We’ve compiled a list of our packing essentials, from A-Z. Pack these 26 items for your next road trip and you won’t be sorry!
Appetite. Get ready to eat a lot. You’ll be snacking on sunflower seeds as you drive; purchasing chemically-loaded snacks you would never, under normal circumstances, put in your delicate body; and/or stopping at every fun diner you see. Be prepared. Bring an appetite. And some jogging shoes (life’s about balance, right?).
Banjo. Or backpack. Whichever you think is more practical.
Camera. Take some photos to remember the journey—and to memorialize that triumphant look on your face when you finally reach a gas station after having to pee for 30 miles.
Deodorant. Showers can be hard to come by on the road. Bring baby wipes, hand sanitizer, febreeze, Axe body spray, scented oils, long-stem roses, and anything else to cover the stench of humans-in-a-contained-space. You car will likely smell like a cross between a zoo and a Bath and Body Works, but it’s worth it.
Exercise Shorts. We recommend the kind with breathable holes that you were required to wear in 6th grade gym class. They might not be fashionable, but legs + boiling hot car seats = no time for fashion.
First-Aid Kit. Safety first, y’all.
Glasses. Sunglasses, that is. Protect those lookers from the sun’s harmful rays and feel approximately 87x cooler.
Hand Sanitizer. Because gas stations.
ID. Ever been pulled over in the middle of nowhere looking like a yeti because you haven’t participated in societally-mandating bathing rituals for days on end? A driver’s license will confirm that you are, in fact, a homosapien who pays taxes.
Journal. Write about your surroundings, thoughts, breakthroughs, and the origins of weird inside jokes about squirrel hats that are birthed at 3 a.m. You’ll be happy to have the record later. Plus, putting your experiences down on paper helps you process them.
Keys. It’ll be hard to get very far without them.
Lucky Charm. Not the cereal (but we encourage that, too, of course). Like that rabbit foot you’ll be inclined to buy at that truck stop, a talisman will keep you free from bad road juju. For ladies whose handbags are wild jungles, this’ll also make it easier to find your keys amidst the 20 gum packs, lip glosses, and old movie stubs you’ve got in there.
Map. Navigating with a real map (no GPS!) is a fun challenge that we encourage. Plus, you get to feel like a real explorer, but without tights and ruffled collars.
Nutella. ‘Nuff said.
Oregano. You never know when you’ll need to spice up some gas station food.
Phone. You have to bring your phone so you can jam to your favorite playlist and/or instagram photos from the road (follow us! @roadtripnation). Our phones do so much for us these days, but try to put down the technology every once in awhile and really invest yourself in the experience. Facebook will still be there when you’re back home, and you can wait to see what Full House character Buzzfeed says your friend is.
Q-tips. Q is a tough one, but we’ve gotta say that these are really handy when you wanna detail your car/RV.
R2-D2. Well, you might not be able to put him in the car, but it’s always a good idea to have a co-pilot with mechanical skills… or at least the knowledge of how to change a tire.
Salty snacks, sweet snacks, savory snacks… all the snacks. This is one of the most essential ingredients to an awesome road trip. Your car must essentially become a portable 7-11.
Toilet Paper. For when that big gulp sounded like a great idea.
Underwear. This is a general packing tip rather than a road-trip-specific tip. Regardless, bring more of it than you thought would be humanly needed. Then add 5 more pairs.
Violin. For entertaining others at rest stops. Also, this instrument meshes well with a banjo (see letter B of this list.)
Water. #HydrationNation. Stay hydrated on the road! Soda will only make thirst worse. So much worse.
Xtra Set of Keys. This one’s a stretch, we’ll admit, but “x” was a challenging letter to work with, and having an extra (or “xtra” as the case may be) set of keys can’t hurt.
Yes! (A Positive Attitude). Stuff will happen on the road that will push your buttons. It’s inevitable. Spending a lot of time cooped up in vehicles with others doesn’t always bring out the most sunshiny parts of our personalities. Roll with the punches. When you start to get annoyed at the way your friend pronounces the letter ‘A,’ or you’ve been driving so long that you vow to sell your car and transport yourself via rollerblades, just remember that pretty soon you’ll be back home on the couch wishing you were on the road again.
Ziploc Bags. Because they are straight-up practical.