20+ Cross Country Roadtrip Essentials

Hello lovely reader,

This post contains affiliate links.

Since we are preparing for our own road trip, I thought it would be great and helpful to all you summer vacationers to compose a list of road trip essentials.
The key to any painless road trip is supplies! Whether you are traveling by yourself, with a partner, or with a whole car full of adventurers, it is important to be prepared for your trip, journey, and any potential situations that may come up along the way.


For our journey, we are going to be traveling cross country with over forty hours of drive time one way. Whether your traveling this far or only driving for a few hours, it is great to pack your car with some regular necessities:

  • A Cooler. Or at least an insulated bag. Having something that you can keep drinks and food cold in is invaluable to your traveling food budget! When we roadtrip, we are usually driving to a destination where we plan to vacation and then driving back, therefore, we like to save our food money for our destination and pack sandwich supplies for the trip.
    • Keep drinks cold. We mainly take water and just a few specialty drinks.
    • Sandwich supplies are really easy and will be a light meal.
    • Cheese for crackers.
    • Humus and some carrot or celery sticks are a great snack as well.
  • A Snack Bag. Packing a tote or a box with some snacks will save you not only money, but time as well. In the past we have forgotten to bring along little tid bits and ended up stopping multiple times to grab little munchies! If you are traveling with children, snacks, as you probably know, are crucial to making a trip painless! So, take it from us and save yourself some time and money! Here are some of our favorite road trip snacks:
    • Jerky, Chips, Protein Bars, Nuts, Trail Mix, and Gummy Worms (I know, we are so healthy, right?!)
  • A Trash Bag or Can. Keep the clutter of wrappers and napkins at bay by placing a trash can behind the driver’s side seat or tied to the back of the driver’s seat.
  •  Blanket. If you are traveling with a family, bring multiple blankets or at least one for the front seats and one for the back. I usually pack two, because my hubby freezes me!
  •  Travel Pillow. You can share one pillow if you only have two people traveling, but remember to bring extras if there are multiple travelers (stops pillow fights!).
  • Hotel Bag with a change of clothes and basic toiletries.
  •  Tote with Shared Pastimes. My hubby and I usually keep a tote in the front floorboard with our laptops and other things we use to keep us entertained. Here are some pastime ideas:
    • Books, Laptop, Tablet, Notepad w. pens, Coloring books, etc.
  • Paper towels / tissues.
  • USB Chargers for Electronic Devices.

Though most of us have these items in our house, here are some great travel accessories:

Preparing for emergencies – it’s great to have a shower caddy or a box with some essentials for emergency situations.

  • Flashlights, Car Fluids, Basic Tool Kit, First Aid Kit, Rain Coats, Matches, MREs (just in case), Jumper Cables, Duct Tape (because it really fixes everything), and WD-40.

Traveling with pets?

  • Large ziplock with dry food.
  • Small ziplock with treats. This is great for in between stops.
  • Large bottle of water. 
  • Water bowl. There are some great foldable travel pet bowls, but if you don’t want to spend the money, just bring their regular water bowl and put it in the floorboard of the backseat.
  • Leash. These leashes are great! They allow them to have more room to walk about when your letting them out to use the restroom, and you can easily set the leash length.
  • Blanket or pet bed. This will give them something to snuggle with and will keep your car scratch and fur free.

Traveling with kids?

  • Have each one pack a small backpack or tote to keep at their feet full of pastimes like books, tablets, MP3 players, travel games, notepads, and coloring books.
  • Lap desks are great investments for the back of cars as well. They give them a flat space to do puzzles, color, and, most especially, eat without making a mess.
  • Kids sometimes get a little car sick, so keeping some extra trash bags and some medicine close by isn’t a bad idea.

Looking for ways to organize your car?

Both my hubby and I have a Kia Soul and we usually use mine for road trips. In the very back (trunk area) we neatly pack our suitcases or duffle bags, and our overnight hotel bags. Sometimes we like to camp instead of staying in hotels along the way so we pack our compact tent and sleeping bags towards the top for quick access. When traveling with our dogs, the back seat area is where they travel and the floorboards are used for their supplies. When not traveling with the pups, I neatly fold two blankets and place one each over the head rests of the backseats. The tote with our pastime supplies and my purse go in the passenger side backseat along with the travel pillow. Since the passenger is usually the one to throw things away, we keep a little trash bin behind the driver seat. Our cooler and snack bag go on the seat behind the driver and our coats and sweatshirts go in the middle of the back seat.

Here are some great items for organizing your car and obtaining quick and easy access to your necessities:

As always, thank you for visiting my little slice of the net! Don’t forget to like us on Facebook for more inspiration, encouragement, and reviews. Please let me know what your road trip must haves are!

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I'm a twenty something married college student who enjoys reading, horse back writing, blogging, traveling, crafting, homeopathic medicine, sustainable living, and the outdoors.

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