As we were packing up for our road trip across country, I wanted to make sure we had everything that could help us out through those long 12-15 hour drives. The last thing we needed was to drain our budget and our sanity on our long haul drives. We had a budget that we wanted to stick to and didn’t want to waste it on snack and energy drinks at the gas station- these little expenses here and there add up, fast! We also wanted to make sure we were safe. That means our car was all taken care of and that we didn’t drive too tired.

12 Road Trip Must Haves For The Sanity and Safety of All Those in The Car

  1. Driving over 3,000 miles, in sometimes desolate areas, we didn’t want to take any chances with our car.  First thing we did was get our car serviced with an oil change, car cleaned inside and out, new windshield wipers, and brakes changed.

  3. External GPS! We used our TOM TOM for a few reasons. One being that in some states where all you see is cows and grass; there is also no phone service. In addition, we didn’t want to drain our data and battery life from our phones.

  5. A Road Trip Survival Kit in an easy to reach organizer. My mother -in-law gave me a wedding survival kit in a Vera Bradley hanging organizer last year. I took that organizer and filled it with all my road trip survival needs. We hung this up on the handle in the back for easy access. Items included:
    1. Tic Tacs, Mentos, and Gum: because long drives equals not so fresh breath at times
    2. Hand Sanitizer: for public bathrooms, before snacks,etc
    3. Tums: these I used a lot, your stomach is not use to the different foods you will eat on the road, and having an upset stomach with the next bathroom over 50 miles away is not an option.
    4. Pepto Bismol: See above
    5. Floss: For that awesome BBQ you will be eating
    6. Prescription Medicine: Having your prescriptions at arm’s length is handy and a visual reminder to take.
    7. Tissues: bloody noses and runny noses
    8. Dayquil: thankfully we didn’t need to use this, but we had it just in case.
    9. Airborne: These were to help us kick start our immune system after being in hotels and rest stops. I took one every day.
    10. Starbucks Gift card: For those long rides and late nights, Starbucks is a  yummy caffeine boost to get you to your end destination
    11. Scissors- Just in case
    12. A bottle opener: for those nights you just need a beer
    13. Purell Hand wipes: to wipe the germs of the gross bathroom’s away, after your lunch in the car, your messy snacks!


    roadtrip across the U.S. road trip essentials


  6. I filled a bag with some good snacks for us. A combo of some sweet, savory, salty, and healthy snacks. Our snacks of preference were: Chex Mix, different types of trail mix, dark chocolates, and a bag of washed apples. We also packed Vitamin waters for when we didn’t want our water anymore and wanted something with a little taste and not give in to soda. These helped us a lot. It helped us stop less, hold out for healthier lunch spots, and overall refuel our bodies and minds.

    roadtrip snacks roadtrip essentials

  8. 5 hour energy pack – This was a life saver. This was a caffeine boost for those long and tiring rides. Coffee was sometimes not available in those long desolate stretches. This was a convenient way to stay awake.

     5 hour energies for the road trip road trip essentials

  10. Roll of Paper towel: We used these to help wipe up messes, to clean up after our snacks etc.

  12. Brita water bottle- The Brita water bottle is great! It filters tap water (do not use as a water bottle to clean not fresh water while camping). We refilled our water bottles at the hotels before we left for the day of driving. It purifies the water which really helps with the taste.

    road trip essentials brita water bottle


  14. Contigo travel mugs- We live off these in our normal everyday life, so it was a necessity to bring with us. What we like about these is that it is spill proof, so you don’t worry about a mess. It also keeps your coffee/tea warm for at least 3-4 hours. So you can fill up at breakfast and continue drinking throughout the morning.

    contigo coffee mugs roadtrip essentials


  16. Good Playlist and podcasts: The radio can get annoying and tiresome by the second day. I made a road trip playlist with over 200 songs from oldies, to recent, to punk rock high school jams. It was awesome reliving some of the songs we haven’t heard of in 6-9 years and a great break from the 5 songs replayed over and over again on the radio. We also LOVED Serial the podcast. We listened to all season 1 on our 15 hour stretch. It made the time go fast. Make sure your playlists and podcasts are downloaded on your phone. There is bad service a lot of time, so by downloading your playlists and podcasts, you can always have them and use them.

    road trip playlist

    1. Emergency Car kit and Fix a flat: At first I was going to make a DIY kit, and then I came across this kit from Amazon. The Top Gear Premium Roadside Assistance Kit (66-piece) contains: Battery booster cables, warning triangle, electrical tape, gloves, first aid kit, LED flashlight, safety vest, Folding Multi-Function Tool, rain poncho, light sticks, emergency blanket, bungee cord, Cables Ties and PVC Tape, accident report form, Tire Pressure Gauge and Whistle and a bag to carry everything. I added a fix a flat can and put the whole bag in the trunk. Thankfully we never had to open the bag!

      roadside safety kit roadtrip essentials


    3. Travel Apps: the 4 that we used the most was Uber, TV food Maps, HHonors, and Spotify.
      1. I used our Hilton affiliate hotels throughout the road trip. We were originally supposed to go to New Mexico, but there happened to be some fluke snowstorm that we had to avoid. I used the HHonors app to cancel and rebook a hotel in Tucson.
      2. We used Uber to get to and from our hotel on NYE when we didn’t want to worry about driving.
      3. Spotify: We signed up for the month subscription to be able to use it offline. We were able to make our playlists and have them downloaded to our phones so we didn’t have to worry about no service.
      4. TV food Maps: I used this ALOT. It help channels my inner foodie. You type in the city you are in and it brings up all the restaurants that have been on TV.  Disclaimer: you need to read what the restaurants were on TV for. Some are the restaurant impossible or restaurant rescue.-you DON’T want those. The rest are great! I particularly liked the Best thing I ever ate and Diners, Drive-in and Dives.


    4. 2 port car charger: This charger I got from amazon was a life saver. We attached two USB cords to the charger and we both were able to charge our phones and not fight over who could charge our dying phones.

    double port car charger road trip



    We had a blast on our road trip; we never had a point where we were mad at each other or hating the world. I think that has to do with good planning, some luck, and well good planning. What are some road trip essentials that you used on your road trip? What did you wish you had with you? Let us know in the comments below!