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What to Pack for a Road Trip: Checklist for your Trip

Updated: Jan 28

Packing for a road trip requires some thoughtful planning to ensure you have everything you need for a comfortable and enjoyable journey. I've been on over a dozen road trips in the US and Europe; they are an absolute blast, so I wanted to share my "what to pack for a road trip" checklist with you!


In this post I'll have a full checklist with links to everything you'll need for your trip. The essentials are broken down by category. If you're looking for a downloadable (and editable) version of this checklist, I've made one available to subscribers on my website! I hope both versions are helpful for thinking about a checklist for what to pack for a road trip.


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Remember to customize this list based on your specific destination, the duration of your road trip, and any unique needs you may have. Planning ahead will help ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey!


This guide for what to pack for a road trip contains affiliate links to trusted partners.





Before You Hit the Road:


  • Check to see whether you need an oil change. If you plan to log thousands of miles in a single trip, it may be best to change your oil just before you leave.

  • Ensure you don’t need vehicle maintenance by double checking your engine lights.

  • Top off all fluids, including oil, windshield fluid, brake fluids and coolant.

  • Check your tire pressure (including your spare!). Check the tread on your tires.

  • heck your brake pads and rotors.

  • Make sure your headlights and turn signals work properly.

  • Tell someone where you’re going. If possible, provide them your route, dates and destination.

Packing Tips


  • Pack strategically to make sure you have quick access to everything you need. I recommend you carry essentials like maps, snacks, chargers, and a first aid kit in a day pack you can easily grab in your car.

  • Put the rest of your things in a hard shell suitcase or a duffle bag that can open easily in the back of a car and place things you might need at the top or in a special section. You don't want to have to unpack your whole bag looking for something.

  • Resist the urge to overpack or pack bigger items just because you'll be in a car and have more space. It's still best not to pack a bunch or large items as they will weigh down the car and ultimately cost you more in gas! Depending on how long your trip is, full size items will still make sense to carry with you as they'll save you more.



Vehicle Essentials:


  • Driver's license and registration

  • Proof of insurance

  • Roadside assistance information

  • Spare tire and tools

  • Jack and tire iron

  • Car manual


Electronics:



Comfort and Safety:



Entertainment:


  • Music playlists

  • Podcasts

  • Audiobooks

  • Travel games


I recommend downloading some of these, especially if you are going through remote areas or traveling internationally. You never know when your phone may lose signal!


Snacks and Drinks:


  • Collapsible Cooler (drinks, sandwiches, fruits, etc.)

  • Utensils (spoons, forks, knives)

  • Paper plates

  • Roll of paper towels

  • Trash bag



Documents:

  • Passport (if traveling internationally)

  • Travel insurance information downloaded or printed

  • Hotel reservations downloaded or printed

  • Any necessary permits or passes for attractions


Other:


Here is the downloadable and editable what to pack for a road trip checklist for you! Remember to customize this list based on your specific destination, the duration of your road trip, and any unique needs you may have. Planning ahead will help ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey.






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