Are you heading on a road trip soon and wondering what to bring? First of all, we’re jealous! Second of all, we have you covered with this awesome packing list of road trip essentials. We put together 10 essentials for a road trip together so you don’t miss a thing. The best part is, we linked to the product on Amazon, so if you’re signed up for Amazon Prime, you can get them in 2 days for free. If you’re a last minute planner like me, that probably just saved your butt!

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If you’re like us, you need a nice cooler to keep your drinks and snacks cold. We watch for sales the weeks leading up to our trip so we can stock up on soda, bologna, cheese, fruit, etc. to help us save money. We left three options below including a regular cooler, one that plugs into your cigarette lighter to keep your stuff cool, and a fun snack and drink organizer for your backseat.

GPS navigation

No list road trip essentials would be complete without a GPS navigation! If you don’t want to use your phone for GPS, you can invest in a GPS system that gives you turn by turn navigation. There are also some that will tell you exactly what the speed limit is if there are accidents ahead, and more. The first one we have below is your most basic GPS system. The next one we recommend is a Garmin that gives you turn by turn directions, a 5-inch display, and some other cool features. If you want one with all the bells and whistles, check out the last one we recommend. It has Bluetooth, can sync to your phone, is voice activated so you can navigate places without touching it, and more!

If you’re planning a road trip to Utah’s Mighty 5, check out this awesome itinerary!

Phone mount

If you decide to use your phone to navigate, you’ll want to make sure you have a good phone mount. This is the easiest way to allow you to see and hear directions without having to look down at your lap or drive with one hand while looking at your phone. Yes, you may have a “Navigator” in the passenger seat to help you figure out which way you go, but usually, my Navigators are sleeping so I call them my “Napigators.” Here are a few different options including one that goes in your air vent, one that goes on your dashboard, or one that goes on your windshield.

blind spot mirrors

Okay y’all. I seriously don’t know how I hadn’t been in an accident before we bought these. I had some close calls where someone was in my blind spot and I just couldn’t tell. Not anymore! These little blind spot mirrors sit in the corner of your mirror that you don’t use anyway and show you exactly what is in your blind spot. It’s a lifesaver and keeps you extra safe when going through those busy cities. They have definitely become one of my road trip essentials and I think everyone seriously needs these! We have bought a set for everyone in our family. We put a few different shapes down below for you to choose the one that works best for your mirror type. I prefer the circle ones, but that’s just me.

Something to link your phone to your speaker

We love our music, but a lot of our road trips lead us through huge states out west with little to no radio channels. That doesn’t cut it for me so we got a few different transmitters to help us listen to our favorite songs, a Bluetooth one, one that you plug into your phone and plug into your radio system with an aux cord if you still have a port on your phone, and one that uses a cassette tape if your vehicle still has one (I think I’m aging myself a bit with the last one, but my first car had one)

Wifi hotspot

If you rely on GPS or want to use your phone to play music from Spotify or Pandora, you’ll need a wifi hotspot for those places that have terrible service. It will boost your reception up just enough that your jamming out session is uninterrupted. If you’re a Digital Nomad, these should definitely be on your list of road trip essentials. #winning

Comfortable pillow for cars

Alright, this one is mostly for the napigators, or for you to keep your neck comfortable while driving. You need a comfortable pillow that doesn’t interfere with your seatbelt in case there is an accident or the driver needs to slam on the brakes. Here are some we found that look like they would do the job well. We added one for the driver or the passenger, a footrest and pillow, and one that you can bend to be whatever shape you want it to be.

Heading to Europe on your next road trip? See which countries our members suggest for the best road trip!

A cozy blanket in case your partner keeps it cold

My dad and my fiancé like to drive in an icebox, so I always need a nice cozy blanket and some warm socks/pajama bottoms. I wish I was joking, but I’m not. I also do the same thing to my fiancé when I’m trying to keep myself awake during those long boring stretches. Plus, it’s nice to have your own blanket when you’re staying somewhere new.


This is a lifesaver if you have fair skin like I do and don’t want to get burnt. It just attaches to your window and voila, it protects your arms, keeps you cooler, and allows you to take a nap. I’m pretty sure they are made for small children, but we won’t judge you if you don’t judge us.

If Canada is on your road trip itinerary, Ontario makes a great province for road tripping!

Games for children

If you’re bringing your children on your road trip, don’t forget to bring some games and things to keep them entertained. You can also check out this awesome post about what these traveling mommas can’t live without when traveling. Maybe you’ll find something on there that changes the way you travel.

There you have it! 10 things to pack for a road trip that will make sure your trip goes smoothly. Do you have anything we missed or is there anything that you are so excited to grab for yourself? Let us know below! Don’t forget to save this to your road trip board on Pinterest so you can easily find it.

Click on the pin below to save it to your packing list board on Pinterest!

Road trips are fun, but packing for road trips can be stressful. We made a list of 10 things to pack for a road trip so you don't miss a thing. Come see what things to bring on a road trip to help you save money, have fun, and get there safely. Make sure you save this road trip packing list to your road trip board so you can easily find it. #roadtrip #packing   Road trips are fun, but packing for road trips can be stressful. We made a list of 10 things to pack for a road trip so you don't miss a thing. Come see what things to bring on a road trip to help you save money, have fun, and get there safely. Make sure you save this road trip packing list to your road trip board so you can easily find it. #roadtrip #packing

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Jess Shetler

Jess Shetler


Jess is a cat loving, mountain climbing, cowgirl boot wearing travel blogger from Texas, USA.. She writes about tips and tricks for budget travel, pet travel, and outdoor adventures. When she’s not doing that, she’s helping others harness the power of Pinterest and filling up her travel inspiration board.

Follow her on her site Thrifty Traveler Tips to learn about her travels; and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest here.


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