Skip to Content

Top 16 Essential Items To Pack For Your Next Road Trip.

This post may contain affiliate links. I will receive a small commission if you use these links.

If you’re one of those people who immediately books a flight for your upcoming trip without even thinking twice about it, maybe you should consider doing a road trip closer to home next time. Not only can going on a road trip be more cost efficient, it gives you the chance to make stops along the way, take in the scenery, and turn your trip into a never ending adventure. Hitting the open road is an exciting opportunity to see sights you normally wouldn’t consider travelling to, and it can be refreshing to control your itinerary and be able to make changes to your plans whenever you feel the need.

The scenery and flexibility are just one perk of road tripping. When you travel by car, you aren’t nearly as limited in what you can or cannot pack. The frustration of packing light to ensure you stay within airline baggage restrictions is real, especially when flying with budget airlines that charge you an arm and a leg for just one checked bag, or even a carry on!

Whereas if you decide to go on a road trip you can pack whatever your heart desires.

A good road trip does require some preparation and the correct packing though so make sure you pack these 16 items to make your trip more enjoyable and cost efficient, because who doesn’t want that?


1. Pillow/Blanket – If you’re not the one that’s driving and you’re going to be driving a long way, taking a pillow and blanket is a good way to stay comfy during your time on the road.

2. Car Insurance – Before you head out be sure that your car insurance is up-to-date, and that your coverage is decent.  Be sure that you also have quality insurance for rental cars if you are hiring a car.

3. Sunglasses – If you’re driving in a Country with unpredictable weather, make sure you have sunglasses close by, it might start out cloudy but hopefully the sun will start shining and you don’t want to be squinting.

4. Snacks – The last thing you want is to be hungry on a road trip, and even if you stop for breaks, service stations tend to sell overpriced food so be sure to take your own food with you!

5. Camera – When I went to Ireland last year I couldn’t believe how scenic the roads were and I pulled over so many times to take photos so I could remember what it looked like.

6. Roadside Emergency Kit – A typical roadside emergency kit should include battery booster cables, light sticks, a reflective vest, a rain poncho, a tire pressure gauge, and a window breaker. You may find it unnecessary to pack, but in times of need you’ll be happy you have it.

7. Small Change – If you want to get out and stretch your legs, I’ve found that a lot of car parks are chargeable and they only accept change, not card payment. So make sure you have some small change in the car to pay for parking.

8. Reusable Water Bottle – I take a reusable water bottle with me everywhere! It’s a good way to reduce your plastic waste and filling it up as you go in service stations rather than buying a new bottle will save you money. In addition, if you’re a big coffee drinker, pack a reusable coffee cup. These days a lot of coffee shops will give you a discount for bringing your own cup.

9. License and Registration – Double check before you head out that you have your license, registration, and proof of insurance. You don’t want to get pulled over and realise that you don’t have it and you left it at home, or it’s in your emails and you don’t have internet access.

10. Phone Chargers – If you’re a passenger you may end up being on your phone a lot to pass the time, or to take lots of photos! Be sure to have your phone charger handy along with a portable charger if your car doesn’t have a USB slot.

11. Books – The best way to pass time whilst you’re in a car as a passenger is reading! Pack a good book and you’ll be there in no time!

12. Layers of Clothes – If you’re driving through the mountains or countryside and you plan to get out and do some walks, remember that the weather will probably change so make use of all the space in the car by taking a few layers and waterproofs with you.

13. Headphones – After awhile you may get bored with the people in the car with you, so that everyone can listen to their own music, podcasts, or read in peace, be sure to take headphones for your benefit and theirs!

14. Maps – In today’s world, it may seem silly to pack maps since everything can be navigated through GPS on your phone or SatNav. But if you’re travelling through an area with spotty service, like through the mountains, you might find yourself without internet and no access to GoogleMaps (which happened to me in Wales & Ireland last year). So be prepared for times like these and pack paper maps, or even screenshot directions on your phone beforehand so you don’t have to rely on the internet.

15. Toilet Roll – If you’re going to be driving through rural areas and not passing a town or service station for a while, you may need a bathroom break in the wild and you’ll be glad you packed some toilet roll!

16. Music – Finally, every good road trip needs a good playlist. Listening to music will make the time fly by, so create several playlists before you hit the road. You can use apps like Pandora or Spotify to give you access to playlists, even when you’re offline!

Ireland Road Trip

I hope this helps you pack correctly for your road trip and covers all the essential road trip items you need! 

Let me know in the comments below or by tweeting me @wandering_quinn!

The UK is a great place to do a road trip so if you’re travelling around Ireland or Wales, you’ll like these posts too:

Ireland Road Trip – Helpful Tips To Prepare You For Your Trip!

Wales Road Trip – My 7 Top Tips To Help You on Your Trip!