MUST HAVE Road Trip Essentials

Summer is the season for roads trips.

The warm weather and desire to escape it is enough to get anyone in an air-conditioned car. Besides, who wants to stay at home all summer anyway? We are meant to travel and see the world during these few warm, and sometimes unbearably scorching, months. If you have a pool, then fine stay in your perfect little world, the rest of us have rivers to raft! But before we do, there are a few things we MUST bring on your next road trip.


First, duh, second DUH! Who in their right mind goes on a road trip without at least something to eat? Food on trips is an absolute necessity and you would likely perish without it. Of course, some food should be left at home, nobody wants to snack on a tub of Greek yogurt but Go-Gurt tubes might be pretty tasty. Now, you could go out and buy everything prepackaged like a weakling, but I know you’re better than that.

  • Granola – easy to make, can be healthy, tastes great
  • Trail Mix – you should know what this is and how to make it
  • Waffle/Pancake bites – actually amazing, just make tiny versions or cut them up (bring a tub of dipping syrup
  • Cookies – also great, Google your fav recipe and get baking
  • Vegetables – if you’re into that, just cut up your fav veggies & bring some ranch too, please
  • Fruit – always good, just pack them in tubs so they don’t get smashed, bring dipping sauce or nut butter if you’d like too
  • This isn’t a food blog so there are tons of other snack ideas you can Google, make it fun.


This sounds weird, but I didn’t know what else to call them. Paper towels, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, and tissues are all things you should bring. Paper towels are useful for just about everything while wet wipes are great for cleaning off dried or sticky stuff (is mud, fruit juice, etc.).


You should already have one of these in your car, but if not, these are the things you should bring:

  • Bandages (small, standard, & large)
  • Disinfectant/Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Antibiotic ointment (or spray) with pain relief
  • Anti-itch cream (poison ivy’s a b*tch)
  • Stomach relief meds (anti-diarrhea, antacids, etc.)
  • Allergy meds
  • Tweezer, nail clippers, scissors, safety pin
  • Gauze, cotton swabs, & cotton balls
  • Lotion & Aloe Vera Gel
  • Other products (birth control, condoms, tampons, prescriptions, epi-pens, etc.)


You need to also be prepared mechanically on your trip as well. You never know when your car, new or old, will encounter a problem. Anything can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Flat tires happen all the time, oil runs low, and windshields get dirty. Bottom line is crap happens, especially when we don’t want them to. What you can do though, is put together a little auto kit and take care of your car. Here’s what should go in your kit:

Those are just the essentials to always have in your car. Just remember to bring certain things based on where you are tripping to. Somewhere snowy? Bring chains. Somewhere deathly hot? Bring extra coolant. You get the idea. Additionally, you know your car better than me, so bring things you know it might need like brake fluid if it leaks. The point is to be smart about what you bring based on where you’re going, what you’re driving, and who you’re going with.


Water. No matter where you are going, what you are driving, or who you are with, you need to bring water on all your road trips. Especially if the end destination is somewhere even remotely rural, bring water. This is not a debate.

With that out of the way, bring a change of clothes for yourself just in case. That includes shoes, socks, shirt, the whole shebang. It might also be a good idea to pack an extra set of shoes/clothes you don’t think you’ll need. You might be going to a water hole, but you might want to hike around a bit. Or you might be hiking but decide to end the trip short to go into town to a nice restaurant. Don’t bring a wardrobe, but a pair of boots or a pair of jeans can’t hurt. It’s also always good to bring a jacket with you too, regardless of the daytime temp. Finally, a power bank for your phone is always nice to have. Payphones are hard to come by and I’d hate to not have at least some way to communicate. Plus, you’ll probably take lots of pictures with it.


Don’t stress it all too much. Road trips are meant to be fun and if you forget something, just forget it and move one; except water, you need to have water. Overall, it’s important to be prepared, but if that ruins your ability to relax and enjoy the trip, then just throw together a small bag and hit the road. Oh, and bring a notebook, you never know what you might want to write down or sketch.

Have a great trip and happy adventuring!



A: B. Delamater