There is something both nostalgic and novel about a good, old-fashioned road trip that has everyone planning a drivable getaway this summer. Whether you’re off on a New England Escape, a road trip across the Midwest or a California highway adventure, there is so much to discover within driving distance of home. Beyond planning your overnight accommodations and any pit stops along the way, another key to planning to perfect road trip is making sure you make the most out of the time spent on the road. Use this road trip essentials guide to make sure you’re prepared for what you may need and to have some fun along the way!
Road Trip Essentials For Comfort
Since there’s nothing worse than realizing you forgot something when you’re already on the road, make a road trip packing list before you start your journey! This list is beyond your suitcase, and no matter your destination, will make any road trip easier and more comfortable.
A few of the things we can’t live without on a road trip are:
• Travel pillow
• Sleep mask
• Cozy blankets
• UV window shade
• Comfortable clothing
• Earbuds (for when the passengers don’t agree on the music or entertainment)
A few “just in case” items you might want to add to your bag:
• Shout wipes
• Disinfecting wipes
• Hand sanitizer
• Bottled water
• Portable charger
• Paper towels
As you complete your road trip packing list, check out our VP’s ultimate packing list for tips on the best travel accessories and our 2020 beach accessories list if the beach is your final destination.
Entertainment On The Road
If your travel time is more than an hour or two, a little entertainment helps to pass the time. Luckily, there are several options for passengers of all ages to make the most of your travel time together.
Road Trip Card Games
When traveling with multiple people, there are many 2+–player games available that you can try. Card games are a great travel option as they are easy to pack and don’t require a hard surface. Adults and kids alike will enjoy our favorites, Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza and Sushi Go.
You can also use your travel time to connect with your significant other or kids by trying conversation starter cards for couples or families. With a combination of light-hearted and deep questions, you’re bound to have fun while learning something you didn’t know about your loved ones.
Road Trip Playlists Essentials
Get in the right frame of mind for your trip with a playlist to remind you of the joys of being “on the road again.” Find your favorite list on Spotify, whether you’re into classic rock, country or more of a pop music fan. Check out our ultimate road trip playlist if you want a little bit of each with a road trip theme.
You can hear all about great places to travel and how to get the most out of your trip in this list of podcasts curated by Travel + Leisure. Or, if you happen to be heading to The Omni Homestead Resort, you can learn all about the history and experiences of The Homestead in the resort’s Beyond the Tower podcast.
Traveling with kids? NPR’s “Wow in the World” podcast is kid-friendly and educational, teaching kids about an array of topics in a series of (mostly) 10-minute episodes that are sure to keep your child’s attention.
Your Car Essentials
Whenever you’re driving a long distance, being prepared for an emergency is key. There are a few items you should consider keeping in your car in case something happens on the road.
• Jumper cables
• Motor oil
• Tire pressure gauge
• Emergency kit, complete with flares
• First aid kit
• Water bottles
• Tire inflator and sealant (in case of a flat)
Nothing says road trip quite like indulging in some sweet and salty snacks. Save a little time and money by packing snacks in the fun ways below.
Take a trip down memory lane and indulge in all your favorite childhood junk food to reminisce with your significant other or share with your kids. You can also make a game of it. Let each person choose their favorite sweet and salty snack, then put them in a bag and guess which snack was each person’s pick.
Trying to eat a little healthier? Prepare some homemade snacks that are easy to eat on the go. A few of our favorites are homemade trail mix, Chex Mix, or yogurt dipped pretzels. You can portion them into individual servings in Ziploc bags to make them easier to grab and go or make sure little ones don’t overindulge.
When the time is right to start preparing for your next road trip, keep these tips handy to ensure you make the most of your time on the road.