10 Travel Essentials You Need to Pack for Every Road Trip

One of my favorite things about taking a road trip is taking in the scenery en route to my destination. There is something so nostalgic and calming about driving on an open road with the windows down and music blasting, taking in the scenery, and enjoying the drive as time flies by.

Some of my road trips were more thrilling than others, like my 7-day adventure around Southern Iceland. I drove through rain, sleet, snow, and hail, saw countless waterfalls, rainbows, wild horses, and took thousands of photos of memories I will never forget. On the other hand, other road trips have been more mundane, like my drive from sunny Southern California up to my alma mater, the University of California, Davis, up in Northern California with nothing but big semi-trucks and cattle farms surrounding me on the I-5 North.

Whether you are planning an epic, multi-day road trip at an international destination, or just taking a short & sweet weekend trip a few hours away, you will definitely want to have these 10 road trip essentials on-hand. These are my favorite must-haves for a road trip of any type and length and are guaranteed to help you prepare for your next road trip!


This portable cell phone tripod is perfect for solo selfies if you are traveling alone. It also works well for scenic landscape shots and comes with a remote so you can take hands-free photos.


Spotify Premium is an absolute MUST just in general, but it is particularly necessary for road trips. Yes, I know it’s a bit pricey, but I use it every single day whether I am in my car, going for a run, or working. You can create playlists and listen to pre-curated Spotify playlists that are tailored to your taste.

Spotify Premium also allows users to download playlists for offline use, which is perfect for when your cell service unexpectedly drops. Uninterrupted music is a total game-changer for road trips - go ahead and see for yourself!


One salty, one sweet, and one filling = the formula for a perfect road trip snack lineup. I typically try to bring three non-perishable snacks from those categories (of course, the quantity is dependent on how long of a road trip you are planning to take!) I like keeping things that are easy to eat on-hand so I can satisfy my cravings during a long drive without having to stop along the way. Pre-planning your snacks saves you time, money, and any potential hangry-ness ;). See some of my personal favorites below!

a. SALTY: High protein, low carb meat grass-fed & free-range meat sticks

b. SWEET: Raspberry fig bars - like a healthier version of a Fig Newton!

c. FILLING: Clean, plant-based protein powder for protein shakes on-the-go - available in trial-sized packets and standard sized tubs that are perfect for a road trip of any length.


To make sure you stay hydrated during your time on the road, I recommend a reusable, insulated water bottle such as this Hydro Flask. Hydro Flasks are a bit of an investment, but they last a long time (I’ve had mine 4 years and counting!) and are worth every penny. They can keep your drinks either cold for up to 24 hours or hot for up to 6 hours. I also recommend this straw lid for easy sipping.


Before I had Apple Car Play, this car phone mount helped me out a lot. It attaches easily to an air vent and is perfect for when you need to use your phone for GPS navigation during a trip.


Seeing the scenery is half the fun of any road trip. Polarized sunglasses help minimize glare, make colors pop, and keep my eyes wide & awake. Just because they’re polarized does not have to mean they are expensive. Check out these two Ray-Ban dupes on Amazon for cute, affordable sunnies for your next vacation: https://amzn.to/31WAOSE and https://amzn.to/2O4abDj.


Let’s be honest - cars can get messy during road trips. I like to have a designated trash bag nearby so that I don’t just end up throwing trash all over the back seat of my car. This car trash bag is the right size, attaches to the back of your car headrests, and helps keep the mess to a minimum throughout traveling.


With the ongoing threat of COVID-19, it is super important to keep hand sanitizer with you, especially when hand washing is not possible. I would recommend this moisturizing, scented hand sanitizer spray from The Honest Company, one of my favorite clean beauty brands.


This leak-free, sleek, and sensible travel coffee tumbler is my go-to for bringing my homemade coffee with me on the road. It’s durable, insulated, dishwasher safe, and the perfect place to pour your piping hot morning latte.


Last but not least on my list of essentials: face sunscreen. We get a lot more sun exposure inside of our cars than we think, and it is never fun to get too much sun before even arriving at your destination. I always keep face sunscreen with me so I can stay covered throughout my drives. A couple of my personal favorites include the Elta MD Physical Tinted Sunscreen for when I want a little bit of makeup-like coverage on my skin, the Elta MD Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad Spectrum for everyday use, and the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Non-Greasy Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion as a more budget-friendly option.

And that’s a wrap! Be sure to pack these 10 road trip essentials for your next trip for an elevated, stress-free, and comfortable trip. Which of these ten travel essentials is your favorite for road tripping? Let me know in the comments!

*Disclosure: Please note that this post contains affiliate links. I only share products I would use myself and genuinely recommend. I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you from any purchases made through the links.*