A 7 Point Packing Checklist When Going on a Road Trip

Published On January 5, 2019 | By Staff Writer | Top Lists, Travel Planning
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Road trips mean freedom, but a little prep beforehand helps ensure a bump-free vacation. Packing and preparing for a road trip is a lot different than preparing for other types of getaway. Although road trips fit squarely into the American mythos of being the ultimate care-free way to travel, that only works when you have a lot of sheer luck on your side. It does take some preparation, and it’s well worth it. Fortunately, you can ensure you’re on track for a memorable road trip with these seven-point packing items:


1. Make sure your car’s up for the job. Having a durable car is a must for any road trip, and it’s not enough to simply make sure you keep the oil changed and kick the tires. Road trips put your car through a lot of wear and tear, so it’s worthwhile to take your car to the mechanic for a maintenance check. Rotating the tires and ensuring the brake pads have enough life left in them can be literal lifesavers. It doesn’t take much time and money for a simple check, and the peace of mind alone is well worth it.

2. Inspect your emergency kit. Every car should have an emergency kit at all times, and a road trip is the perfect reason to give it a once-over. There are ready-made emergency kits if you don’t have one. Basic items should include tools to change tires, emergency flares, first-aid kits, and tools to portable charge your technology as well as your car (i.e., jumper cables). Also, pack protein snacks and warm clothes for emergency situations.

3. Keep an empty gas can in your car. Plastic can work best as it’s lightweight and easy to use. If you’re stuck in a situation without a phone signal and a gas station isn’t very far away, it’s a lot easier to walk and fill up a canister rather than flagging someone down for help. These items won’t weigh your car down and can save time and expenses if running out of gas puts a kink in your plans.

4. Storage facilities in the car. From a roof rack to adding some organizational tools in the trunk, there are items to help you maximize the storage capacity of any vehicle. The more people you have on your road trip, the more fun it will be—but it will also be a little more hectic and space gets slim. By packing items on the roof or making the most of trunk space, you can save room and your sanity.

5. Download the apps you’ll need now. Apps aren’t a traditional “packing” item but they’ve become increasingly important when you hit the road. Apps can help you locate the nearest cheap gas station, roadside attractions, and can’t-miss restaurants. Make sure your current apps, especially GPS, are updated and ready to go. Restarting your phone before heading out can help your phone work to its best capacity.

6. Mountable platform for your phone. Are you still depending on your lap or holding your phone in your hand when you drive? Not only is it illegal in most states, but it’s also very unsafe. A road trip is a perfect time to add a mountable platform to your vehicle so you can truly drive hands-free. It’s especially helpful when you’re navigating streets and cities that are new to you.

7.Bluetooth sync in the car. Many newer cars can sync your phone via Bluetooth to the speakers. This makes hands-free driving even easier and you can take and make calls while you’re on the road. If your car doesn’t have the capacity, what better time to upgrade to a higher-tech machine? A new car not only has the latest technology but you have zero worries about maintenance or whether you really have enough tread left on those tires for a road trip.


A road trip in the winter months can be especially challenging. Make sure you either have winter tires installed or chains readily available. Plan for more time to get to your destination. The roads are slippery, it gets dark earlier, and thanks to the holiday rush there are a lot of aggravated drivers on the road. Stay alert, and always remember that napping at a hotel is much better than risking driving while tired.



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