leave for your road trip without grabbing some essential tools and equipment for your vehicle and for tackling the environment if necessary. These items include the above-mentioned tire chains in addition to:

  • A shovel in case you need to shovel mud or snow away from your vehicle
  • An ice scraper to scrape away ice from your windshield
  • A brush for wiping snow off your vehicle 
  • A tire jack in case you need to replace one of your tires with that spare mentioned earlier

It’s best to put these tools in a single spot and in a location that is easy to reach, like in the trunk. Keeping your tools organized and cared for is crucial if you want to ensure you can lean on them if push comes to shove.


The best road trips are the ones you’re fully prepared for. Once you have all of these items squared away, you can hit the road with peace of mind and enjoy your time spent with friends or family members. Plus, you’ll know that you can handle any emergency that life throws at you.

However, you still need a car. If you don’t have your own set of wheels, Advantage Rent-a-Car may be able to help. We offer a wide range of vehicles in our diverse rental fleet, ranging from sedans to convertibles and more, plus have lots of convenient rental agency locations at major airports and throughout the country. Contact us today and get the perfect rental for your upcoming road trip ASAP!


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