Top 25 Essentials For A Family Road Trip

25 Road Trip Essentials To Pack On Your Next Road Trip

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Last Updated on June 23, 2022 by Lori

If you’re like me, you’re already planning your summer vacation, and most likely it will be a Family Road Trip!  One of the first things you might be thinking is – “What exactly are the best essentials I will need on a Road Trip?”


While every family may like different Road Trip snacks or have their own opinion on their favorite music, I’ve put together a list of 25 Road Trip Essentials that includes everyday items you may not even have thought to bring!

Essentials To Pack For A Road Trip

Our family loves to take road trips whether we are pulling our travel trailer and need camping essentials for the road trip; or, we need car essentials for a road trip.

There’s just something about a Road Trip that’s exciting and well…fun! (Especially the Road Trip Snacks!)


Maybe I have a fascination with Road Trips because it’s one of my favorite memories growing up.


I remember waking up early as a kid to get in the car in complete darkness. It’s cold, dark, and I’m half asleep – but so excited to FINALLY be leaving our farm to drive to wherever we were going that year…Colorado, Texas, Kentucky, California…it didn’t matter because we always had a blast on our family road trips.


Now that I have my own family, we continued the Road Tripping tradition of driving thousands and thousands of miles on road trips not only on vacation – but also logging in the miles driving to travel sports tournaments. (Can you relate?)

  Livin Life With Lori Road Trip  


The Best Family Road Trips

Family Togetherness


Each of our three kids played travel sports. When our oldest daughter started playing travel softball our other two children were very young so we traveled together as a family to every tournament.


When our second daughter began playing travel sports, my husband and I found that we needed to split the duties – taking one daughter to one state and the other daughter to a completely different state.


Then my son began to play travel baseball…that took some real planning!


Looking back, I think we were crazy.


In fact, I KNOW we were crazy as one summer we drove to Ohio to a National week-long tournament for one daughter then drove home to New York.


Then the next week we headed down to Virginia for our other daughter’s week-long tournament in her division.


When we traded in the Explorer, we had logged over 275,000 miles! So, after thousands and thousands of miles driving on road trips, I can honestly say I KNOW what essentials you will need for a long car trip!


It really doesn’t matter if you are planning a short 3 or 4-day weekend Road Trip or a 10-Day road trip – these Road Trip Essentials will make your trip fun, stress-free, and allow you to just have fun!  



Family Road Trip Essentials



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Road Trip Necessities

These are items that we take with us for both long and short trips. 

I know it looks like a long list but you can adjust it to suit your own family’s needs!  


1.  First Aid Kit  This is a MUST.

Be sure to get one that has varying sizes of band-aids too!  This is the First Aid Kit we have in all the cars plus our travel trailer!  I like it because it is small, lightweight and has everything you might need.


2. Wipes 


3. Sunscreen


4. Hand Sanitizer


5. Roll of Paper Towels – for quick clean-up of spills or to wipe your hands.


6. Sunglasses

These sunglasses are were my husband’s favorite pair of sunglasses that our daughter got him for Christmas.  Unfortunately, he recently went kayaking and they are now at the bottom of the river!  


I love my sunglasses too! Again, a present from our kids.   If you look at my “About Me” section on my homepage, you’ll see me wearing them!  


7. Travel Pillow

This Travel Pillow is great for camping or car trips!  Made in the USA and includes its own “Stuff Sack”.    


8. Small Blanket(s)

These are always good to throw over the kids’ legs!  I like it cold in the car and they always complain that it is “Too Cold!”  


9.  Umbrella

This Travel Umbrella is lightweight and windproof.  We are forever using our huge golf umbrellas that take up so much room in the car.  A travel umbrella fits right under the seat and this one has a Lifetime Replacement Guarantee!  


10. Phone Chargers

I can’t say enough about this iPhone charger.  This charger cord is for iPhone and iPad and is not only durable – it’s 6 ft. long so you can easily be on your phone without having to change your position because the cord won’t reach!    


11. Towel

Just in case you need to wipe off the seats, the seat is too hot to sit on, a drink spills…Always good to stuff one in the car!  


12. Cash/change

Although most roads now require you to use your EZ Pass (known as other names throughout the country) for tolls or you will receive a bill in the mail, it’s still good to have some change & dollar bills in a baggie in the glove box!  


13. Bottled Water

You can keep bottles of water in your cooler, or you can fill up your stainless steel travel water bottle.  These water bottles are Eco-Friendly and come in really cool colors.  


14. Road Trip Playlist

You can download thousands of songs on Amazon Music to your smartphone.  Then plug into your entertainment systems and you will have ALL the music you love to hear!   


My son helped us download our favorites and we love it because #1 – You don’t have to hear commercials and #2 – We can create a playlist for each trip! 


Here’s where you can get your 30-Day Free Trial Of Amazon Music.   


15. Kindle or Fire Tablet 

Great for reading, games, and streaming videos.  Keeps the kids busy and you can enjoy them too once you get to your destination!  


Related Reading:  Here are10 Easy Tips to help you plan your next Family Road Trip


16. Head Phones/Ear Buds

I found that it was best to have one for each kid.  That way they could listen to whatever they wanted!  


17. Cooler

We take both a soft cooler to put in the front of the car for sandwiches and a quick drink AND a rolling cooler that we put in the trunk part of the car or truck. 


I think we have used every brand of cooler there is out there and I like this particular one because it has the can holders on top and is easy to use for traveling.  


18. Camera

Many of us just use our cell phone cameras for photos but if you really want stunning photos of mountains, waterfalls or even just photos of the kids, this is the camera is on my wishlist! 

This Nikon D3400 allows you to take photos in low light as well as fast action shots!  


19. Atlas

We never travel without an atlas in the car. 

There have been so many times that our cell phones have no signal, or when we are pulling our travel trailer and the road the GPS wants us to go on doesn’t allow trailers – we pull out the atlas!  


20. Travel Journal

I used to depend on my memory to remember what happened during our trips. 

The things we saw – fun places we went to thinking we would remember everything about the trip. 


But when we started traveling more and more with our travel trailer, I decided that every night, I would begin writing what we did or saw in my Journal. 


I especially like this journal because it has journal prompts that are helpful when writing down “Fun Things We Did” and “People We Met!”  


21. Backpack

We always have our backpacks in the car in case we find a waterfall to explore or hike through the woods. 

This Daypack is lightweight and is perfect to throw on, add our water bottles and away we go!


22. Hiking boots

This past year we invested in some good hiking boots

Boy, what a difference they made when we were not only hiking but taking short walks through the woods.

  These hiking boots are lightweight and fit right out of the box!  

My husband got these hiking boots which are the same as mine only in a different color.  He LOVES them too!  


23. Rain Jackets

We learned from experience to take along our rain jackets and now they are just permanently in the car when we travel.  We like these rain jackets because they are lightweight and fold up easily – and don’t wrinkle.    


Make Planning Your Road Trip Easy!

Use The Ultimate Road Trip Planner


Ultimate Road Trip Planner





Fun Road Trip Essentials!

24. Road Trip Food

Ahhh my favorite part of a Road Trip! 

These healthier Road Trip Snacks have something for everyone including fruit snacks, popcorn, and granola bars.  Our other Must-Have Road Trip Snacks include beef jerky, Twizzlers and M&M’s!  



25.  Fun Road Trip Games

Besides the traditional “I Spy”, “License Plate Game,” and “20 Questions,” I created a few Road Trip Games that you can download for free!



Download Your Free Road Trip Travel Games Below  




I hope this list helps you plan an awesome Road Trip with your family! 

I would love to hear where you are planning your next vacation and let me know what are some of your favorite Road Trip Essentials!  


I would LOVE for you to join my Email List!




If you’re looking for some awesome Road Trip Destinations, here are a few suggestions you might like!


 18+ Amazing Things To See in the White Mountains of New Hampshire

 Best Places To Visit in the Adirondacks: 4-Day Itinerary

How To Plan A One-Day Trip To Niagara Falls New York

Branson Missouri – Top Of The Rock Golf Cart Cave Tour

11 Best Things To Do In The Great Smoky Mountains



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