Road trip packing is an art, but it’s easy to forget items that can be totally essential to your holiday. These are our top tips and suggestions for what you need to bring on your road trip.
1. Choose the right bags
Soft weekender bags, soft wheelie bags, and duffel bags are way better for road trip packing, because they are a lot easier to stack, squeeze and tetris into the boot of your car. Nothing kicks off despair quite like trying to fit a giant plastic wheelie bag into the boot of a tiny European hatchback.
2. Bring a few smaller bags
A little backpack or a tote per person are ideal, as you can fill them with road trippin’ snacks when you’re driving, fill them with hiking snacks when you pull over into a national park, and fill them with city snacks when you’re spending a day sightseeing. Or you know, you know, wallets and cameras and keys and stuff (but mostly snacks). Keeping the bulk of your stuff locked in the boot, and having a handy smaller travel bag is perfect for day trips.
3. Pack snacks, snacks, snacks! Oh and water.
I mean, we’re a little snack obsessed, but seriously, it is the best part of the whole roadtrip packing deal, make sure you have your snacks all stocked up every day. We recommend a ton of lollies, even if your doctor doesn’t. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Oh all right, you should probably drink some water too.
4. Organise some road trip entertainment
Technically more of a digital road trip packing suggestion than a physical one, but we are super behind this particular recommendation. One of the best ways to pass the time in the car is to download a few audiobooks and some stellar podcasts. You can get the audiobooks loaded onto your phone with apps like Audible, and check out this top list of road trip podcasts.
5. Gadget up
Embrace your inner-dad, and seriously gadget up your roadtrip packing checklist, there are some brilliant gadgets available now that are perfect for road trips. For instance, you can get a USB charger or thunderbolt connections that fit into the lighter sockets of cars, so you can charge your phone, or bump your music on the go. Portable battery chargers, hands-free phone mounts (so you can drive safely), and a mini speaker.
6. App up
There are so many brilliant travel apps, and now a whole host of road trip essential apps. Obviously, we highly recommend our own app, which is great for finding nearby hotels, and car hire deals if you are planning on renting your car. There are also excellent traffic apps, camping apps, and streaming music apps that will make your life soooo much easier.
7. Make a road trip playlist
Speaking of music apps: now’s the time to let your inner playlist geek out, as no situation in the world is more perfect for an expertly curated hours-long list of tunes. Prep your Spotify list, and when looking for your car hire deal, specify that you want portable WiFi so you’re never without your road trip soundtrack.
8. Pack your GPS!
If you have a GPS, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR, PACK IT RIGHT NOW! This is an absolute essential when it comes to packing the right things for a road trip. However, no worries if you don’t have one, as you can rent a GPS unit as part of your car hire deal. Of course, if poss, a back-up analog map (yeah, we mean a paper map) is always a good idea.
9. First aid kits are crazy important
Again, you’ll find most car hire companies will pop a first aid kit in the boot, but if they don’t you should seriously consider bringing one with, and adding it permanently to your road trip packing list, especially if you plan to do a little off-the-beaten-track driving.
10. A road trip isn’t complete without baby wipes
These little babies are the best thing ever, and a much-needed addition to a decent road trip packing list! You can get biodegradable organic ones, that won’t do too much damage to the environment, and best of all, any snack or drink spillages are covered by this magical invention.
11. Don’t forget your sunglasses
Whether you’re going to be hanging out in sunny climes or winter ones, forgetting your sunglasses is going to be the bane of your existence. Make sure you get a good pair with both UVA and UVB protection.
12. Pack seasonal essentials
If you’re heading down the coast in summer things to pack for your road trip are sarongs, towels, sunscreen and mosquito spray. If you’re heading into the colder seasons and hiking up a storm, hiking boots, a raincoat, umbrella, a beanie, gloves.
13. Check your spare tire
On the note of safety, if you’re taking your own car, you will most definitely need to make sure you have a spare tire. If you’re booking a car hire deal, then it’s worth just making sure your agent show you where it is located. Oh and maybe watch this useful tutorial on how to change a tire, because a little know how is kinda necessary.